Socialization

The dreaded “S” word.

It crops up from time to time and I just sigh.

In a recent conversation with (we’ll call this person Kate) Kate, I was asked if I was worried my kids weren’t getting enough socialization.  I bit my tongue on what I wanted to say and instead gave her a more generic reply.  There really is no reasoning with people who firmly believe children can only have socialization if enrolled in public or private school.

Kate has a little one who is soon ready to enter Pre-K.  While Kate is wishy-washy on whether she wants to homeschool, her husband is adamantly against it because of socialization.  The only thing that appears to matter is socialization and not education.  Insert head scratch here.

I really do not like to argue with people who are incapable of doing some independent research on socialization in schools or elsewhere.  So instead, I will tell you what it is I do to ensure my children are socialized.

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First and foremost, I enroll my girls in activities that interest them.  When my youngest was four, I found a place for her to do weekly gymnastics.  We went to the playground a lot,  went shopping together, interacted with family, friends and strangers.

She got older and we moved to a new city.  It’s no easy task finding resources for your children when living in the middle of nowhere, so when we finally moved to a somewhat bigger city I was thrilled to find a great many activities for my children.  There’s actually a lot available geared towards homeschoolers where we now live, so that is a great bonus!

The only downside was the lack of secular co-op and secular families with whom to connect with.  Sooo after much persuasion from the dear hubby, I decided to start a Secular group! And boy am I glad that I did!  We now have an active co-op with several secular families that are involved.  We do field trips, activities, enroll the girls in interest-geared activities through the park district, and attempt to meet up at the park with other families and schedule playdates for the girls.

What I truly love about this is that my girls do not only interact with the same age kids.  She is learning it’s OK to interact with those younger and older and that it can be a great deal of fun and an educational opportunity.  With the younger children, my oldest has learned to be patient, to slow down a little.  With the older ones, she has found camaraderie and does not feel intimidated by those older than her.  With the co-op, my daughter has learned to respect other grown-ups since the moms are very much involved in our co-op and she is capable of holding a lovely conversation with those who are not only her peers.

My oldest has blossomed, has learned, and is in fact socializing with a great many people of all different ages and cultural backgrounds.

It does take some work and some effort on the parents part to make all this happen.  But it is possible.

So I ask you, Kate, does your child socialize?  Really and truly get an opportunity to socialize?