“I want my kids to be well socialized”: Objections to Homeschooling, pt. 3
In this third installment of my Common Objections to Homeschooling series, I’ve asked my daughter and eldest child, Hannah, who is now married and an expectant mother, to offer her insights on the concern of socialization. In doing so, she also offers her views here on some of the benefits of homeschooling from the perspective of one who has been homeschooled all her life. (Photos and editorial comments added by me.)
I’ve been asked the question many times, “So did you like being homeschooled?” I’m not sure how these people expected me to answer, but it was always a surprise to them when I said, “Oh, I loved it.”
Disclaimer for this post: I cannot speak for every homeschooled child. There are right and wrong ways to be homeschooled, but I believe I was homeschooled the right way. The point of this post is to shed light on the benefits I reaped from being educated at home.
I will offer offer that the only negative thing I experienced growing up homeschooled was that most people did not understand homeschooling. I was judged a lot when I was younger. People have actually said to me, “Well I don’t think that’s right; I think kids need to be around people, and not stuck at home all the time.” Ironically, I was usually with friends – NOT at home – when I’ve received these judgments.
I want to touch more on the misconception of socialization.
The most typical question I’ve received through the years has been, “Did you have any friends?” I laugh and cringe at hearing this question every time. Yes, I had friends. Many, in fact. And the cool thing about my friends was that they were raised the same way as I was and we had most things in common, such as our schooling and our family values.
Editorial Comments: It’s probably important to add here that most homeschoolers are part of a homeschooling network where they meet and socialize with other homeschooling families. The homeschooling group in which our family participated met once per week, and the children were able to sit in traditional-style classes taught by all the parents on a variety of subjects during that day. We had two dramas per year and even a football team that competed with public school teams and other homeschool teams. We had proms that we called, Spring Formals. And most of the kids’ socialization came not with people of strictly their own ages, but with kids and adults of all ages. This is why homeschooled children are generally better socialized than public school children, because they are continually exposed to opportunities where they interact with people of all different ages in a variety of social settings. Public schooled children, on the other hand, are confined to interacting with a very narrow age group, which is not a model of what people face in real-world social interaction.
I don’t have a single negative thing to say about being homeschooled other than the weird looks and comments we got from people from time to time. Having been homeschooled was easily one of the greatest gifts I’ve received from my mother and father, and I plan to give the same gift to my children.
Here’s a short list of other benefits I received from being homeschooled.
Benefit #1: I received the one-on-one teaching I think everyone needs, every single day. Who knows your child better than you (besides God)? No one, I would hope. My mother knew my strengths and weaknesses, and with whatever subject I really struggled with in school, she did her best to find the best way to teach me said subject so I would succeed. She discovered my learning personality, and found the best way to communicate concepts to me based on MY uniqueness.
I was pretty bad at math growing up, for example, and she tried so many different curriculums with me until we found one where I started making A’s. Math still is not my best subject, but in my first college math course, my professor approached me at the end of the semester to tell me what huge potential I had within the field of math. Um, excuse me???
Editorial Comments: Hannah was probably better prepared than she thought, or perhaps the public schooled kids were not as prepared as they should have been. Maybe both are true. In any event, the fact that her professor thought that she had potential in the field of mathematics is testimony to the quality of her education, not necessarily because she is a natural whiz in math.
Another example of the customized nature of home education is that my brother, Luke, was a fast learner at a young age, and my mother recognized that and taught him at a more advanced pace. He learned to read at age 3, and he could name each U.S. President in order by memory at age 5.
Being taught one-on-one also gave us a greater desire to do well in school, regardless of the subject. It didn’t matter if we had other people to look around and compare ourselves to; I still strove for an A.
Benefit #2: Family time. Guess who was my best friend growing up? My brother, Luke. He is still one of my best friends. But as a now-grown woman, I can say without hesitation my #1 best friend (besides my husband) is my mother. I don’t think she and I would be as close if she hadn’t put so much time and energy into my upbringing and education. I would not have wanted to learn about the world from anyone else, and why would I? She’s the one who brought me into it after all.
My dad worked during the day but he also contributed to our spiritual education in the evenings when he got home.
I think part of people’s motives to homeschool is that YOU – the parent – are spending as much time with your child as you possibly can and not leaving their education or upbringing in someone else’s hands.
Benefit #3: I learned what my parents wanted me to learn. When I took science, for example, you can bet the curriculum was not pro-evolution. It taught the concept of evolution enough for us to learn the most logical ways to argue why we don’t believe in it. We learned it was a theory, not a fact.
Editorial Comments: Our approach to educating our children on the origin of man did not eliminate the theory of evolution; it just taught it as a theory, not a fact. And we taught the alternate view of the Biblical account of creation, or what has become known as Creation Science. Public schools, on the other hand, teach only one view of mankind’s origin: evolution. And they teach it as a fact, not a theory, thus eliminating the opportunity for critical thinking. Teaching critical thinking is a big goal of homeschooling families.
Also, there was no sex education class for us like a lot of young students are exposed to in high school. My Dad taught us about human sexuality from a purely scientific and Biblical perspective, not a humanistic one. We were not given condoms by the sex ed teachers. I would personally be outraged that someone else besides me was teaching my child about sex without my permission AND literally handing them a way to do it. And I’m sure my parents would have been outraged, too. I got the birds and the bees conversation in a safe environment with my parents and a human anatomy book, and learned that the best way to experience my sexuality one day would be with my future husband only, which is ultimately exactly what happened.
I also want to point out that I did not have to be told that my bathroom could now be used by boys at their leisure in order to “accept gender identity,” and I therefore didn’t have to worry about being exposed to rape or molestation at school. I felt the need to touch on that point since I know a lot of people are outraged at some schools’ and establishments’ new policies on transgender acceptance. The best way to protect your kids from policies like this is to educate your kids in the safest environment you know–home.
Which brings me to Benefit #4: The protection of my innocence. My parents kept a close eye on what I watched or listened to and who my friends were, and I didn’t learn about a lot of ugliness that goes on in the world until I neared adulthood and had more discernment and freedom. And even if I did hear about something questionable at a young age, I didn’t keep it to myself. I asked questions, and my parents explained it to me in the most reasonable and safest way they could. I didn’t even know what certain profanities were until I was well into high school, I had no personal experience with sex and had no specific knowledge of it except the biological concept itself, nor was I even very interested in knowing more until I was in my late teens.
A lot of people use the word “sheltered” to describe people like me like it’s a negative thing. But really it just means I was protected. In contrast, in the public school setting the average age for a male child to first be exposed to pornography is 11. That is so sad to me. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen to your child is to monitor them closely. And in public school, you have no idea what other kids are sharing with your kids or telling them about the world.
I do not believe my parents were too strict or overbearing in this way, even if I felt like it sometimes. They gave me more freedom and trust as I got older, as every parent should. But because I grew up in a more protected environment, these questionable things were not as difficult for me to choose to say no to as opposed to a public schooled child who is constantly exposed to and bombarded with perverse language and sex on a day to day basis, not to mention being bullied if they’re “different.”
These are the most important benefits I reaped from being homeschooled, though there so many more. I would not change anything about my education.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
I can attest as a homeschooled child myself that my parents’ upbringing has had everything to
do with why I am in such a blessed, happy, and healthy place in my life at 22 years old: happily married, with a very close relationship with God and my family. In the shape this world is in, I believe homeschooling is the wisest thing to do for your child. I understand many think they can’t do it, but no matter the excuse, if you love your kids enough, I believe God WILL honor that and provide a way for you to do it.
Trust me, it will be worth it!