Socialisation – revisited

The amazing thing is that they should have come up with an argument as spongy-soft and weak as that: Working great for centralisers of education, it has originally been designed to catch you off guard and confuse you.

German school authorities and judges love to use it in order to ‚prove‘ that homeschooling deprives children of what’s vital to them. But soberly thought through, it’s no good at all, completely irrational. Of course, I’m talking about the S-word, they call it ’socialisation‘. What about it? We have to realise one thing: As a term you can hardly pinpoint ’socialisation‘.

What I mean is, there is no ONE definition of socialisation around, people can completely agree upon. At its best, ’socialisation‘ is many things to many people – at its worst here is an ideology-ridden catch phrase sweet-talking socialist aspirations into mainstream lingo.

Looking for the top argument that gets thrown at you once you’ve made your opposite realise you’re not sending your children to school? Try this one: „What about their socialisation?“ Basically, there are two ways how the threads of anti-homeschooling insinuation are woven.

Education in the home is about freedom

One, people are genuinely worried that your children won’t develop properly because of not being herded together with their peers on a regular, day-to-day basis. Friends, relatives, even strangers seem to care. But they haven’t made any effort to really look into the matter. So they tend to resort to a bias about homeschooling – forgive them for it.

This one likens boys and girls not intermingling with same-agers to pale, dry vegetables: The reasoning goes that there must be a lid on top of everything those poor kids would dearly like to do – not enough light, lack of water, poor air. Objectors to your homeschool are vaguely afraid that can’t work – although your youngsters don’t really hint at plant behaviour.

People who let their children grow up like that – there must be some, after all – have got serious problems of another kind. Perhaps they even ought to be taken care of by someone in an empathetic way – but NOT because of their homeschooling.

Education in the home is about freedom. But, as fanatics of education centralisation keep contradicting themselves, only going to ‚real‘ school will guarantee your child’s right to ‚develop freely‘. Actually, shutting up children in safe compounds for centralised ‚learning‘ is the exact opposite of – well, homeschooling.

Loss of all power of discernment

Approach number two: This is a big one, it’s so outrageous, it takes courage to voice it, even more to elaborate on it in public. Either boldness or an enormous self-assuredness has led state officials to claim that only inside a school building can a young person develop the techniques required for becoming a good citizen.

Monstrous nonsense, that is. But as generations on end (including this author) have trodden the path of peer-confinement from eight to three for at least ten youthful years, you’ve lost all power of discernment: Is it because of or in spite of school ’socialisation‘ that you’ve somehow coped with life so far?

Any statement less intimidating would make us cry out: „How do you know?“ and: „How does school know they’re doing the right job?“ No measurement whatsoever is applied to students that will help tell whether they’re ’socialised‘ or not. School term, let alone school altogether never ever ends with a test in ’socialisation‘. There are no students‘ text books on ’socialisation‘, no how-to’s, no exams.

There simply is no agreement on standards that might help you draw the line between being socialised and not-socialised. The only thing that won’t let you down on this issue is simple common sense. This will immediately tell you the difference between someone who is well-adjusted and someone who is not, someone who knows how to behave and who doesn’t.

„Everyone knows what we mean!“ – really?

In short: Demanding ’socialisation‘ from your homeschooler but in no way being able to prove whether and how school children are being ’socialised‘: This contradiction should lead the whole argument to break into smithereens.

Put these rational thoughts to your headmaster, school clerk or judge, chances are he’ll sit back, shrug his shoulders and say, „Nun ja, everyone knows what we mean!“ But pointing towards what everyone seems to know (what they really don’t, as we have shown) and making a legal case out of it with the potential of destroying families: This might be a viable option in China, North Korea or Cuba – not in a so-called western democracy.

From all this we may deduce that fighting bias, abuse of argument and downright lies in an educational dictatorship is like banging your head against something high, hard and mighty – like, say, the Berlin wall. As it is, that wall ceased fulfilling its function from one day to another. So, hope there is.

1 comment for “Socialisation – revisited

  1. Ernst Schrödl
    15. August 2012 at 16:40

    Wie der Verfasser des obigen Artikels, sehe ich in „Sozialisation“ einen schillernden, schwammigen Begriff („spongy-soft and weak“). Er ist geeignet, jemanden (z.B. vor Gericht) zu verunsichern, in Verlegenheit zu bringen, zu überrumpeln. Diesen Begriff in den Ring zu werfen, ist deshalb so vorteilhaft, weil er nicht klar umrissen ist. Man kann alles und nichts darunter verstehen. Wer mit solchen Begriffen arbeitet, meint es nicht ehrlich mit dem anderen.
    Meine persönlichen Erfahrungen im Gespräch mit (Lehrer-)Kollegen über Homeschooling sind ähnlich, wie sie der Verfasser des Artikels gemacht hat. Man begegnet Homeschooling mit Vorurteilen („fighting bias, abuse of argument and down-right lies“) und führt mit der Attitude des Überlegenen scheinbar unwiderlegbare Argumente ins Feld. Und dabei sind es nur abgedroschene Phrasen („monstrouse nonsense“).
    Daß man im Zusammenhang mit Homeschooling auch mit handfesten Lügen und Verdrehungen arbeitet, kann ich mir nur zu gut vorstellen („not enough light, lack of water, poor air“). Gerade daran leiden die Kinder nicht zu Hause, sondern in der Schule. Hans Magnus Enzensberger nimmt in seinem Essay „Plädoyer für den Hauslehrer“ (enthalten in dem Band Politische Brosamen, 1982) den selbsternannten Bildungsdogmatikern mit Alleinvertretungsanspruch („centralisers of education and fanatics of education“) den Wind aus den Segeln, wenn er schreibt:
    „[…] die Kinder, denen er (der Hauslehrer) etwas beibringen sollte, lernten in ihrer gewohnten Umgebung, in ihren eigenen vier Wänden, dort, wo sie zu Hause waren – und nicht auf einem fremden unwirtlichen Territorium (gemeint sind die Schulen), in einem Ghetto für die Jugend und ihre Dompteure, in einem Gebäude, das ihnen feindlich entgegentrat, als Stall, als Käfig, als Gefängnis oder Kaserne. Die öffentliche Schule ist von jeher das Hoheitsgebiet einer fernen Verwaltung gewesen, ein Ort der Unterdrückung, der weder von Schülern noch von Lehrern erdacht worden ist, und an dem beide noch nie das Sagen hatten. Ihre Bauten waren und sind Herrschaftsarchitektur. Früher glichen sie minderwertigen Kadettenanstalten, heute sehen sie wie Stammheim aus. Man merkt ihnen auf den ersten Blick an, daß sie, wie Irrenhäuser und Fürsorgeknäste, zur Aufbewahrung und zur Disziplinierung von Menschen errichtet worden sind. Zum Lernen sind diese in Beton gegossenen Technokratenräume vollkommen ungeeignet.“
    Da kann man nichts mehr hinzufügen.

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