When you tell people you’re homeschooling, you get so much shit about socialization. And to some extent I get it. Some people homeschool because they want to isolate their kids from negativity or from un-Christian influences or whatever liberal evils they perceive in our society. They want to make their kids’ world smaller. And I’d think people who know me at all would know that’s not my intent. I want to make Soren’s world bigger. The world is our classroom and we’re free to do things you can’t do within the confines of a traditional school.
When I try to explore this concern with people who voice it, what comes out is about something more than just basic social skills. They think it’s important for kids to have to deal with people and situations they don’t like, which is not as likely to happen in a homeschool setting. They think it’s important for kids to have to deal with people and situations they don’t like so they can grow up to deal with people and situations they don’t like. My addition to this is: It’s important for kids to have to deal with people and situations they don’t like so they can grow up to deal with people and situations they don’t like when they’re a cog in the machine of a job where there’s nothing but people and situations they don’t like.
And look, I’m just going to call bullshit on that right now. Of course I don’t want my kid to turn into someone who runs around parties like a feral cat swishing its puffed-up tail in fear and confusion because he doesn’t know how to interact with other humans. But I strongly disagree with the idea that it’s my job to raise him to be a cog in a machine. I mean, if that’s what he wants, I hope to give him the skills and education he needs to make that happen. But I think, as someone who has the amazing privilege to opt out of traditional employment and homeschool my kid, I have a duty to aim higher.
Although I think socialization is important, my main question about homeschooling isn’t about socialization — it’s about how much of the huge world and how many possibilities we can explore as we try to find out what else is possible in life.