Both my amazing husband and myself were homeschooled growing up….all the way from preschool to our senior year of high school. We both had very positive experiences with it.
One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the fact that each child can get one-on-one time from the teacher. We were able to explore and pursue our individual talents and interests. While I have great respect for public school teachers, they are limited as to how much they can help each individual. In some class rooms, the student/teacher ratio is 30 to 1. I have heard it said that teachers have to teach to the “average” student in the class. Unfortunately, this can leave the advanced students bored and the struggling students frustrated.
I also love the real world experience that homeschooling allows. Rather than sitting in a classroom with their peers all day, homeschoolers get to interact with people of all ages and in various places.
But this is not a blog post about why people should homeschool. I believe that God can lead different families to do different things. Homeschooling was amazing for both of our families growing up and, at this point, we do plan on homeschooling our children. But homeschooling is not the only way. My only caution for parents who are unsure or who have decided to go the public/private school route is to just remember that you are still the parents. You are still responsible for their spiritual upbringing. Whether you homeschool, private school or public school….your child’s ultimate education and spiritual upbringing lies in your lap…not the teacher’s.
All that aside, my purpose in writing now is to talk about the big S word. Socialization. I find it somewhat humorous when, in discussions on schooling options, people put homeschooling and socialization in juxtaposition to each other. It’s as if you can only choose one or the other and people are torn as to which to choose. Should you homeschool? Or have your children socialized?
Obviously, there are a lot of different kinds of homeschooling….but for us growing up, homeschooling and socialization went hand in hand.
As I already mentioned, I love that growing up, my sisters and I were around people of all ages, not just our peer group. We were around babies, young kids, kids our age, older kids, adults, and seniors. We knew how to interact well with them. There were so many opportunities for us to socialize….whether it was park days, play dates, field trips, co-op classes, and more. Lots of homeschoolers participate in things like Girl Scouts, 4H, dance, or karate.
According to research done by the Home School Legal Defense Association, adults who had been homeschooled are flourishing socially. “In all areas of life, from gaining employment, to being satisfied with their home-schooling, to participating in community activities, to voting, home-schoolers were more active and involved than their public school counterparts.” (see this Washington Times article)
Studies have shown that homeschooled kids have fewer behavioral problems, avoid a lot of negative peer pressure, and tend to enter college as adults, rather than kids looking to party.
I really appreciate this blogger who explains well the importance of socialization and how you can accomplish both socializing and homeschooling!
HSLDA offers more insight and research here.
Again, this is not to say that homeschooling is the magical solution for all children. This is merely to point out that homeschooling does not doom a child to sitting at home all day, staring at the same four walls, never to see another person (much less someone their own age). Socialization is very important, and homeschooling can offer that in unique ways.