Forget socialisation, get to know your kids again

One of the first question unschoolers get, time and time again, is: what about socialisation?

Often when families start out unschooling or home educating we try to replicate what we know.  We think of structure, classes, activities, play time and try to recreate that in a home type environment.  It’s not a bad thing within itself, but it can make it a slow road to unschooling.

Having our minds set on how things should be makes it hard for us to see how they could be.  We look in the wrong places and as a consequence we are unable to see and understand what would be best for our children.

I’d be lying if my doubts all too often crept in, especially when I was first starting out. I was constantly concerned whether my kids were getting the right amount of ‘exposure’ with other ‘similar aged’ kids.  I was often looking for things to sign my kids up to, getting them to trial out stuff. Do stuff. Meet people. And so forth.

The truth is that it was all a bit of a failure.  Not completely, but mostly.  If I were to look back, I really wish I hadn’t tried so hard to seek these things out.  As I was doing that, I failed to look properly at what my kids wanted or needed.

They didn’t need all the extra stuff.  They didn’t want the forced and often awkward social meetups. The activities mostly felt like a waste of time and money.

Really, they just needed time together, as a family.  Of course, they didn’t know they needed this.  Just like as parents, we didn’t really know either.  But in hindsight, this is what helped make us stronger. Make us understand each other better.

Over time we grew to understand each other better.  You may think you know your kids, but really you don’t get to know them until you break down the rules and re-build them together.  For us, this is when things started to get real good.

By looking at them as a whole and letting them guide us, we learned to better understand their needs.  Sometimes their needs were to get out with other kids.  However, most of the time it wasn’t.

It doesn’t mean we don’t socialise.  We just do it on our terms and with a more open view.

As adults, we’re not expected to socialise every single day.  Why has it become this expectation that kids should do so, and only with people the same age?  Kinda bonkers if you think about it.

3 comments on “Forget socialisation, get to know your kids again

  1. -

    Same with our family.
    I drove and drove on these intense Florida highways.
    My daughter tried to go along, and did for a few years. Mall walks, rock-climbing, parks. Then I stopped encouraging when it became clear my daughter wanted to be home building a computer system and attending a few dance classes a week.
    Much happier and relaxed.
    Wish I had made the decision earlier.

  2. -

    I am going back and forth, back and forth with the idea of “unschooling” my kids. This is our first year of homeschooling and, I must say, we have some pretty grueling days. But, everyday I question what I’m doing. Should I be giving them a formal education at home or not? More and more it is looking like I should not. My kids are the kind that, if given space and opportunity, they will usually pick up something they like to do…and, no, this doesn’t always involve playing a video game. But, just when I think I will take the plunge and begin deschooling them, the doubts come parading into my head like a REALLY LOUD and off-key high school marching band! These thoughts scream at me, “What are you doing? What’s going to happen to them when/if they decide they want to go to college? How will they learn the things they need to pass tests? How will they complete the educational guidelines the world has laid out for them to keep them from falling behind, meeting life’s challenges, getting a JOB?? I hope that this journey of guessing, doubting, trying, then abruptly ending projects and activities comes to an end soon. It is pure misery. If I can be happy and secure in the choices I make to school my kids, won’t my children follow suit? By the way, thank you for the article. Anything can be picked up, looked at and studied from all different angles, allowing us to come to our own unique conclusions! 🙂

  3. -

    I have a real situation that need a solution and I feel unsxholimh is our answer. My nine year old has become so depressed and low in self esteem as his teacher this year is extremely rigid and refuses to understand that my son Is kinesthetic and cannot learn inher heienvironment and she daily torments him I front of his peers leaving him with no friends . His grades have slipped from all A’s in a charter school that moved. She calls daily if he so much as leaves crumbs at snack time and fabricates him being noseybaa he wants to know why she gave him an F Ona paper he worked hard on but simply is visual and manipulative in his leaning and freezes as he is terrified of her and his father who is hardly in his life but barks loudly when grades are low. I’ve known my son needs one on one time and learns Math and reading outdoors and not In a clasroom 30 hours a week doing papers an so being purely miserable to the point he now believes her that is he not capable as she tells him of doing work at grade level. He is filled with daily aniery that is so bad it makes him physically ill and he cries at the mere thought of going to school Mondays on Fridays . He needs help quickly and I need help unschooling him and helping him see the light that his childhood will not be filled with daily suffering at her hands and this public school that has created a paper trail on him due to his inability to comply with sequential learning. She has without my permission placed him in a SPED CLASS FOR READING AND MATH by sesnding him at the back of her class for EXTRA SUPPORT forcing hi to read extemmly low level books but whe home if he reads a subject he is passionate about he can do most anything with comprehension. Yet now I can barely get him to pick up any book as he has associated reading with anger and the negative tone they use to teach him. Please help me help my son. He is sweet and has slowly become angry and so depressed he is having tantrums and my ex won’t allow therapy. He says my son needs to adjust his attidue and comply to her standards. The year is nearly done and he seems as if he can’t take one more day. What do I do and where do I begin to help heal my sons heart and emotional state?

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