Thursday, July 13, 2006


Over the past few years especially, I've seen quite a bit about homeschooling. It's been a topic of discussion on the WD Fourms and on countless other blogs and websites. Of course, there are major benefits for parent and child, but the one question that always seems to pop up is: "What about socialization?"

Here's an article that talks a little about this question. I'm not sure if I agree, though. I've seen some really weird kids come out of homeshooling environments. Some of them can't function well around other people their age and even fly back home after a few years of struggling socially, financially, and in other ways.

In any case, I think there are pros and cons, just like sending kids to public or private school.

Any of y'all know kids, parents, etc. involved in homeschooling?


kellieja said...

Our neighbors in Montgomery home schooled their three children. I was surprised to see that they were very sociable and well rounded.
I mean these kids had seen the old Pink Panther movies and LOTR. The kids always wanted us to come over for dinner.
I think what helped with their social skills was the involvement in their religion. They were very busy Mormons and they made sure their kids were a part of it.

bigsip said...

That's cool!

Again, I think it's good in some ways. And no two homeshool environments are alike. Some are authoritarian and some are flippant...

Brewster said...

I think home schooling can be great or it can be horrible. Personally I wouldn’t home school unless I knew the public/private institutions near me were rotten.

The social issues can be taken care of if you try. Home school kids can be involved in area sports, or boy scouts, or other social activities. I think the kids who have the problems are from parents that don’t get them involved in social activities. A kid that stays home all day everyday with nothing more than his mom and his computer isn’t going to have the same social skills as one who is active in his youth group and soccer league.

Other issues with home schooling is the level of education. I would be able to teach my kids through elementary levels, but once they started getting past basic math and science then I would suck. How many home school parents are really equipped to teach their children? Of course there are some “real” teachers who aren’t really equipped to teach either.

Jamison said...

Good points Brew.
I am for it. I was looking for some schools out west to work for (just for fun) and came across ALOT... then I looked at the enrollment... 7, 12, 24... and many were located in neighborhoods... so I assumed home schools.

I think that structured home schooling is cool... like you get 2 or three moms that teach 8 or 10 kids each day. It is more like "school" and less like "home" but you must understand that learning is rarely done in a classroom, and I think home schooling allows for more real world learning. Classroom learning will get you a degree and a job... not much else.

Per Brew's comment; we have a family at church (I shan't say any names) and they home schooled their kids. All the kids are nice and well rounded and may suffer a TAD from social issues, but as they grow older they are coming out of that. The youngest is well past the age one can spell common words, yet this child still struggles spelling words that her peers masters years ago...

mullinz8 said...

I think it would be cool to home school the kids because of the family learning experience. Like Brew, once the kids got past a certain point I would be useless to their education and most likely a detriment.

I’ve known a few folks who home school their kids and have done a really good job. Part of that was making sure they kids were socialized and out of the house doing other things.

This past weekend I was at a Kendo class, just observing, and was talking to a guy who was there with his son who was also teaching. The kid was 15 and has been taking Kendo for 6 years. This fall he is entering Maryville College as a junior. Yeah, a junior. At 11 he was taking college courses. He’s been home schooled since the age of 5 and is the youngest of four kids. He was a 2nd degree black belt in Kendo and sparing against the 7th degree instructor.

One sister is a vet, one’s in med school and the brother is 101st Airborn officer. There times when it’s done right and this guys family seemed to be a good example.

There are other times when the kids are overly sheltered and it turns them into weird little people that have zero ability to communicate.

It’s a balancing act and like so many other things in life it’s difficult and trying but if successful exceptionally rewarding.

Ryan F. said...

I'm not for it. For many reasons, but I have seen some REALLY WEIRD kids that were homeschooled. Usually their parents are pretty weird themselves, which may have more to do with that. I do understand that some do not want to send their kids to public school, b/c we all know how rotten some can be. My problem is with those who want to sheild their kids from the world. Sooner or later their kids will see what the world has to offer, and if it is later in life when Mom & Dad aren't around, it may spell disaster. Better to let them get a taste of the real world while Mom & Dad still have some control & influence than later on.

tnmommieof2 said...

I absolutely agree with you Ryan. My experience with homeschooling is from my sister, who is 8 years younger than me.

She decided, for whatever reason, that in the 5th grade, she no longer wanted to go to school. It was a real problem for my parents, who both worked full-time. She started having stomache aches every day, and crying not to go, so eventually they pulled her out and decided to homeschool.

The only problem with that was like I said earlier, they worked full-time. So what they did was leave her lessons to do during the day and then they would "check" them when their work day was over.

BIG mistake. My sister, in all actuality, probably has what tests would say a 5th grade education. She never graduated from H.S., has no GED, no real social skills to speak of either.

Of course, that's only the tip of the iceberg...she's 22 today and has a 2 year old and is on her 2nd marriage.....I kind of wonder if homeschooling had anything to do with that????

bigsip said...

I have met several homeschooled kids. Most of them have seemed odd and inflexible.

I think there are great advantages to parents who choose to homeschool their kids. But, it seems that most of the time, the advantages for the adults mean disadvantages for the kids.

If you're cloistered and sheltered, you're gonna lack the skills it takes to make friends, be assertive, and progress in many ways (i.e. mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.).

It's like relying on someone else's faith all your life.

I know that some families are very good at keeping their kids involved and active, but I'd say they're few and far between.

Even in the case of what Mullins is talking about, the kids all seem to have been pushed a bit.

I mean, starting college so soon is generally a difficult social agenda for a kid, no matter how book smart he or she might be.

I think it falls to the parents to educate their kids in other ways. Kids who have a stable, loving home environment with a spiritual and rich upbringing are far more likely to progress in all areas of life.

Kids who are stunted or pushed (both parental conditions of achievement) are going to have a tough time breaking away from mommy and daddy for the rest of their lives.

I think it's possible to homeschool kids and have them turn out well-adjusted and independent, but it's probably very rare...

Yudelka said...

Several kids in my church are homeschooled. Most of them are great, 'normal' kids. The mothers usually tell me that they "don't have to do much." They simply supervise. The kids are practically teaching themselves.

We have an exceptional mom, however, who will be homeschooling for the first year. She is trying to organize something for all the homeschooled kids and their moms. I think she's actually going to hold 'classes' in her house. She has someone in charge of field trips, and is herself keeping records and organizing the academics end of it all.

She is even going to ask our local Courts Plus to let her use an area at their gym for PE purposes a few times per week. She is, indeed, an exception.

I have mixed feelings about the issue. While it may be a great advantage to some, it may become a hinderance to others (parent & kids alike). My 11 year old is doing great and going into 7th grade this year. I have no reason, thus far, to even consider homeschooling.

bigsip said...

Yeah, kids teaching themselves scares me.

One thing I do appreciate about homeschool is the fact that the kids can concentrate.

They're in a safe, secure, quiet home environment where they can get work done without fear of molestation from outside forces (hehe).

Seriously, though, I was a tortured child in school and it made it harder to do well in school.

I never felt really safe or calm at school. I was always on guard against the bullies.

However, it taught me to take care of my problems and be tough and assertive. Eventually, I grew and got strong working out. The bullies stopped messing with me because my confidence grew, too.

By the end of school, I was not popular, but nobody messed with me.

Had I whined and run home to Mommy, I would have been alright, I guess, but I wouldn't have learned to be assertive, street-smart, and strong.

Brewster said...

Home schoolers get a bad rap for being Unabomber types. But have you visited with public schoolers of late? There’s plenty of nut jobs there too. Ask Jamison about his private school kids, you’ll surely find unsociables there.

You probably have a higher ratio in the home school market because of the reasons people home school in the first place.

I agree with Ryan that home schooling to shelter or “protect” your kids probably isn’t the right way to go about it. Unless you live in a major city and are zoned at a school full of drugs and gang bangers. Protecting your kids from sex, drugs and the like is pretty stinking useless. Eventually they will have to face these things. In some ways letting them face those challenges early is more beneficial than when they leave the home.

Mullins and I had a conversation ages ago about private vs public schools. The outcome was similar in that if you send your kids to a private Christian school simply to get them away from the bad things, you’re probably out of luck. Christian schools got the same sins (just ask Jamison) as public ones.

Yudelka, that scenario sounds like the way to do home schooling. Juliana, that doesn’t. Not to knock your folks (for they are wonderful people and I love them dearly - btw give them a hello for me) but that’s a lousy way to teach a kid. They probably didn’t have much choice, but letting your sister on her own like that isn’t a good way to home school.

Homeschooling can be great, but it takes a lot of work, organization, and needs a schedule with social intereaction.

mullinz8 said...

Jules sister is a victim of over coddling and protection. It was a mistake that a lot of people recognize now, though too proud to recognize it, Jodie knows it too.

Yudelka, the lady you know is doing it right. The former preacher at our church home schooled his kids much the same way and they were all pretty normal. Quarks, sure, but decent enough all the same.

Trying to overprotect your kids is a mistake. There are areas where I know I’m going to have problems letting go, cripes I already do, but I’ve got to suck it up and let them get a taste for things and communicate to them how and why to deal with situations. I briefly taught the high school wed night class at Vaughn Park and 75% of them went to ACA and could get me a dime bag (pot) with one phone call and, like the kids Jamison sees, were more than casually involved with multiple partners sexually.

Life is a part of living and experience is key to living a better life.

Oak Ridge continually has nationally ranked schools with decent teacher student ratios so I’m not worried about their education. All the other stuff like sex, drugs and parties is going to be happening around them no matter their location. It’s my job to teach them how to respond to those situations, prior to their exposure, in a responsible, realistic and rational manner. If I find one of my kids is drunk at 12 I’m kicking his ass and he gets locked under the bed, if he’s 16 then he’s going to be in trouble but dealt with accordingly, if he’s 25 and driving drunk, he still gets an ass kicking.

One of the chaps on this blog vividly recalls the time he got busted smoking by his folks. Kids are kids and are going to try stupid things, I did and still do and can’t expect anything less that from my boys. I think how the situation is dealt with is key.

Like home schooling some people are cut out to learn and teach that way some are not.