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Community Sponsored Activities

Involvement in Politics

Socialization: the S Word

Community Sponsored Activities

We have found that this 'socialization issue' is not a big problem. Our sons are both involved in city sponsored sports leagues. This has been very successful for us. They have both taken to their respective sports with vigor. This is just one example of what we do for socialization, but they have enjoyed it so much. Some communities provide other types of community activities such as swimming teams and even debate clubs. A call to your local community center could prove to be very valuable in your search for educational, and physical activities outside the home.

Involvement in Politics

I am not sure what ideas you have in mind with regard to socialization, but it has been our experience that homeschooling offers higher quality socialization and probably a wider variety than any to be found in the public school system. We graduated our son in California from High School, and he was active in political campaigns, anti-abortion activities, computer bulletin board sysop in San Diego and will be starting one up here in the Littleton area. He organized a "Republican Youth Group", etc... Rarely would a public school system student have the time to do what can be achieved by those who are free to pursue their personal interests, including socialization. Rarely do they choose to socialize with those who have involvement with immoral or illegal agendas.

Perhaps this isn't what you were after, simply put socialization for homeschooling is NOT the problem so many make it out to be. In fact it is wonderful to be delivered from the socialization that takes place so often in our public institutions.

Socialization: The S Word

My objection to the social life of almost all schools . . . is that it is for the most part mean-spirited, competitive, ruthless, snobbish, conformist, consumerist (you are judged by what you can buy, or your parents buy for you), fickle, heartless, and often cruel. Most children come out of school with far less self-esteem, less sense of their own identity, dignity, and worth, than they had when they went in.

John Holt, in Growing Without Schooling
August 1983

I find it curious that when the subject of homeschooling comes up the quality of education is rarely at the top of the list of questions that follow. It is as if, even among those most critical of the idea, there is a tacit agreement that schools do not have the monopoly on teaching. In recent years there have been many articles, research projects, and exposes pointing out what we homeschoolers have been taking for granted for years. Why, then, are so many people so confused about the socialization question?

Being out in the world engenders in children a sense of reality. They see what goes on all day in the business of life, and where they fit in. They see how adults manage day-to-day details and long-range plans, and they learn to handle and accept the balance of success and failure, of struggle and recreation. Children recognize their value to the community as they do their part to contribute, and they understand the role of the community in their own lives, as a resource and support. Perhaps of most importance are the opportunities simply to spend time with people of all ages, experience, and points of view. One fascinating aspect of the society described in The Continuum Concept is that the children, included from infancy in the business of the village, have a smooth transition into adulthood without what has come to be accepted as the universal truth of adolescence: rebellion.

The vast majority of children are segregated in school by age (leaving aside the obvious fact that by virtue of their geographical location, and its consequent effect on social milieu, they are also usually segregated by race, culture, or class). They spend a large proportion of their waking time learning from, competing with, and being compared to each other, jockeying for position among their peers and approval from their teachers. The pressures to fit in and to succeed are very powerful to children (as they are to most adults) and when the seal of approval comes from outside the child and not from his or her own sense of achievement, an important element of self-trust, of knowing inside when something is right or true or good or valuable, may be compromised. Belonging to the right group and getting the right grade — these become goals in themselves.

The other regrettable byproduct of this system is the Us versus Them mentality it fosters. Think about it. There are the cool kids and then there are the dweebs, dorks, and losers. And the brains — sometimes by choice, sometimes by proclamation, but either way, they are rarely part of the in-crowd. There's our class against their class, and the students versus the teacher. Then there's the big kids versus the little kids. And, of course, kids versus parents. This lays some pretty effective groundwork for our beliefs versus their beliefs and our kind of people against yours. Eventually, given sufficient anger, frustration, and lack of social skill, we come around again to Us versus Them, as families, as neighborhoods, and as nations.

-- Victoria Wright, The Mining Company

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