That is the most common concern that I hear from other parents. Homeschooling = unsocialised.
While I understand the concern about the lack of “interaction”, let me debunk a few myths. While I homeschool Dumpling on the homefront for all other disciplines, she attends Chinese classes daily. So, I am not entirely fully homeschooling in this sense. But I liken myself to other homeschooolers who hire tutors for "help". :)
There is a world of difference between “unsociable” and “unsocialized”. Think about it.
Whether a child is “friendly” is dependent on a lot of factors including the child’s personality, the environment, etc. Being unsocialised assumes that the child is not exposed to "people" and the "world". But for me, I believe homeschooled children have tons more “free” exposure. I know many homeschoolers incorporate life skills in "educating" their children. This includes bringing the child(ren) to run daily errands such as grocery shopping, post office (for those who run a webstore), take the public transport, etc.
In these instances, the child gets to interact with the “real” world – interacting with the stall holders on vegetables and meat selection, handling “change” and money from the purchase, understanding units of measurement from mailing out parcels at the post office, occupation from public transport, etc.
Now, tell me, how many “socialised” school children get such “real life” exposure on a weekly, let alone daily basis. Add that to the fairs, sports meet and weekly gatherings these homeschoolers organise with many involving their children in the planning of such. (I use “them” here because I am a FTWM and hence, I have not participated in any of these events.)
So, think about it. What are the children who are attending a formal public / private school “exposed” to then?
I was at the playground with Dumpling over weekend and 3 young boys later joined in. These boys do not look to be older than 10 years old. Dumpling was blocked by one of these boys at one stage and she said “excuse me” very politely. The boy turned around and saw that it was “just us” – a mum and a young child and out came this string of Hokkien vulgarity asking about my “mum”.
Thank goodness Dumpling does not understand Hokkien and I herded her away though I had this strong urge to dump a bottle of Dettol down his throat (not very kind, I know). This prompted me to think, what would one be exposing his/her child to in a school environment?
I know many would jump in at this point in time to say “Well, that is the real world. So how long do you intend to “cushion” your child from such things?”
My answer to that is, before my child is even exposed to such things, what are the core values I am exposing to my child as a parent to equip her to deal with such incidents?
That essentially is a big part for many homeschooling parents – academic is secondary to faith and values. For me, I personally feel that if Dumpling and I were to focus on the last 2, I would think, my role as a parent is done. Think about it.
If we as parents guide them along properly and instill quality values, even when faced with such incidents, I believe our children will not be provoked or led onto a wrong path. I also pray that she will have kindness and gentleness in her thoughts, action and words.
That part, for Dumpling and I, will form an important part of our homeschooling foundation. For the rest, I can only let go, pray and trust.
Think about it.
Think about it1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.