It seems that my discussion of homeschooling is far from over, as thanks to Tamara, I am directed to part of the California ruling on homeschooling which I hadn’t addressed directly in my previous post.
This excerpt is the section which I am talking about most directly:
“Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that “keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where … they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents’ ‘cloistered’ setting.“
Tamara quite correctly asks the question about when did it become “normal” to put our children into state run facilities, surrounded by other children their own age, all in the name of their “development”; when traditionally children were raised in the company of adults. She’s quite on the money, and you should read her post.
I want to address something tangental to that, namely that the California court has essentially enshrined in law what is the greatest myth of homeschooling, and the lie most often touted by anti-homeschool advocates, that of “under-socialization” in homeschool kids.
What they believe is that kids who do not go to public or private school do not develop normal relationships like “other kids”, because they’re not exposed to the everyday social interaction with their peers; anti-homeschoolers further contend that this lack of “socialization” hampers the ability of the child to interact productively with their peers later in life.
Quite frankly, it’s a bunch of crap. Now, I admit I’m not necessarily helping my point with the language there, however I need to make a very clear point. When it comes to homeschooling, your child will be no more or less “socialized” than if they had gone to public school. If you take a shy, introverted kid and stick him or her in public school, he/she is still going to be shy and introverted. If you take an outgoing child and homeschool them, they are going to be outgoing and social.
The problem is one of perception, where anti-homeschool types believe that homeschooled children are sitting around in their rooms with no social interaction whatsoever. Unfortunately, the facts don’t back that up. If you took a representative sample of homeschool families, one of the connecting factors for many (not all) homeschoolers is that they’re also very active in the church, or like my family, a part of a homeschool support group.
Although anecdotes aren’t evidence, I’m more than willing to offer my brothers and myself up as examples. My older and younger brothers, as well as myself, were all homeschooled. My older brother is pretty “middle of the road” when it comes to personality, not really outgoing, not introverted either. He’s never had a problem making friendships or working with other people in a productive environment. Take me next; I’m very outgoing and have a very…forceful personality. My only problem in establishing relationships has been that I’m naturally a very selfish person, which no amount of “socialization” has been able to change. Finally, there’s my younger brother, Number 3 (brother 4 wasn’t homeschooled through high school) who is relatively introverted, and always has been. When we were in high school and hanging out with our other high school friends, it was always that way. Hasn’t changed.
When homeschooling is done right, children have plenty of opportunities to play with other children and develop those important social skills. They learn things like competition, fair play, and that sometimes the bigger, stronger kid gets what he wants because he’s bigger and stronger. When you hear an anti-homeschooling person say that “homeschooled children aren’t given enough opportunies to socialize”, what they’re really saying is “homeschooled kids aren’t being given any indoctrination about how to ‘play nice’ and they’re all independent and stuff”.
The point is that homeschooled kids have just as many opportunities for social interaction as kids who go to public school if the parent gets involved, which is actually key to successful homeschooling. In fact, a lot of homeschool support groups work with local Christian schools so that homeschool kids can play sports and engage in other activities.
If anyone is thinking about homeschooling, and has questions about successful methods, success stories, or just some general advice – drop me a line at admiralahab (at) gmail.com.