“It isn’t homeschooling,” they say. “Your parents just did it wrong.”
Well I’m going to use my right to call bullshit right now.
I wish I could go all scientific on you and share some stats about why people start to homeschool their kids. Based on my experience, 90% of homeschool kids I know, their parents pulled them out of public school for religious reasons. Education was a secondary factor. Sure a small minority of parents whose priority was education. And sure we all have those stories about some homeschool kid that started college at 14 and is probably going to be the next Einstein or something. Lot’s of homeschool kids are smart. But had they stayed in public school would they still have been smart? We will never know.
Most homeschool parents will tell you that their genus children are getting more one-on-one instruction at home then they ever would in a public school classroom. And if they only spent 1 hour a day teaching their kid, the child would be better off than having to learn in a classroom of 26 other kids. Possibly true. Though when there are 14 kids at home, and mom is nursing and the older kids are actually teaching the younger kids, I’m not sure that anyone is getting great one-on-one instruction. And of course there is a house to clean, and laundry to do… so you know, lots of great education.
Well, and let’s talk about that education. How many parents are actually giving a very well rounded education and talking about things they don’t agree with? I mean based on a parents worldview, they teach their child to think exactly like them. There is no new teacher next year to challenge his or her perspective on something. There are no other kids that come from a different background. Parents can make kids believe anything they want. There are no other perspectives. Who is to disagree? So let’s just skip evolution. You will never need that pesky algebra stuff in real life. Oh and let’s spend 4 years on our Christian forefathers founding of this great land of America and maybe we will get to world history eventually. And if we want to believe that the Bible can give you a complete education with no other books, there is no one to tell us different.
And let’s talk about socialization. Oh yes, homeschool parents roll their eyes at this one. Who needs to socialize with one’s peers? That is just the blind leading the blind. That is a breeding ground for rebellion. Interesting perspective, but again total bullshit. Children are some day going to grow up. It isn’t going to matter if they can carry on a conversation with people 40 years their senior. The majority of their day they will have to be with their peers in the workplace. And guess what, there are bullies, and mean girls, and everything you see in elementary school through high school. It is just with adults who have perfected their game over decades. Your poor little homeschool child gets to deal with all that drama for the first time when their response directly connects to their future career development and current paycheck. What a great plan! If they don’t handle things right, they can lose their job!
I hope you caught all the dripping sarcasm in all of that.
Homeschooling, as a system, isn’t perfection. It has different flaws than that of going to a public school. There are parents who are really trying to “do homeschooling right” but the reality is that it isn’t a good system. The genius children are few and far between. Ironically just like at public schools. Most homeschool kids would be average where ever they were. And as homeschool parents are fond of pointing out, education is more than just what you find in books. The stuff you can’t get at home is what is going to help them survive in the world after they leave the nest. They need to relate to their peers. They need to know a bit about pop-culture because sometimes it is at the proverbial water cooler that friendships are formed and promotions are given. They need confidence to face the bullies, and stand up for the underdog. They need to know where to go when they need help. And mommy isn’t going to be there to save them. They need survival skills.
Homeschooling your kids is taking a tiger and raising him in the zoo. And at 18 or 21 putting the tiger back in the jungle, or wherever it is that tigers live (didn’t get that lesson in homeschool). If they don’t get killed in the first 5 minutes, it is going to be a bloody struggle for them to learn how to live. “Wait, you mean that people don’t just drop in fresh meat every day, I have to kill a deer?”
My parents were to blame for my homeschooling experience. They were responsible for my lack of education. And it was NOT okay for them to expose us to religious cults and the environment in which we were raised. My parents did it wrong.
But I don’t believe that that homeschooling, done perfectly, is the norm in the “homeschooling movement.” The homeschooling movement never really has been totally about education. Otherwise it would be endlessly turning out brilliant students. Instead we have story after story of abused kids. We have hundreds of blogs of kids who are trying to find their way after enduring home lives that were less than ideal. We have so many adults now trying to figure out how to make a living and support families, and at the same time have no idea how to compete in a workplace and relate to their peers.
Stop telling me to not blame homeschooling. Being homeschooled was the worst decision my parents ever made. Homeschool and parents cannot be separated. They go hand-in-hand.
(picture found on google, originally at… http://www.repmanblog.com/repman/2008/01/big-cats-trump.html)