Myth: Homeschoolers Don't Learn to Socialize
Fact: Socializing and socialization are two different things. Socializing is basically talking and playing with other children; socialization involves learning the proper rules of behavior for a culture. In the standard school environment socializing is typically punished--children are not supposed to talk and play in class, and have other little opportunity to socialize except briefly at lunch or recess. The socialization they get is artificial because the environment is artificial. They are grouped with others their own age.
Expectations are that older children don't play with younger children; if you like studies you're a geek, sports you're a jock; if you're small you're a target for bullies; if your style of learning doesn't fit the one-style-fits-all mode of learning you have a learning or behavioral disorder. Children typically learn more about competition, compliance, conformity and control than about caring, cooperation, creativity, and compassion--yet it is the latter socialization skills that are needed to shape a humane and sustainable world. Children develop these qualities at home, more so than in an institution.
The preschool years are a crucial period for children learning to become empathetic, caring, compassionate, human beings. Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University, studying children in various societies, found that overexposure to peer groups during the early years can be damaging; and that until the fifth to sixth-grade level, children who spend more time with peers than with parents or older family members become peer dependent. This contributes to loss of self-worth, optimism, respect for parents, and trust in peers. Before young children can relate with a social group in a positive way they must first have established their own identity and feel secure. Placing children in social institutions before this time is the first step to lifelong peer pressure and control.
Sheltered from the Real World?