Socialization and Why You Don’t Need It

Socialization is what I refer to as “The ‘S’ Word”. It scares off potential homeschoolers, paralyzing their families with fear, and causing their friends and neighbors to look at them with suspicion that they must belong to some political-fringe militia.

In reality, everyone has a socialization problem. Public schools are prime examples of bad socialization. When we took our children out of the government education system, we left behind only the people our children did not like playing with anyway. “Friends” we felt were bad influences could easily be forgotten about. The friends who remained were the ones my children saw most often anyway: church friends, neighborhood friends, soccer teammates, etc.

For the first few years, my daughter got together with her favorite public school girlfriends once or twice a year. That was as often as they all desired to get together, and it was more than enough to show each one how the three of them were drifting apart in their interests. As the girls matured through middle-school age, the public-schooled girls became increasingly “boy crazy” and focused on self-image. My own daughter developed new interests based on her homeschool experiences: reading historical Christian fiction and working with her collection of antique clothing buttons. As we met other homeschooling families, the old friends were gradually replaced with new friends with values similar to ours. It became increasingly obvious to our daughter and to us as parents that we held Family in much higher esteem than did many of our acquaintances. Sibling relationships were considered sacred to us and nothing or no one was allowed to interfere with them — an opposite attitude from the one held by most former-friends’ families. Friends can be highly over-rated; siblings will still be here long after friends move away.

My husband has handled many “socialization” questions from co-workers. Once, when asked, “What do you do about socialization?” he began by simply asking the person if they were referring to “good” socialization or “bad” socialization. That was all he needed to say. The co-worker took that ball and ran with it, saying, “Oh, I know what you mean! My own kid came home the other day, and he told me about what was going on at his school…” The question had been answered, and the distinction had been clearly made in his own mind: there are two types of socialization, and we have control over which type we subject ourselves to.

[For more on this topic, see the articles linked below.]
The Socialization Myth, Part 2
The Socialization Code
The Myth of Age-mates


  1. steve jaubert says:

    I’m probably a bit older than most of the people who might reply to you but I have a comment that you might find interesting. I’m in my fifties and I pretty much stay to myself. I’m a professional who is single and I’m okay with that for now. I don’t follow the grain of most folks I meet and I think I’ve naturally fallen into that expecting more from life than the usual cut and dry role playing and same old institutionalization. Its fun to watch “King Of The Hill’ but I don’t want my life if I can help it to be so darn predictable- and boring. I keep fit and and have several hobbies and play and enjoy good music. My point is that most of the folks I meet seem so given to peer pressure even at my age and the things they do often seem to me often to be so much drama and not really who they really are but they just don’t know it. I find that I avoid a lot of folks for this reason. I don’t want my life to be watered down like that though I wish at times there were more folks I found interesting. I don’t think i’m a snob neither. I think its great that you are teaching your kids to find real interests and apiring for more than the same old melodrama that leads people around and around all their lives like some never ending miniseries or sitcom existence. There is no one waiting to sentence you to social stigma prison for going your own way but people act like that was the case. Sure you’ll get the occasional group peer snubbing but so what unless you want what they have. I believe in cooperation but not sell out. I say keep doing what you’re doing. I wish I had had the opportunity with a closer family but that wasn’t the case. I think even still that kids can go their own way and be more who they really are even if they don’t have home schooling but its more difficult. I admire your freedom and your choice.

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