Lovely well meaning people keep asking how my kids will socialize if they are homeschooled. And I keep repeating myself. So, I’m going to write it down here and tell them to read it because when I say it now, its so rote and practised, there isn’t any conviction
Well, in a typical week, Bern is visited once by Farhan who lives in the palatial mansion behind us. They barely speak the same language but seem to have fun comparing what they can and cannot get away with on their bicycles. Farhan is 8 and can cycle anything! He has an amazing collection of bikes and can do tricks on them. Bern can barely cycle with slightly elevated training wheels , bless his little uncoordinated soul!
At least twice a week, they play with Hannah and Sophie from further down the road. Their games tend to be wilder, with lots of screaming, water splashing and dress up. For many weeks, they were the Navi from Avatar defending home tree. My mulberry tree is somewhat the worse for wear but the children, dressed in belts, tails, nerve braids and anklets made from Zoob were totally immersed in the alternate dimension for at least a month. Their current pursuit of choice is catching and observing the insects and spiders in our gardens.
The children all go for gymnastics at Scope and have a fabulous time there. Their constant companion there is shy Lounes. He is an only child and somewhat reserved and introverted. However, the children interact in such a respectful way that us adults need to learn from them. Sometimes, Lounes is reluctant to participate and Bern or Kiki will try to coax him into joining. If he refuses, they take it in their stride and carry on. If he agrees, they are so pleased. If he joins in later, there is no ridicule or resentment, just happiness that another child will learn what they are learning too.
My children also have a wonderful relationship with my grandmother, aunts and uncles and my cousins. They will happily go off with them all day and sometimes even overnight. And remember, Cian only turned 3 in March. When we go out as a family, the children often ask if Taima can come along or if we are are shopping, they will remember that YeeMa like that biscuit and we should get her some.
True socialization is not about 45 children in a classroom regulated by bells and being asked to concentrate by a harrassed teacher. It is not 20minute recess breaks where one has to fit in a toilet break, a snack, catch up on home work and perhaps a little bit of play.
True socialization is not about being told off when you help your classmate with work he struggles with. Nor is it about being segregated in to Malay, Chinese and Indian for the class quiz. And it sure as HELL ain’t being rushed off from one tuition class to another so you can score enough A’s to get into a better class.
My friends come from all over the world. They range from 20 years older to about 15 years younger. Some of us are poor and some are rich. Some live in Malaysia, some elsewhere. Some are HSers, most are not. Some are religious, some chronic athiests. Some are married with kids, some are dating. Some are straight and some committed homosexuals. Each and everyone is special and precious and almost ALL I DID NOT MEET IN SCHOOL.