Although homeschooling has many benefits for younger children, there are even more for teens. One major bonus is the socialization. Homeschooled teens are not forced into an age-regimented peer group but are free to be themselves and to choose their own friends of all ages and interests.
Here’s a short list of some differences between school and homeschool socialization.
I don’t like the age regimentation in schools; my children are comfortable with people of all ages, from babies to adults.
I don’t like the pressure to conform that develops when children are with their peers constantly; my children have their own opinions.
I don’t like the ‘clique-yness’ that defines so many schooled teens; my children try to make sure others feel included.
I don’t like the weight-consciousness that devastates so many schooled girls; my girls have a positive body image.
I don’t like the ‘teen culture’ that fills most high schools; at 17 and 14 my teens are meaningful contributors in the adult world.
I don’t like the bullying that occurs at all school ages and in many different ways; my children can grow up with a sense of empathy and fairness.
I especially don’t like the ungodly assumptions that color most schools; my children are able to learn, albeit imperfectly, that life is about honouring God and serving others, not about getting the most toys and looking out for number one. Service, not selfishness, is the ultimate goal in socialization.
No, our family is not perfect. Far from it. We are sinners and that is evident in all the things we do. Our homeschool, also, is far from perfect.
But…and this is a big ‘but’… we can practice and emphasize positive socialization all day and every day; this is much, much more difficult to do in most school settings.
Later addition: My friend Stacy (aka ProverbsMama) just posted a link to a great article that shows why homeschooled teens are better socialized. This is extremely valuable reading for anyone who has teens, homeschooled or not.
Kristen at TOS Crew Facebook has put together a whole list of blogging homeschoolers’ responses to the socialization question–called a ‘blog cruise,’ apparently. (I’d prefer a real one! Grin.) You can view the list even if, like me, you aren’t on Facebook.