It's a dirty word for homeschoolers I've come to learn. They resent the mention of it, insist that their homeschooled kids are actually better socialized than their away-from-home-schooled counterparts, and readily provide an array of examples to prove it.
Myself, I see the benefits of a child learning alongside peers. Of course I believe it should be in an accredited Montessori school, because it offers so many opportunities for a true socialization. It is one of the elements I wish I could somehow provide for Sean here, and one that I believe he misses too. He often talks about his friends at school, and his teachers there. And at this age, they are collaborative learners. I love that about the Montessori elementary classroom, because collaboration is a natural part of it.
We are trying hard to find others to socialize with, and we attended a homeschool group meeting today. We've only been formally homeschooling for a little more than a month now, but it is tough when you believe the method of education you're using is the best one for your child and yet no one else is using it.
It presents challenges, because their ideas of things to incorporate, such any sort of co-op instruction are opposite of how my child learns and how I want him to learn.
I notice there are a lot of claims: such as how much their children know, how their children are advanced, and even ahead of other homeschooled kids. I know that for a lot of people it is really important to believe they have a gifted or advanced child. It feeds that need to be "better" than others. And we are all proud of our children.
I just want my child to be happy, and love to learn. I want him to grow up knowing we live in a diverse world, and I want him to know how to interact with all types of people, and be tolerant of all types of people.
So today was a part of the curriculum called "socialization." (That is a joke really, because we don't have a set curriculum.) We socialized for about an hour. Then we went to the grocery store in the city, and that is where the learning took place today.
"There are a lot of people speaking a lot of different languages," he said as we pushed the cart through the isles.
We saw Muslim women with a little baby girl wearing the Muslim head scarf. We saw rich people, poor people, and lots of different types of food. We read labels to compare the amounts of sugar in each cereal, and opted for the plain Cheerios, though he really wanted Fruity Cheerios.
We loaded our groceries into the car and were happy to come back to our peaceful home.