In 1992 psychotherapist Larry Shyers did a study while at the University of Florida in which he closely examined the behavior of 35 home schoolers and 35 public schoolers. He found that home schoolers were generally more patient and less competitive. They tended to introduce themselves to one another more; they didn’t fight as much. And the home schoolers were much more prone to exchange addresses and phone numbers. In short, they behaved like miniature adults.
(“Home Sweet School,” John Cloud and Jodie Morse, Time magazine, August 2001)
Category Archives: Socialization
How are you doing in your homeschool journey? We all struggle from time to time and I find most homeschool moms need a little dose of encouragement every once in a while. Most of us start out confident and sure we’re doing the right thing. We may even have the privilege of seeing positive changes or developments in our kids learning early on. Sooner or later; however, the hard days set in. We get bogged down with curriculum, our homes get cluttered, we get grumpy and impatient with each other.
What do we do when the hard days set in?
I find the hard days are part of life. They go hand in hand with the good days. We all have them, whether you homeschool or not. What I have noticed though, is the connection that can happen between family members when you mix humility in with humanity. Homeschooling creates an environment where we all see each others humanity loud and clear sometimes (sigh). Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time together. However, it also provides an equal opportunity for us to demonstrate humility towards one another. Being able to say “sorry, I messed up” or “wow, I didn’t know you felt that way, can you forgive me?” can go a long way. An environment that fosters forgiveness is like giving water to a plant. There are far too many bitter people in this world and I often wonder if forgiveness was something that was withheld from them, or worse; that they couldn’t forgive themselves.
So if you’re worried that your humanity gets in the way sometimes, relax. It gets in the way with all of us. Take a deep breath. Take a walk. Take time to reflect. Maybe you need to forgive. Maybe you need to ask for forgiveness. Don’t be afraid to show your humanity, just make sure you mix it with humility.
A good quote about the “S” word. For more on Socialization, see my post here.
The trump card the educational establishment used to play against homeschooling is socialization, but the notion that homeschoolers are misfits has been struck a death blow by a young man named Larry Shyers. Dr. Shyers recently completed a doctoral dissertation in which he challenged the myth that youngsters schooled at home “lag” in social development. In his study, eight- to ten-year-old children were videotaped at play. Their behaviour was observed by trained counsellors who did not know which children went to regular schools and which were homeschooled. Their conclusion: “The study found no big difference between the two groups of children in self-concept or assertiveness, which was measured by their social development tests. But the videotapes showed that youngsters who were taught at home by their parents had consistently fewer behavioural problems.”
What does community mean to you? Sometimes in our home school journeys we can lose a sense of community. If your kids are learning at home and not in a community environment, or perhaps you even home church, how do we incorporate community into our home school? How do we make it real other than just reading about communities in text books or filling out fill in the blank worksheets. These things are helpful, but how can we make these things real to our kids?
Well, there are various ways to go about this. There are community based charities and fund raisers like Pennies for Presents. A group of homeschooling families in your own neighborhood can form their own kind of community. There are community based field trips that can be organized. How about a visit to your local fire dept? Police Dept.? Veterinary Hospital? These types of field trips give our kids a hands on opportunity to take a closer look at how these professions help our community.
There are community based events catered to homeschoolers like track meets, public speaking competitions and science fairs. There are community based meetings that provide support and encouragement and offer opportunities to connect with other home school families like yourselves. There are also opportunities through various organizations that allow our kids to participate in events like singing in a local nursing home, or bigger events like Tour de Rock.
How about arranging a field trip to your local provincial or state park? This is an opportunity in itself to learn about vegetation and habitats of the various plants, animals, birds, and insects in your community. How about community art classes? What about community exhibitions?
There are many opportunities to establish a sense of community into our homeschools. Next month our own family will be participating in a literary exhibition for youth, a childrens’ art exhibition and a local Remembrance Day display paying a special tribute to our Canadian Veterans during Veterans’ Week Nov. 5 – 11. Community events like these give our kids opportunities to show case some of their work in a location other than the refrigerator. It also gives them chances to expand their learning horizons or take an opportunity to actually meet and talk with a Veteran…..perhaps instilling in themselves a kind of gratitude that the couldn’t previously identify with.
How do you incorporate community into your homeschool? What does community mean to you and your family?
Last weekend, a beautiful sunny evening and a fire permit allowed us to enjoy a bonfire at Esquimalt Lagoon. I Invited a variety of people, but just about everyone there was a homeschooling family. The kids played until the sun went down and continued to play even after they lost their day light. I kept waiting for someone to trip and fall over one of the many logs strewn all over the beach. Luckily, no one did and fun was had by all. Even the grown ups had a chance to do a little ‘socializing’ too.
Apparently this is the last year we will be allowed to have beach fires on this beautiful strip of beach. Too many careless people have left their fires smoldering through the night which in turn causes nearby brush fires and takes our volunteer fire fighters away from other tasks at hand. Too bad. I will miss these beach fires greatly. Some of the best times with friends and family have been around one of these very beach fires.
I’m referring to socialization. This has got to be the one of the most commonly asked questions regarding homeschooling. The inevitable question: “What about socilization?”
So…..my response is: ready for this? “What about it?”
This may be a common question, but the reality is, it’s one of the very least of my concerns. I guess the question to be asked here is: “What kind of socialization do you want your child to experience? I’m going to assume that if you are asking me this question you are either curious or skeptical. I know what it’s like to be on both sides of that equation, because I have once asked the same question from both places. Having experienced both, I simply want to share what I’ve observed:
- Children are children and they like to play with one another. This hasn’t changed.
- A homeschool environment allows for lots of time to play as our school work is done sooner and there are many opportunities to play with other homeschooled children if you wish to seek them out.
- There is no age segregation among homeschooled children. Kids of varied ages easily play together, boys and girls alike. Much like brothers and sisters would, less the rivalry.
- There are many other oportunities to socialize in a recreational setting too. Be it swimming, dance, or music lessons (eg: choir), or team sports just to name a few.
- Little girls get to remain little girls just a little bit longer. When let be, these same children would rather play tag or hide & seek or climb a tree or invent a game, rather than discuss the latest pop music hits, designer clothes or their interest in boys.
- Homeschool kids seem to be able to enjoy being in the presence of their parents and their peers simultaneously. A definite harmony.
- These kids seem to be able to stand up for their beliefs and themselves with confidence. If they are leaders, they lead. If inventors, they invent. If encouragers, they encourage. You can see this in the way they play and talk with one another. They do not need to be on the look out or always watching, lest someone make fun of them.
Though there is probably much more to write on this topic, I will save it for another post. I’ve posted a few pics of our afternoon today, so you can see first hand some happy, healthy, “socialized” kids.