Thursday, July 28, 2005

Schooling Does Not Ensure That Children Are Well Socialized

The number of my personal experiences of witnessing poor social skills of schooled children is getting larger and larger. I should write them all down and date them.

I’d like to share some on the blog but it may cause problems. Since some local people know who I am, it may cause problems in my own community if someone finds out I am writing about their (unnamed) children in my blog. I also can’t write about stories of my own family as some of them know about my blog, and others read it. I’d like to write some of my experiences in Cub Scouting but am afraid that if the organization finds out that I am writing negative things about Scouts personal lives that I may get into trouble. My role as a volunteer with the Cub Scouts is more important to me than is my writing about my experiences in this blog.

I think I’ll start writing them down and keep them to myself. Then when people start bugging me about their worries that homeschooled children are at risk for not developing good social skills, I can refer to my experiences for reassurance. I could also save these to read back on when my children are adults and I want to see how my own children turned out. I am guessing that all my hard work at parenting them and teaching them is going to help create responsible, decent, and friendly people.

In a nutshell what I am finding is that many schooled children (public, private, or parochial) are lacking in social skills. Some are also lacking in basic respect of authority figures (their own parents, other adults, their teachers, their Cub Scout Leaders, etc.). Other children probably have never been taught basic manners or social graces, such as saying hello to a person, introducing oneself, inviting a child to join them in a game they are playing, etc. I am not even talking here about the problem of meanness, bullying, or other more serious bad behaviors.

Just attending a preschool or a school, or Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or being a Scout does not mean that a child is being taught social skills. Parents should not pass off the responsibility of teaching social skills to teachers or anyone else. Parents should teach their child social skills, even if they choose to hand over the academic education of their children to paid professionals.

I am a huge believer now that the social skills must be taught at home. Parents of homeschooled children are obviously the main teachers of their children’s social skills. This is not to say that every homeschooling parent is actually teaching their children social graces. I do know some homeschooled children lacking in social skills, obviously, because they have not been taught. However, parents of schooled children should not pass off this teaching to the schools because attendance in schools and lots of time around peers of the same age is NOT ENOUGH to teach good social skills. The proof of this is the large number of disrespectful children and also, adults who have never learned good social skills.

Other evidence of poor social skills can be viewed on reality television shows with adults (Big Brother 6), teenager reality shows (Made), court television shows (Judge Judy), and daytime talk television skills (Dr. Phil). I am convinced that most of society’s problems are caused by people not living out the Golden Rule. Basic disrespect of others, not respecting authority (or the law), and poor communication skills are the main culprits of problems in our society.

The lack of empathy is another huge problem. It also seems that many children, teenagers, and adults (by the way) don’t care about the consequences of their actions. Many people think only of themselves, doing what they think is right for themselves without a thought as to what the result (to others) will be.

1 comment:

Karen said...

You wrote that some homeschool children do not have social graces because, obviously, they haven't been taught. Oh, how my husband and I both teach, and reteach our children social graces. We explain to our 5 children over and over again, we role play, we read books to them about socializing, etc. And yet it breaks my heart to say that my 3 boys, especially my oldest, continually demonstrate their lack of social skills when they don't feel the need. I always feel terrible about this because I feel like people think what you wrote - that we obviously don't take the time to teach our children, but oh, we do. They just don't always listen. Unfortunately, some of the public schooled children in our neighborhood have more in the social graces department than our own children. I practically cry over this every day. We did find out that they all have a component of SM (selective mutism) which, in a way, makes me feel a little better - I guess its an excuse for their social inabilities. I just wanted to present a different side to the story. It's not always what it appears to be. It is very hard to accept that despite your best efforts and intentions, your children don't always come out the way you hope.