The battle cry – or the final, desperate squeal – of the parent/therapist/adult who refuses to believe that homeschooling is a legitimate educational choice. After we have covered reading (yes, The Boy is above grade level), history (Ancient, Middle Ages, Civil War…what?) science (Mom’s a molecular biologist – get over it) math (yes, The Boy is above grade level) inevitably someone comes up with the bizarre argument that, if the child is not in school, then they will not meet other children their same age and therefore not be…socialized.
First of all, I “socialized” our dogs. You see, unlike people, dogs do not have the ability to reason as they get older. So they have a binary code for the world around them. LW is Good. Squirrel is Bad. So we socialize so they can start to understand the grey area and not attack or pee on other dogs or people who come within their circle.
Humans, on the other hand, are social by nature. On one level or another, we seek out groups. In school, we are thrown into a group of people who share nothing more in common with us than our biological age. That’s not “socializing”, that’s sorting (and not in the cool Hogwarts way).
When the Boy was at public school, LW and I each upon occasion stopped by to have lunch with him. Even in a crowded lunch room, the Boy was by himself. He did not interact with his other classmates, nor they with him. At recess, he played alone. He never wanted to call anyone to come over and play. During the year at private school it was made only slightly better by the fact that there were fewer children for him to not interact with.
So, where is the socialization? Through homeschooling, The Boy and I have met people we never would have met, of ages with whom he never would have been associated. As we have gone through the year, the group of friends The Boy has acquired are weird and wonderful. Supportive and competitive. Challenging and compelling.
He has been invited to more peoples social outings, dealt with problematic interactions, argued and made up with kids of ALL ages.
So maybe he isn’t being socialized, but he is making friends.