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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Socialization: The Internalizing of a Culture or Set of Beliefs

I don't know why this keeps being brought to me, so let me take a moment to address it.

We are not a typical homeschool family.  Not only am I a single-parent (and have been all of my daughter's life), but I also did not start homeschooling from the start.

As a single-mom, I had bought into the lie that I had to work twice as hard as everyone else to achieve stability.

I had my daughter September 2002, at the beginning of my senior year.  I graduated with honors and was accepted into an accelerated-honors psychology program at Abilene Christian University.  I moved out my parents house the summer after graduation, with an infant, and went to school full time (18-19 hours) while working two part-time jobs.  I was both a valet driver and a child care provider at a daycare (that she did not attend).

After school, I worked full-time as a Director of Marketing and Merchandising for a chain of truck stops, convenience stores, and restaurants, while still doing valet part time and was also active in ministry and had my child in extracurriculars like gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc.

I was a busy girl!

I had always liked the idea of homeschooling and had been exposed to it through friends and family as a child, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that is was a possibility for me.

Then in April of 2011 my company was bought out and I was let go with severance.  My child still attended public school, but I took her out of the after-school care program.  After she finished her second grade year, I quit transferring her because the school she attended was not the school zone we lived in, but was near her after-school program.  That proved disastrous, as it was quite a culture shock and psychically and psychologically not as safe as her previous campus.  However, it was the perfect catalyst for us to look at homeschool as an option.

My child doesn't have a learning disability, she does not have emotional instabilities as a result of our situation.  God has been faithful in rearing her into the creature He called into my womb.  Her dad does have involvement even though she has never had us together (as the relationship ended prior to me finding out that I was pregnant).  She is well-adjusted, mature for her age, and an excellent student.  She received awards every year as either being the top student of her grade or the top female student of her grade/class.

But, when we made the switch to the school that she should've been attending all along, we found a drastically different atmosphere.  Children were expected to mirror the behavior or inmates, more than students.  The teachers did not wear smiles, even in the days prior to school even starting.  There was no joy and no love for learning in the classrooms of that building.  The strain and stress that exuded from the staff only tensed the children even the more.  I had never seen anything like it.

Rosalinda, who was by no means shy and naturally a leader, never had issues with other students, especially psychical altercations.  However, from day one, she dealt with children shoving her, trying to trip her, and sending my usually bold and direct child home in tears two to three of the five days that she was forced to attend.  My expectation honestly was that she would've gotten in trouble for retaliating and not standing for the mistreatment, but she retreated into her emotions and became a very sad little girl.

After meeting with staff and principal, my child was removed from the gifted and talented class and placed in the inclusion class, where the student demographic would be kinder.  But the pace of the class was too challenging for Rosalinda, who would finish her work before the teacher began giving instruction and would too often get in trouble for reading while everyone else was doing a lesson because "she knew it already."

So, my child did get mainstream, public education socialization.  She also has always been a part of a church body and part of organized sports.  So she has been surrounded by peers in different settings and "socialized."

*Not going off topic...stay with me*

I was at life group on Monday and we were discussing the difference between intellectualizing and internalizing God and His word.  In that discuss, one of our members said something profound, "Socialization is internalizing culture or a set of beliefs."

Prior to that, I had an animated conversation with a friend who has a toddler and twin infants and is bouncing around the idea of home education.  One of her first concerns was "socialization."

Had I not removed my child from the public system, her socialization would have been the devaluing of others for the sake of lifting up herself.  Those children who bullied her were seeking to build themselves up by tearing others down.  The public system themselves create a culture of cut-throat competition for recognition.  They create a culture of punishment for not fitting the mold that could only fit 1.

  Children who are homeschooled by Christ-directed parents are surrounded by people that create a culture of valuing everyone.  Of seeing everyone as a resource with something to teach.  They create a culture of expressing who God has created you to be.  To be secure in their own abilities and giftings without annual comparisons to others.

So, when you find out that my child is homeschooled (which hopefully you will, since we advertise it proudly), please know that she is socialized.  That she is internalizing a culture and set of beliefs that are very much different from the public and even private school systems.  She is internalizing virtues like faith, courage, self-discipline, honesty, and more to be able to endure the questions and misunderstandings of others as she opposes the cookie-cutter ideas of who she should be, but embraces all of the oddities of who God has created her to be.  To value all as creations of our Creator. I have also seen her unfold in ways that blow my mind.  As she is surrounded by adults, she has began grasping ideas that are beyond her years.  I watch her boldly take steps to grow, even when she isn't quite sure.  Things that would have been stunted or smothered by the restrictions on her individuality in our polluted educational system.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. This is so very true of all homeschooled children. There are other ways of socializing and spending time with your peers than many people realize. On the upside, the homeschooled child is not exposed to the negative aspects of socializing, done in the public sector, such as opportunities to learn from other students the dangerous and ungodly attributes, demeanor and dress, just to name a few. I applaud your success, thus far, in bringing up a very well rounded child!