So non homeschool parents always wonder how our kids socialize. Some do this somewhat politely, or just curious. Some (like my brother in law) are down right rude.
The thing is we as homeschool parents get asked (or drilled) on this question so often it becomes a hot topic for us too. And pressure. Pressure to prove public school parents wrong sometimes. Well here's some truth for you. My kids do not socialize well...and they learned this in Public School. Homeschooling isn't a magic cure for that but they are slowly learning a thing or two.
I am both a homeschool parent and a public school parent. My oldest (Sunny Not) goes to PS. I'd rather homeschool her but her dad and I are long ago divorced and he won't go for it. But it works for her. She is the poster child for public school socialization...so long as you don't dig to deep. She was a bully, she is the "in" girl and she realizes that the majority of her "friends" are a very superficial friendship. It is good she sees through the smoke screen of what "popular" is but I think it makes her feel lonely as well.
My middle 3 (SW, Ko-Ko & Runner) went to PS. I started Homeschooling in January 2009. These 3 did not do well socializing in PS. SW was bullied, Ko-Ko (ADD) has melt downs in crowds. People X room size was the issue. So 20 kids in a classroom spelled daily disaster. Runner had friends his own age but SW's bullies saw him as fair game too and if any of his older siblings tried to protect him they got suspended automatically because the fight "didn't even involve them" (really?) Yet the bully and the victim received equal punishment cuz "it takes two to fight". I hope they principal remembers that if she ever gets mugged. They make friends in our Native community, but outside that they struggle.
In PS my children have learned about being bullied, how to bully, to obsess about, being cool, that it isn't cool to play with your siblings and a whole host of hurtful racial slurs that PS kids yelled at them on a regular basis. I am sure some of the kids learned these things from their peers at school, while obviously someone learned this at home and brought it to school. We moved 13 months ago to a suburban neighborhood. These "skills" did not help them make new friends.
It has been a year of lonely evenings and weekends. Weekdays bring sports, Akwe:go (a Native after school program) and HS field trips and play days. My middle three have struggled to socialize with the kids but are slowly coming out of their bad socialization habits learned in PS. They even made friends with the neighbor kids. I almost titled this post "Yeah My Kids Have Friends" But decided the title would make preconceived ideas about what was there considering the "hot" topic of HS kids & socialization.
My kids are not social butterflies. They do not have tons of friends. They do not know appropriate responses and are quick to say something snarky or unkind. But the thing about HS'ing is that socialization happens under the eyes of parents, in the same space where the parents are socializing with each other, thereby setting a good example, while also correcting bad ones. This teaches positive socialization. Whereas a PS playground is more of a study of the "Lord Of The Flies".
So next time a PS parent wonders about how HS'ers socialize, maybe they will wonder if the Lord Of The Flies situation really leads to good socialization. And maybe HS parents can ease up and talk about those children who are not poster children for socialization cuz that would sure help those of us with three kids struggling to make friends.