Friday, March 18, 2011

My Final(?) Thoughts on Socialization

SIDE NOTE: Well, Brynn has successfully passed her flu to Mom and Dad. Although no one really likes to feel like garbage, I'd be glad to do it if I could guarantee my milk wouldn't dry up. Because I can't keep enough liquids down, though, I'm really worried! So if anyone has any brilliant advice beyond "do the best you can to drink little bits as often as possible," which I'm already doing, I'm open for advice!

That said, on with today's real meat. I'm writing at 4 AM because I feel really yucky and can't sleep, so if this isn't as coherent as I'd like, kindly cut me some slack. If you read this post between 7 AM and 9:30 AM, you'll notice I've pared a lot down.

SUMMARY OF WHAT THIS POST IS REALLY ABOUT:
I just haven't been satisfied with my previous posts on Socialization because my own clarity on the subject is slowly developing. I think, though, this post will finally say what I've been trying to express.

Bottom line is this: what is the purpose of Socialization?

Seriously, think about it for a minute.

If you would contest that the purpose of socialization is to learn how to read social expectations well enough to meet them and "blend in," then by all means send your children to public schools.

But I believe the ultimate purpose of socialization--the real point behind ANY human interaction--is the ability to create successful, meaningful, long-term relationships in our families and our communities.

THE LONGER VERSION
Did my own time spent in school help me with this kind of socialization--the kind that prepared me for being a wife and mother? I can't think of a single thing that I learned in school that prepared me for my current role. In fact, the only things I do remember are the things that encouraged me AWAY from my current role (like encouragement to aspire to a career instead of the "limiting" and totally "not cool" role of homemaking).

I thank God every day that having married the husband I did, I was able to have this role--and that he thinks it's important for me to be home with my children. I have been so pleasantly surprised by the joy and satisfaction found here that I have never found in any corporate or schooling pursuit.

I have a strong conviction--on a religious level as well as a personal level--that the family, when successfully done, is the greatest source of happiness a person can experience. Indeed, it is the crowning glory of God. We are His children. And if we are obedient to God's laws and rely on the atonement for our deficiencies, it is our privilege to have our own children forever in the eternal world. And it is this--having children--that is the very source of God's glory and happiness!

Homeschooling builds the family. Public schooling, at best, separates it for untold hours a day with little benefit and, at worst, directly undermines it.

So am I worried about my kids missing the "socialization" offered by public schools? Not in the least. I hope to prepare them for a far greater, far deeper set of social skills--those skills only acquired and mastered in the home.

Can you have close families when kids are in public school? Yes, it is possible--but it's also been my experience that this is the exception to the rule. And why take the risk?

It seems obvious to me that the more time you spend in any one environment, the more you learn about being successful in that environment. I mastered being what other people wanted me to be in school. At home, I am mastering the person I want to be and I hope to give my children this gift by home schooling them.

I hope that was as clear to you as it was in my head.

2011Res: To Matt: I absolutely adore that you are so focused on prioritizing our family. To Heidi: I am savoring the fact that you're not sick yet and just LOVE what a sweet, mellow baby you are. Dear Mr. H: I brought you some ginger ale when neither of us felt like moving a muscle.

5 comments:

The Lingo Family said...

I was sick while breastfeeding Ella and the breastfeeding help line suggested I go to the vitamin store and get Fenugreek. I did and it seemed to work because I had plenty of milk despite being dehydrated. Good luck. :)

Angela Hill said...

I second what the other person just said, get the fenugreek. There is also some mothers tea out there that is supposed to boost milk production, but I wouldn't know where to find it in UT. You might be a little low on the milk for a couple days but the fenugreek will help get you back up in no time.

Anonymous said...

Natalie,
I've been intrigued with your posts on homeschooling and I'm glad that you've taken the time to share your thoughts. Reading your blog has encouraged me to give more consideration to my own views on the subject and the timing is good because we are expecting a baby in June. After reading your recent post, a question came to my mind...if you had had a boy or boys instead of two girls, would you still have the same position on home schooling? The reason I ask is because you mentioned that public schooling did very little to prepare you for your current role, but I don't see that as the duty of public education. I see public education as a means to prepare kids for college and then for the workforce. It sounds to me like you are wanting to prepare your daughters in a way that you weren't prepared in school...to be a mother. While it sounds like if you had a son, your objective would be more towards wanting him to get the education he would need to get a good job to provide for a family the way Matt does for you. So my question to you is essentially this: if your third child is a boy, will that change your thoughts at all on the virtues of homeschooling over public education? My second question on subject would be this: if your child as some point asked to go to public school, would you agree to it?
I only ask because you always have such thoughtful responses. I really appreciate how much you put into raising your girls and being a terrific role model for them. They are truly blessed.

Angela (from the Downtown KC Rotary)

Lyndsay said...

I've been homeschooling Finn this year. Mind you, it's only preschool. But he CRAVES socialization. He gets some from friends and church. But I have noticed he also thrives when he has the opportunity to learn from someone other than me. I notice that the combination of me teaching him at home, then having it reinforced by a teacher (at Sunday school, for example), he grows that much more. I actually had a really positive public school experience. I was in AP classes, went on to go to college, and even graduated with an MFA by the time I was 23. And that was really due to my parents' involvement in my education. My mom was a librarian, and sometimes a substitute (but stayed at home to raise us without working until we were in middle school). We saw her at our school often. She was involved in PTA. And both parents were invested in everything we were learning. Sometimes to the point that it was annoying! :) I had the benefit of a devoted stay-at-home mom, who also found a way to make the best of our public education. We discussed and learned at home in conjunction with school. I plan to send Maya and Finn to public school. Mainly because I know, personally, that I would be awful as a homeschooler in the long run. I've learned that it is just not for me as a mom. I know I will be a better mom this way. I think it comes down to what a parent feels is best, and within their capabilities as a parent. I really admire parents who homeschool. I often wish it was something that I really had the patience for and enjoyed. And as long as parents feel really great about their decision, and it's the right thing for the child, I'm all for either.

Although "unschooling" sounds a bit appealing, I must admit! :)

Alyson said...

If I were more motivated I'd do a similar series of blog posts from the perspective of 12 years into the homeschool process, and I'd hope you'd help me steer Angela (from the Downtown KC Rotary) toward it. Because my boys are much better prepared for college (more focused, better able to prioritize their time), for the workforce (because even as children they have a work ethic), and for real life (they help their dad constantly with home repairs, they mow the lawn, they help me prepare meals, they do laundry, etc.). Homeschool has prepared my sons to be Men more completely than any of their peers I can see around me. And I really do try to be observant about that.

Plus they're mostly done by 1:00 pm or so, and still have time to be kids—riding bikes, building snowmen, even playing Wii.

I love homeschool.