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Do you ever get concerned over the LACK of "negative" socialisation your DC's get?

(9 Posts)
Fuse7 Tue 06-Sep-11 18:48:05

Hello there, I am considering HE for DD, age 2. My sister in law home schools her 2 wonderful sons, so she has been a great source of information for me. Perhaps my question about socialisation has been answered before- if so, I apologise! I am convinced that home schooled children can participate in healthier socialisation while avoiding a lot of the negative, but my question is- is avoiding all the negative such a benefit? We all need to be stretched in order to grow, and perhaps home educated children lack the learning experiences of seeing or being a part of painful social interactions.

I went to state school the entire way and had a great experience, though I have distinct memories of being bullied and teased because of my ethnicity. I can completely empathise with mums who want to avoid this for their own children. But I can also remember observing situations in school that gave me the "eureka!" moment in understanding other people and I wonder if those moments are fewer and farther between for home educated children. For example, I remember two girls saying they did not want to sit next to another child whose family were very poor and who bathed infrequently. I was about 8 years old at the time. My parents had taught me that people are all different, yadda yadda yadda, but to see firsthand that being poor also meant that you might be treated unkindly made a huge impression on me. I can recall the very moment and even what I was wearing at the time; it made such an impression on me. Another experience I remember is first figuring out that my teacher had an obvious favourite and how unfair it was, but that I had to just do my best and get on with it. I can also remember having a fight with my group of friends and being ostracised from the little club we had formed until I was able to make up with them. And finally, being teased for being different was no picnic, but it did make me understand at an early age that people were sometimes unfair and that I had to stand up for myself. I think all these experiences are not unique to being in regular school, but the main difference was that my parents weren't around, so I had to rely on my own judgment. Sometimes I was wrong(I also didn't want to sit next to certain kids) but being wrong was a learning experience as well. What do you think?

streakybacon Wed 07-Sep-11 07:30:42

I've been home edding for nearly three years now and believe me I've come across some truly vile kids. My ds struggled initial with coping with them but he's developed strategies (with my help, to begin with) and now manages lots of different situations pretty well, though he's had some horrible experiences on the way. But overall it's all experience in dealing with the world and the people in it.

For us it's been about balance. I too have brought up ds to recognise that there are unkind people in the world and not everyone follows social rules. He has learned to accept that he can't control people or situations and has to adapt himself to fit into whatever social environment he's in at a given time. I think it has helped that our home ed pattern combines working at home 1-1 with group sessions (both home ed and other groups) and that has given him a wider range of people and situations to interact with. Some have been easier for him than others, for some of the reasons you've listed, but he finds a way (either with my help or, as he's getting older, independently).

The negative aspect of socialisation is always there, whether you home educate or send your children to school. We just have to find ways of negotiating it and teaching our children how to cope.

Betelguese Wed 07-Sep-11 14:17:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AMumInScotland Wed 07-Sep-11 14:31:13

You don't mention what age your nephews are, but HE parents generally find ways of giving their children plenty of time when the parents are not there, once they are old enough to leave with other families / play with other children without close supervision / go to group activities.

So I don't think that being HE means that children will not have to cope with the general unfairness that other children can come up with,or with adults who don't treat them as the centre of their world.

I would certainly expect an 8yo HE child to have plenty of opportunities for their own "eureka" moments about how people interact and how it can be unkind, unfair, etc.

Betelguese Wed 07-Sep-11 14:34:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

julienoshoes Wed 07-Sep-11 14:46:10

Our children have been to school and been home educated.
In school they had to stay in the same location as the bullies. Nothing changed the circumstances, no matter who was told, or how they and we tried to handle it.
As adults we don't expect to be bullied and allow bullies to get away with it in the same way. As Adults, it is a choice whether to stay or deal with it and move away.

Whilst they have been home educated, our children have come across some bigoted bullying people. Our 'kids' were able to make their responses and then choose whether to stay and engage further or leave.
Since being home educated their self confidence and self belief has grown enormously. That was our overall aim. With self confidence and self respect they can deal with situations much better.
It really hasn't been a problem.

The same cannot be said for their friends left behind in school to continue being bullied.

Fuse7 Wed 07-Sep-11 15:07:09

Thank you for the responses, they are helpful! Betelguese, I have read the research regarding HE children and socialisation, and while I believe the conclusion that HE children are well socialised is correct, to me, there is an obvious selection bias in that HE parents and HE families are not representative of the typical families of conventionally schooled children. What I mean, is that I think that HE families are, on average, more focused, knowledgable, and proactive(whether through financial stability or sheer determination) on behalf of their children's education and emotional happiness. My nephews are 9 and 5 and they are wonderful boys, but knowing their parents I would fully have expected them to be just as wonderful as if they had gone to regular school. In short, I don't think those studies can be correctly interpreted as HE children are better socialised than regular schooled children. If you really wanted to know the answer to that question, you would have to take 2 random groups of children, HE one group, send the other to school, and then compare afterwards- a study that will never happen.

musicposy Wed 07-Sep-11 17:44:02

I think my DDs have had their fair share of negative socialisation whilst home ed, but I think as others have said, the difference is you don't have to go into a soul and confidence destroying session every day. You can get a bit of distance to help you learn to deal with it.

Partly, because we tend to do a lot of clubs - with schooled as well as home ed children - we tend to come up against all those things.

An example which may have similarities in your being teased for race (though totally different). DD2 is 12, Year 8 and is tiny. You'd take her for about 9 at most. She's about 4'6" and very slight. She's just started at the local Youth theatre which group strictly by school year. Shes had lots of comments about how she can't possibly be Year 8, children staring at her, adults treating her as though she is completely incapable of anything because of her size. It's a kind of discrimination - she's found all the grown up or responsible roles are currently going to the bigger ones. In time, they'll all find out what she's made of. But it's tough going, being in a group of 60 people mostly towering above you and expecting to be treated the same as them.

Another example is a girl she is very friendly with who is very hot and cold over the friendship. They go dancing together. One day the friend is all over her, another day she is completely ignoring her and talking to other children. One day they are best buddies, another DD will come home upset because her friend won't speak to her. This is exactly what happens in school. It's not that easy to avoid, either, if she wants to keep the dance going, so she's had to learn to deal with it. The advantage, I guess, is that these situations don't loom so large as they do in school because she has other friends, other activities, and more time to reflect on a good course of action. I think this will stand her in good stead for adult life more than being stuck in an impossible situation there is very little way out of.

I don't know that there's the bias you'd think in friendship choices. Some of DD2's friends, in particular, are not at all similar in background to her and not always what I would have chosen in the days she was in school! I've had to really get my judgey pants off because they are of all social classes, backgrounds, incomes, all educational backgrounds, all different views on religion/ ethics/ morals etc. One family will be completely against drug taking and another will see it as a non-issue. One family will live in a huge house and another in a caravan. Home educators are often not at all similar to each other. What I love is that DD2 is growing up to be completely without judgement on all kinds of things - what her friends wear, what type of house (or other dwelling) they live in, where they are educationally, what their family set up is.......those kinds of things are far more important and divisive in school.

Fuse7 Thu 08-Sep-11 09:34:13

Hello MNers, thank you for all your thoughtful responses - it is really useful to get the perspectives of others. I think some of my questions stem from the fact that HE in the US (where my sister in law is) seems a bit different than HE here. In the US, it seems to be a more homogeneous group than over here. Thanks again!

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