“I homeschooled for seven years.”
“Oh. So, you didn’t have any friends.”
This is a typical conversation between me (a college student and Christian homeschooler) and a non-homeschooler. Let’s admit it. You’ve heard it before, too.
The conversation usually ends with me outlining the list of activities I was involved in and reassuring others that I was not an awkward, un-socialized kid who couldn’t even carry on a boring discussion about the weather. Still, after those predictable conversations, I am left with a thought: “Am I really socialized?”
We define a socialized person as one who gets along with people, has a good reputation, and knows the right thing to say in an awkward, hear-the-cricket, oops-that-was-the-elephant-in-the-room moment. In a Christian homeschooling environment, you are training your child to be adept in any social situation. You have promised yourself you will break the stereotype of un-socialized homeschoolers and teach your children the proper way to act in a group of strangers, during a 5-course meal, when being asked on their first date, and when accepting a job offer.
That’s the goal, but do we ever officially hit the wavering target of socialization?
I like to think of myself as being social and presentable to the outside world. I have had numerous job interviews, been to two etiquette classes, created steady relationships with college roommates, and learned to find a commonality with people after two moves at a young age. However, I still slurp my spaghetti, laugh loudly in inappropriate circumstances, and say things at the wrong moment. Why?
Because I am not fully socialized. I never will be. In fact, your children never will be either, but take a deep breath. That doesn’t mean you have failed.
Instead of focusing on a target that is always beyond reach, realize that becoming socially skilled is a journey that takes a lifetime to complete. As we go through life, we learn new social skills. It is a continuing chronicle of our lives. As we meet new people, learn new skills, and become aware of new ideas and interests, our level of socialization morphs and grows.
No. I am not socialized, and that is a good thing. It means I enjoy life to its fullest and mark each unique adventure with my own stamp instead of fitting into the world’s definition of being socially acceptable.
Get rid of that socialization target you have created in your mind for your children. They will never become fully socialized. Instead, they will live, laugh, and love with each new adventure and moment in which God places them.
How do you help your children socialize while homeschooling?