Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Socialization Myth

Homeschooling vs. Assembly-line schooling: Social Development

From Claire Wolfe's forums, a young man who has experienced both kinds counters the old wive's tale that homeschoolers will be lonely and weird their whole life...
Luckily, a school is not necessary for socialization, any more than it is for an education. My experience suggests that schools are actually harmful to both socialization and academic achievement. One thing I learned in school is that you can be surrounded by hundreds of kids and still be lonely and alienated. Schools don’t make friends for you, after all, or even provide a good environment for making friends in. With all the rules, there’s hardly any time to make friends at all.

A healthy social life requires much more than indifferent daily contact with a few hundred people born the same year you were. It doesn’t come from compulsory herding but from a healthy sense of self-esteem. This is something many schools actively destroy, and from more than just their forced "socialization."

A healthy social life also requires a sense of self-awareness. I suspect school is harmful here too, since so many "socialized" kids seem to be idiots who wish they were people on TV because they don’t seem to know who they are themselves. They also don’t seem to know how to do anything without being told, by their peers or by their teachers.

Friendships are more likely to be formed when no one is forced to "be socialized." Friendships require conversations and helping each other. In most classrooms this is against the rules, as such socialization is considered disruptive, or even "cheating." What is approved by school rules is sitting still, doing repetitive tasks, and suffering bullies silently.

Relationships are not limited to being in a building full of chalk dust -- though it may seem so if this is the only place you ever met people -- but are found everywhere that humans are found. Out in the real world is where people like me and people who have homeschooled or unschooled their entire lives have made friends. Sometimes, they make A LOT of friends (as I did).

(Read the rest...)

This should be read by anyone deciding where/how to educate their children. Very well written response, just blows the socialization myth right out of the water.