Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I am sitting here with my 4th cup of coffee, reflecting on last night.

Our daughter plays softball.  She plays on a competitive team, which means she sometimes travels across the state to play in tournaments.  Right now her team has been playing in a local recreation league against teams that are 2 and 4 years older than her team.  The last two nights that she has had games, her friends have shown up to cheer her on.  They are from her church youth group...... and they are HILARIOUS!  Most times I have seen friends come to watch a game, they sit quietly in the bleachers, talk amongst themselves and never really pay attention to the game.  Not these kids....  They have organized.

Last week they came with digital air horns blasting from their cell phones, and generally just cheered exuberantly....  This week it was with T-shirts, bubbles, glow sticks, speakers for the phone to make the air horn LOUDER.....This week they shared their vision of renovating a short bus, and following the team all next year. 

Back to my coffee ....*... sip....*....  All this fun stuff got me thinking about the whole issue of "socialization".  I will have to say that it is the number one question I am asked as a homeschooling parent.... "What do you do about socialization?"  Surprisingly enough, after 7 years of homeschooling, this questions takes me by surprise.  I mean really?.... you read the story up there.... that is pretty normal Teenville USA stuff.... I almost want to ask them if my children appear to have been kept in a closet or something...  ( hee hee ).  Instead of being quippy, I usually ask a return question.... "How do you define 'proper' socialization?"  Usually the response I get has to do with being able to sit quietly with ones peers, or being able to get along with ones peers, going to public school.... things along these lines.  I guess I just don't see sitting still in school as appropriate socialization......

I was curious as to the definition of the word "socialization".... It is one of those words I know and understand in context, but I have never sought the actual definition of.  I found it eye- opening and a wee bit frightening this actual definition...

1. To place under government or group ownership or control.

2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable.
3. To convert or adapt to the needs of society

I had to read that a few times to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me. #1 is a bit scary.

Also in my quest to better understand this buzz word that non-homeschoolers tend to throw at homeschoolers as a trump card, a way to end the conversation and punctuate their belief we are harming our children by keeping them home.......  I found a web post by a Dennis O'Neil.  I have absolutely NO clue who he is, I just happened to like his post.  He talks of socialization as the process of obtaining culture.  He says that socialization happens in many ways, but it is the process of personality formation.  I don't know about you, but as a parent.... I sure don't want the government forming my child's personality.  Here is a paragraph from Mr. O'Neil's page.
Successful socialization can result in uniformity within a society. If all children receive the same socialization, it is likely that they will share the same beliefs and expectations. This fact has been a strong motivation for national governments around the world to standardize education and make it compulsory for all children. Deciding what things will be taught and how they are taught is a powerful political tool for controlling people.
Scary.  Anyone see THAT happening?  I do.

I guess I will try to sum up my ramblings with this...........I believe the best socialization comes from interaction with all  age levels of our society.  Children need to learn to interact with everyone from 90 year olds to infants.....  This interaction does not happen regularly in a standardized educational system....  but it does happen in a home, out in a community, and within a local church body.  These interactions form their understanding of culture, they help form their personality, and define their role within and in relation to society as a whole.

I am curious as to your experiences with this issue.  Lets get a discussion going...........answer in the comments.  Have you ever been asked the "socialization" question?  How do you respond?

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