When Not to Socialize Your Kids

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She's in college now. An art major with a solidifying style and a keen wit. She's getting better, she tells me, at speaking her mind. In high school, she was a coward who kept her mouth shut to stay in proximity to the popular kids.

For more than twenty minutes, she recounts tales of woe and despicable behavior that played out around her as a teen in school. At the center of this imploding mess was an Alpha girl and a wannabe. Those two, it seems, were the catalyst and trigger for a swath of atrocities. But she was too insecure to do anything. She didn't even dare leave the circle of dysfunction.

"I envy you your homeschooling," she announces. "I wouldn't have thought I was stupid." A moment. Then, "I'm not stupid."

Each time she is reminded of this fact, the opposite message she learned in school fades just a little bit. A self-proclaimed nerd, she finds much comfort in the words of Paul Graham. She's not stupid. The kids were simply mean and the system so inflexible that it couldn't accommodate her strengths and help her overcome her weaknesses.

People critical of homeschooling tend to talk of socialization in the teen years as if it is something homeschoolers lack. The more I talk with kids who survived this period of time, the more I'm prone to think the opposite is true. Skipping this "cruel and stupid world" may actually be a very good thing. This young lady didn't learn how to deal with bullies. She's learned--and is learning--since high school ... not because of it.

So when should you not socialize your kids? When you'd rather lay a foundation and spare them from the nastiness of a society run by insecure children who have little purpose in the world they are forced to inhabit.

What other reasons have you discovered that keep you from "socializing" your kids?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. The irony, of course, is that those of us who stayed home for some of these years were likely far better socialized for it because we were in a real world with adults.

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  1. Karen

    Hi Luke, just wanted to say I enjoy reading your posts and this one gave plenty for me to chew on...but first, since inquiring minds want know, why did you go to public high school? I think I read it in one of your last posts. Curious is all. Anyway, that Paul Graham article-wow- that guy knows how to make his case. Guess "nerds" are good at that. I can agree wholeheartedly that for me, high school was a painfully artificial environment where a lot of jaded and uninspired teenagers created their own dysfunctional society. I fell into the "freak" category. We had a common social bond of drugs and rebellion and it really was my basis of family. I am absolutely thrilled and forever thankful that God has given me the opportunity to provide a totally different experience for not only my kids education but their sense of self discovery and development. Homeschooling has been a calling for our family because it bests lends itself to the turning of the tide, the beginning of building a family that loves God, that can be built up and sent out. I'm excited for all that's in store and I am thankful Sonlight will be our tool in this journey. Thanks!

  2. Karen, I've written about this quite a bit over the years. I'll start you out with just a couple posts--which link to more posts


    If you liked Paul Graham's Nerds essay, I think you'll also really like his essay on Essays as well <smile>. He discusses the idea of making a case in that article, and I found it fascinating!


  3. Karen

    Thanks Luke. Surely it is a testament to your faith and upbringing that you were ready for ministry in high school. Who knows, you may have been just the friend I needed. Being salt and light is something we are all called to, and the fact that you personally decided to make it your mission field is pretty neat. There are a lot of bands with Christian members like that. P.O.D for example, they play mainstream shows like Ozzfest because they refuse to be placed inside a Christian bubble and preach to the choir. Good idea so long as who is influencing who is kept straight. Anyway, it is neat to see God uses homeschoolers in powerful ways, and we should follow where He leads, even to public high school if it's the case. Now off to read Paul Graham....