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January 15, 2003
"But what about socialization?"

It was never my intention that all the writing on this blog would be done by me - Brian Micklethwait. From the start I hoped that others who were ideologically sympatico would in due course be persuaded to join in, and liven things up samizdata-style. So it is with extreme pleasure that I introduce the first of what I hope will be many contributions to this blog by Julius Blumfeld. Like me, Julius lives and works in London. Unlike me he is a parent and a home-educator. Enjoy.

These last few weeks, we've been 'coming out', which means answering the question that all home-educating families come to dread:

"But what will you do about socialization?"

Roughly translated, this means:

"You're mad. If they don't go to school then they will turn into sad misfits."

Yet we can hardly blame people for asking. We thought much the same when we started out. We planned in minute detail how we would compensate for the lack of school socialization. They would go to choir. They would join the local drama group. They would go to dance classes. They would meet with friends every weekend. If we worked at it hard enough, then hopefully they would become socialized just like school

Well of course it didn't work out like that. They don't go to an endless stream of clubs and groups. They do meet with the occasional friend at the weekend. But that's only for a few hours and it's not even every weekend.

Yet the funny thing is that they seem to be turning out pretty normally, in spite of the dismal failure of our Five Year Socialization Plan.

It turns out that we were wrong. Socialization is not something that has to be worked at. It's not like learning a second language. It's more like learning your first one. All a child seems to need is contact with other people. It doesn't seem to matter much who those people are. They don't even have to be other children. Now we tell people that you'd have to keep a child locked in a room for ten years for it not to become 'socialized'. At least that's our story and we're sticking to it.

Julius Blumfeld

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:52 AM
Category: Home educationSocialisation

Yup. That's been our experience as well. What people forget to mention, on the Socialization topic, is 'negative socialization'--being bullied, picked on, teased, etc. Kids in large, unsupervised groups can be MEAN.

Comment by: Mrs. du Toit on January 15, 2003 03:56 AM

Hmm...I think, in general, you're right. However, I have a friend who's practically a sociopath. He and I both went through the same schools, private grade school (gifted education) and a Jesuit High School. His problem was he was an only child, while my mom did in-home day care. Of course, he was over at our house after school most days, but he never quite got the idea of relating to others. Those are the ones you have to look out for, you'll get blamed for them even though they probably wouldn't have gotten socialized in a "normal" environment.

Comment by: Steve Sandvik on January 15, 2003 07:46 AM

As a daily visitor to this site, I look forward to your contributions Julius.

Comment by: blabla on January 16, 2003 06:42 AM

'Love -- a grave mental disease.' Plato

Comment by: WolfmanRobichaud Sarah on January 20, 2004 06:09 AM
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