Everyone, thanks for your comments on my last post about socialization. It’s clear that I’m not the only one for whom this subject hits a nerve.
Charlotte made a comment about the flip side of this issue – socialization in schools. I normally try not to pontificate about schools (albeit with imperfect success), because I realize that I just don’t know. So I’m going to promote Charlotte’s comment to the main page, and hope that some other parents whose kids go to school chime in as well. She wrote:
I don’t always feel like they’re getting so much socialization there, but institutionalization. So much of the day is spent teaching kids to function in a large institution with many other kids, mostly for crowd control purposes. I understand why they have to do it, but watching them march silently in their lines (using the lines in the floor as tracks) all over the school several times a day just breaks my heart. Watching them have silent lunch for the last 10 minutes of their 25 minute lunch “hour” (and MUCH less for the kids who have to wait in line) makes me seethe. To me, and maybe I’m having a bit of “grass is greener” moments, it makes far more sense to organize social activities and moments of institutionalization (like sitting still in church) in a more natural environment. School is the only time in our lives when we really have to live like that.
Yes, this is one of the things that concerns me when I think about school. When I say that we homeschool partly for religious reasons, I mean that I worry that an intense focus on conformity and obedience doesn’t honor children’s inherent human worth and dignity. Some parent bloggers who have influenced my thoughts about this are Fed Up Mom at Coalition for Kid-Friendly Schools (especially her posts about the fad of “Whole Brain Teaching”) and Chris at A Blog About School.
My kids are normally pretty well-behaved, but I can’t imagine how my dreamy, thoughtful introvert would hold up in a classroom that required this level of constant knee-jerk call-and-response conformity.
Again, though: we’re not school users and never have been at the grade school level. I’d appreciate comments from people who are, and from homeschoolers whose kids have direct school experience.