All right I'll be honest it worried me to death when I first contemplated the idea of home schooling fourteen years ago, and now I face the new challenge of homeschooling a 'single' child at home. Sir N is 12 and 10 years younger than his siblings who are now at Uni and working part time which effectually makes him an "only" child at home. Even though I know all the theory of social issues and children at home it does give me a few moments of anxiety. But God in His graciousness has given me a home school friend in the same situation as I am so together we will walk this new road together.
You are not alone in the way you feel. One of the biggest fears with home schooling is the 'social' issue. It's the number one question always asked.
School is the only social situation where people of identical age are put into one room and that is considered "healthy" ?? socialization. The scripture that comes to mind is: The companion of fools brings destruction. Wisdom and understanding come with age.
I just read Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialisation by Manfred B Zysk and really enjoyed this statement:
A family member asked my wife, "Aren't you concerned about his (our son's) socialization with other kids?". My wife gave this response: "Go to your local middle school, junior high, or high school, walk down the hallways, and tell me which behavior you see that you think our son should emulate."
Socialization in the Home school environment
In the home school environment I discovered most advocate cross age socialization. In other words our children learn to communicate with those older then them IE leaders at church, leaders at gymnastics, those in charge when we go on extra mural activities etc, they learn to communicate with those that are younger at the same time because inevitably there are younger siblings present and they need to learn to be patient and understanding of these children.
Once we begin homeschooling we often link up with like minded families and when you meet together your child will be socializing amongst a wide range of ages all at the same time which is more like the real world than school could ever prepare us for. Another advantage to this model is that because your child is surrounded by a higher adult to child ratio than at school they grow and mature and learn correct social norms from mature wise adults carefully chosen by you and your spouse.
Definitions of Socialization
An interesting thing to do is research is the word socialization:
- A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. (Socialization)
- The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture; "the socialization of children to the norms of their culture"
- Socialization (or socialisation) is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists and educationalists to refer to the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies. It may provide the individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within their own society; a society develops a culture through a plurality of shared norms, customs, values, traditions, social roles, symbols and languages. Socialization is thus ‘the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained’.
- Why is it important to me that my child learn the social culture of school ?
- What is the social culture that school is dominated by ?
- Is this something I want for my child ? If so then why ?
- What does the word of God have to say about this?
- Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33)
- Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
- Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate, Lest you learn his ways and get yourself into a snare.(Proverbs 22: 24-25)
Articles of interest:
- Socialization: Homeschooling vs. Schools
- Homeschooling and the Myth of Socialisation
- What About Socialization? by Homeschool.com
- Socialization and Homeschooling
- Addressing Home school Socialization
- Paula's Archive's on Socialisation 9 great articles for you.
I would also like to hear from home educators with one child ☺