A friend posted this graphic on Facebook yesterday:
Created by: CollegeAtHome.com
She had a very polite inquiry from a teacher who admitted that he knew very little about home education. He wondered about the standards and socialization. I posted a link to HSLDA and then began a comment about my feelings on the matter. It became five paragraphs long and I realized it would make a better blog post than a comment:
Like you, I think both sides get offended far too easily. However, when you start talking about people’s kids, especially to those who are so heavily involved in their child’s education as to homeschool, it’s hard not to take criticism personally. Alternatively, when you start talking about someone’s career, especially one in which so many people choose it because they are passionate about it, it’s hard not to take criticism personally.
I’ve been on several sides of that coin (yep, I think there are more than two). I taught high school science for 4 years in a public school, 4 years in a private school, and we now homeschool our kids. It’s funny to me that kids get in trouble at school for “being social” but the instant we pull one out, “socialization” becomes the main concern for the onlookers. We are involved in a very active homeschool group. They’re *so* active that we don’t have time to participate in all the things they do.
Additionally, the people who grow up to be “game changers” in the world are the ones who have highly-developed critical thinking skills and choose to think for themselves instead of just learning things so that they can pass the standardized test. Teachers these days have very little time to focus on the things that make kids “game changers”. I know there are LOTS of fantastic teachers in schools everywhere, but the restraints placed on them can be overwhelming to the point where they have to focus on the standards instead of the kids. I’ve been there, and it’s awful.
We choose to homeschool because our GT/ADHD son had his spirit absolutely broken last year by his teacher. When I tried to discuss it, I received no support from her or the school. She was busy managing a classroom full of second graders and only had time to shake her finger at him, telling him all the things he was doing wrong (wiggling in his seat, asking lots of questions instead of sitting quietly and listening, struggling with fine motor skills). He came home everyday with his head down and then we fought the homework battle. By the time that was done, it was dinner, shower and then to bed so that he could get up in time to be on a bus at 7:00 am. He had very little time to be a little boy, to enjoy his family, and to do those important things that little boys need to do… things like playing legos, wrestling with his dad, riding his bike, and playing with his sister.
This year, my son has flourished, becoming a thoughtful, confident and articulate young man. He has time to explore the things that pique his curiosity while learning the basics (the three R’s, social studies, science and music) in ways and at a pace that suit his learning style and personality. He gets more exercise, more sleep, eats healthier, and has more time for creative play while at the same time bearing more responsibilities for helping manage our home.
We will never get these years back. I have the deeply joyful privilege of being beside him to help him learn and grow. Honestly, I had no idea that I would love homeschooling the way I do. The best part is that we have family time like we’ve never had before homeschooling. And, really…. “socialization” will never trump that.