The Socialization Myth.
I’m fed up with hearing about socialization in relation to homeschooling. It’s the thing that everybody brings up, ” What about socialization?”
So I’m going to have a rant.
Of course homeschooled kids socialize, they go to sports groups, clubs, swimming lessons, the library, shops, museums, zoos and playgrounds. They spend more time out in the real world with real people than the school kids.
School actually inhibits our potential to socialize, limiting us to a room full of same aged children, not a whole world of unique and interesting individuals.
Most people don’t know what socialization means, it doesn’t mean hanging out with your friends. ( How many times were you told in school, ” Do your socializing after school!”)
Socialization is the way in which social and cultural norms are continued. In other words, it is the process of acquiring the views and ideologies of the society in which you live, good or bad.
School can cause all sorts of problems in children’s minds, the torture of bullying, exclusion and inadequacy can last a lifetime. These issues are not my concern here. I simply wanted to put out a few examples of negative “socialization” that I have come across recently. All equally sad and depressing. This form of socialization isn’t for us, I want the kids to make up their own minds, form their own views and be their own people and I’ll do whatever I can to facilitate that.
Some Real Effects Of School Socialization On Children
These are all real quotes, the first one came out of my child’s mouth at 4 years old after a few weeks in school, shortly after he came home from school saying “bloody”.
Indian ladies have red dots on their foreheads because they are targets
Obviously he was repeating something from a class mate, another 4 or 5 year old. In prep here children are not allowed to mix with older children. I seriously hope it didn’t come from one of the teachers. So this is the sort of thing that some parents think is OK to share with their small children. Great.
Hopefully my children will be able to explain that the red dot, a bindi or tika mark, is worn by women of many religions in the Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia and that the traditional red colour symbolises honour, love and prosperity. That should stop the racist nastiness in its tracks.
Why would I want to go to some third world country?
I’ve heard these exact same words from 3 individuals, 2 were members of my husband’s family, something must be causing this attitude to propagate in society. Where are they getting their ideas about what a “third world country” is like. School? Maybe they should broaden their minds and their attitudes, visit a developing country and find out for themselves, before repeating ideas and opinions from some other acquaintance who has probably never travelled .
I hope the children can explain to these people that the term “third world” is a hangover from the cold war and refers to neutral or non aligned countries including parts of Europe. They will also be able to tell these people that they have been to many of these “third world” countries and describe how privileged they are to have had the opportunity to travel and experience life in many parts of the world.
I’m glad we live in Australia and only eat normal stuff
Eating kangaroo would not be perceived as normal by a large chunk of the global population. Why do people have this belief that what they do is right and what every other country does is wrong?
They will be able to respond with, “Actually alpaca is delicious, so are frogs legs, but I wasn’t too keen on the deep-fried spiders.”
“Why would you want to go to India, it’s full of Pakis?
This one from a British gentleman I knew. Apart from the screaming geographical inaccuracy, what is your problem ? One of the saddest and most depressing comments I have ever heard.
My kids already understand the geography and some of the history of the Indian Subcontinent and are fully aware that Pakistan and Bangladesh were created at partition. They will also be able to tell this gentleman, if we ever see him again, how great their trip was and how amazing India is.
I may be treading on a few toes here today, but I’m feeling very sad about attitudes generally, it depresses me.
When I say that these ideas come from school, I don’t mean that they come directly from the teachers, more likely they come from other children. Parent’s ideas are always right in the eyes of small children, they don’t question what they are told by Mum or Dad. These ideas make their way to the playground where peer pressure shows it’s strength. children change their views to fit in with the crowd. Is that the sort of socialization that is recommended?
So, no, I’m not worried about socialization at all. My children will remain individuals, not conform to some of the blinkered and downright xenophobic views that can be found in schools. You can keep your school socialization.
(A quick note to my old teacher, who may well be reading this. I’ve changed socialisation to the US version, socialization, based on advice given to me regarding search engine optimisation, not because I can’t spell!)