Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Socialization of Homeschoolers

Retriever sends along a marvelous little essay about the social deficits that homeschoolers experience.

While everything in the Wyman household was an educational experience from day one - read-aloud started in the hospital, every historical marker was stopped for and commented on, and competitive word games practiced as the height of entertainment* - we did very little formal homeschooling. When the two Romanians arrived in May of 2001 they got hefty daily academic training in preparation for September, but that was about it.  Oh, and science fairs and special projects. (And some other stuff...)

We had several friends that homeschooled for a few years.  In this region and that era, it was less common among evangelical families to keep them home all the way through, more common to focus on select years. It seems a net positive, though we were all aware of a darker side of a few more paranoid or obsessive parents who seemed to believe that keeping their children away from the worldly world was more important than educating them well.  Of course, requiring those children to be at Famous Name Elementary School wasn't likely to fix that much anyway.  When even the local Christian schools are too worldly for young Zachariah, it's a good sign something is awry.

11 comments:

james said...

Wisconsin wants you to document 875 hours of instruction per year; which seems a bit over-the-top given that a good fraction of the school's 875 hours is spent in classroom management and administrivia. (Time watching educational films counts, it turns out.) And, as good taxpaying citizens, we could send kids to school for orchestra or chemistry; though no more than 2 courses.

Sibling quarrels did make matters lively now and then, but things never got as vicious as the queen bee fights at school.

The older daughters were good friends with two girls across the street whose parents sent them to Christian school and wouldn't let them read Harry Potter. They introduced my daughters to Anne Rice. Go figure.

Dubbahdee said...

I love it when people ask me this question. Answering it is sooo much fun.

Especially when the people who ask it have trouble detecting irony.

Apparently, there are more of them than one would think.

bs king said...

An acquaintance from college went the crazy route, though in a fairly non-religious way. She's angry that Mass. has any standards...and her (fairly bright) 6 year old can't read a word yet because "he hasn't chosen to". She also didn't believe in diapers (at all). She believes all restrictions on kids are wrong, and that natural creativity will teach them everything they need to know. She HATES the state for undermining what she's trying to do.

I was morbidly fascinated for a bit, then I started getting nervous I was going to end up seeing something I would have to report. She's got some non-schooling related habits that gave me the willies (mostly involving her three boys bathroom routines and her over involvement in them).

Anyway, it was interesting to watch someone go off the deep end without the religious aspect. Not something I'd seen before.

Texan99 said...

Yikes. I have one close friend who has home-schooled her only child. She was what I'd call over-involved in many ways -- delayed weaning, sharing a bed with her son, making him more her companion than her husband was. But I can't fault his education, which is incomparably better than he could have gotten in a public school. His mother has been imaginative about finding tutors or open college courses for areas in which she's not particularly strong, like the sciences. When he was young, I thought he was an incurable over-indulged brat, but now he's a disciplined and pleasant 16-year-old. He's turning into a fine musician, which runs in the family.

His mother made friends with some ultra-evangelicals who home-school for different reasons. (Texas imposes practically no standards, so home-schoolers network and share whatever they like.) She thinks they're nuts on many issues, but seems able to make a strong personal connection anyway. Her son has long been accustomed to contact with families who approach things very differently from his own.

Sam L. said...

See here:
http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/drboli/2013/07/29/letter-to-the-editor-28/

Sam L. said...

T99, you should have mentioned this.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Sam, you've got to stop staying out so late and carousing. That was the link in my post.

Or maybe you should have been homeschooled....

Sam L. said...

I was reading ahead. Do not beat me, Mr. Schoolmaster, please?

Emma Denis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dubbahdee said...

I sometimes like to skip the post and go directly to the comments. Then I try to piece together the main points of the post based on what people are saying about it.

Usually wrong. But fun to try.

jaed said...

She thinks they're nuts on many issues, but seems able to make a strong personal connection anyway.

That's one of the things I find most interesting about homeschooling. The hippie granola earth mothers and the stern evangelicals and the upwardly mobile yuppie moms all readily exchange information and tips, and seem to often make friends. It's kind of unusual to see cross-tribal affiliations like that, but homeschooling seems to bring it out.