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Grizzly Mama

There's a Grizzly who has escaped the City of Brotherly Love..(and she's going back to homeschooling!!)

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Location: Out of Philly, Pennsylvania, United States

"All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth." Aristotle - Greek Philosopher.

Monday, April 11, 2005

So my kids aren't socialized.

Yep. Yepperdoo. That's the latest.

What counts as socialization you ask? I have no idea - none at all - not after hearing officially from the expert in the family that my kids aren't socialized.

Does playing with kids on the block count? Nope.

Does teaching the younger kids on the block how to play games count? Nope.

Does learning games from the older kids on the block count? Nope.

Does organizing a lemonade stand with the other kids (ranging in ages from 4 to 12 and many different races) to raise money for an Iraqi hospital count? Nope.

Does having kids over to play at our house count? Nope.

Does playing over at other kids' houses count? Nope.

Does meeting people and socializing - whoops sorry didn't mean to use that 'socializing' word (because they're not socialized you know) - Let's see...reword, reword...Does meeting people and talking count? Nope.

Does taking part in the library reading group count? Nope.

Does being in gymnastics, swimming or karate count? Nope.

Does going on outings with the k-12 cyber school count? Nope.

Does visiting with Mom-mom and John-John, Uncle Eddy, little Eddy, or Aunt Kathy (or any of a hundred other relatives) count? Nope.

None of that counts, you see. So you tell me - what the hell is this socialization they're all talking about?

This magic socialization that occurs in government education must consist of sitting at a desk for 6 or 7 hours, not speaking unless given permission after raising a hand, holding having to go to the bathroom until the designated times, making sure that one has the 'best' friends and sits in the 'best' spot at lunch etc., having ones performance measured against others performance, dealing with race or sex prejudice, not being given the freedom to work at ones level of ability.

I also just heard from another woman that my kids are 'isolated'. This woman does not know my kids, has not spent any time with them since I was the Daisy Scout leader which was 4 years ago. She knows I school at home - so in her mind my kids are 'isolated'. Well I set her straight on THAT one! You know Grizzly - you KNOW your Grizzly Mama. You know by now that I don't usually keep my mouth shut - huh.

Government schools are not nice places. For many the experience was traumatic and a living hell. That's your socialization. Bullshit.

You can take my kids anywhere. My kids are personable, enjoy spending time with just about anyone, any age, any race, any disability doesn't faze them. They're kind, they're fair, they are confident. They speak up. When appropriate they don't speak up. At times they misbehave or tangle with each other or push my buttons. I like my kids and I enjoy spending time with them. Magic socialization be damned.


Blogger Steve Donohue said...

You touched upon all the important things, I think. Whenever I hear about home schooling, I always get nervous about how the kids will handle being around their own. I can speak from experience when I say that home-schoolers are almost universally smarter than the rest of kids, but sometimes they have some fundamental problems dealing with other people their age. But that comes from all the things you talked about- having fun, not socialized schooling. I think they'll be on the right track.

As an added suggestion, remember music as well. May I suggest taking up the French Horn? If the name bothers you, you could just say horn. I started when I was eight, and just like home schoolers, I've found that musical students are almost universally smarter.

Keep up the good work, Mama.

12 April, 2005 00:30  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Steven - music is a part of the curriculum. It's this solfege stuff that totally freaks me out but I try to keep it together. It's interesting but it's nothing I learned in music in school so it is very different for me.

I always loved the french horn. Any brass instrument really. I was (first chair!) flute and piccolo when I was in school.

My husband and I are considering separate music lessons in addition to the music on the curriculum. The girls are interested in playing the guitar and the piano. A couple of people we have talked to are not interested in teaching them this young. (4 and 8)

You mentioned the differences with homeschooled children and dealing with kids their own age. What I have observed is that the homeschooled kids seem to be more comfortable with not only their peers but also older and younger people. It's interesting to watch the dynamics with the kids on my block. Lots of stuff happening especially with the girls...

12 April, 2005 00:41  
Blogger Abe said...

They just think the kids need some "socialized schooling." :)

12 April, 2005 01:52  
Blogger nsanborn3 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12 April, 2005 03:00  
Blogger nsanborn3 said...

I have four kids under 8, I'm a former high school teacher, and my wife is a former elementary school teacher. And although we could have homeschooled our kids, we didn't. Why? We're a block away from a pretty decent Core Knowledge charter school that requires significant amounts of our time working in the school and actively monitoring our kids' homework at night (not like we wouldn't have anyway). Just so you know where I'm coming from…

That being said, your piece today was terrific. Loved your tone, loved your examples of perceived invalid socialization--many of which our kids do or have done as well, so the humor is not lost on us. Not sure about the notion by steven that "home-schoolers are almost universally smarter than the rest of kids," Would like to see data beyond his experiences before I pass judgment on that apparent blanket statement.

I knew this to be true when I was teaching and my wife echoes the same sentiment: it comes down to active, regular participation on the part of kids’ parents (and/or other adults in a familiar position of trust) who not only preach but live good work ethics, who model curiosity, who expose kids to a wide variety of good experiences, who openly practice higher-order thinking, and who exhibit joy in learning that make the difference between prepared young people with the world at their fingertips and those who have…well, less choices when the time comes to decide how they’re going to make a living in this world.

Your kids sound like they're getting some great interpersonal experiences, and then some. Both my wife and I have assisted in our kids' classrooms many times, and there are moments when I think, "some of those kids are holding my son back...they’re wasting his time by distracting the teacher from the task or lesson at hand." But the truth is, my son will have to work with people someday that might waste his time. (If he works for my employer, this is almost certain, by the way.) Will he have learned to deal with it constructively by then?

You will undoubtedly help your kids by proactively helping them learn how to work through those frustrations (and limit future ones) earlier rather than later. YOU, the Grizzly Mama, are already making the difference.


12 April, 2005 03:05  
Blogger Zendo Deb said...

Socialized = brainwashed?

Socialized - prepared to take their place in the great Supreme Soviet Socialist Republic

Socialized - having their dreams crushed

Who knows - but then you should know not to listen to those who will tear you down, just to make themselves feel better. (This "expert" has kids in public school? Trying to rationalize their guilt perhaps?)

12 April, 2005 08:28  
Blogger MonicaR said...

Zendo Deb - the 'expert' is actually a teacher and VERY active in the teachers union - LOL!

You are right Abe - the resident 'expert' believes strongly in socialized...well... socialized everything.

Neil I agree that parent participation - very, very active participation is essential. In fact I think that in the end it's the parents who should be deciding what's best - and it seems that you and your wife are engaged in that way. I don't want to denigrate parents who have their kids in school. What I would like to do is point out that we've been told and have come to believe that we - the parents - don't know what's best for our kids. We've been told that the State knows what's best for our kids. That's not true - it's a bald faced lie.
When you were teaching did you REALLY appreciate parental involvement? Because what I've noticed is that the teachers I know always whine about parental involvement (there's not enough) but when a parent becomes involved they complain about the 'pain-in-the-ass' parent.

Thanks for your comments everyone. I appreciate your thoughts.

12 April, 2005 11:36  
Blogger alix said...

ayup. i'm getting this, too, from all quarters. pains me when i see my child trying, trying, trying, to interact with the guvschooled kids in the neighborhood. it's pathetic, they won't even give her the time of day.

ours is a county with the dubious distinction of having a child kicked to death at the bus stop. not to mention in-class suicide (though, i'm sure every state has its own story). oral sex on busses. teachers taking 15 and 16 year old girls to hotels. yep. that's the socialization i'm looking for for my kinder. *highly facetious* i could go on, but i won't. you've elaborated accurately.

how odd, *i* was also first chair flute and piccolo...

12 April, 2005 19:33  
Blogger MonicaR said...

OMG Alix - I think you're my evil twin - or perhaps I'm yours!! :-) Aren't you the lady who pines for the mountains back west and contemplates divorce too??! LOL So you were first chair flute and piccolo eh? Do you still play? I don't and it's a shame I probably couldn't even play a scale if I had to. I hocked my piccolo one month way back when and got 50 bucks for food - and my flute I gave to one of my nieces.

My kids are having better luck with the 'publics' (I call them...). There are about 50 kids on my block and many different races/grades/ages plus we're in row houses so we're pretty much up each others butt constantly. There is also another homeschooled girl on the block and a couple of homeschooled kids in their CCD class. Maybe that's the diff - not sure. Sorry to hear about how crappy they are to your daughter - that's terrible. I feel bad for her and for you. You need to come over - my girls would love her.

13 April, 2005 00:40  
Blogger Thrasher said...

I'd really rather not be socialized in a guvschool. Such an environment teaches kids to socialize according to rules of interaction that will NEVER be seen again after high school.

There's an array of problems with public schools, but this is about the social front. I, being homeschooled, have actually been accosted for "Acting like you're 50! You need to act like a kid and have a little fun!" Oh really? And what should I do? Play your stupid little games that tear each other down? Would you rather I went off and rebelled against my parents? Got a speeding ticket or two? Did a little marijuana? Thanks, but I'm having plenty of fun as it is, and I won't have to look back on these years and regret them.

But that's the best guvschools can do. They teach kids that they should never reach above the minimum requirement, lest they meet with social scorn (and if you meet with social scorn, then you obviously aren't socialized).

One last thing: Is it really so bad that I'm capable of carrying on a conversation with adults? My peers think so. And God forbid I should use a big word or neglect to use enough contractions. None of that proper stuff. That's just boring. And besides, "nobody" understands that stuff.

13 April, 2005 11:40  
Blogger MonicaR said...

I hear ya Neo. Listen I was just thinking about this early this morning as I was driving down the road. Being government schooled did NOT prepare me in any way whatsoever for the real world.

After I left school, joined the military,worked a few jobs and made a few mistakes...THEN I was ready.

And I think you must mean that "lest they meet with social scorn" IS an integral part of the 'socialization' process.

You're aw'ight Neo. Just keep doing what you are doing, baby.

13 April, 2005 12:22  
Blogger DirtCrashr said...

The problem with "Socialized" is it's also an anti-competitive, zero-sum based system that has an intense amount of downward pressure leveling and equalization going on.
Socialists work to benefit the system, not the individual, coming out of it you may think you're smart - but just intuitive because your ego says-so - there's been no real objective "self-esteem challenging" testing going on to prove that one is smarter or more physically capable than the other, not when all the games are now geared to "cooperation" instead of bad-icky competition, and you have to assume that includes the sciences.
But what the hell has Socialist anything ever produced that was a benefit to Society or World Culture, apart from some Utopian steroidal athletes from East Germany as fed by the Soviets, and apart from Pol-Pot and the horror of petty regimes run by psychopaths. Musically? Artistically? Anything?

18 April, 2005 21:06  
Blogger MonicaR said...

OMG - I agree Dirtcrasher.

My girls learned this little rhyme on the block from the 'publics':

"First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the treasure chest."

I told them, 'It's bullshit - that's a cute little rhyme and all but you will strive to be first and be proud when you are first and if you are not first then you will at the very least congratulate the one who came in first. Being first is not BAD it is GOOD. Being a good sport about it is also important.'

I couldn't believe my ears when they sang that rhyme to me. And yes I do talk like that to them.

19 April, 2005 18:54  

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