Thursday, February 16, 2012

What ABOUT socialization?

Last week, we had a guest for Shabbos who didn't know that I am homeschooling my kids for the time being.  She asked me where my kids go to school.  "Weeeeell....they don't."  "But they will at some point, right?"  "Weeeeell...."  "Don't tell me you're going to HOMESCHOOL them?!  Kids need FRIENDS!  They need to SOCIALIZE!  Your kids will grow up WEIRD!"
I get that a lot.  No one wonders how my kids will learn to read, do math, or parse a Chumash.  But they all ask about socialization.
Recently, on Imamother, there was a thread.  A mother had written to the Yated, asking about pulling her child out of school for one year.  She got about seven or eight responses, all of them variants on the same theme: "What about SOCIALIZATION?"  To hear that question, one would think that school is an eight-hour playdate.  That the sole reason for going to school and paying all that tuition is so your kids can have thirty "bestest friends," all the same age.
Except when they don't.  See, schools don't hand-pick classmates or teachers, so every class is a mixed bag.  Some kids will be friends with your kids, some won't.  And even if your children are fortunate enough to make a few friends, that's not really the point.  Schools were not designed as social clubs, but as a way to efficiently educate large numbers of kids.  Most of the time, kids sit quietly, either listening to a teacher or doing schoolwork.  Not socializing.  Making friends is a by-product, not a goal.  Kids actually socialize more effectively when they can mix with large groups of different kids of different ages with grown-ups on hand to monitor the situation.  Not in a silent classroom or chaotic school playground.


  1. All of that is true enough, but another thing is that if more Jews would homeschool it would be the easy fix of home school co ops. I mean the Xtian kids have friends that way. Usually home schooled kids take art, music, swimming and stuff like that where they would meet other kids in those classes. They even have "home school field trips" not to mention the fact that the kids CAN meet other kids in the neighborhood and in shul. You could also send them to camp without them going to school.

    Also, you are aware that I'm a gyores. I didn't have very many friends at my school at all. Most of my friends were from church or church camp and they went to other schools. Shoot, I even used to make friends every time we went to the local amusement park.

  2. I was under the impression that (1) you can only homeschool until high school and (2) there's an entire social network of homeschooled kids who do activities and field trips together.

  3. You can homeschool through high school, if your kids want to. And, yes, there are a lot of other homeschoolers to do things with.

  4. Anon, you can join a co-op and the kids do stuff together but the issue there is that there (I think) aren't any Jewish co-ops, well maybe secular/any Jewish but in NYC, there aren't any Orthodox Jewish home school co-ops. Though, if parents were willing to look at the option maybe that could be changed.

    So, one advantage to co-ops is that parents will teach each others kids but no one is a paid teacher. For example, if one mother went to school for pattern making and knew how to sew, she might teach the sewing home ec to girls say 5th to 8th grade. Another mother works as a chef at a high end restaurant, guess what? She teaches cooking, still another mother has a degree in math. The Israeli lady teaches modern Hebrew and that's the foreign language. Maybe that pattern maker got her undergrad degree in English.... Oh and somebody's husband is a college professor and can squeeze in a lesson once a week in his subject. Another mother studied Spanish and French and she was in the Army so she teaches PE and language. When the co-op is big enough, there's enough mothers (and an occasional father) that maybe they are teaching some HS kids a specialty subject but their kids are still young. So their kids go to another one in the co-op while she is teaching. Also, truthfully, as you switch to hs, the kids are learning more like college kids by reading the text and supplemental videos. I've seen videos online from kids who left school to be homeschooled in HS and it was their idea. If a high schooler wants to, they are old enough to do it with little supervision. They have to want to though of course.


I'm not Monty Python. I hate SPAM.