I Don’t Care How Great It Is, I Have Zero Interest In Homeschooling

homeschoolI was homeschooled in the late 80s and early 90s, from kindergarten to third grade. The main reason my mom chose to homeschool all three of us kids was not because she was a masochist. It was because my dad pressured her into it to fit into his religious definition of a good Christian family.

So, I was raised Christian and was homeschooled in my early years. I still consider myself a Christian, although I no longer embrace strict religion. As you might have guessed, our homeschooling curriculum was Christian, and I finished elementary school in a private Christian school. When my parents divorced when I was 10, I finally went to public school for the first time as I hit middle school. I’m so glad I did.

In a way, I might have homeschooling to thank for being academically advanced. I was able to combine kindergarten and first grade while I was homeschooled, so I essentially skipped a grade. I graduated high school at 17, and I was one of the top students in my class.

But beyond those potential academic benefits, I would never wish homeschooling on my kids. For starters, I refuse to be their teacher. Sure, I plan on teaching and enriching my kids whenever I get the opportunity in everyday life, but I’m not going to sit down with them and pound out a lesson plan. Nope.

Second, my memory of homeschooling revolves around deeply religious lessons and a Christian bubble of “homeschool friends.” As a parent today, I’m heavily focused on socializing my kids so that they’ll feel comfortable and know how to respond in a number of settings. In my opinion, that’s the best way to prepare them for the real world.

In the homeschooling circle that I was in, secular was bad, and spiritual was good. That doesn’t fit the true definition of socialization since homeschooled kids in these circumstances were only exposed to one culture. I was able to experience both worlds, and I think that attending a public middle school helped to socialize me without any truly harmful repercussions.

Most of the time, I forget I was ever homeschooled, and it’s hardly a blip on my radar. Still, I can only imagine how my world views and life experiences might have changed if I was homeschooled throughout high school. I know this is merely a stereotype, but I have personally met many homeschooled high schoolers that were completely out of touch with reality. I can’t even imagine how they might have felt when they attended college or got their first real job—like a fish out of water.

There have been a handful of times that I have been asked if I will homeschool my children. I only have my personal experience to draw from, but my answer is always an emphatic, “Hell, no.”

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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    • Aubrey

      I hear you! Homeschooling definitely has its appeals (no rushing out of the house every day, freedom to make lessons unique to fit your child’s needs/interests, more efficient so there is more fun time, less “busywork” and homework, etc etc). But I fight enough battles with my kids every day from brushing teeth, cleaning up toys, be nice to each other….I can’t imagine how being in the role of their teacher on top of that would work! My son is DEFIANT and responds better to other adults in a teaching role. I just feel as though I would be further thrust into a less fun role with my kids and lose out on time just being with and having fun with them. Plus there is the socialization piece which is HUGE. I know homeschoolers swear that they get their kids out to socialize, but it isn’t quite the same as the dynamic of familiar peers every day in a classroom environment (for better or worse).

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I know some non-religious home-schoolers, but they seem to be few and far between.

    • Natalie A.

      While I love the concept and convenience the idea of home schooling gives, I honestly don’t think it’s good for children in most instances. Mainly because of the socialization, my daughter 3 and in nursery school a few days a week, the difference in her attitude and self esteem is already amazing! Also children tend to listen and pay attention to others more often then their parents, so how much do they really retain with home schooling? More power to the parents that are able to produce a well rounded child with home schooling, but it’s not for me either!

      • Bethany Ramos

        Seriously, daycare has taught my son so much more than we did, and he follows “positive” peer pressure. He learned to use a fork, sit at a table with friends, etc. I’m a supporter.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        This forever. I didn’t realize how emotionally “young” mine was until she got to prek. I think it was important to get her around her peers.

      • guest

        It really depends on the situation. Homeschool children are not necessarily “unsocialized” or only socialized with a select unchanging group of children (as the author was–and, I might add, could also be a criticism of my own exclusive hoity-toity private school upbringing!). One of my good friends was homeschooled and she and her siblings still participated in Little League and Girl Scouts and all those other extracurriculars that help socialize kids–they certainly were not up in a tower with their books all day long. They also have a homeschooling group with other parents and kids and do shared lessons, field trips, etc. so they don’t always do their work independently.

        This may be a bit of an anomaly, since the majority of homeschool parents that I hear about are parents who are quite religious and therefore tend to be more insular, but then again–the most open-minded, curious, delightful person I knew in the Big Apple had been homeschooled K-12 for religious reasons. And then went on to graduate from Columbia and goes around the globe as a journalist.

      • Melissa T

        Seriously, is Seattle a little bubble of homeschooling awesome? I just can’t fathom this attitude. My family started homeschooling in the late 80′s, and all of us are socially adjusted successful individuals who had a great and very broad socialization as children. No two homeschooling families are alike around here, and the reasons, philosophies, religious or non-religious affiliations run the gamut. Personally, I didn’t have a problem retaining information from my mom, but she was also mostly an ‘unschooler’ before it was cool. I mostly taught myself, by my own choice, from middle school on. Not all of my siblings were as self-motivated, but they didn’t have an issue with learning from mom or dad either. I homeschool my own kids, and so far it’s working out great.

      • Jayamama

        Most home schoolers are advanced compared to their peers in public school because they get one-on-one attention and don’t have their lessons tailored to them and not the lowest common denominator. This, of course, is only true if the parent takes the schooling seriously. I’ve seen a family where the kids’ education was actually suffering because the parents didn’t care.

        As far as socialization, it really depends on the child and the style of home schooling. I was home schooled like the author – for a few years when I was young, just enough to give me a boost academically. If I had been at home through high school, I probably would have been much more socially awkward because I’m a natural homebody and introvert. But my husband was home schooled all the way through, and he’s the last person you’d call socially awkward. He’s one of the friendliest, most outgoing, comfortable people I know. It’s probably partially due to his personality, but also because he was in Boy Scouts, karate, gymnastics, swimming, youth group, piano lessons, etc, throughout his childhood and adolescence. His mom made sure that all four of her kids got plenty of social interaction outside of the home, and they’re all very well adjusted. There’s a right and wrong way to do it.

      • SarahJesness

        Eh, it’s actually a little debatable if homeschoolers do better or not. Kids in public schools are required to take standardized tests, while homeschooled kids are not. The only homeschooled kids that take standardized tests are going to be the ones whose parents are active in their child’s education. (and having an active, caring parent is the number one factor in how well a kid does in school regardless of what kind of school he goes to) So this probably kind of skews results.

        But yeah, supports your point on parents. In addition to the smart, well-edjusted homeschooled kids, I’ve seen some that weren’t very smart, didn’t know much, and some of whom were socially awkward and naive, because their parents either didn’t put in the effort to educate them or simply didn’t have the knowledge to educate them. Can’t teach your kid much math if you don’t know beyond the basics.

      • CW

        You’re assuming that they are awkward because they are homeschooled rather than the other way around. I know a bunch of families who pulled their kids with Asperger’s/high-functioning autism out to homeschool because of bullying. Their kids are going to be socially awkward regardless of the type of schooling because of the ASD.

    • Savannah61

      I got my education degree from a private Christian college. As part of my work study program, I gave tours of the campus to prospective students and their families. I can’t even tell you how many times people either asked me if I was getting my education degree so I could homeschool, or just straight up said, “It’s so nice that you’re studying education so you can homeschool your kids!”. Um, no. I got my degree in education so I could work in one of the most rewarding fields out there, influence America’s future, get paid to do something I love, etc. Not to homeschool.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      This sounds so douchey but I went to private school (it’s not what it sounds like! I swear!) and the education was top notch. I’ve been surprised at my kid’s school even though I thought I was prepared. If I did homeschool, it would be to make sure she’s getting the attention, but tbh I am tooooo lazy/too in love with having time during the day to get stuff done to even bother. Plus if I did I couldn’t watch Downton Abbey all day.

      • Bethany Ramos

        I’m pretty sure I would be a mean teacher watching Netflix!

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        On the plus side I guess you could fulfill chem requirements with Professors Pinkman and White

      • Bethany Ramos

        YES.

    • Kay_Sue

      I am willing to consider homeschooling if our state government continues to make such a foolery of our public education system. I’m about at my wits’ end with them. I don’t feel like I could do a better job than the teachers–I feel like I could do a better job than the legislators that aren’t letting the teachers do their jobs.

      I was never homeschooled (My mom is a public school teacher, she would have laughed in my dad’s face) but he did pressure her into allowing us to attend a private Christian school our church started. That was 7th and 8th grade. It was pretty much all of the kids, K5 through 8th grade (I was the oldest student in the school) in the same classroom. Essentially, it was homeschooling, just not done by our parent in our home. Honestly? It wrecked my education and my social skills. I credit it with my difficulty adjusting to high school (going from a school of less than 20 the first year and 10 the second to about 2000? Culture shock!), and while I did catch up academically pretty quickly (I graduated 9 out of a class of 371, with 20 college credits thanks to my AP classes), it was difficult to struggle just because I’d missed basics in math during that time period. I had a lot of resentment towards my parents for it, and it was not a fun time.

      Anyway, I know homeschooling can be done well, because I’ve seen people–including fundamentalists–do it very well. My personal experience with the homeschool-esque scene was not good though, so I can see how it can go incredibly wrong.

      • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

        I feel you on the math. I was homeschooled during those grades, too, and for the most part I was totally fine academically (ahead in many cases) but I definitely had some math to catch up on and it sucked.

      • NotTakenNotAvailable

        The private school I attended from 2nd grade through middle school was secular, but that didn’t make it any good. It billed itself as being geared toward gifted and talented children who were too bright for the bogged-down public school system, but in reality, the classes mostly consisted of kids who were just a little too, shall we say, special to fit in elsewhere and whose parents could afford the $7000/year tuition. They none-too-subtly encouraged us lefties to use our right hands, gave out more homework in 5th grade than I would see even in grad school at a prestigious East Coast university, and (worst yet) taught at the pace of the slowest kids in the class, which would have been fine had they, again, not billed themselves as being the ONLY choice in town for the academically advanced.

        That school left me bored, overwhelmed, and frustrated all at once, and I felt like I was a bit behind when I finally got to go to a public high school (where I finally felt challenged–turns out the honors/AP classes in a well-funded public school system actually do know how to draft curriculum for the quicker learners!). And yet if you ask my dad, he still thinks that private school was the best decision he and my mom made as far as my education went. While I was still in that school, I used to half-joke that I’d keep that in mind when making a similar decision about which nursing home to put him in.

        TL;DR: Private school isn’t the be-all and end-all, even if there isn’t a religious agenda. Sometimes your kids might still resent you years after the fact!

      • Kay_Sue

        It definitely took a while to get over the whole “why did you do this to me” feeling.

      • NotTakenNotAvailable

        It’s been 15 years, and I’m still not over the whole “why did you do this to me” feeling! It was a pretty significant chunk of my childhood, though.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Amen! And the bullying (at least mine)!

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        That was my experience in a small private middle school, although they never tried to bill it towards gifted. It sucked. I used to turn my textbooks upside down and read them that way because I was so bored listening to others read aloud. The only thing I learned there was how to read upside down, which works when I’m tutoring :)

      • SarahJesness

        Both of my parents were public school teachers when I was a kid and they sent me to private school because they knew how bad the system was, ha ha. (my dad has even written some articles on some of the problems)

        My mom has told me she wished she could’ve homeschooled us, buuuut I’m glad she didn’t. The Catholic private school I went to, while giving a good education, didn’t do me any favors when I had to go to a public middle school and adjust to that. Being homeschooled would’ve made that so much worse. Plus, I don’t know if I could trust my mom to teach me all subjects, or expose me to alternate worldviews. (Catholic school did leave me a little… ignorant on certain lifestyles and viewpoints. Let’s leave it at that)

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      I was homeschooled in middle school for entirely non-religious reasons. Both of my brothers had already been through middle school, and for one, it was fine. He didn’t advance much academically but it was fine. He was very social and likeable. For the other, who was a weirder kid and much less outgoing, it was utter hell because of the bullying. He developed severe depression, started cutting himself, and tried to kill himself.

      That’s the brother I was more like. So my parents saw that happen to him and then knew that I was going into middle school as a shy fat kid who’d already dealt with pretty bad bullying in elementary school and went “NOPE”. So I was homeschooled for a couple of years and went back into public school for high school and it was all good.

      I loved it, but that said, uhhh yeah actually homeschooling my future children? Maybe not. I think I’d consider homeschooling my kids in middle school the same way depending on what they’re like and the situations, but for any more than those two years? NOPE.

      • Bethany Ramos

        This makes a lot of sense – and my heart breaks for kids in your brother’s situation.

      • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

        Middle school scares the shit out of me. I am so sorry this happened.

      • LiteBrite

        One of my husband’s co-workers’ wives was “unschooling” her oldest
        child. She too had been bullied severely in middle and high school, and
        her rationale was “Why would I want to subject my child to that possibility?” I hadn’t heard of unschooling and was fascinated by the concept.

        However, she stopped because she had another baby and found that trying to take care of a newborn and unschool a child just wasn’t working out. The oldest is in public school now and doing just fine.

        I don’t know enough about homeschooling, unschooling, etc to make a final judgement. However, I can say that based on what I DO know I don’t think it would be for me.

    • Tea

      I was home schooled through middle and high school, because while I was an A student, I was out so many days for illness that I was at risk of failing for lack of attendance. I probably missed out on some socialization, but I was already the fat disabled kid who got bullied a lot, so I might have actually been spared.

      I also ended up being the weird kid in our homeschool group, where I met gaggles of girls all in training to be wives or maybe teachers (The only two jobs their families would permit). And where anything secular was bad. I don’t think I could do it myself, I know how many ways I played the arrangement as a teenager, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

      • Bethany Ramos

        Wives in training, yes.

    • JD

      When my kids are in grade school I would consider an “unschooling” approach if I feel they are not benefitting from a traditional classroom environment. We live in NYC and from the little bit of research I have done of the topic there is a pretty vibrant, non-religious community of people letting their kids get a education through museums, zoos, and just basically exploring the city and they get together with each other for field trips and socialization purposes.

      But homeschooling for religious purposes weirds me out because I feel like its main objective is to make sure your kids don’t hear about evolution or Obama in any positive light. There are some pretty scary ideologues in my Facebook feed…I get wanting to control what your kids learn to a degree, but I am more of a believer in letting kids know all the sides of the story and figure out what works for them.

      • JD

        Edit: get *an* education

        See, should NOT homeschool. :)

      • http://himanivakarian.tumblr.com/ Himani

        I live in NYC too and I’m seriously considering secular homeschooling my son thanks to the horrible pre-K experience we’re having.
        Would you happen to have any links about the NYC homeschooling groups?

      • SarahJesness

        Not being exposed to alternate worldviews pretty much is the point of religious homeschooling. Buuuut it doesn’t do your kid any favors when they eventually ARE subjected to alternate views. Might lead to some awkwardness, embarrassments, and so on. I went to a Catholic school, and while I don’t think they deliberately shielded us from alternate views, I did have to think about a LOT of stuff when I entered middle school, started watching the news, and using the internet.

        Funny story: In the Catholic school, we got this new principal who was big on pushing the pro-life agenda. First time I had heard of it, since the previous principal never brought it up. So I went along with it, and didn’t even think about it. I joined an online forum and clicked on a thread for an abortion debate, all ready to defend the pro-life position… And then read a response that pretty much amounted to “Women should do what they want with their bodies”. And I thought “Yeah, that makes sense”. That was literally ALL it took for me to change my mind; simply hearing the opposing view. I had never previously heard any arguments in favor of abortion, or even thought about why someone would get one. I just “knew” it was wrong. Other views took a bit longer to change, but they happened. This one just sticks out to me because I find it really amusing that a simple argument on one of the touchiest subjects (granted, I don’t think I knew how touchy it was at the time) managed to change my mind completely.

      • Shelley HRC

        Well said! Different strokes for …..I really don’t know, there is the no right or wrong answer. I do have a daughter who will be 13 soon. She does have a “learning disability.” She may have done better HSing. However I KNOW I could have not been her teacher. I work full time in a grocery retail chain, and all the kids that work there with only a few exceptions 3 that I can think off, out of 50 smoke weed. Even the ones I thought made good choices.

    • aCongaLine

      Socialization and diversity are so important. We are fortunate to live in an area where there are several upscale, really nice schools, both public and private. Our kids will be going to the public schools- because diversity.

      While everyone has the freedom of choice in the matters of the education of their kids, I know that the public school up the street is the perfect place for them- we wouldn’t have it any other way.

      As a child of public school teachers, and a wife of a public school teacher who was/will be a public school teacher after this SAHM stint, I value the non-academic lessons that kids learn in a school setting. THere is so much about teamwork, creativity, and collaboration that is present in a school setting that I know I would not be able to provide if I homeschooled my kids. I know that homeschooling is not for us.

      Sometimes I’m not even sure them being home with me when they are little is right for us… I very much want them to experience the world, and to not be sheltered from it. Like I said, though, everyone is free to make that choice. I will absolutely not be homeschooling- it scares me.

      • CW

        You do realize that HS kids can learn all those skills through extracurricular activities such as Science Olympiad, First Lego League, Destination Imagination, etc.? Activities that may very well not be available through the local public school (my kids’ zoned school has NONE of those teams so if my kids were not HS, they wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate).

      • aCongaLine

        I do realize this. I coach for, and coordinate a school DI program that has several homeschooled kids involve in it, and have lead many a girl scout troops with girls who were homeschooled as well. There was no DI program at my school until I brought it there. I’m not saying that no one should homeschool- I’m saying it’s not right for my family. And I don’t trust myself to be the only person to give them the education they deserve. (yay DI!)

      • aCongaLine

        I do realize this. I coach for, and coordinate, a school DI program that has homeschooled kids from the community involved in it, as well as lead a girl scout troop with homeschooled kids in it, too. DI didn’t exist at my school until I brought it there. Just because enrichment opportunities don’t exist currently, doesn’t mean they never can. It’s tough to get things started, and to get funding, but it’s totally worth it- we’ve just sent out first team to Globals this past year.

        Rock on with homeschooling your kids! I’m sure they are getting everything they need. I just think it’s not right for my family- I don’t trust myself to be able to give them the education they deserve. They’ll be attending public school, and a high school of their choice, since so many are available in our area. For that, I’m thankful.

    • pixie

      I think if someone has the time and means to do it, homeschooling can be very beneficial for *certain types of kids*. That means not only covering the appropriate levels of basic education (math, science, language, history, etc), but also being able to culture them by visiting museums, zoos, if there’s a nearby large multicultural centre (a good-sized city) to supplement their learning. It’s also good to teach about different religions, regardless of the family’s own religion to help with becoming familiar with other cultures and encouraging open-mindedness. Socialization with children their own age can be done through extra-curriculars (sports teams, arts, etc). Not all children would benefit from homeschooling, just as not all children benefit from public or private education.

      Basically, it’s best to know yourself and your children. If you don’t feel you would be able to (or want to) sit down and homeschool them every day, for whatever reason, then obviously homeschooling is not for you and that is perfectly fine. If you don’t feel your children would be responsive to it or it would benefit them, then same thing, homeschooling is not for you and there is nothing wrong with that. I went to public school from K-8 and a Catholic public high school (not Catholic but because they’re publicly funded, they had to let me in) for five years and that worked for me. My parents still cultured me by taking me to museums, art galleries, downtown to the city, and other places, which pretty much every parent does regardless if their child is homeschooled or not, as as wonderful and intelligent people as they are, I’m not totally sure how well they would have homeschooled me if they tried.

    • Gina

      Crazy! My experience was almost exactly like yours. I was homeschooled, then went to private school, then public school. My parents homeschooled for religious reasons as well, and the reasons I think it worked out (i.e., the reasons I’m a successful professional and not super socially awkward–I think) are:

      1) My parents were very well educated– a doctor and a hygentist.
      2) My parents made sure we were involved in sports, Girl Scouts, etc., year-round so we were properly socialized.
      3) When we reached a point that my parents felt they could no longer meet our social and educational needs, we went to private or public schools (we got to pick).

      I’m not sure I have the patience for it, but I have to chime in to extol the benefits of homeschooling. The most important thing I think myself and my 4 siblings got out of it was the level of personalization. My mom could put me 3 grades ahead in reading, and I wasn’t stuck in a classroom where I was being held back to the same level as everyone else and then getting bored and acting out. (Also, I never really “got” math, so I was definitely a grade behind in that for a WHILE). Similarly, my brother has dyslexia, and my mom was able to develop activities and a more 3D learning environment that prevented him from getting frustrated. He’s now in med school.

      Obviously, not for everyone. And it’s a luxury that most families can’t swing nowadays. But I just wanted to offer my perspective because there are a lot of crazy fundamental, socially-awkward homeschoolers out there– and we’re not all like that!

    • TngldBlue

      If parents home school their children so they can indoctrinate those children into their religion, that is creepy and does them a huge disservice. But home school is not the domain of only the super religious. I hear the argument a lot that home schoolers miss out on socialization (it’s usually the first, and loudest, argument) and that’s always baffled me. We start home schooling our 4 yr old daughter in April. She’ll attend 3 classes at the non religious co-op weekly including Mr Wizard science, Engineering with Legos, & Spanish. Classes are mixed aged with the older children assisting the younger ones with their hands on projects. She will volunteer with me at the food pantry once a week. Twice a month she’ll have a group field trip with fellow home schoolers and take riding lessons once a week. On top of all that she’ll have daily book work and her own field trips. She will come into contact with a much wider variety of people from all walks of life and ages with home school than she would sitting in a classroom. It is a personal choice and it certainly is not for everyone. I wouldn’t judge anyone for knowing it is not something they want to do or that a school setting is better for their child. I just wish more people recognized that, done correctly, it is an excellent option and isn’t some fast track to socially awkward kids that were sheltered from life.

      • Savannah61

        The college I attended had a large number of kids who had been homeschooled. I had a couple of friends whose parents used a program/schedule (not sure about the correct terminology) similar to what you’ve described. They were lovely, well-adjusted people. However, in my (somewhat limited) experience that isn’t the norm. The rest of the homeschooled population I encountered at college were socially awkward, super close minded, had no idea how to function in the real world, and were behind academically. I also worked at the admissions office and saw a lot of transcripts come in that listed 10 hours of “homemaking” classes and only 1 or 2 hours of math/science/history/anything else actually useful classes. I guess the point of my rant is that I wish there were more homeschooling parents like you :)

      • CW

        The HS population of 15 or 20 years ago is not reflective of today’s HSers. While there are still some ultrafundamentalists out there, HSing has become WAAAAAAAY more mainstream and diverse today.

      • AP

        My husband was homeschooled in a similar way, in a very academic-oriented program. His family could afford to pay for language classes and music lessons too, and I’m honestly jealous of the level of education he got while I was bored to tears and sneak-reading Babysitters Club books on my lap in regular school.

        That said, I wouldn’t homeschool, though I like it as an option for temporarily removing a child from a bad school situation. I ended up in a few in school with abusive teachers, etc., and in once case it would have really and truly helped me a lot if my parents had picked a homeschool method just to finish out a terrible year with a terrible teacher.

      • Rachel Sea

        It’s not automatically, but it certainly can be. I know a half dozen young adults who were homeschooled, and boy does it show. They are all academically a bit ahead, and more articulate than average, but the narrowness of their worldviews is rivaled only by hyper-conservative TV pundits.

        Seeking out people from other walks of life might be something about which their parents became complacent as they got older, or perhaps it was never a priority, but either way the end result was obnoxious, entitled young adults who have a hard time coping with all the shades of grey in the world.

      • Pappy

        And that will screw them harder than shoddy academics any day. If you look, there are plenty of examples of brilliant people who ended up professional pariahs because they just couldn’t work with others. You can learn new information and new skills throughout life, even switch from one career to another mid-stream. But if you are an insufferable ass, you will struggle with it for the rest of your life, no matter where you go.

      • TngldBlue

        That can happen regardless of where a child is educated though. I grew up in a wealthy, white, small town with public schools ranked near the top in the country. Many of my schoolmates ended up obnoxious, entitled young adults who had a hard time coping with the real world where their name meant nothing and their inability to be something other than an pompous asshole killed them professionally. I also know many home schooled kids (my nephews are two of them) that are very well adjusted. It boils down to parenting. If a parent isn’t going to put forth the effort to teach their kids how to be a good person and citizen, it doesn’t really matter where they study academics.

      • SarahJesness

        A lot of parents who homeschool for religious reasons make an active effort to prevent their child from being influenced by the outside world too much, so things like socialization are often limited.

        But, yeah, I have seen a few homeschooled kids that weren’t well socialized simply because their parents slacked. It’s one of those things a lot of people probably don’t think about, but it is important to know about alternate worldviews, even if you don’t support them. At some point, especially if you;re going to college, you’ll almost certainly have to interact with people from different backgrounds and with different worldviews. A lot of it has to do with critical thinking skills and security in your own views and opinions. A person’s views are strongest when they’ve been questioned the most. I once heard someone say that an opinion, a belief, of any sort cannot truly be yours unless you’ve truly questioned it. Otherwise you’re just parroting what other people have told you.

      • Bethany Ramos

        “A person’s views are strongest when they’ve been questioned the most.”

        I agree so much with this but have never heard it put so well before – thank you!!

    • Marie

      I agree with this 100 percent! Homeschooling seems to be having a huge increase in numbers lately in my mostly conservative, Christian community and it’s interesting to hear from the prospective of a formerly homeschooled child. I think we’ll be hearing more of the consequences in the next decade or two.
      What gets me a bit is the need so many homeschool moms have to be a cheerleader for homeschooling all the time. It’s like they’re constantly trying to prove they made the right choice by putting down the school system and making smug comments about the wonders of homeschooling. One mom I know will constantly post of facebook about the amazing questions her kid asked at the museum or how great it is to teach her kids about other cultures while on vacation because Homeschooling Rocks Y’all! Um… yeah. And the rest of us parents never answer our kids’ questions or take them anywhere interesting because that’s the school’s job and we’ve washed our hands of the whole educational process. Come on, really?
      Then there’s the irony that for all talk about how flexible homeschooling is for their schedules and how nice it is to get out and about, most of the homeschool families I know are far more isolated and get out a lot less than regular school families. I wonder if it’s just that people who tend to isolate themselves are drawn to homeschooling or that its’ the homeschooling itself that does it. We travel every school break, go to farms and museums on weekends all the time and really try to show our kids the world. One homeschool family I know hardly ever leaves the house except to go grocery shopping and none of them get out as much as we do. I really wonder about what sort of young adult these environments will turn out.
      My one homeschool neighbour says that she loves her kids so much more than anyone else in the world, so why would she turn them over to a stranger all day when they can learn in their own loving home? Well, lets see. How about the fact that one day they will have to go out in that big bad world where nobody loves them and stand on their own two feet, so why not start with teachers who genuinely care about them but have enough distance from them to assess them accurately, move on to the slightly tougher environment of high school and then boot them out into the world instead of making them hit it cold turkey?

      • Bethany Ramos

        Very well put. Right now, we both work at home, and we feel like creepy trolls that never leave the house. I can’t imagine having to deal with school-age children 24/7. My son loves going to his daycare every single morning, probably because he gets sick of us. :-)

      • Melissa T.

        Formerly homeschooled child over here! I loved it, and the only time I feel defensive about it is when I read comments like yours.

      • Savannah61

        Very well put. Love it. And you are right on in that last paragraph. I’ve seen those kids in college. It’s scary.

      • sandybeaches

        I think people tend to focus more on analyzing homeschooled children. I have seen more creepy troll looking things walking of our high school.

      • Savannah61

        I wasn’t really referring to “creepy troll looking things.” Those kids are in public, private, and home schools. I was talking about kids I went to college with who were homeschooled and completely incapable of doing things for themselves, dealing with criticism, etc. Not that there aren’t kids like that from public and private schools too, but it was more prevalent in the homeschool population. At least in my experience. And trust me, I analyze everyone equally :)

      • Pappy

        I hate to be this person but… It’s perspective, not prospective. As in, “Michael’s perspective on the report was impacted by the prospective profits.”
        As a self-appointed Grammar Police Officer, I hereby sentence anyone who is confused to look up these words in a dictionary. Let that be a lesson to you. :-)

      • SarahJesness

        I think it depends a lot on the reasons the parent homeschools. A lot of religious people homeschool because they don’t want their kids to be influenced (or “corrupted”, as they usually say) by kids and adults who might have different worldviews. For them, homeschooling is part of their active effort to keep their kid partially/completely isolated.

        But for some parents who homeschool, it is an accident. They don’t think about the socialization or realize how important it is.

      • Pappy

        I agree. Well said.

    • chickadee

      You have just described the nature of all homeschooling that I have been exposed to. I know that there are different types, but all I’ve seen results of were the isolationist Christian approaches. And AP yay for you!

    • Melissa T

      I’m sorry you had such a crappy experience with it. I think every family should be able to do whatever is the best option for their child, and if for you that’s public or private or homeschool or boarding school or whatever, more power to you! :)

    • Abby

      Honestly, it was working on an education degree that pushed me towards wanting to homeschool my own kids… at least to start. The more I learned about the way schools are forced to teach kids because of bizarro government mandates that have no basis in anything logical, the more I thought, “You know, it might be a good idea to keep the future sprogs home, at least to start. That way, even if they have to conform to a standardized testing world later on, they’ll at least have that thirst for learning instilled in them when they’re younger.”

      BUT that said, I don’t think it’s for everyone by any stretch of the imagination. Families should be able to do whatever works out best for them, whether it’s teaching their kids at home, paying for private or boarding school, or sending the kids to a public or charter school. It’s really about what works best for the family–especially the kids.

      And THAT said, I only really get squicked out by the idea of homeschooling when it’s being done to “shelter” or “protect” the kids from the evils of life outside the home (like who knows, if your kid is in public school, s/he might end up getting into all sorts of unsavory things, like musicians you don’t like or friends who come from a different background or–worst of all–POKEMON). I try not to judge other families, but that just… doesn’t seem like it’d be good for the kids in the long run.

    • Rachel Sea

      I’d be tempted to homeschool just because the local elementary schools are really sketchy, with appalling literacy scores. It’s not hard for bad teachers or bad curriculum to squash a child’s interest in literacy and academia. I think it has to depend on the needs of the individual kid though, and the importance of socialization can’t be stressed enough. If I couldn’t find a local homeschool network that was based on a mutual hatred of No-Child-Left-Behind, I’d go with public and make a benevolent nuisance of myself to make sure my kid got an education.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I might consider alternative school for my son when it’s time, if I think he’d be better suited to it. But that’s as far as I’d go. I haven’t the discipline to homeschool, nor the financial situation to make it a reality anyway.
      Plus, socialization, man. He’s not going to have any siblings, so keeping him at home with just me and my lack of organization would almost all but guarantee he’d become a weirdo.

    • Sara J. Hutchinson Underwood

      Thanks for this article! I’m not considering homeschooling at all, but as a parent of a child who is gifted and has autism, it comes up in my circles A LOT. Public schools are horrible, teach to the test, and won’t make a single accommodation or challenge my child, but home-schooling him will apparently turn him into the next Albert Einstein and the most popular kid in town. I do a lot of supplemental stuff, so I read a lot of homeschooling blogs and things, and while I love the ideas of projects, books to read, experiments to do, etc I HATE the philosophy that seeps through so much of it about how homeschooling is the most amazing thing ever and anything else is nothing short of child abuse.

    • H.J.

      Nice thing, while it lasts, is it is America. Your choice. If you want to homeschool, great. If you don’t, great.

    • H.J.

      There are a lot of historically successful people that were educated in public schools. And in private schools. And home schools.

      And equally, there historical failures in each approach. Depends on the family.

    • H.J.

      But why is it that either side of the argument wants the same for everyone else? If you don’t like public schools for your children, then private schools or homeschooling are great options. If you don’t want to home school, then send them to public or private schools. It’s great that all the options are on the table.

      • SarahJesness

        Especially considering that outcomes could really depend on the individual child and parents. Even assuming that everyone had the time to homeschool their kids if they wanted, not every parent is qualified to teach every subject. Kids might perform differently in different environments.

        Like with a lot of parenting decisions, I think people get defensive on this topic because raising a child is srs bsnss. People feel like that if they aren’t doing the #1 best thing, they’re depriving their child of the best possible future. “You didn’t breastfeed? He could’ve become a doctor, but too bad, he’s gonna be a a drug dealer! Was the convenience of formula really worth it, you monster?!” It’s the same kind of mentality here.

      • CW

        Options are great IF you have the budget to have a real choice. Where I live, private schools run $25k per year per child for elementary, and neighborhoods zoned for good public schools cost $1 million to buy in or $3.5+k per month to rent in. The handful of magnet and charter schools get far more applications than they have available slots. We didn’t start HSing because we thought it was superior to other options. We started HSing because it was the only real option we had.

    • sandybeaches

      Interesting perspective from a person who has been homeschooled. I decided to homeschool my kids this year, for the freedom and flexibility it provides us, not for religious reasons at all (although I consider myself Christian), but mainly due to a poor performing school district combined with a desire for more freedom and flexibility for the children. Finding ways to connect their curriculum across subjects using unit studies, diving into something new they are interested in (like my son lighting a LED bulb with his plasma ball after seeing it in a physics video, which lead us on a completely different path today). Being able to point things out real world experiences, like at the zoo, to what they are learning. Even just tossing the books aside and heading to the woods. or a open roller skate time…it is just is so refreshing for myself as well as them. They are so much happier now! I have asked them both if they miss their friends, and they feel they spend more time with their friends since they actually get to talk to them when they see them. Plus, everywhere they go they are interacting with people of all ages. I personally would not want to be inside essentially the same four walls everyday with the same kids…under artificial lighting…at a stuck pace…in a uncomfortable chair….once I got a taste of the freedom which comes with the alternative! I wish I had been homeschooled!

      • Savannah61

        In my classroom I let my kids sit on exercise balls, in a chair, stand up…whatever floats their boat. As long as they’re paying attention and working I’m good with it! But I’m happy homeschooling has worked out well for your family.

    • CW

      Homeschooling is WAAAAAAY more mainstream than it was a couple decades ago. There are still some ultrafundamentalists out there like the Duggars, but they are by no means the norm these days. Most HS families these days you wouldn’t realize anything is different about them unless you specifically started asking about their kids’ education.

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