What About Socialization?: Three Common Misconceptions About Homeschooling

 Homeschoolers might be some of the most misunderstood groups of people on earth.  There are a lot of ideas people have about people who homeschool and their children-- most of them wrong.

Three of the most common misconceptions are:

  1. Are you really qualifed to teach your own child?  You don't have a teaching license.
  2. What about socialization?
  3. Homeschoolers are all the same!

Happy Homeschoolers

Some of my favorite homeschooled kids!!
Some of my favorite homeschooled kids!!
A homeschool family!!
A homeschool family!!

Debunking the Myths....

 First of all, it is a parent's right and obligation to teach their children.  The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6,

"Train a child in the way he should go,
       and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Ephesians 6:4b encourages fathers specifically when it says,

"...bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

The Bible qualifies parents to teach their own children.  How they do it is their choice.  Many parents choose to hand this responsibility to public school systems or private schools, thinking that other people can do a better job.  While it is true that every parent does not know everything there is to know, it is also true that every parent should care more about their child and their individual education than a group of state-funded teachers.

Second, SOCIALIZATION?  Are you kidding me?  OK, right off the bat, I'll admit there are a very few homeschoolers I know who have poor people skills and who might be seen as socially awkward.  I will say, however, that the reason for this seems to be that their parents are also socially awkward and pass on their particular oddities to their children.  I also want to point out that there are plenty of children who have been all their lives in the public schools who come out with poor people skills and social awkwardness.

All that said, many homeschoolers are better able to socialize.  This is because they have more opportunity and motivation to socialize with a more diverse range of people.  Naturally, homeschoolers are provided with more time to socialize with their own families.  This allows them a firsthand opportunity to talk with people of different age groups, also allowing them to grow by teaching and learning from people older, younger, more or less experienced than they are.

Homeschoolers may also get more chances to go out of the house during the day.  They may go to the grocery store, the library, a homeschool group or even a part-time job.  All of this gives them more opportunities to see people and interact with them.  Once again, the diversity in age, race, experience, and culture is a tool for growth.

If a homeschooling parent is concerned for their children's social life, there are numerous homeschool groups all over the country.  These often offer classes, sports activites, music, and field trips to allow the children to interact with each other in an educational and fun setting.  Of course, community clubs and groups are also convenient.  Community theater, choirs and bands are all great ways to help kids be well-rounded.  There are always community sports, which are fun and go the extra mile to promote group cooperation.

Finally, many people assume homeschooled children are all the same.  This is absolutely 100% NOT true.  The reasons they homeschool, the curriculum they use, the parent who is the primary instructor, their goals, and their results all vary drastically from family to family, and even possibly from child to child.

Reasons to homeschool can be:

  • religious reasons
  • learning disorders
  • accelerated learning
  • disagreements with teachers or school staff
  • behavioral problems
  • health reasons

There are more reasons than these that people may choose to teach their child or children at home, and many times the reason is a combination of these and other factors.

There is also a wide variety of curriculum available.  Some are more structured, while some offer only outlines of lesson plans and ideas.  Many homeschooling parents use several different curriculums.  Maybe one for each subject, maybe one for each child, or maybe just a variety in general.

Even the primary instructor differs from family to family.  Most people assume that the mother is the teacher.  However, the primary teacher could be the father or even a grandparent.  Often, older children are also involved in the teaching of the younger children in some way.

Goals and results obviously differ from child to child and family to family, just as they do with children in public schools.  However, it is possibly easier for children who are homeschooled to meet goals and achieve faster or more successful results, since they have ample time to focus on what they want and need.

Homeschooling might not be for everyone.  Circumstances may force both parents to work, or a single mother or father might not have the ability to spend the neccessary time.  A person may feel they are not adequately prepared to teach.  However, there are hundreds or even thousands of resources available, including internet, books, co-ops, and community colleges that can give a timid parent a little help in giving their child the best education possible.

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