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Children Already Know How to Be Children

Ever think of it this way: Children already know how to be children! What they need to learn is how to be grownups. Overall…it takes grownups to teach them.
Healthy and helpful socialization isn't something a child catches, like the flu. It's a process whereby someone intentionally teaches a child social rules, etiquette, morals, values, and more. This is done effectively at home, because home life is all day, every day, weekends and summers, too.

Very often, within the family, some children pick up socialization skills more easily than others. When it comes to saying "Please" most of your children may say "Please" before asking, most of the time. Yet a particular child may not realize that "please" is hardly ever a part of her conversation. Over and over she might keep saying, "Can I have a cookie?" These children, especially, are less likely to gain positive socialization skills from a classroom. A grownup needs to hold back the cookie and say to this child, in a kind tone, "Please?" Positive socialization will (eventually) stay with her for her whole life.

Is it possible to gain positive socialization from the classroom? Yes. Some positive classroom socialization that many homeschool families also include are: Raising your hand before asking a question. Taking turns in a conversation. Listening to others. Noticing when everyone else is putting things away, or getting ready to go out. Entering, in a positive way, a group of children who are already playing. At home, that translates this way: If brother and sister are already playing a game, does another sister crash into their game, or loudly demand, "Hey, let me play!!" We help our younger, or our less socially adept children look for social cues. We tell them: "See – they're already too far along in their game. Wait and watch. When they're done with the game they started, then ask if you can join them."
Brothers and sisters, other children and other social settings can be, and often are, part of the process. But they may also teach negative social skills. That's why grownups need to be the "overall" socialization teachers. The best social skills are nuanced and take years to learn. Parents who've already learned these skills and know their importance, and who can reinforce them day in and day out, are the best teachers.


Adapted from: Home School, Inc

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