What About Socialization?

One of the common questions many homeschoolers are asked is, “What about socialization?” After muttering some things about how much more time homeschooled children have for such things in comparison to their desk-bound peers, I finally decided to look up the word to see what was really at stake. I looked it up in my Webster’s 1828 dictionary to find that it was not there. Hmm. New concept. So I searched online and found this definition:

the process by which culture is learned; also called enculturation.
During socialization individuals internalize a culture’s social
controls, along with values and norms about right and wrong.

My analysis of the definition:

Socialization means enculturation. I read there, ‘indoctrination.’

One “internalize[s] a culture’s social controls.” So, again, we are a product of our environment. Our ‘culture’ puts social controls on our behavior, implying that 1) the individual is subordinate to and inherently less valuable than the group and 2) the individual is not responsible for his own actions.

These ‘social controls‘ include “values and norms about right and wrong.” Whoa. Hold on a second. Norm-referenced testing is bad enough. As the population is dumbed down, it is easier to succeed. What ‘progress’ is that? And now the concept of right and wrong is norm-referenced? So the little ten year old girl I saw at the fair with the playboy bunny on her baseball cap was acting in what was good and right and wholesome because a significant portion of our society sees nothing wrong with that?

In most cases, when we speak of “socialization,” we are speaking of putting something under control of the state or group ownership. We speak of socialized medicine. Stalin socialized the means of distribution in the former USSR. To socialize our children, then, is to bring them under the control of the state and fit them for use by the state. It is not to teach them social skills, nor to make them sociable. Our public school system is actually very efficient at this…much more efficient than they are at teaching our children to read. According to Consideringhomeschooling, 85% of Christian children who attend public schools for 12 years will reject their faith. Our public schools only manage to graduate 70% of its students (manhattan institute).

Next time someone asks me, “What about socialization?” I am going to respond, “The process of socialization is the PRIMARY reason I choose to homeschool.” I will not have my children taught “values and norms about right and wrong.” They will be given a firm foundation, a solid rock, an absolute measure of right and wrong to stand on. They will be taught scriptural principles of right and wrong. They will be held accountable for their own actions. They will be encouraged to take dominion of their surroundings and use their firm stand to influence our ‘culture.’ I do not wish for them to be turned over to the control and use of the state. They will NOT be socialized, if there is anything I can do to prevent it.

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Thanks Dana, As a homeschooling Dad, this is the question I get all the time from friends, family and coworkers (usually asked with a great deal of concern and a very furrowed brow). Fortunately I can respond with “You’ve met my kids.. where’s the problem?”. And you’re right, after talking through the question, the concern really revolves around getting a good government indoctrination, not a concern that I’m raising social miscreants. I have two successful “defenses” that I use in this situation… first, I respond that our purpose in educating our children is to teach them to learn how to… Read more »

Thank you for your comment! I think there are a lot of people who don’t really think fully through what they are repeating when they raise some of these questions. And I wonder, seriously, how much of the perceived benefit of socialization (meeting diverse groups of people) really occurs in a classroom, seated at a desk where you aren’t allowed to talk and increasingly have lost recess to increased instructional time to prepare for those state assessments?


[…] I spend a bit of time thinking about “the S word,” the socialization question.  What socialization is, what people really mean when they ask about it and whether schools really have anything to do with […]


[…] time ago, I wrote a post on socialization I’ve been meaning to revisit. I began with a definition: The process by which culture is […]