Friday, March 18, 2011

The "real" world - today's thoughts

This week seems to have been filled with fellow home learners sharing some really great links on FB and other places. It's gotten me thinking about a common theme when home learning families are questioned about their decision to NOT utilize public education.

That question includes words like socialization, and statements about "getting prepared" for REAL life. I think it's just a knee-jerk reaction from people who don't know the facts about home learning, and from people who have  never thought outside the box.

Don't get me wrong here - I'm NOT saying that these people are stupid, or ignorant or anything else. I'm just voicing my opinion.

People worry that our son will not be "properly socialized" if he does not "go" to school - in other words, they think (and BELIEVE) that the only way for him to learn how to interact with other people is to spend the bulk of his days away from people that are different than he is. But I ask - how different is a classroom? Sure, he'll encounter differences in faith (despite the school's so-called separation of church and state mandate), and differences in opinion (about what toys, music or food is best) and even differences in social class. But... how different can these differences REALLY be? He'd be in a classroom, with a bunch of other kids his own age. He will NOT be around people of different ages, and interactions will be carefully monitored.

What brought me to this was Facebook. Yes... nearly everyone I know is part of Facebook. What I realized is that Facebook is a LOT like public school. You have cliques, you have the popular kids, you have gossip, and you have others who try to make peace. What I also realized, is that Facebook is NOTHING like Real Life.

That realization, along with a lot of other things that have been circulating around my brain lately, have brought me to this conclusion. It's more a promise to myself than anything else. Just as our family opted NOT to enroll our son in public school, NOT to have him "GO" to school, to "get" an education and to "become" socialized, I am opting to spend more time in REAL life, and less time elsewhere - read, LESS time on Facebook.

It's sad, because I've found so many great friends because of Facebook that I'd lost over the years. I've also met some really great new friends - at least virtually.

My first step is to give my list of online friends a good "weeding." That's right, I'm going to go through that list, and think about what interactions I've had with each person. Have these interactions added to my life? Enriched it? Given it value? Or, are they just a name and picture in a list that contains other names and pictures? Is the person a positive person? Do they have good things to say more often than bad? Do their views and opinions challenge mine? Do I really KNOW them? Have I met them in person and if not, is the friendship still valuable?

This does NOT mean that people who I'd remove from the list are not "friends." It simply means that I am making a conscious choice to remove names and pictures from a list - individuals who's friend request I may have accepted or requested on a whim. Individuals who have perhaps never or very rarely engaged in comments on the wall with me. My hope is that it will leave behind a group of individuals with whom I'd like to spend time in REAL life as well. And again, that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to spend time with the folks who get removed from the list. Yet, why should it matter? Why feel the need to explain what I'm doing? Why am I feeling anything at all negative about removing a name and a picture from a list? Sure I don't want to do something intentionally that would let someone make themselves upset, but at the same time....

The point is, I feel like I need more REAL and less well... whatever it is.... if that makes any sense.... sure it's fun.... but..... Facebook is NOT REAL LIFE.

1 comment:

  1. lol I loved this!! Facebook is NOT REAL LIFE! People really forget that. It's a place to Network, and sometimes that benefits a great deal! But you have to operate with VERY WISE eyes because it can quickly dissolve into nothing more than the High School Cafeteria. My favorite observation is when people are in music concerts, or in the yard with the kids, or in the park... and they are announcing every moment on FB. It really baffles me and disturbs me a bit. Anyway, I soooo appreciated your post here! Go and Unplug :)