Beyond Socialization

    By Renee Miller

In the midst of a discussion about Garden Schooling/homeschooling the other day, I was asked, “What about socialization?” After traveling the non-public school road for over fifteen years, I’ve heard this so often my first instinct is to laugh. I’m not overly impressed with the social skills of students who spend the bulk of their childhood confined to interacting with masses of their peers.school_building[1]

Those of us who attended years of mass schooling know that not standing out kept you from ridicule. And who wants their child to be ridiculed? Yet, if we are going to raise strong leaders, they must expect and know not only how to stand apart, but also how to weather ridicule. And one thing I learned in government schools? Popular opinion shifts with the wind.

To take a different path than the crowd challenges the people around you – your family, your in-laws, your friends. It flies in the face of the billions of dollars of advertising that saturate our waking hours. Yet, that is precisely how God created us to be: different, no two alike.

Each of us with our own calling and gifts to bring to the world-that immeasurable something for which standardized tests cannot account.

The current hyper-socialization children have to endure is rarely questioned. Our society is working from the vantage point that the family and the church are not viable entities to raise children. Only the government is capable enough for the job. However, from our Christian viewpoint, one result of that is people with a thousand Facebook friends and no true community.

community-work-of-the-people[1]Being in genuine community-learning to truly be civil and social-is hard work. It doesn’t happen in an environment of bells and whistles with hundreds of same-aged peers.

People have a deep longing for family and community, and yet little to no idea of how to become a part of one.

So I encourage you in this new year to slow down the pace of our current culture. Step off the conveyor belt of mass education, and get to know a few people well.

To stay in community through thick and thin is rare. Yet the reward is a small glimpse into the richness of the heavenly family that God has in store for us. To provide this “taste of heaven” is what our community is all about.

It’s time we went beyond socialization and got back to community.

May our children venture out into the world with their cup full and their feet firmly on the ground.

Your Thoughts: What does being in community mean for you?

    Renee is the founder and director of The Garden School and Cornerstone Classical School (as well as “The Miller Family School”). Though trained in the public school model–she has taught everything from first grade to junior high science–Renee’s first foray away from this system resulted in The Garden School. Renee holds a Master’s Degree in Teaching and Learning from Point Loma Nazarene College. She is a strong advocate for classical Christian education and an accomplished public speaker. The Millers currently live in a busy multi-generational household immersed in classical and Christian ideals and a whole lot of love.

3 comments on “Beyond Socialization

  1. TexasCeCe says:

    I was a public school teacher for 15 years. I am now homeschooling one of our 5 children and I can safely say that she will not miss the socializing that goes on at her school. I am trying to provide more “friendship” opportunities for her since we are not plugged in with a homeschooling group yet. Any suggestions?

  2. Renee Miller says:

    Many of our families are involved in 4H, Girl/Boy Scouts, Church groups, community theatre, service groups, and club sports. I think it’s important to consider her areas of giftedness and connect her with some older mentors in your community. Some of my best friends are much older or younger than I am.

  3. Lizzie says:

    Hi, CeCe!

    So glad to see you here! 🙂

    I love the advice Renee gave… I think it’s important to consider her areas of interest and giftedness as well, because that’s one of the beauties of homeschool and one of the things I appreciated most about being homeschooled. You’re free to pursue what excites you!

    I had a few other ideas as well… My mom and I used to take a community art class together, as well as a pottery class, and I loved both! Something like that maybe? Community dance classes, or maybe you could throw a party with the neighborhood kids?

    I don’t know… just a few ideas! Let us know how it goes!

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