I am the first to admit that home school isn’t for every family. I’m even pondering if it is best for every child (for personality reasons only). In general, I’d say my kids are self motivated (with the exception of #3), creative, and have the ability to get along with people of all ages. In general, they are at or above grade level.
I’ve experienced that most people assume that homeschooled kids miss out on “proper socialization”, assuming that the only proper socialization is the kind found in schools. They assume that homeschooled kids are sheltered, socially awkward weirdos who never see daylight, which is ridiculous, but it is a strong stereotype that all homeschoolers must contend with.
I often volunteer at our local HS. I’ve seen the socialization that goes on in schools. It is the very thing that my husband and I, and most home schoolers, want to avoid. Most kids in high school today don’t want to be there, and many of them won’t even graduate.
I have been blatantly criticized for being overprotective. My critics accuse me of doing a disservice to my kids by not making them deal with real life by going to school all day. Trust me. The few hours a day they may experience is enough. When I remind people of the developing gang problem or the issues revolving around apathy, many reply, “That’s LIFE!” Such attitudes still shock me. I may live in the here and now, but I may never learn how to adapt to violence and destruction and apathy. And I don't want my kids to have to, either… if it’s not too late. (remember, the Adversary can get His claws in from many different avenues, not just in the public schools).
I know too much about what’s really going on high school campuses. I have many friends who teach in high schools. Students are holding their breath as they walk from class to class, avoiding certain groups and places, just so they won’t draw attention to themselves or come across the wrong people at the wrong time. They’re not using the bathrooms all day because they’re afraid to (if they’re even open). The language and lack of respect for property and others on high school campuses is appalling. Every time I visit school for the arts education work that I do, I always leave thinking I did the right thing by pulling my kid out of full time school. F-bombs fly across campuses more often than any other word in the English language, even when I’ve walked by with my little girl. It’s disgusting. If kids are going to show that much disrespect for a mother and her daughter as they walk by, then what do they do and say when no one is around?
Homeschooled kids are not subjected to this all day, every day, so in turn, they have no fear. Home schoolers can be more selective about who they socialize with. What is so wrong or weird about that? In general, homeschooled kids are far more involved with their environment and community, they vote when they come of age, and they do better in college (because they’re already self sufficient). Is that so odd?
Taking all this into account, imagine my surprise when my husband got involved in the campaign to recall the school board president and to the campaign to replace the former school superintendent. Imagine my surprise growing as he became the chief petitioner in the recall. The school board seemed rather surprised that a home school dad was such an activist. Imagine my surprise when my husband was appointed to fill the vacancy on the school board, resulting from the recall campaign he petitioned for, on Monday! Imagine the fits of laughter I had when I learned that the boards first assignment was the selection in the by-laws regarding home school student relations.
My position on schooling has not changed. I believe in finding the best educational experiences for my children. Obviously, I can’t supply choir in my little town without going to the public school. I can’t offer football unless I go to the public school. I will continue to have just my big toe in the door at the public schools. But rest assured… I don’t leave my kids in the schools on their own. I volunteer in the school. The principle knows me… teachers and coaches know me… students know me. And now we will have a finger on the financial responsibility, curriculum and personnel relations within the district.
School is not what it was when we were kids. It never was what we think it was. Our “memory” of education in America is nothing more than an antiquated notion handed to us by Life Magazine and TV, but we keep fooling ourselves by trying to find our way back to those better days. I am hopeful that as the community revisits the concept of education, that they will learn a little more about homeschooling. I hope others will be inspired to try it. I hope that many will feel less apprehensive. If not, I hope people will be a little less judgmental of those of us who do home school.
Now it really is true… we are all in this together.