(This is the last in a series of four posts. Scroll down if you need to catch up.)
Probably the question that I was asked most often along the way was "What about socialization?" It concerned everyone: family members, church friends, even strangers. I think people questioned a couple of things. First, how would my kids be exposed to other children? And second, if we were at home all the time, how would my kids have a balanced view of society?
As a veteran homeschooling mom today, those questions seem almost laughable (except I remember how much I stressed over them!). Now squarely on the other side, I can see clearly that neither was a valid concern. First, let's look at friendships and socialization with other children.
We have always been active in church, which has been the primary venue for friendships. We had friends in our neighborhood. And we were part of a large homeschooling support group. My children were never isolated. They spent plenty of time with like-age friends. Homeschooling, however, gives my kids the opportunity to be exposed to people of all ages and develop relationships outside their own same-age group. It also has challenged them with the opportunity to develop real, deep friendships with their siblings. God places us in families with people of different ages and different personalities in order to teach us how to get along with others. The family unit can be the first and best place that your child learns how to "win friends and influence people," and the greatest textbook for this is Proverbs!
Second, one of my primary reasons for homeschooling was to give my children the most balanced perspective of the world: God's perspective. How?
His Word. God doesn't hold back in telling the truth on human nature. As we confronted events in biblical history, we laid a foundation of right perspective. I told my kids the truth and answered their questions in an age-appropriate manner. For example, oddly enough, we were memorizing the Ten Commandments when (then President) Clinton's indiscretions were exposed in the press. My children caught snatches of it and were asking questions as we were going over the commandment which states: Do not commit adultery. We talked about it. (That's only one example out of a myriad of stories I could tell of God's perfect timing in handling the initial conversations of difficult subjects.)
His Worth. In my book, Season of Change, I tell the story of our move to an inner-city church. Of course, my children have been exposed to lots of things there, but because they were grounded in His Word, they have been able to step out into the world. Even without going to an inner-city church, homeschooled children are exposed to the world through media offerings and through other people. My goal as a parent is to move from guarding them during the early years, to grounding them through their growing up years, to guiding them through those high school years. Constantly reminding them of their worth in Christ Jesus, and His shed blood that covers them, gives them the knowledge of His Love for them. That plants a desire in them to share that love with others.
Years ago, my friend Sandy summed up homeschooling well when she said, "I'm not doing this to raise Einsteins. I just want to raise children who grow up to be adults who love the Lord and love other people--kids who become people that are kind, decent, caring individuals." That's when the seed you planted is in full bloom.
Homeschooling: That Thing I Do! (A Four-Part Series)
Learning as I go,
Learning as I go,