"Socialization"—the homeschooler's "s-word," the final recourse of opponents and skeptical relatives who, unable to discredit homeschooling in any other way, declare that if children don't attend school they will not be properly "socialized."

Homeschooling families puzzle over this concern, having observed that their children are much more at ease with people of all ages than are most schoolchildren, arguing that peer-socialization is unnatural and generally negative, and pointing to the vast array of sports teams, musical ensembles, church groups, and other associations to which they belong. Why this concern, they wonder, with something as natural and easily attainable as socialization?

Perhaps because getting along with people and functioning well in the world is not the only working definition of socialization. In consideration of the following quote from The Underground History of American Education by former New York State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto, the idea that socialization is a school function not commonly duplicated by homeschoolers makes much more sense (emphasis added):

The whole concept of "socialization" has been the subject of a large library of books and may be considered to occupy an honored role as one of the most important ongoing studies (and debates) in modern history. In shorthand, what socialization is concerned with from a political standpoint is the discovery and application of a system of domination which does not involve physical coercion.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 30, 2005 at 10:44 am | Edit
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