Local-area resources offer lessons in true socialization

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One of the most used arguments against Homeschooling is that children who do not attend traditional schools lack socialization. Unfortunately, this over-used con is predicated on a misunderstanding regarding the definition of “socialization”.

Socialization, refers to the process of learning ones culture and how to behave appropriately within that culture. On a more basic level, socializing is functioning successfully in society. One could argue that the modern-day institutions of education are actually the antithesis of socialization and some children who attend these schools are in many ways more socially inept than those who do not.

If as parents and educators we wish to prepare our children for the task of socializing in the real world, what better way for a child to learn to function in society than to be immersed in that culture everyday? Below are four resources in the New York City Metropolitan Area for homeschooling parents- and non-homeschooling parents as well- to help insure that their children receive the socialization skills that will help them succeed in life.

  • Hudson River Museum:  Located alongside the Hudson River in Yonkers, NY, this museum offers weekend programs for families. Most of the programs are hands-on learning experiences and include art, science, geometry, creative play and more. In addition, the museum also houses a planetarium with shows customized for children ages 3 and up. The museum also offers children a chance to explore their environment with the Hudson Riverama. This program teaches children about land and water inhabitants native to the Hudson River area. They will learn about the lives of anglers and the efforts of many to clean up the Hudson River.
  • Historic Hudson River Towns:  This is a three-hour, narrated river cruise exploring the historic Hudson River.
  • Philipsburg Manor:  Sleepy Hallow is one of the most historic areas of the Hudson Valley. Phillipsburg Manor is a living tribute to 18th Century colonial settlements. Here children will explore the Dutch-Anglo culture and understand the complexities of the African slave trade. Included on the website are recipes for families who want to enjoy authentic food from this colonial period. (Also, visit Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton, NY)
  • New York Public Library: Some of the best places for learning are still and will always be the Public Library System. The Schomburg Center in Harlem is a great resource for learning about the world from a diverse point of view. It offers a collection of literature about the Black-American experience. The Humanities and Social Sciences Branch on 42nd street offers a Children’s Center with a collection specifically for them, a Slavic and Eastern European Collection, an Art and Architecture Collection, an Asian and Middle Eastern Collection, and the Dorot Jewish Division.
If children are to participate positively within society, socialization cannot end with just teaching children to share toys or sit in groups. Children must also learn to explore and function in the world outside of the traditional classroom and within different facets of society. They must learn these skills early on and they must be allowed to practice them on a daily basis.

For more info: Visit, a great homeschooling tool for parents and educators alike.

This post was originally written for The Examiner on March 2009. I am the author and have retained copyright to this article.

Photo Credit: Philipsburg Manor, Sleepy Hollow, NY, September 2005. Photo taken by Daderot and used with permission.