I used to hate this question, now I don’t mind it and sometimes it even makes me giggle. I dreaded this question when we first started out home educating, because I felt I had to be generally quite defensive about our decision to home educate and to be honest I was a bit worried about ‘socialisation’ myself. Now I don’t mind as much what people think, and actually love when people ask things, because I have living proof of the answers and find I can now answer them quite well, because the answers are plain to see.
“Socialisation” sounds like something you do with a puppy, don’t you think?! 🙂
My children interact with other people and they know how to behave in a way that is acceptable in society. They have friends of all ages, have no problems interacting with someone younger than them or much older than them. Dare I say, that they can socialise in a more natural way in the world, than they would in a school.
It is my own children’s observation that in school there is an expectation to only play with those your own age. It would be wrong to hang about with the smaller children or to spend time chatting with the staff. They are also in a class of 30 or so children their own age all day. Teachers are adults to be feared or respected for no other reason than they are adults.
As an adult, in the big world that we are meant to be preparing kids for, is there ever a situation where you would be forced to be in a room of 30 people your own age? In real life, (not school life), friendships form due to similar interests, similar work interest or hobbies. Adults don’t think “wait, I cant be your friend cause you’re not my age”.
Some children really love being with others, some prefer smaller groups or being on their own. There are school-going children who prefer being on their own – home education does not make kids loners or disconnected from the world in some way.
A lot can be learned from being able to relate to others of different stages of life. I love that my children just connect with others no matter their age. They are allowed time to freely socialise, if they want to. They are allowed time to be alone, if they want to. There’s no pressure to feel they always have to fit in and being left out is not such a big thing.
I don’t think school is the best place for building good relationships, also who remembers their teacher saying “you are not here to socialise!” 🙂
I really like this article that explains it a lot better than I can!