“What about socialization?”, you may ask (up to now). I am proud and it makes me happy to say that it was NEVER a problem with our two daughters. To begin with, socialization is NOT defined as (1) the number of friends one has or (2) as the different venues where one gets to meet other people. It is not 935 friends or 2,684 followers. Nor is it merely counting the classes our children are enrolled in and activities that keep their schedules full. The piano class AND guitar class. AND football training…AND church group…The dance class…AND art class…AND the weekend camp….AND the volunteer work…AND the party of a friend…AND the family reunion. The more Facebook friends, Instagram followers, and the more classes, the better socialized? Not necessarily.
Social media today (FB, IG, Twitter, etc.) does not correctly define socialization or it twists the definition of socialization. Overpacking our children’s schedules does not automatically make them well-rounded AND well-mannered persons either. I honestly think Merriam Webster gives an easy-to-understand, practical definition of how it is to socialize. According to Merriam-Webster, to socialize is TO TALK TO and DO THINGS with other people in a FRIENDLY way (take note of “talk to and do things” and “friendly”) and to teach (someone) to behave in a way that is ACCEPTABLE in society (again, take note of “behave” and “acceptable”).
Currently a freshman at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Hong Kong for college, our eldest daughter, Arielle, already has friends of different nationalities. She’s been able to ADAPT to different sets of friends and is not pressured to have to exclusively stick to just one group. Being homeschooled for 8 years, she has learned how to WORK INDEPENDENTLY and BE INDEPENDENT, and at the same time, WORK IN A GROUP to foster TEAMWORK and CONDUCT HERSELF PROPERLY when with different kinds of people, WITHOUT COMPROMISING HER CHARACTER, HER FAITH, and WHO SHE RELALY IS. She knows when to say YES and more importantly, WHEN TO SAY NO.
The past 4 weeks have been a stressful adjustment, no doubt, on having to live independently, do basic life skills of budgeting, grocering, cooking, washing pans/dishes/utensils/glasses/food containers, meal planning, laundry, commuting while doing the intense demands of art school. But she’s coping and has learned “to adult”, speaking in their generation’s language. We’ve really raised a brave, independent, confident girl.
Being in daily communication with her via WhatsApp and FaceTime with updates, questions, news, reminders, discoveries, and all sorts of stories (both good and bad) since we got back home, I’ve been through heartbreaking and joyful, thankful moments combined. It may sound as if I haven’t learned to totally let go yet. But I realized that letting go does not mean having to lessen the communication between us. After all, the OPEN, oh-so-HONEST COMMUNICATION and STRONG FAMILY BOND we have are the biggest benefits we truly enjoy from our homeschooling. WE ARE A FAMILY. We STAY TOGETHER AS A FAMILY no matter how far apart we may be from one another. WE ALL DO OUR PART TO BE A FAMILY. So why break the ties just to conform to the somewhat literal definition of “letting go”?
So this is how it is and feels like to let go of your child after giving her the roots to ground herself with, and finally, the wings to make her fly. It was NEVER the SOCIALIZATION that we were afraid of. NAH!!! It was really more of LEARNING HOW TO MANAGE HER TIME WELL AND BALANCE HER INDEPENDENT LIVING WITH HER STUDIES. TAKING CARE OF HERSELF PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, SPIRITUALLY, MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, ARTISTICALLY, SOCIALLY in order to PRESERVE and NURTURE her WHOLE BEING. IT’S ALL ABOUT A BEING RESPONSIBLE ADULT GIVEN THE FREEDOM SHE HAS RIGHT NOW.
You know what? She has already begun to be one. She has already proven herself to us that SHE CAN BE TRUSTED (This TOPS it all). SHE IS RESPONSIBLE. SHE CAN DO IT ON HER OWN! Mike, Kayla, and I are SO PROUD of her! And WE DIDN’T and DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SOCIALIZATION.