The other day, I wrote a blog post, about why I wasn’t concerned about socialisation when we made our decision to home educate all those years ago. You can read it here if you missed it – Socialisation, Why I am not Concerned.
I am incredibly aware, that while it isn’t an issue for me, it is often a HUGE issue for other people.
So let’s look at why it might be an issue for other people, as it may help us all understand each other a little better.
1. It IS an issue for them. Simples.-
For the average home educator it can be a very tiresome question, asked hundreds of times over the course of the journey, but for that one person who is asking, you may be the very first home educator they have met. This may be the only time they get to speak to a real life home educating family.
Not everyone has done copious amounts of research on the topic of home education. When confronted for the first time with the notion, they tend to hark back to what they know. Largely influenced by a media that is not usually understanding or empathetic to the journey.
If their experience has been based on someone they know, and that person seems to be a bit socially awkward (in their opinion), they are more likely to blame home education, rather than think through why that person maybe like that. It could have been parenting philosophy, or it could be that they are painfully shy, they may be an introvert, or have some kind of special need. It could just be they were having a bad day that day, and a whole perception about them has been based on a very short period of time and home education has been blamed.
All these things are legitimate and exist for both schooled and home educated children alike
My feelings on this are, that no matter whether that child was at home or school, they would still be that way. If a parent is the type that creates a bubble around a child for protection, then they will be that kind of parent, whatever the environment a child is educated in. They will socially engineer who their children spend time with, and choose the types of activities they go too.
And we as home educators know, school does not automatically equal well socialised children. Given that one of the biggest reasons for growth in home education is bullying, it would appear that someone somewhere is failing at the task of socially preparing schooled children. Unless of course bullying is the new norm and that is what we are aiming for as a society?
I am a big believer that socialisation is the parents responsibility, whether you choose to home educate or send them to school. Teachers have enough to do educating children without taking on parental roles as well.
2. It is an easy target–
It is hard to argue with the lower child:facilitator ratio that home education offers. It is harder to argue with the educational value of home ed, when it is growing at the rate of knots with success rates. Kids are going on to university and employment.
It has become the lazy argument. The ‘patsy or fall guy’ of the home education debate. It is never based on fact, but on perception or isolated experience.
Many use a flippant off the cuff, ‘what about socialisation’ comment, like some kind of secret (outdated) weapon. They have no intention of actually hearing your answer, they just like to let off the question grenade.
3. People hate a freak–
For many people in their desire to fit in, they struggle with anything that swims against the tide of convention or what is considered normal. It is often easier to label something than try to understand it. Ignorance is sometimes the easier option, and requires much less time and energy.
It is easier to label something with a label when it doesn’t look quite (or at all) like me.
I would like to think that for many who have this kind of reaction, it really is just a case of not taking the time to understand, but my experience has taught me, there are just some down right nasty people in the world, that will call people that are different to them all kinds of horrible names.
What about you?
Do you consider ‘socialisation’ to be the swear word of home education?