Friday, August 13, 2010

on socialization

It seems that one of the top worries about not sending my child off into the world of public/private/charter/what-have-you schooling is that she won’t be properly socialized.

I’ve heard it time and again that what we do shouldn’t be called homeschooling* because we spend so much time out in the world, interacting with others. We’re barely beginning here and I’m working on devoting myself to this**, but we still spend lots of time outside of our home. I try to balance our weeks, somewhat, giving us plenty of time both at home and away from home. With the group we’ve joined, we’ll be spending plenty of time away, I know. We'll be spending plenty of time with some great people.

Anyhow, Pic is constantly meeting and interacting with new people. She is a natural at this, always has been. There are times that Cardo and I just stand back and marvel that such a social child could have been born of two such socially-awkward parents. Although she isn’t some kind of poster child for interacting with others, she’s pretty freaking good at it. She does have a tendency to interrupt still, and I have a tendency to fight with myself on the best way to address this. Like everything I can think of right now, it’s a process. However, Pic is comfortable talking to pretty much everyone. She will greet random people we come across. She asks questions and tells stories. She treats everyone with respect and compassion. I think she’ll be one of those people who can go somewhere completely unfamiliar and, a few hours later, have met a new great friend (or at least acquaintance), just like her papa.

The other day, I had some business to (unsuccessfully) attend to at the university and while I did my thing, she befriended a couple of college students. As we were leaving campus, she saw one of these people and told me, “Wait, I want to go say goodbye to him” and she and he exchanged pleasantries. A bit later, as we waited for the bus to take us back home, she started talking with a boy who happened to also be waiting for the same bus. Pic sat across the aisle with the boy and his dad, while I sat back and tried to just let her be.

These are just a few instances. I’m not saying Pic’s exceptional in any way many, many other people aren’t but I am saying that I have absolutely no worries that she’ll not be “properly” socialized.***


* another post to come on the terminology…I’ve just been putting it off

** I have accepted an opportunity that means that it’ll be another school year before I allow myself to completely devote myself to homeschooling (I am a work in progress…really)

*** I think people would tend to believe she should be spending most of her time with others her own age, but is this really how life is? Sure, for those who go to school, lots of time is spent with many people of a similar age, but then children leave school. There's a great discussion about socialization and socializing on Sarah Parent's Humans Being podcast episode, Why Not School?