This is a guest post from Sarah Faulkner. She is a homeschooling mom in Washington state. She has five kids, ages 13, 11, 9, 5, and 2. 

Socialization. Most people think this means to opportunity to play with children outside the home.  I do agree with playing with other children, but I do not think that is the definition for a homeschooler.

My husband is a salesman with a GED. He actually was hired with a company that required a college degree when he didn’t have one, but he has great people skills.  People argue a college degree is the only way to get a high paying job.  So, my husband makes more than my brother and sister-in-law who both have degrees, and a large amount of debt.  As they struggle with paying back loans, two parents working, and providing for the kids, we are debt-free and taking our kids on fun vacations.

Socialization is the ability to communicate with people.  Everyone can learn the basic rules, it’s just that they are not taught.  Parents assume schools will teach children how to communicate.  Putting a couple of 6-year-old kids together and assuming one will be mature enough to communicate is stupid.  It tells me communication is not taught because we don’t know how to teach it.

1. Response.  My children always respond so I know they hear me.  My husband is from the South, so the response is “Yes Sir/No Ma’am”.  This lets me know if they do not follow-through they can be corrected. It also makes the speaker feel like they are receiving respect and everyone loves to feel respected.  This instantly places the children in a position of being well-liked.

2. Immediate follow-through.  When a command is given to kids they do it right away. As they get older than 8 they can tell me a timeframe for when they will get it done.  People like you if they feel that you are competent, and the only way to be competent is by follow-through.

3. Scripted communication.  When there is a conflict I step in (this happens with the younger kids, not the older ones), and tell them word-for-word what to say.  For example, they do not have a choice about sharing—I do not ask a two year old if they want to share.  I inform them because this is how adults get ahead in life, knowing how to respond even when you don’t want to.

4. Negotiation. As the kids get older we teach them to figure out a solution that allows them to get their way, while making the other person feel like they won. Anytime a person feels like they didn’t lose or you both won, they like you.