What About Socialization and The Home School/Road School Kid???

“How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?”- Henry David Thoreau

“Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

One of the most common criticisms of homeschooling, and especially road schooling, is the concern surrounding socialization. Every homeschooling family knows this is unfounded, yet mainstream society just can’t fathom how a child who is not in school can be socialized and is obsessed with the idea. It seems homeschoolers and roadschoolers have something in common with mainstream society.

We also wonder about socialization.  We wonder how a child that is in a classroom 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week can be socialized.  We wonder how spending the majority of your life with the same people, of the same age, the same maturity, the same educational level and skill level can be called socialization.

We hear all the same stories of kids who are bullied by their peers and sometimes by their teachers and we wonder if that’s the socialization mainstream society is speaking of? We watch the news and hear the horror stories of the goings on in public schools; issues of compromised safety, of schools with metal detectors, rampant drug problems, promiscuity, weapons, theft, gangs, etc.  Is this more of the socialization we are accused of not providing our children?

I think I speak for all homeschoolers when I say you can own that socialization.  I mean seriously. I’m willing to concede that to you.  🙂  But if that is acceptable socialization for the masses, then what is with the controversy over schooling your children at home?  If we can send our kids to schools with all the above issues and not bat an eye, why am I constantly on the defense because my children learn at home, with me and Dan and their siblings?

Is it that they wake up, shower and get dressed without a big rush?  Or perhaps it’s that they eat a healthy balanced breakfast. Or maybe because they don’t have broken hearts at 12 because they are missing out on all that middle school dating drama?  Or that on any given day you might see Grady teaching Kady Algebra or Dally helping Emmy with her letters?  Or that we learn by doing?  Maybe it’s that in addition to our focus on the three R’s I encourage my kids to follow their passions?  And even though these passions come and go, they have one thing in common … they are about them specifically and they are always educational, because everything is educational!

Maybe the controversy is as simple as the fact that we aren’t as trusted to educate our children as society believes the government is.  Anyone reading this should let that sink in. We, as a society, quite possibly, believe the government is more trustworthy, more diligent and more qualified to teach our children.  Is this the same government that has squandered our children’s future with an insurmountable debt?  The same government whose Department of Education willingly admits their students are worlds behind other first world countries in academia?

Let me ask you a question.  Who cares more about our children?  Who cares more about their future?  Who cares more whether they actually learn valuable lessons or whether they simply perform well on tests?  The answer is obvious to me … parents.  Parents care more about their own children than anyone could ever imagine.  But yet, the anti-homeschool lobby has wheels. It has ears in the highest echelons of the Judicial Branch.

And here’s where I’m going to lose half of you, the “world building”, “social justice”, “it takes a village”, “Whatever Makes You Happy” crowd wants your children. Homeschoolers are a recruitment nightmare.  It’s a fact.  We are typically driven by a higher power, but even when not, because I know a few atheist homeschoolers, we are at least free-thinkers. The vast majoirity of homeschool parents (and children)  don’t believe something simply because it was on Fox News or MSNBC.  We dig deep for the real truth and while we may come up with completely different conclusions on what that truth is – no-one can tell us what to think or do.

If you don’t trust a parent to educate their own children, what does that say about our society as a whole?  I’ll take a gander and say it says we are lazy, we are short-sighted and we are a throw-away society.

Let’s take a step back real quick.  According to most social scientists, socialization essentially represents the whole process of learning throughout life and is a central influence on the behaviour, beliefs, and actions of adults as well as of children. It’s not found solely in school, it’s found in every aspect of life.  So it stands to reason that homeschooled children who are spending their days doing a wide variety of activities in a wide variety of places with a wide variety of people are equally as socialized and even perhaps more socialized than kids who are in a controlled environment day after day.

I look at our experiences as a homeschooling family over the past 4 years and I’m amazed at the transformation that’s taken place in our family.  I then look at the past 19 months spent as a roadschooling family and I cannot believe what I see.  First, Geography, as a science, is a no-brainer! Second, they can read a map!  Third, they can calculate mileage and gas and can tell you how much a trip will cost!  Those are some serious life skills!

But they are also learning about themselves!! They are not only pursuing their passions in learning (and actually learning what those passions are) but they are becoming more worldly, more … socialized.  And so are we.  Our horizons have changed.  No longer do we cross the paths of the same people day after day, no longer do we attend the same church with the same parishioners, wave hi to the same neighbors.  Today, we traverse the country meeting people from all different walks of life.  They’ve met older people, younger people, and kids their own age.  We’ve met black people, white people, tall people, short people, atheists and religious alike.  We’ve met cocky people and humble people.  People with hoardes of money and people without.  Do you get what I’m saying?  We have friends in almost every state, some are like us, most are not.  And the fun part is that we meet new people in the wildest of places.

Take the Tiemeyer family (http://allthisandheaven.blogspot.com).  We met their oldest daughter, Dani, in line for … confession!!  No lie!  We had walked to confession because our RV was dead and we had no vehicle…that was the worst part of it all … no ride, no transportation, literally STRANDED.  But Dani, a beautiful 20-something year old product of 12+ years of homeschooling, came over and introduced herself and after talking for a bit asked if we’d like to join her family for pizza and cookies after mass.  How’s that for socialized?

It was Elly’s birthday so we declined, but she and her mom came back after mass to drive us home!!  I’m serious! This wonderfully kind, beautiful family came back to pick us, a family they had just met, up after mass.  We made plans to meet up with their entire family the next day and, get this, they picked us up (again!) for what turned out to be an epic day of full on contact football and hell raising at the park!  The entire family was so fun, so kind, so real, so much like us that we had an instant connection!

I could write a book on the incredible people experiences we have had!  It’s remarkable!  But I’ll spare you that here in this forum.  All you have to do is imagine what experiences you would have living on the road for 19 months.  The people, the places, and the experiences we’ve had in the last year have greatly outnumbered those I’ve had in my 30+ years of life!

Imagine the knowledge and the education you would get in just everyday living.  Ranging from Engine Trouble to oceanography, from history to kayak production.  Life in and of itself is an education. I know people who don’t even teach their children, they simply live and let their children learn, and some of these kids are the smartest people I’ve met in ages, because they’ve learned to love learning.  Isn’t that what we all want? Just for our kids to love learning?

We have one very special rule in our home … you have to learn something every single day.  No day should ever pass without imparting some knowledge.  Dan and I live this too.  I suspect most of us do. Our roadschooling philosophy is to ignite the love of learning in our kids as well as teaching them how to learn.  One of our favorite teachers once said that the basis of all education is learning how to learn.

Our wish for all is that you have a productive, fun, authentic and meaningful 2014!!  Much love from the KelloggShow family!!  Do you have a favorite “education” quote?  Share it with us in the comments below!!  Here are some of ours …

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”  – Isaac Asimov

“Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.” – Earl Stevens

“Birds don’t go to flight school.” ~ Linda Dobson  (my fav)

“College isn’t the place to go for ideas.” – Helen Keller

“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  – William Butler Yeats

“In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: forget about it. Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it. One day, you will glance up at your collection of Japanese literature, or trip over the solar oven you built, and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself.” – Grace Llewellyn

“Skill to do comes of doing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know.” – Leo Tolstoy

 

 

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23 Comments

  • 100% percent Agreed. Why can’t we all just be free to choose what we want for our children and ourselves. Why judge? I have a career, I don’t want to homeschool, no desire at all. But my kids were not learning anything in public school. They attend a Montessori school and are extremely happy. One love, Kellogg’s.

  • “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” ~Albert Einstein

    My Dani is pretty cool! Years ago we were with family at a huge graduation party for one of my hubby’s siblings. A cousin of my mother-in-law decided that she would take it on herself to share with me all the reasons my in-laws did not approve of our decision to homeschool. I think Dani was in second grade at the most. As this cousin talked to me about how my children would be so un-socialized I watch something very interesting happening behind her. As this loving family member was telling me how my socially inapt children would never succeed in the world I was watching Dani at 8, Maggie at 5, Duncan at 4 and Molly at 3 were all trying to coax this woman’s public school socialized 10 year old grandchild to come out of hiding from underneath the table and play with them. I remember thinking at that moment that this person would never see what I was doing but that I was on the right track. We might not be the best in any one thing scholastically but they are heaven bound, they know how to be nice to people, and they understand what is most important in life. Then the learning that one can do when they are not limited by what the school has to offer is incredible. We will never be as adventurous as the cool Kellogg family but I love who we are! I am glad we socialize from within instead of from the outside in.

      • Dani and Maggie are flying in themselves and Duncan is going with a Parish from St. Louis MO. I will make sure these older ones facebook your kids so they can maybe see you all. I am now super jealous!

        • YES!! We must meet up!! We have a commitment in Tampa thru the 19th, if we can bust our bums and move north in time, we’ll be there!!! 🙂 Even more excited now … you should all road trip it!! :))))

          • I know, we all want to go. We decided that next year we all plan to work it out. J’s job is no longer mobile so we are somewhat trapped. Praying that we can change that soon! I am jealous that the older 3 might see you all. Can you imagine the statement our two families together would make. No one can ever argue that we are not pro-life, every single little life!!!!

  • My parents, unfortunately, didn’t care whether or not we learned. Aside from that, a while ago I was thinking about the fact that you completely control everything your kid is exposed to in their first, say, five years, and then you willingly send them off to school and you have no control over their interactions, what they see or do, how they are treated by others, etc. It made me wonder. Between x amount of hours at school, 8 hours sleeping, just exactly how many hours are left in the day to make sure that your kid is okay, that they are learning everything that they need to? Not many at all. I’m not sure if I’d ever home school my kids, I guess my main reservation would be that it seems easier to just to send them off and let others do it for me, but I totally agree with the home schooling method. Not only do they learn what they need to learn, they also learn useful things and all whilst surrounded by their family. I don’t have kids, or even a steady partner, so I’ve got a while to think about all this, but you’ve definitely shown me a different option and I thank you for that.

  • I have so many questions. I want to start homeschooling my kids, but i don’t have any idea where to start. Do you do curriculum reviews? If so, what do you recommend for writing? You’re a very good writer and I am awful, I have no idea where to even begin. Also Science. What do you use for Science? Math, History, and reading I’ve no problem with. I’ve read Saxon is great and history, I read your blog about Glenn Beck’s book. Thanks if you have a second and can respond.

  • This is everything that I heard when I would talk of homeschooling our daughter. As is now, she is in public school & doing ok. However I think of the things she could be learning & doing if it were me teaching her & not someone else, as well as the level at which she would already be if it were me. She was reading at third grade level at the start of second grade. With her being the only child home now though I worry that she would become bored & lonely.

    • There are so so so many homeschooling groups and co-ops that you could join to expose your daughter to other people and experiences!! 🙂 Just thinking out loud …

  • Excellent blog. I’ve been blinded by fear when it comes to teaching my kids at home. What about prom, sports, dating, college and scholarships? The list really goes on and on. It really boils down to my fears that these social milestones are really milestones. But I think I’m learning that they aren’t. Who wants their kids dating in high school? Not me. I was crippled by heart break and defined by who I was dating and who I wasn’t dating. College admissions, I’m reading, are actually recruiting home learned college bound kids. I know where you stand on college, I tend to agree, but I want the options clear and open should my boys decide to become neuro-surgeons. I would sure like to sit down and have a coffee with you to pick your brain.

  • First, just found your blog and love it. We too have packed our RV and plan on leaving next week for our life adventure (dad, mom, 2 boys, 2 dogs and 4 cats)
    Second, Interesting how many people are fearful of homeschooling! Learning happens regardless of whether I am there or not. My mother was furious when we decided to homeschool…until my third grader asked her if she knew what Nuclear Fusion Reaction was. I failed to tell her he learned this term from the Spiderman movie, then researched it and could explain it. Thanks Spiderman!

  • I have no idea where this quote originally came from, but I’ve had it stuck on the side of my fridge for years:

    “If the schools were perfect, I would still homeschool my children – because it isn’t about school. It’s about families taking back their children and educating them as they see best. School is only a substitute for the real thing.”

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