"Socializing" Homeschooled Kids

I am on several Facebook groups that are specifically for homeschool moms.  Again and again, people wanting to homeschool face the challenge of the "What about socialization?" question.  Again and again, I write down my comments on these Facebook group pages that sound something like the following:

  1. WHEN else in life are people all together with JUST people who are their exact same age?  I don't know about YOU, but I really don't think that ANY of my friends are the exact same age as me. I'm proud of my kids that they can go into a room of kids of all different ages and start playing.  My son can play well with girls, and my daughter can play well with boys.  They both love kids younger than them, and they both have older friends they admire.
  2. Also, don't worry:  homeschooled kids have tons of opportunities to socialize.  There are co-ops, gym classes, church groups; etc.  Actually, I find that we have to continually say "NO" to things or else our schedules would be filled with TOO MUCH socialization.
  3. True socialization is being able to hold a conversation with just about anybody, right?  Most of the homeschooled kids I know are easily able to talk to kids younger than them and also varying ages of adults.  THAT is my goal for my children:  to be able to socialize with anyone, NOT just same-aged peers.
  4. I taught in both a private and public school.  While I did see some positive social interaction, there sure was a lot of negative social interaction.  Why do you think so many schools have anti-bullying programs?  How effective are those programs...really?  Honestly, it's unfortunate, but the teachers are not going to see the bullying very often.  Do you really think that (most) kids are that dumb that they'll bully someone RIGHT in front of a teacher?  It's usually happening when adults aren't able to see it.  I don't know about you, but I remember being on the receiving end of what would today be called bullying.  Did that help me grow and help me learn to socialize better?  Um, actually, NO...it had the opposite effect.  It made me question my self-worth and draw into myself some.  How many adults do you know that still are hurt by things that happened to them in school...by their own peers?  (What about YOU?) So, why do we think that's a GOOD THING to put our kids through that? 
  5. Many of the kids who are bullied are DIFFERENT than their peers; they don't fit the cookie cutter mold.  You know what? THAT is a good thing.  I don't want my kids to fit into any mold; I WANT them to be different.  It's my goal to raise world changers, not cookies.

*Please note that I am certainly NOT anti-school.  I am, however, antagonistic towards the belief that only kids who go to school are socialized.  I think the kids going to school today face a lot of challenges, and they have to choose to be "socialized" DESPITE the system.  Bravo to those who succeed!  This life is challenging no matter WHAT road you take for schooling.  I'm not condemning those who send their kids to school; I'm just going against the "school is the only way to socialize your kids" MYTH.

Also, one of the FB groups I follow mentioned this blog post today. Go check out what Kasey has to say about her kids being "un-socialized."