Being Socialised and Being Sociable

Last week marked a change in our routine: M decided she no longer wanted to go to our Thursday HE meet ups anymore!  I was really surprised to hear this as she has been the main instigator in our Thursday outings (D doesn’t enjoy socialising in large groups).  I’m all for M making her own decisions about these things, after all she knows her own mind better than I did at that age: she is fully capable of knowing when to push herself and when to sit back.

I had thought we were about to enter a new phase of getting out and about in the world more: I had plans for gymnastics, archery and pottery starting next term.  Gymnastics was given a definite ‘no’ by both girls (surprising, given how much they enjoy jumping around on the bed) and after doing a bit of research it turns out that M is too small for archery.  But both girls did say they would love to do pottery so I got 1 out of 3!

I do wonder about finding the balance between when to push them to do something out of their comfort zone and when to let them take the lead.  It’s quite a difficult path to negotiate, but I’ll leave that topic for another post!

Instead, today I want to make a point about socialising and socialisation in HE: as it is a common fear/myth in HE that children will miss out on socialising if they are not at school. Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.  The sausages are so polite, well behaved, well mannered, respectful, well spoken and friendly.  And this is what being socialised means: to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.

We were chatting about the bizarreness of etiquette rules the other day.  I asked the sausages to say ‘hello’ or good morning’ to the grocery delivery person as it would be rude to not acknowledge someone who is in your house.  Admittedly they were flummoxed by this and it led on to questions from M about whether you would need to say this to a burglar.  Ha ha.  But since then they both chirpily say ‘good morning’ to any visitors and it is quite frequently noticed and commented on!

This has then led to discussions about the inadequacies of some adults’ social skills:  whenever we go swimming at David Lloyd, we have to walk down a corridor with several doors and M always holds the doors open for everyone, children and adults included.  Quite a few say ‘thank you’ as they pass through and then chuckle as M replies with a ‘you’re welcome!’; but a large proportion walk through rudely as if M were invisible.  At first, M was a little confused by this, until I explained that they were rude.

One of the BEST things about HE is that children are learning alongside adults, they’re conversing with them as friends, and that they don’t see them as infallible Gods (as they might if they were being told to listen and obey them all day at school).  Conversely, they are given their due respect by the adults in their lives rather than being treated as invisible, lesser beings.  Ross Mountney recently posted about the weird social behaviour of some adults and I’m willing to bet that these adults lacking in social skills went to school!

School does not hold a monopoly in socialisation!!!

So that’s socialisation ticked.  So what about being sociable?  Well, instead of large HE groups we’re going to try doing a few more play dates instead.  As I write this, J has taken M to the park to meet up with her best friend from nursery, B.  D isn’t ready to be sociable yet, she much prefers the company of her family and this is fine too.


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