You’ve heard about those people who homeschool their children…the ones who keep their children locked up in the basement at all hours of the day, removed from the dangers of other people and radical thoughts. You can tell these kids from the normal ones, the ones who attend public school, be their great lack of social skills, inability to work with people unlike themselves, and long jean skirts. The pale skin from lack of sunlight is another dead give-away.
We are homeschoolers. In fact, we are unschoolers. Over the years we have met a lot of homeschooling families, and yet, I’ve yet to meet the stereotypical homeschooling family. Even in the Bible Belt, where we are currently located, with the great amount of religious homeschoolers (not to be confused with homeschoolers who are religious), I have yet to meet the stereotypical unsocialized homeschooler. I’m sure there are some out there, somewhere, just as there are many unsocialized public schooled children. I just haven’t met them yet.
And yet, for some reason, this myth continues to crop up. Most recently, it was given as a reason to utilize public school on a local AP board. Some of the parents wanted their children to socialize with others, to be exposed to different ethnicities and beliefs, and to learn how to deal with the world around them. Apparently, their solution is to box a bunch of 5 year olds from their neighborhood, a mostly homogenous make-up of white, middle class, Christian children up in a classroom with a single adult to oversee the scenario.
Public school is a valid option and is what works well for many families, but let’s be honest. If your reason for sending your child to school is so that s/he will experience the real world, you are misguided. The real world has a mix of religious and political beliefs. It has a mix of cultures and ethnicities. It has a mix of ages. No where else in the real world will you find 30 people working in the same room soley because their age and neighborhood dictates it.
My kids, while admittedly pale and freckled due to genetics, live in the real world everyday. They talk to people regardless of age, as age is not a defining factor to them. They have experiences with people of different beliefs and thoughts. They learn from others who have previous experience in various topics. When it comes to learning about how to behave in society, they aren’t learning from 30 other kids who have no more experience than they have.
We are homeschooler/unschoolers, and I HATE people talking about school for socialization. None of the HSers I have come across have a shortage of exposure to social events. The one challenge I have seen is parents who take the lead in everything (is the leader or scout troops, director of homeschool group, ect), and the children then have a hard time following direction from anyone but their parent. While this isn’t a reason for public school, I think it is better for everyone when you find ways to expose your children to not just other cultures, and ages, but authority styles. Finding educated mentors to work with is an excellent option. Because eventually they will have a boss that won’t do things just like mom did.
Great post. My lil one is only coming into toddlerhood now and the question of whether or not we’ll homeschool is a constant point of discussion. I have yet to encounter a single school here where I would wanna send him…at any age.
I have NO issues with homeschooling or unschooling. I think each family should make the best decision for themselves. That being said, how is anyone any better than a ‘public schooling family’ when you are talking trash just the same? I sure don’t live in a neighborhood full of, “white, middle class, Christian children”. How diverse is your homeschool (I lump unschool with this, sorry!) group? I bet it isn’t any different. Even if my neighborhood were just like that, it is my job as a parent to expose my child to different cultures and ethnicities. I have said it once or a thousand times, public schools weren’t meant to provide 100& of a child’s education. I don’t want to shelter my child from every little thing that I don’t agree with. If he isn’t heard in class, then I want him to make himself heard. If he doesn’t quite get something, I don’t want him to be ashamed to ask in front of a group of his peers. I want him to experience real life issues. I am not raising a child, I am raising an adult. Not everything is going to be rainbows and puppy dogs. When he comes home from school, we sit down and talk about what he learned. We go over homework, and reitterate his studies in a fun, ‘child-like’ way. Not everybody can/will/is able to homeschool. If you don’t want people to make assumptions about the education choices for your children, then don’t make assumptions about theirs! Show the same respect that you are asking.
Public school is a very valid option for many families, as I stated in my post. My post was not judging parents who choose to send their children to school, nor was I talking trash. I never claimed to be better than anyone else. My post was a comment on the fact that school is not an accurate representation of the real world, and that when others specifically state that their reason for sending their children to school is to experience the real world, it’s not very realistic. Regardless of how diverse a child’s classroom may be, it still is going to be a mainly homogenous group, quite unlike the real world.
I think that the post did sound judgemental. I’m not trying to play down your advocacy of home/unschooling AT ALL. I certainly don’t think that you were saying that you were better than anybody. I think that taking a proactive role in your child’s education is the best thing any parent can do, wether that be homeschooling or public school. Comments like, “mostly homogenous make-up of white, middle class, Christian children up in a classroom with a single adult to oversee the scenario” do sound like trash talking. Is every community in this country like that? No. Are most? I doubt it. Just like every homeschooler isn’t pale, unsocialized, and abnormal. If you don’t want people to say things like that, then don’t engage in it. I am one for public schooling because I want my son to know that things won’t always go how he wants, and sometimes he will have to adjust. Maybe he won’t like something, or I won’t like something. THAT IS REALITY. You can’t necessarily find a job that lets you work from home because you don’t like the diversity or the morals of a group. If that means that I have to spend more of my evenings and weekends teaching him the basics, then fine. I am still in charge of my child’s education. Any parent who goes above and beyond for their childs education is AOK in my book. : ) I don’t mean to come across defensively at all. I was just stating my views.
Classes are generally homogenous, whether that is based on race, religious or political affiliation of the families, economic status (neighborhood schools lend to similar family incomes), or merely age. Coupled with the complaint of larger class sizes I’m hearing from teachers all over, my description was merely that – a description of what most schools look like in this area. Not all schools will look the same, but the lack of diversity is still there in some forms. I think all parents should take a vested interest in their children’s lives, regardless of their individual choices regarding education or any other topic.