Free Range Learning

The World is Our Classroom

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Socially Challenged



I was recently in a checkout line and the clerk asked if my kids were home schooled. When I answered "yes", he responded as any caring citizen concerned about the social welfare of my children would, and asked, "aren't you worried about them not getting enough socialization?" The "socialization" question seems to be the old-standby, passive aggressive attack, by those outside spectators of the homeschool movement. How would my children be able to integrate into society, without first learning the valuable "social skills" that only a public school experience could provide? After all, the socialization part of a typical day-in-the-life of a home schooled child, looks nothing like the government school experience. Many homeschoolers spend their day doing things such as; helping out with family business', running errands, going on field trips, visiting relatives and friends, doing odd jobs for neighbors and partaking in family responsibilities. As the "socially challenged" homeschool kids are out and about, partaking and interacting in real life situations, the government students are "socializing" under a controlled environment, behind four walls with a controlled group of people (also known as their peer group). Yes, the sales clerk that offered his unsolicited opinion on my choice to homeschool, was right! My kids are "socially challenged" by not going to public school!

This "social" problem comes out in other areas as well. For instance, when a group of home schooled kids are playing together, it is typical to see older kids playing with children years younger. Don't they know that "social rules" dictate you only play with kids of your own age group? You also might find boys jump-roping along with girls! No one told these poor kids that jump-roping for boys is an open door to being labeled a "girly boy", a reputation that could follow you all the way through high school! And the way these homeschool girls dress is so out-of-style, and dare I say… modest. Where's the low cut pants and the revealing spaghetti string tops? Without learning how to focus on their sexuality, how are these "fashion misfits" ever going to make it in the real world someday? They might have to rely only on their talents, skills and abilities to get by in this world, such a shame. Speaking of the "real world", did you know that a vast majority of these home schooled, social-misfits are sheltered from the mainstream media by their parents not having cable hookup? Without unlimited access to cable t.v. shows like MTV how will they know the pillars of our society like Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton or Snoop Dog? Without the influence of these pop culture icons, they will be totally in the dark to what society values in's a crying shame!

So the next time some well meaning stranger decides to bring up the "socialization" question, my answer will simply be, "Yes, my children certainly are socially challenged and that's fine with me!"

Jennie von Eggers has authored several educational materials, such as Times Tales, Memory Tips and Zone Cleaning for Kids and is co-owner of Trigger Memory Systems, a publishing company that focusing on creative learning.