Although right now most of the people I associate with are very cordial or accepting of the fact that I homeschool, in the past, most people get a sour look on their face and say "Aren't you worried about them socially?"
Okay folks, this is my time to rant and rave. Who says public school is a great place to learn social skills? Because....IT ISN'T!
I have come up with 6 reasons why public schools are one of the worst places to learn social skills. If children come out of public school with social graces, I place most of the credit on their parents, communities, and the parents of their friends. NOT on the public school system. I will post these six reasons separately (because I'm very opinionated about this and need space to vent.)
REASON 1: You only associate with children your same age.
NOTE: The first three reasons will deal primarily with public elementary schools.
Most of us out there have gone to public school. You are put into a class room full of 20-25 others who are exactly the same age as you. We all know that to befriend someone out of this age limit that is given to us, is uncouth.
I remember my belief that a child had to be in the same grade as me to be my friend quite vividly. I was in a school that measured age from August 15th to August 15th of the next year. However, I was in a church sunday school class that measured age from January first to January first of the next year. As a result, I had some sunday school class members whose birthdays were in the fall, and so they were in a grade younger than me at school. They were different then me. I wasn't quite sure if it was okay for me to be friends with these people who were so much younger then I was.
Although this thinking is so obviously ridiculous to me now, I am positive that I was not alone in these social beliefs.
WHEN in one's adult life are people EVER put into situations where the only people that they correspond with are exactly the same age as them? Hum.....NEVER. How is this preparing children socially for the work place? How is this teaching them the social skills needed in a diverse community? And most important (in my opinion) how is this teaching them to be part of a family setting now and in the future? Well, frankly, it doesn't.
Many public school children have difficulty in relating to adults, especially the elderly. They're not sure how to interact and talk with people much older then them, never mind knowing how to work with them. This places them at a social disadvantage when leaving school.
This also makes it hard for them to feel comfortable being involved in their community fully, where much older people including senior citizens are the people with which you would have to collaborate.
And last but not least, age segregation often leads to young adults who have no idea how to interact with small children, especially babies. When the popularity of small families ties with children who are stuck in publics schools, you get young adults who feel very awkward around children. Don't deny it; I'm sure you've seen evidence of this. We now have community classes that teach new mothers how to interact with their own children. Everything from action songs to finger painting, these obvious social skills now have to be taught.
Age segregation just doesn't happen in the homeschool community. Families get together with families. The ages don't match up exactly. Grandparents often get involved. Even if you are the youngest of your family, chances are, you are not the youngest of your homeschool community, and you get plenty of experience holding babies and helping teach younger children. Mentors are all ages and everyone is comfortable with this and have plenty of one on one talking and relating.
Conclusion: Homeschool social graces gets 1 point, Public school gets 0 points.