The most comment/question we get from people who find out we homeschool revolves around socialization.
I’ve discussed previously the issue of socialization and homeschooling, so I am not going to discuss it here. What I would like to discuss, however, is the idea (or, at least, the implication) that public schooling is the source of societal socialization.
I attended 7 schools. The schools were spread over two provinces. That’s a pretty small sample size for sure, but think it does point out at least some consistency in education among some public schools.
In those 7 schools, I was taught various topics: social studies, history, math, physics, French, English, computer science, biology, chemistry, general sciences, health, woodworking, cooking, sewing, typewriting, and so on. I even had physical education classes.
What I didn’t have, however, were etiquette classes. I received absolutely no formal training on protocol for interacting with peers and superiors.
Sure, I had group work and interacted with teachers. Those experiences taught me how to work in groups and how to interact with those in authoritative positions. That being said, they weren’t the only source of my lessons in those areas.
I learnt social skills at church, in Scouts, on my soccer team, buying chocolate bars and Fresca at the corner store, in my friends’ backyards, talking to the police after pranking 911, ordering food at a restaurant, attending family reunions, growing up in a family of seven, getting into fights, working at McDonald’s, getting my driver’s licence, applying for my SIN, bartering on the price of my friend’s 100 comics, and so on.
My own experience teaches me that I learnt social skills throughout my life and because of numerous, varied situations. Going to public school does not seem to have been the basis for my current social skills.
As a result, I wonder not only if this makes the question “what about socialization” moot, but if the purpose of public school is even the point of public education.
Should the point of public schooling be to provide social experiences, which it does to a very limited degree? Should the point of public schooling be to provide instruction and knowledge?