Socialisation is the major 'issue' bought up by well meaning family, friends and strangers in the street. It is the question that makes many of us want to tear out our hair in frustration! It is also the question that makes many homeschoolers nervous and worried. In fact, some homeschoolers are so paranoid about it now days that they spend more time shipping their kids out and about to 'socialise' than they do schooling!
I could wax long and lyrical about this subject, and many, many homeschool advocates (and critics) have, but at the end of the day what I have to worry about is what does this mean for US and OUR homeschool.
First, let's define WHAT we want in the way of socialisation.
In my opinion, a well socialised individual can interact effectively with a person or group of people, regardless of that person or group's background, status and abilities.
I ain't quite there yet!!
It is a life long thing to learn this socialisation thing. I aim to start my kids on that journey.
WHY is this important to my kids?
Well, there is the great commission to start with "Go and make Disciples of all nations...". In order to do that you need to be able to communicate with and interact with people effectively.
Also, friendships and relationships with others are important. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17.
Plus, I have been around homeschooling circles long enough to have come across kids who are rude, disrespectful, judgmental, condescending, sneaky, or otherwise unpleasant individuals who I don't want to be around. In other words - unsocialised! So I know that homeschooling isn't the cure for all things. And I will be spending ALL DAY MOST DAYS for the next however many years with these kids. Call me selfish, but I would like them to be the kind of people who you can be in the same room as for more than ten minutes without wanting to strangle them!
So, HOW are we going to 'do' socialisation?
It is the aim of Our Family Homeschool that each child will be given every opportunity to:
• Form positive and lasting relationships with friends and family
• Develop skills to manage and resolve conflict
• Interact effectively with people from a variety of social, cultural and religious background and with various abilities.
• Demonstrate a range of social skills in a variety of social settings
• Actively participate in the local community and our church community
This year, as well as our general lifestyle, Princess Doc will be given opportunity to:
• Attend our statewide church family camp where she will participate in activities with her peer group as well as spending time with families from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds and of varying abilities.
• Regularly participate in the Active After School Program at the Mole Creek Primary School OR participate in a local gymnastics program with her peers from a variety of social, cultural and religious backgrounds
• Regularly attend our local church where she will interact with people from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, age groups and abilities
• Maintain friendships that she has already made via personal contact and letter writing
• Maintain family relationships with her immediate family (which, I am sure, will develop her conflict management skills!) and her extended family
Complex, ain't it!!
And if all else fails, I can point out to the nay-sayers that I was homeschooled and if I am talking to them, possibly, I managed to pick up a few social skills! (or, you know, point out their school attending child being anti-social and kindly suggest they homeschool)