real world immersion…

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. – Henry Miller

This is what simple living, or simply living, means to me – enjoying, relishing, and enveloping myself in life. I have a habit of multi-tasking, but I find I enjoy life more when I can just enjoy it. Most foreign language instructors will tell you that the best way to learn something new, specifically a language in their case, is to follow an immersion course, as it is much easier to learn when you are living what you are trying to learn.

Opponents of homeschooling often bring up the concern of socialization. How will homeschooled children ever learn to socialize if they aren’t sent to school? As with anything, there are going to be a few people who aren’t homeschooling out of their children’s best interests and keep their children away from the rest of the world, but the same can be said of those who send their children to public school.

Ask this question to most homeschoolers, especially those of the unschooling persuasion, and you are bound to either receive an incredulous look or a polite smile. The idea of the unsocialized homeschooler is ridiculous. Every day, my children are interacting with people of all ages. We are out living our lives in the real world. How can one even compare this with an institutional setting? As adults, we are interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. We don’t segregate ourselves by age and location.

I fully support public education, although I believe reform is greatly needed. However, not even counting that my children are learning much more than they would be in a stunted public classroom and are able to learn at whatever rate they are ready for, I am flabbergasted by the concept so many hold that a public education is superior to homeschooling because of the socialization factor. 

If you believe that ultimately children need to be able to function in the real world, what better place for them to learn that then by living in the real world? My five year old learns manners by observing the manners of those around her. Watching those behaviors being modeled by individuals who are older and more experienced is much more beneficial than learning from 30 other 5 year olds who have no more experience than she. My 7 year old forms his opinions about how the world functions by conversing with others about their experiences and views and observing how different models work. My 2 1/2 year old learns how to function in the world by observing his family, our friends, and people we encounter every day. He has the experience of learning from people of all ages rather than watching how 10 other two year olds act.

For millenia, people have learned by watching those around them, interacting with others, and living life in a mentorship style rather than in an artificial setting. They have lived life by living their lives. I want nothing less for my children. I want them to be able to immerse themselves in life.