I am not a very organized homeschooler.  We started out strong, followed a strict schedule and quickly fell behind.  Then the holidays came along and we fell even further out of routine.  Some days, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing by homeschooling at all.

But I know I am.

We are currently operating a one car household.  It stinks.  Husband’s car needs some work done, and being also a one-income family, we just don’t have the funds to fix it.  Tax season is here, and on top of the list is fixing his car so I’m not stranded here anymore.  Because quite frankly, being stranded at home all day with three rowdy boys sucks ass.  Bob goes to work at noon, that does not give us much time to do anything of substance in the morning and I want nothing more than to get out and go somewhere.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling isn’t it?  To be able to get out and GO?

It seems the subject of socialization is coming up a lot lately, too.  “Anthony needs to be socialized!”  I hear this a lot from lots of different people (friends and family).  But what exactly does that even mean?

Socialization

Learning the customs, attitudes, and values of a social group, community, or culture. Socialization is essential for the development of individuals who can participate and function within their societies, as well as for ensuring that a society’s cultural features will be carried on through new generations. Socialization is most strongly enforced by family, school, and peer groups and continues throughout an individual’s lifetime.

socialization. (n.d.). The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Retrieved February 03, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialization

Even with one operating car, Anthony gets more socialization than a kid stuck at his desk in a classroom.

Anthony is learning how to use the library.  I was so proud of him on our last visit. Mommy was looking for something on caves.  I haven’t used a library in a long time and spent a long time just looking through the shelves hoping to find something.  Anthony was smart enough to go to the Librarian and ask for help finding a book.  Imagine that.  He was polite and said “excuse me, can you help my mom find a book on caves?”  Perfect “socially acceptable” behavior, right?

He goes to the grocery store with me a lot.  He’s always polite, asks for help and smiles to strangers.  He is not afraid to strike up a conversation with the man stocking produce either.

Anthony is a Cub Scout.  We attend meetings several times a month and he participates in scout outings.  He is the only scout in his Den and there is absolutely no socializing in Cub Scouts!

We have talked a lot about learning to race BMX.  In fact, Santa brought him a new BMX bike and full face helmet so he could start.  The hold up with this is the one car thing.  They race on Monday and Thursday.  Monday is devoted to Cub Scouts so we have to race Thursday.  Unfortunately, Bob works on Thursday.  Again, as soon as we have two working cars, he will be learning to race BMX.  I’m absolutely certain that there will be no socializing at the BMX park.

My mom and I like to shop and go to lunch.  nine times out of ten, the boys come with me.  We go to the restaurant and the mall.  There are tons of people that we meet and interact with.

Anthony is learning to interact with people of all ages and all social levels.  Here is a great list of homeschool field trips to go on in San Diego.

Socialization is actually one of the last things they do in a “real” school. I love this quote from a great socialization article I came across:

Diane Flynn Keith agreed that traditional schools are not conducive to socialization and in fact, that students are actually punished if they try to socialize in the classroom.

She shared this ironic story, “I recall distinctly that my son spent a great deal of time in the classroom in the first grade, with his head down on his desk because he wanted to talk all the time to all his little friends around him and the teacher kept saying ‘We’re not here to socialize, young man.'”

What about Prom and Sports?

Well, there are LOTS of opportunity to play sports in your community.  Anthony played baseball last year (hated it) and next year we are going to look into football.  He’s also been able to try Martial Arts.  None of these sports are affiliated with any school either.

There are also a lot of homeschool groups out there that get together and plan events like the Prom.  So don’t let the fact that they might miss it discourage you.  It’s not that big of deal.  Do you remember your Prom?  I went to THREE of them.  We danced.

Children in “school” are taught to sit down and shut up, to be compliant, to mind authority.  They are not taught to think for themselves, to solve problems. They are not taught how to ask the Librarian for help.  That, my friends, is what socialization really is  (individuals who can participate and function within their societies).  Anthony is one of the most social children I know.  And I don’t need a “school” squashing that in him.