I have answered differently to each questioner, sometimes with less grace than I wished. I try to “be ready always to give an answer to him that asketh you” (1 Peter 3:15). If someone is simply and honestly curious I share that there are many opportunities for homeschoolers if they choose to participate in them. If they pursue it I mention the opportunities for classes, co-ops, and field trips we have available.
To those asking because they are truly concerned over our children’s education and development I share specific ways our children socialize with people of all ages in a typical week. I let them know we find satisfaction in watching our children develop true social skills instead of the peer-dependent pack mentality prevalent in single age classrooms. We sometimes discuss why we feel “classroom” socialization is not the way we want our children to relate to individuals. It is not our goal to have peer-dependent children. We want a family centered interdependence where siblings are best friends and each is comfortable socializing in the real world situations that make up our daily life.
We do not need to teach our children about the job of the postal worker or how the package for their Uncle gets across the ocean to Iraq when it is too big to even fit in our mailbox. They know our mail carrier personally and regularly visit the post office to drop off packages, asking their questions directly of the workers there. How to care for an infant, cook, sew, or balance a checkbook will not need taught in a home economics class, it is a part of everyday living and learning.
That brings me to the third type of questioner. This is the one who asks “What about socialization?” in a way that tells you they aren’t interested in your answer. They simply want you to know they disapprove of homeschooling in general, and are looking for the opportunity to argue their case. To these questioners I do not try to defend homeschooling and the opportunities for socialization inherent in it. I choose to testify about why we homeschool, and who is the one that really provides all our children need.
“We are homeschooling because it is what God told us to do. He has the perfect curriculum planned for social skills and every other area. We just keep praying and following His lead.”Really, that is the most important answer. We homeschool because it is what God wants for our family. Learning the lessons He has planned is the most important thing.
You can drop in and visit Tristan and her family at their homeschool blog, Our Busy Homeschool.