Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Well Socialized Are Homeschoolers--Surrendering the Premise

I get tired of hearing the socialization question. All of us do at one point or another. I also get tired of us homeschoolers trying to one-up the questioner about how well socialized homeschoolers are. Most of us would still be homeschooling even if we didn't have a ton of activities.

Does homeschooling have anything at all to do with helping your kid rely on other people and feel ineffectual without a collective framework? No? Then why do we even give those people the benefit of an answer that automatically assumes their position is even valid.

Want to get people to shut up? I modeled my answer from a recorded lecture given by Lisa VanDamme who served as a private teacher before opening her remarkably successful school in California.

An example conversation:

Curious Person Duped by What Professional Educators Call Socializing:

But what about socialization? That's really important.

Homeschooling Mom Who Understands Her Priorities and the Importance of Not Surrendering a Premise:

It would be the gravest crime against my children to destroy their intellect in favor of socialization. My children's education is the highest value to me and I would never handicap their ability to learn in order to satisfy an auxiliary concern about socialization.

Curious Person:
Of course. Learning should come first.

The answer reframes the question so that the assumed premise of the question is obvious. The assumed premise is that socialization should be the primary concern of any parent with regard to their children's schooling. I like to point out the obvious alternative--that learning is the primary purpose of schooling. Everyone who has ever heard the question reframed inevitably agrees.

That's because, unlike the professional teachers college professors, most regular people still think the purpose of education is, um, education. Of course, this is a great response when your children's education is your highest priority and the primary reason for homeschooling.


Shez said...

Well said.
I only found your blog this morning and am rather glad I did. I am slowly, but surely, coming to know the other Objectivist homeschoolers who blog. Have added your blog to my reader.
Shez over at Homeschooled Twins

Kim said...

It's not that easy to get us all out of the woodwork! We should definitely stay aware of each other. It's great to know others are out there trying to pound the same ground and what works (and doesn't).

I was so happy when I found your blog from LB. Ain't the internet grand!

LB said...

I just really like Lisa VanDamme. And I love these comments on socialization. Do strangers really ask that question?

The only people who have dared utter that to me have been really close (read: parents) and I've answered - "Oh, we don't mind being freaks." For me, it's too stupid a question to answer with any serious effort.

Kim said...

Almost everyone I've told I homeschool. Usually after saying something like "Oh, I couldn't do that," or "It sounds like a good idea, but."

Though I would like to be better about scheduling play dates and such. Whether or not my daughter has a large social circle should not be the reason to throw her into a schooling situation I would not find appropriate academically.

LB said...

Well, all I can say is maybe you need to stop being so darn friendly!

Seriously, I don't know what kind of unapproachable vibes I give off, but no one asks me stuff like that. I think I scare people.

Worked for the nuns - works for me.

But if anyone sees my new avatar, my cover will be blown! I'd better change it back.