So I stumbled upon a Facebook status this week, that got me thinking. It was about a parent/teacher who is frustrated with the public school system and some of its illogical decision making.
Someone (whom I do not know) commented that maybe we should all homeschool EXCEPT that it leaves children unsocialized and unprepared to face the real world. Okay, so I was a little tiffed. I do not like generalizing people. Especially when it is done wrongly or ignorantly (which I am sure I am guilty of both).
I thought it might be time to share with you all, why we homeschool. Every morning, after we practice drinking our kool-aid and braiding our hair, we put on our identical dresses and practice spelling for two hours before we drink more kool-aid. Then after lunch I give birth to our newest "member".
Of course, I am kidding. But, unfortunately there are religious cults in the world and because THEY homeschool THEIR chlidren, we all must be a bunch of chicken-livered, scardy cats who don't care much fer' edumacatin' the young-ins...we just gotta' keep-em' from BIG BROTHER government.
I would like to paint a different picture for you, if I may. Perhaps, like my husband and I, other homeschooling parents have exercised their constitutional rights in the following ways:
1) We made a calculated and deliberate decision to homeschool our children, for a variety of reasons.
2) We have read and studied numerous books (between the two of us) on education and raising children...including those that address different educational philosophies and learning styles.
3) We looked for and studied numerous curriculums to find the absolute best that we could offer our children.
4) We came to the conclusion that these educational philosophies and curriculums could offer our children far MORE than what WE experienced in the public, education system.
5)We understand our childrens needs for friendships and extracurricular activity and have multiple times set, every week for both. (Not to mention the built-in friendships of multiple siblings, church friends and neighborhood kids.)
6) We decided that reading, writing, math, science, history, art and music were not enough and as such have included Latin(at the primary level), rhetoric, logic and a study of the time-line of history including: dates, people,customs, religions, philosophies,wars and biographies.
7) We thought it would be best for our children to learn at a pace best-suited to the individual child and not at the rate pre-defined for a group of 20+ students (and most of the time it is faster rather than slower, but we have had slower also)
8)We sacrifice weekly to teach prepare, love and educate our children...at home.
The top criticism I hear over and over and over is ,"What about socialization?" I have one question for you...WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!
I know that there are anti-social children, in America, who happen to also be home-schooled. But then I want to know this...Did you ever have shy or anti-social people in your classes at public school? I DID! I went to college with a guy who would sit in his room between classes and play video games. He went through 8-10 boxes of Cap'n' Crunch every week and would hardly speak to anyone. He wasn't homeschooled. My point is that the so-called "socialization" of the public school system has not produced a convincing enough crop of stellar young people for me to be convinced that homeschoolers are worse off.
This is one of my favorite teenagers. This gorgeous picture of this outstanding young lady was taken just before she went to a dinner and the opera with a group of other homeschooled teens from a class she is in. If you knew her, you would agree that homeschooling has done her no harm. She is one of the sweetest, most giving, selfless young people that I know. I HOPE my daughters turn out so well.
My children make friends any time the opportunity is presented to them. They never seem to be slowed down by race, clothing or size. They know how to have open, respectful conversations with adults. They not only play with those their own age, but have also learned the value of being kind and playful to children younger than themselves.
Most homeschoolers I know laugh at the "socialization" arguement. Because for the majority of homeschoolers (and many of us know each other and network and co-op) it just doesn't hold water.
Perhaps, like me, they too are sick and tired of the images that the media paints. The wrong, generalizations of good, sacrificial, hard-working, loving parents who happen to believe that home-schooling will be best for them and their family.
None of us will ever be perfect parents, no matter what education we choose for our children. There isn't now and never will be a perfect education. We will never make perfect decisions regarding our children. I support my friends and family who do not homeschool. I do not question or be-little their choices(which is what I have personally experienced). Parenting is a hard enough job without having to deal with constant attacks and persecution for the choices that we all believe are best for our children.
My final question is this: What is the point in stomping our feet about diversity if we all want everyone to go through all of the same processes of development? Sounds a little narrow-minded if you ask me.
Can't we all just get along?
Seriously people, smile on your brother, show some support....and stop the hating! )