I know a lot of homeschoolers get asked the “socialization” questions. You know the kind: What about socialization? How will they know how to socialize as adults? and so on.
Many homeschool bloggers have addressed the socialization issue many times over on the web. However, the other questions often faced as a homeschool family, have been the sister questions: What if your child is sheltered? How will they face the REAL world as adults if they don’t get exposed to it as children?
That is what I am going to address.
What If Your Child Is Sheltered?
The socialization questions and sheltered questions really go hand-in-hand with each other. Let us consider what most people mean by a child being sheltered.
Similar to the “socialization” questions, the people asking these questions are usually sincerely concerned that we will shelter our children to the point that when they become adults, our children will not be able to handle the “real world”.
But, also like the socialization issue, in reality, a child can not learn about the real world from spending the majority of 13 years in a classroom with 30 other children their age.
*What they are learning about in a public school setting is the behavior of children their age, with little adult supervision.
What they are learning is what is spoon fed to them by the mandated textbooks, without respect for their parent’s beliefs.
What they are learning is that they will be ridiculed for standing up for their beliefs if they differ from the mass majority.
What they are learning is that it is better to keep their heads down, mouths shut, and get through school unnoticed even if they get labeled as “shy” or “socially awkward”.
*based on mine & my husband’s personal experiences.
Unfortunately, with the sheltered child question, they are also referring to the fact that the child is not being exposed to evil, sin, peer pressure, bullying, and so on if they are homeschooled. And that makes them “sheltered”.
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory SchoolingA Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God’s WordHome Education (Charlotte Mason’s Homeschooling Series)Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory SchoolingFor the Children’s Sake: Foundations of Education for Home and SchoolA Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
I have a few questions of my own:
Do “they” believe we should expose our children to all of the evils of the world as children, to desensitize them to all of it, so that they are not bothered by it as adults?
Or, perhaps they think the child will toughen up by being exposed to all of the sins of the world as children and then will easily fight the urge to fall into the sin as adults?
Call me crazy, but I think that an adult brain, fully developed, will better be able to recognize sin as sin and evil as evil and bullying as bullying and peer pressure as peer pressure and dealing with it as such, than that of a very young, impressionable brain of a child.
Not to mention the mature spirit, trained from birth in the way of the Lord.
A brain can process it all and make wise choices more so as an adult than as a child. A spirit can discern truth from lies more so after years of maturing through God’s Word than when it is still immature.
True, if a human has not been exposed to, and desensitized by, all of the evil and sin in the world since they were babies, then as adults they will be more likely to find evil and sinful behavior something to turn away from. And they are more likely to call sin what it is: sin.
True, an adult who has NOT spent their entire life trying to fit in with the crowd, stifling their own voice for the sake of conformity, and worrying about what their peers think will be more creative, conscientious, and independent as adults.
Some children come out of public school illiterate, lacking proper social skills, disrespectful, and afraid to look adults in the eye while speaking clearly.
Some children come out of private or homeschool the exact same way.
It has more to do with the child’s personality and the parent’s involvement in all cases.
Why Choosing To Homeschool Can Help
However, in a healthy home, a child has a lot more room for positive development and individuality in a homeschool setting, which can allow them to grow up confident, independent, and ready to face the so-called real world as adults (I guess real life doesn’t start until adulthood?).
In my experience, as both a child in various forms of schooling and as the parent of children now being homeschooled, homeschool allows for children to learn proper socialization skills and how to properly interact with the real world from their parents’ example.
It was my time in public/private school that crushed my carefree and confident personality and being homeschooled (along with living life and learning as an adult) is what brought back my confidence to interact with people. I am an introvert by nature, so I guess I could also blame my social awkwardness on that.
I am not saying that children in public schools do not learn proper skills, but I am saying that children in public schools are learning these skills in spite of public school, NOT because of public schools.
They may not feel comfortable around people embracing worldly, sinful behavior, but should they? When did it become wrong to be naïve? When did it become wrong to believe in the Bible and strive for a godly lifestyle?
My conclusion is that there is nothing wrong with a child being sheltered and protected from the harsh world. We are personally striving to raise hard-working, responsible, free-thinking adults who will (hopefully) care more about what God thinks than what other people think.
More than my own opinion, though, the Bible clearly shows us that we should turn away from evil and I’d go so far as to say that we should protect our kids from evil as well.