All of you who have been asked why you chose homeschooling over Christian school raise your hands. Aha! I see tentative fingers wiggling all over the blogoshpere! The hopefully well-meaning friend or family member posing the question probably assumed that Christian schools are a desirable place to obtain an education. But ignorance can be fixed. (My apologies to the wonderful, dedicated Christian schools that must be out there somewhere.)
When we were first investigating the alternatives to government school, we checked into our local Christian schools. I was as innocent as the next moron and also assumed that the private schools were brimming with shiny-faced cherubs as eager to learn about Jesus as they were to learn to multiply and divide. I had never stopped to consider what happens to the thugs, bullies, and would-be drug pushers who manage to get themselves expelled from the government institutions — they get put into Christian schools! Their parents (often, parent — singular) consider themselves incapable of dealing with Scarface-Junior and want to “leave it to the professionals.” Must I be the one to remind them that “parent” is also a verb? (This is not to imply that single parents are destined to raise “behavior challenged” children. It does, however, mean that the houligans who get expelled from public school and plunked into Christian school usually have not been raised with two active parents present in the home. — Join me in a round of applause for all the dedicated, single parents who are finding ways to homeschool!)
Time for another show of hands. You have heard: “Without proper socialization, your homeschooled kids will grow up in a bubble and never know what the real world is like.” Wow, no hesitancy that time! Let’s compare environments. Scene 1: Thirty children all approximately the same age, herded together in a crowded room, all doing exactly the same assignment at exactly the same time to exactly the same instructions, day after day, year after year. Scene 2: A handful of children of assorted ages, spread out all over the house and yard, doing independent assignments as they are capable, each lesson tailored to each student’s interests and abilities, with the routine broken frequently for running errands with Mom or attending to family celebrations and/or emergencies. If Scene 1 appears to you to be more of a sterile “bubble” environment and Scene 2 appears to be different every day, every month, every year, then we agree. Homeschooled kids are the ones who truly live in the real world; public schoolers hear about the real world, but do not really experience it until they leave the institution.
Face it — no one can love my child, care for my child, understand my child, or teach my child better than I can. Homeschooling adapts to the idiosyncrasies of life in a way no institution possibly can.
Finally, I will quote from my favorite homeschool T-shirts: “When you’re homeschooled, there’s no telling where you’ll end up,” picturing Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, with the noble faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln faithfully watching over the horizon of this nation. “Mt. Rushmore: The National Monument to Homeschooling” — ’nuff said. (I haven’t seen this t-shirt in years, and online searches don’t find it either. Sad.)
[For more on this topic, see the articles linked below.]
Socialization and Why You Don’t Need It (The Socialization Myth, Part 1)
The Socialization Code
The Myth of Age-Mates