Today, I’m joining iHomeschool Network in a discussion about the “s” word–socialization.
I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable about the words “socialized” and “socialization.” It just seems so institutional to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it exactly.
Socialization desires conformity.
Recently, I decided to look up the meaning. This is one of the definitions given at dictionary.com.
the modification from infancy of an individual’s behavior to conform with the
demands of social life.
And this definition put into words exactly what had been bothering me. Socialization is all about conforming. It’s about conforming to societal demands, attitudes, styles, values, beliefs, and ways of dressing, acting, and thinking.
“Socialization” puts my child in a room full of 25 other children who are exactly his same age, something that doesn’t organically happen in any other walk of life, and tells him that he needs to act just like them.
In this typical setting, no deviance from the norm is accepted and children can be so cruel about the silliest things. I read an amazing article about this recently, “Why are Homeschooled children so weird and annoying?” and I would highly recommend it.
Socialization is about the system
Socialization’s very aim is to break us from any and all individuality, so that we can better integrate into the system–even if it’s a broken system.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but socialization is meant to make “good little boys and girls,” who will grow up and integrate into the system. Say the right things. Do the right things. Don’t ask any questions.
For more information about this, see the text of a speech given by John Gatto, his acceptance of a Teacher of the Year award in New York. It is an amazing and profound look at our education system. Here is a quote from him about this:
Schools are intended to produce through the application of formulae, formulaic human beings whose behaviour can be predicted and controlled.
And that is “socialization.” No, I actually don’t want the individuality beat out of my children, thank-you-very-much.
We don’t want them socialized–taught to conform–to a world where our values are undermined and ridiculed constantly. We don’t want them conforming to a world that is so completely broken by sin.
Do not be Conformed
God’s word tells us: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). It’s not a matter of public school verses homeschool. Even if our children did go to public school, we would fight every single day to keep them from being “socialized.”
Authentic Community & Fellowship
Are you picturing that we must live in the backwoods somewhere only coming out a couple times a year? That’s not the case. We have plenty of interaction. We just try to do it differently. What we seek for ourselves and our children is authentic community and Christian fellowship. We maintain organic relationships.
You know, like the kind we have in real life.
Socialization values the system. Fellowship values the individuals within the community. Socialization forces my child to change and conform, while fellowship appreciates who he is.
And that’s what we want for our children. Our interactions are fluid and organic. They are based in real life. If you’d like to read more about some of these fluid, orgainic, real life interactions, click over and read about this poor woman who never has time to socialize her kids.
One post could never be enough to discuss all of the issues. I could have written other posts focusing entirely on bullying, and/or the fact that socialization also includes negative things like bad habits and attitudes.
And for us? Well, hopefully we’ll be as unsocialized as possible.
This post is just one of many from iHomeschool Networks “Homeschooling & the S-Word” Blog Hop. Head over there to read lots of great posts from the other iHomeschool Network members, all about socialization!
What are your thoughts on homeschoolers and socialization?