Homeschooling vs. the Public’s idea of socialization

January 12th, 2011

In our years of homeschooling, I have been told that I should send my kiddo to public school. The reason is always: “They aren’t being socialized at home”. Do people even realize what they are saying here? When we go to public school, how often are we allowed to freely interact with our peers? We aren’t allowed to talk to them in class. The free play and P.E. are being cut shorter and shorter. When do we get to “socialize” at public school?

I believe that mainstream society thinks that the definition of homeschooling is: (a) Always at home (b) Never talk to anyone except for Mom & Dad (c) Only learn from textbooks

Even when I tell folks that during the school year (while others are sitting at their desks), our homeschool has allowed us to:

  1. Climb a pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula
  2. Travel to Walt Disney World 5 times
  3. Tap maple trees for sugar in New England
  4. Take care of ill/hurting relatives around the country
  5. Travel to Japan and learned about their culture
  6. Obtain a black belt degree with 9 years of martial arts
  7. Achieve 4 years of classical guitar
  8. Participate in Cub/Boy Scouts for 8 years – work our way to Eagle Scout
  9. Participate in Young Marines
  10. Do tons of field trips, park days, holiday events, and cooperatives with homeschooling groups
  11. Have an opportunity to discuss and learn about our faith freely
  12. Dress and live as we please – if we want a pajama day and to dye our hair blue…WE HAVE THAT RIGHT!
  13. Volunteer hours to our food/clothing bank
  14. Become a closer family with eating meals together, game nights, exercise, etc.

It doesn’t matter what I say. I could talk until I’m blue in the face. It doesn’t matter if my child can communicate with confidence to our local banker, postal work, grocery or hardware store clerk, etc. People don’t hear me when I say these things. All they hear is that my child isn’t like others. That’s exactly what I like about homeschooling.

When I see former public school teachers bringing their own children home to homeschool (believe me, there are quite a few that do), it makes me wonder. It also makes me realize that homeschooling is the right choice for us. No, it isn’t the right choice for many. Neither my husband nor I were homeschool students. I do know that over the years, I have learned FAR MORE academically by teaching my child than I did in public school. The freedom to learn is amazing!

Due to the way we teach/learn, I know that my child doesn’t judge others by their: skin color, religion, age, how much they spent for their sneakers, or what part of town they live in. He can have a conversation with anyone at any age. He is free to learn at his pace, and even excel in areas that are many grades above where he would be in public school. Should he get stuck on a subject, we can review and work on it until everything is crystal clear. We will learn about history the way it was lived – not with the watered down version that is taught today. We will learn about world religions, geography, and art (something that schools are cutting out). We will learn to balance a checkbook, cook a decent meal, darn socks, do car maintenance, fill out a job application, learn how to act in an interview, etc.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it is an amazing option. Just think about it this way: If you had the option of sitting at a desk with your textbook to learn, or taking great books with you while you travel, which would you choose? Would you rather walk about the school track, or go for a long bike ride with your family? Would you rather learn about nature in a book, or go outside and experience it firsthand? Would you rather be told what will happen when two compounds are mixed, or do the experiment for yourself?

The following YouTube video sums up many conversations that I’ve had over the years. Enjoy!