You might be surprised that the most common question asked of me as a home educator has nothing at all to do with education! No, it is the question of socialisation! What is school for then? For education, or for socialisation? What about socialisation? How can my children possibly become socialised without formal schooling?
Well, that warrants the question as to what is healthy socialisation?
Is the best socialisation to mix with 30 children of the same age within the confines of a classroom for most of the day? We must remember that the advent of modern schooling is relatively new, and came with the industrial revolution, removing children from their parents so that Dad and Mum could be economically productive. Has this system of socialising our children worked? When we look at modern society, the separations between generations, the lack of mentoring for our young people as they turn to their peer group for identity and guidance, the shifting of responsibility from family to state, can we really say that school provides the best socialisation we can offer?
My children get to mix with a range of people in the community. They get to spend a lot of time with their siblings - including their baby brother - learning to care and help and take responsibility. They get to spend a lot of time with their parents - hopefully in a positive, mentoring capacity - and with their grandparents, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer. They get to meet and mix with children of all ages at the home educators' groups, at the various clubs they attend and at church. They get to meet and mix with shopkeepers, librarians, scientists, doctors and all sorts of people they encounter in their day to day lives as they go about their business - or observe us about ours. They get to see a range of people at work, opening possibilities to them for their own future vocation, rather than just teachers. They get to be out and about in the world and in the community in what I would call a more normal and natural way than school affords.
OK, I will come off my soapbox now, but please don't ask me about socialisation!
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