Questioning the Need for Regular Frequent Peer Interaction - the Homeschool Socialisation Question Again!
© Beverley Paine
Years ago I found examining and reflecting on the way I naturally learn and socialise was a fast track to understanding what my children needed, educationally and socially. Often our expectations of children generally in society are totally out of whack with what is 'real'. When I began regarding my children with the same respect and manner that I do myself or others, I found that most of the issues and problems we'd been battling with as homeschoolers disappears, as did many of our worries!
Pondering on just why we have this expectation that children need to be with crowds of others made me look closely at the media, beginning with story books and then television programs and movies, kids magazines and shows, etc. I haven't done extensive reading on why society believes that children should hang out in big groups, but I suspect that it's driven by the Industrial Revolution and the need to alienate people from their communities to make them pliable and agreeable - a sort of socialist (in the worst, not best sense of socialism) plot. When we break down strong family and clan ties we can easily move people from A to B, even if it's to the other side of the country, or even the world. We can make sure we always have an amenable workforce... The result - the nuclear family and persent day western society, which is based on individualism and materialism.
In the past, when children from indigenous tribal communities played it was within sight and sound of many adults, not just one or two, as happens in schools and other 'constructed' communities. The adults ranged from teens to grandparents and wise old crones. Working parents - male and female - were probably not so attentive, but then again, children played where parents worked, or worked alongside them... It's still like this in many places in the world, but we (westerners) keep pushing the idea of school, because education is probably the quickest way to eliminate poverty. I'm not against educating folk, I just think there has to be a better solution for these countries than offering them school as the only approach...
Creating Learning Communities is a great book and a fantastic idea. It's what I wanted for my children - a learning community that respected all learners as learners - even the teachers! But especially the young folk in our lives.
Children do have different social needs from adults though. Toddlers have different social needs from children. And individuals have different social needs to each other. It's important for children to 'compare' themselves to others, to 'try on' different personalities, imitate the actions of others and see if they work or are suitable. Not just other kids either, but a range of folk. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes! Kids need free time - free from unnecessary adult interference or construction - to explore, investigate and experiment on their own terms, within a safe, caring environment. They need time to be alone, in groups, or as individuals. Beyond three or four years of age children need to hang out with other children to learn how to get along cooperatively, to learn about compromise, and rules. Siblings really help this cause along, but the family is a limited environment and children love a good challenge! They need to bounce of others, with the odd exposure to strangers, who may become friends, to grow.
I have found that children will ask for more social contact when and if they need it. We needn't supply it before then, unless we suspect our child has social learning difficulties, in which case we'd be plotting a course to help his or her development along, suitable and sensitive to his or her needs and timing.
If you liked this article and want more of the same, read:
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's
individual learning needs?
Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?
Over 1000 reassuring and
informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent
Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.
Over 30 presentations!
For $29 you get
lifetime access to recordings
of all the workshops, all associated resource guides, dDownload all video and mp3 files
Amazing homeschooling help!
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie
"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since
my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!