Saturday, September 25, 2010



One of the most heard questions asked about homeschoolers tends to be the one about socialization. To be more specific, How are your children going to learn to socialize if they are not around their peers?

This year has been fun watching all these little girls in dance. Last year they were very quiet and shy with exception to Selena. While many of them are still shy, I see them starting to be more social with each other. Selena is the only child in this class that does not attend either a preschool or daycare at least a couple times a week.

I have noticed one thing though, Selena is the one who is the most outgoing. She is the first one to approach the other children, to introduce herself, start up a conversation, and even introduce me to the other parents. This has made me ask, where does a child really learn to be social? As I observe these little girls in their world learning how to socialize with each other, I have also taken a more conscience awareness of all the mom’s and the way we socialize.

I notice, that when we get to dance class if I am going to have any of the other mom’s speak to me, I am the one who has to first initiate the conversation. If I wait for them to say hi to me, look at me, or even acknowledge anything more then their child’s presence in the room, I first must be the one to speak up and greet them. Have you ever stopped to think how hard it is at times when you are standing in a room with other mother’s who do not know each other and be the one to first initiate conversation?

The other thing I have observed is how much each child represents their parent in behavior, actions, conversation skills, loudness or softness of the voice, and eye contact. I notice that if a mom is not able to make eye contact with another adult, and converse in a confident toned voice, their child usually looks at the floor, shuffles the feet, talks in a very quiet voice and is not as confident either.

When I step out of the dance room, I notice that the skills that Selena has does not disappear, she is still the more outgoing child, though she will tend to be a little more reserved then if I am right at her side. What have I been learning through all of this? In my observations, our children really do learn their social skills from us. We can send them to school, dance class, day care, pre school, but they are still going to take their cues to socialization from what they observe in us. This also makes me more aware of the fact that while I want to teach Selena some reserve, that I also have to be willing to step out of my comfort zone and show her the appropriate way to approach those around us.

I truly feel we set the example, our children are going to learn by how they see us socialize and interact with others, they will then take what they have learned from us out into their world. I feel they do need to be around peers to practice what they are learning from us but I do not believe their peers are going to teach them about socialization like we will.

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  1. It's a very interesting post and observations. I am not at all shy, but I am introverted. I can strike the conversation, but... to be honest small talk bores me and I can't wait to get away. Anna is much the same way. She is extremely outgoing with adults and chats up anyone who wants to talk to her. Children, however, is the other matter. She is very good in 1:1 situations if she wants to get to know someone, but she is also apt to tell them to go away if she is preoccupied with something or doesn't want "competition" in what she is doing. I discussed this with her preschool teacher, and she confirmed that she is well liked, but she doesn't "open up" easily to peers. She prefers to play on her own even when she is supposedly "socializing".

  2. I agree with you that children learn to socialize from their parents if they spend enough time with them. Otherwise, it's the nannies or other children in preschools that have the most influence. But there's also personality traits that the child is born with. JC was a slow to warm child and didn't go to anyone unless she developed a trust with them. She's gotten better with age but she still tells me that she doesn't like going up to strangers or other children sge doesn't know. She breaks out of this once in awhile and surprises me though. We are both introverted but enjoy the company of close friends. I used to shy about from small talk with people i did not know well but ever since having JC, i have made more effort to break out of my shell to start conversations. I've learned that making small talk is a learned skill and it becomes easier AND it csn be fun! I hope i can model for JC that sometimes, it's appropriate to talk to others about "light" stuff and not be self-absorbed.

  3. Very intersting observations. I haven't really thought too much about it, but I think you're right.

  4. I tend to agree to a point. I also feel that their own personality will often take over somewhat and the 'socialness' of the child is often different depending on the environment at the time. :)

  5. I think you are right too. Great post! I have always hated the socialization question. It's so ridiculous. My kids go to public school, but I don't send them there to learn how to socialize and I certainly would not worry about their ability to interact with others if they were not in school. I have three children - my 13 year old son and my 4 year old daughter are VERY outgoing and make friends very easily, but my 6 year old son is very shy and keeps to himself. I don't think any of this has to do with the fact that they are in school!

  6. I think some of it is inborn. Some children naturally play easily with others, some are naturally more reserved. It may be that some of it is genetic and that's why you see the similarities between parents and their children. My son is very reserved around others, and would be that way no matter if he was in school or at home. It's just the way he is wired. He sees us interact normally all the time.

  7. I'll agree with Kylie, it's partially the parent's skills and partially personality.

    Hmmm, this wasn't posted like I thought.