View Full Version : Weekly Poll: The (GASP!) Socialization Question

09-01-2010, 09:27 PM
That's right. You heard it here folks. Homeschoolers have issues with socialization. Now this may be shocking to you - - especially to those of you who are new to this whole homeschooling thing - - but I'm letting the cat out of the bag, right here, and right now. But please don't let it get out, or else we might have people actually start asking us questions about socialization in places like the supermarket checkout line. We might even be hassled by our hair dresser, or even our mother-in-law!!

So this poll is completely TOP-SECRET, okay?? No one in the general public is to EVER associate the words "socialization issues" with homeschoolers...this is Just. Between. Us.


Now that you have had your laugh for today, let's take a little closer look at this whole socialization "issue" and see how you really feel about it......

09-01-2010, 10:16 PM
I said other. I have two kids and they are entirely different people.
Dea is less adept in some ways & more adept in other ways, when compared to other kids her age. We don't have a home phone & she doesn't have her own cell phone, so her phone skills are not that skills of your average 12 year old girl. She also has some issues with keeping friends, but that is because of her ADHD & Bipolar, not because she's homeschooled. Also, the keeping friends issue is only an issue with some kids. However, she is better able to socialize with kids of a wide variety of ages - from babies to teens years older than she is. She is also very good at socializing with adults (and always has been).

Jay is very outgoing, most of the time. He will talk to anyone, as long as he's got me (or another adult he is very comfotable with) with him. He regularly engages the adults around us (in line at the store, the cashiers, the librarians, etc.) in conversation. There have been many people that were shocked to hear how young he is, due to these conversations. He befriends kids of all ages whenever we're at a place that has kids (the park, etc.). Our biggest social problems with Jay are 1)making sure he doesn't divulge the wrong info to the wrong people and 2) he is very tactile - likes to hug people, sit on people's laps, etc. (only with people he knows) & not everyone is comfortable with that.

Neither child has any trouble making friends. Also, I take the fact that the neighborhood kids ring our doorbell 20+ times a day, asking if the kids can come play, as a sign that their social skills can't be that bad. After all, if my kids were the reclusive, anti-social freaks people assume homeschoolers are, I doubt the neighborhood kids would want to spend so much time with them.

09-01-2010, 10:27 PM
Geez Topsy, you didn't make it multiple choice LOL

I wanted to click, "They are so socially inept that I fear they will become either a serial killer or Amway salesperson", so bad.

But decided to behave and chose number 3 instead. ( Mine are young, how social can a 4 and 2 year old be, if they don't bite at the playground I am happy !!! )

09-01-2010, 11:50 PM
They are so socially inept that I fear they will become either a serial killer or Amway salesperson.


I picked:

They seem to have a better ability to socialize with people than most kids their age.
Both of my boys are outgoing and social. Their individual personalities color that, of course - PeaGreen is moody and may or may not be in the mood to be chatty, but when he is, he has absolutely no trouble being so. LittleBoyBlue is generally more of a loner, but gets along well with all ages and doesn't seem to be able to socialize well with any age group.

When I was little, things like pumping gas, talking at the take-out speaker, talking to the waitress, the librarian, a teacher that wasn't mine... any of that, I was VERY cautious about. Not shy, but I was always aware that I didn't know them. My kids have NEVER met a stranger. They think that everyone is as enamored with them as I am. :) I think that's awesome.

We just started homeschooling in January, so I can't say how much of that is due to homeschooling, specifically. What I can say is that I have noticed that some of the bad socialization habits that they were picking up on have disappeared. LittleBoyBlue was in 2nd grade, and the distinction between kids who were 'older' and kids who were 'younger' was more noticeable. Had he not been exposed to that attitude in school, I don't think that he would have made it on his own. He was really starting to make comments about playing with his 'little bother' (instead of 'brother') and now, those comments are few and far between.


09-02-2010, 12:16 AM
I chose they seem to have a better ability to socialize with people than most kids their age. My daughter turned 6 this past Monday and I swear she was born with an "outgoing" gene. LOL. She has absolutely no problem making friends, she will walk up to other children at the playground and say hello. At her homeschool art class, she was the first to introduce herself to the teacher and her other classmates...and she is so social at her dance class that sometimes I have to remind her she is there for DANCING and not TALKING and GIGGLING.

My son is only 1, so he does his best to smile at strangers.

I'm not worried AT ALL about my kids and socialization. Although some of my family members and friends are...also the grocery store cashier and that one mom at the dance studio. Everybody is worried but me! ;)

09-02-2010, 04:33 AM
I voted "seems to have a better ability to socialize with people than most kids their age". DS is extremely social, he'll talk to anyone anywhere and especially loves adults. He has always had a much larger vocabulary than most kids his own age and has always been interested in different things (car exhaust systems instead of Sponge Bob, or whatever) so while he does have to sometimes explain himself to other kids, there has always been common ground in activities like sports. I've noticed too that his friends seem to look to him for answers--they'll ask him what certain words mean or to explain a concept that might be new to them, or to read things for them. At the same time he definitely has a silly gene and can be as goofy as any other 7 year old boy, so it balances out.

Until he was 5 or 6 his speech was very difficult to understand (he had been diagnosed with severe apraxia when he was 3, something we allowed to go away on its own rather than make an issue of with therapy) but kids still loved him even if they didn't always know what he was talking about! Now we get comments all the time from adults about how well spoken he is, and they truly seem to enjoy having conversations with him. They are often surprised at the depth and serious interest in his questions and observations. Although his speech never bothered him, it's wonderful that his speech has "caught up" with his brain, especially since he literally spends 13 hours a day talking. :)

When I hear the "what about socialization" question, all I have to do is point to whatever he's doing (like talking to a team mate) and the questions immediately stop. There is absolutely NO CONCERN about socialization at all. In fact he gets so much more opportunity now than he ever did in school, where asking too many questions and talking with friends was frowned upon.

09-02-2010, 09:19 AM
I so wanted to check off "They are so socially inept that I fear they will become either a serial killer or Amway salesperson" just so it might have a response and not feel left out!! I did literally LOL at that!

The reality is that for now my kids are just like any others their ages. My little guy may be a bit less social but it's only because he doesn't have anyone close to his age (4) to relate to here. I am hoping that will change soon with our upcoming move. He does, however, love his brother's and sister's friends and they all luckily love to have him play with them most of the time. He also will speak to many adults; he seems to get a vibe about certain adults and then just doesn't shut up! But my other two are normal 8 and 10 year olds, but a bit more quiet (I just have quieter kids) until they get to know their potential friends better, then all bets are off and I need earplugs.

09-02-2010, 09:24 AM
They seem about as social (or anti-social) as most kids their age.
My kids have friends, are reasonably polite and function well enough in social situations. My son is more reclusive than his sister (he takes after his dad...I rarely leave the house, except to go to work or grocery shopping), but is still well liked by his peers and has a girlfriend, so I guess he's doing all right. My daughter is quite bubbly and sociable, though some of her enthusiasm for life seemed to have drained away last year with all the bullying she faced.

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-02-2010, 09:25 AM
I have one kid who's way more social than average and one who's somewhat less social than average.

09-02-2010, 09:46 AM
at ages 5 and 3, my kids love talking to just about anyone, unless they just don't feel like it. you know, like most people. :-)

09-02-2010, 10:03 AM
Personally, as an Amway saleswoman and a potential serial killer, I am offended that this is on the list in such a negative light! Just kidding, of course. (I am not an Amway saleswoman--but the serial killer thing might eventually have possibilities! :)) I picked the middle answer as my kids all run the gamut, with the exception of the last one (none of mine are extremely outgoing). And, Topsy, thanks for the heads up about the socialization issue. Like most of us here, I had no idea! We'll keep your secret! :)

09-02-2010, 10:59 AM
I put other because I think my son may not relate to kids his own age in the ways that are typical. We were at our community pool the other day and there were a couple of boys there about my son's age (one within months) and they were all much rougher than my son is. They wanted to play Star Wars light saber fights and they were teasing my son about not playing right (he didn't want to "die") and how he talks (mostly fine but he doesn't articulate everything clearly - he went to speech therapy for a year). I've seen similar at other times - he just doesn't seem as interested in what boys his age play and he also has a tendency to be bossy and want to run the show. He's starting soccer and gymnastics soon so I guess we'll see if it changes with more exposure to kids his own age.

On the other hand, he will go up to anyone, anywhere, of any age and introduce himself and the whole family and just start chatting away. Nobody is a stranger to this kid. My youngest will do the same thing but I think she learned it from him.

09-02-2010, 11:33 AM
This was one of my main concerns about homeschooling. BUT, I wized up. Wizened up? Whatever. My 7 yr old was in PS in Kindergarten and half of first grade and had enough of PS socialization. Negative. Very very negative. One upmanship, competition, guilt trips, you name it. Congress in session was a nicer place. Someone recommended the book "The Socialization Trap" by Rick Boyer, and while shamelessly Christian based, it makes excellent points about how socialization occurs right at home with family. Yes, they can get socialization in extracurricular activities and play dates, but you have more control over that. I am now a firm believer that no socialization is bad socialization - my child is not exposed to the cliques, peer pressures, drugs, smoking, drinking, sex, language and other such adult options (is THAT not a politically correct statement?!) that her PS counterparts are. The PS she was into here -some of the teachers actually (seriously, some admit to it) tell students "If you want to be part of the BEST students, or IN CROWD, you have to be doing such-and such" where such-and-such is wearing a certain brand of clothing or buying more books at the book fair than anyone else. Seriously! Anyone who has encountered my daughter knows she is emotionally stable, intelligent and possesses excellent socialization skills (read: manners and well spoken). She astounds people at checkout lines and at the library (one librarian even jokingly offered her a job as Ash told him what books were located where in the library, and it's not a small library, and told him all about a book she read in the library that day, using correct grammar). She is not shy by any stretch of the imagination and will stick up for the underdog at the playground. I had a friend of mine I knew since grade school on Facebook tried to corner me with the socialization issue, to which I said "Don't tell me you don't remember Jr. High!", which effectively put an end to the conversation.

09-02-2010, 08:27 PM
I feel like the "socialization issue" my kids experience is that because they haven't been in school, when they experience some of the typical negative social interactions that go on in school they're completely baffled. As they get older and more savvy about the world, I'm guessing this will resolve itself, but they're still young. When, through T-ball or other things that bring them in contact with schooled kids, they see outright bullying, name calling and general nastiness, they often just look at the other kid like s/he is a complete alien and sometimes even treat them like that, repeating things like, "Hey, you're being really mean," in a way that seems to indicate that they think they're presenting new information to the kid, who will stop if they realize they're being... GASP... mean!

This is not to say that their interactions with their homeschooled friends are always sweet and nice - just today, I had to tell one of my kids to stop letting a 3-year-old bait him into roughhousing that kept ending in tears and smushed kids. But when there is an altercation, the kids know they're part of a community together and that they will have to work it out. They may disagree, they may fight, they may boss each other around, they may even exclude others sometimes, but there's never that nasty edge to it that I see from kids so often - where they sullenly think others are actually worth less than them or that the adults are dumb for interfering. And the general leadership push from all the older kids in the groups is to be nice to each other and to make all the littles play fair.

My husband has said we're raising peaceful kids in a violent world and when my kids do encounter that sort of bullying and are so completely flummoxed by it, I really feel that. I do think they'll figure out less naive responses eventually and I'll be glad they were able to come to them in a safe way and not by having been put through the wringer by bullies themselves.

09-02-2010, 09:36 PM
They seem to have a better ability to socialize with people than most kids their age.

I especially notice this when we get together with our MOMS Club group. If there is another older child there and mostly younger children or toddlers, the other older kid seems to be really bored or not able to get into playing. Nikko, on the other hand, will play with any kids, any age, any gender. He's just as happy running around being super heros with a bunch of other 6-8 year old boys as he is playing baby dolls with a couple of 3-5 year old girls. The other moms always comment on how happy he is to play with anyone and how well he gets along no matter who or what the situation involves. When we spent time in NY with family we would often hang out with family friends who have a 12 year old son and a 3 year old granddaughter at the house all the time, and I noticed the same type of qualities in the 12 year old. He was perfectly happy to play with Nikko, and when his other 12 year old friends came over he was just as happy to keep including Nikko. It gives me hope that Nikko'll stay the way he is and be able to get along with just about anyone.

09-04-2010, 03:15 PM
My son has no problem socializing at all. He is 13 and will play hide and seek with the 3 & 4 year olds next door, nerf gun battles with the 9 and 10 year olds behind us, basketball with our 17 year old next door neighbor, talk medieval weaponry with the husband of his piano teacher (he is EOD - aka military bomb squad), and will discuss the correct pronunciation and use of certain words in the English & Spanish language with the Base Commanding Officer (also a neighbor). Every adult who encounters our son is amazed at how comfortable he is talking with them. He talks with children at their level and he talks with adults at an adult level. He is leaps and bounds beyond his warehouse educated peers in socialization (as well as in intellectual pursuits).

09-05-2010, 12:53 AM
My almost 11 year old is about average. She can and will talk to anyone, of any age. Adults don't intimidate her, and she's also comfortable and not annoyed with younger kids. However I notice that she can sometimes be TOO chatty in an awkward way around people because we don't have many friends or family we see on any kind of regular basis so sometimes she seems a tad immature for her age. It's hard to explain. I've noticed most girls her age are a lot different. I don't know though if it's a homeschool/socialization issue or just a personality issue.

09-06-2010, 08:15 PM
Not sure this is a homeschooling issue at all. I have kids that are introverted, but can talk to adults pretty darn well. Their interaction with other homeschoolers is fine. With school kids in our neighborhood, not so much. But this seems to be an issue of "otherness" that comes into play on the side of the PS kids--deliberately leaving my kids out of conversations, inviting everyone but them to do something (while my kids are in earshot). Little girls, especially, can be MEAN. Makes the mama tiger in me just plain angry.

09-06-2010, 08:42 PM
They are so socially inept that I fear they will become either a serial killer or Amway salesperson

I really wanted to pick this one, but honestly, this was me and my brother, who were ps'd, LOL!! My kids are freaking social butterflies, who's social calendar is much more filled then my own ;)

09-07-2010, 07:43 PM
I wish there were an option for "differently social." I have noticed that traditionaly-schooled kids seem conditioned to not play with other kids who are not their age and their conversations with adults seem strained: there seems to be an "us" versus "them" mindset when they must talk to adults. When we go someplace like the dentist I have seen slightly older kids completely shun my dd when she tried to play in the waiting room, but if the child seems about her age there doesn't seem to be as much of a problem. I have witnessed my dd strike up conversations with the lady who cuts her hair and the check-out clerk at the store, lively, interesting exchanges that seemed to surprise the adult involved. And I've seen her play with toddlers and fifth graders. There don't seem to be so many artificial boundaries for homeschooled children.