Monday, March 28, 2011

First Things First: David Mills' Weighs In On Home Education

David Mills, writing at First Things, offers an interesting look at home education starting with his ideas about Linda’s favorite question du jour for homeschoolers, the dreaded “S” word.   He wrote:
Some suddenly furrow their brows and purse their lips and declare their concerns about homeschooling, less often about the quality of the education as about the children’s (meaning, in context, our children’s, which is, you know, really rude) “socialization.” I sometimes feel I must surrounded by fascists, such is their apparent concern for making sure our children fit in to the society as it is.

Fewer people respond this way than they used to, or maybe I just don’t meet this kind of person so much anymore. Which is probably a good thing. My wife, who is much more charitable than I am in dealing with annoying people, answers them politely, and tells them about the homeschooling groups to which our children go several days a week and all the other activities they are involved in.

I have so far resisted the temptation to put my hand on their shoulder, look them in the eye, and ask, “Why are you under the delusion that I care what you think?” or to say something shorter and ruder and more, um, declarative. They are, after, being impertinent, and there is something in the self-asserted piety of their alleged concern for my children that really annoys me.
You can read the rest of David’s column here.  It’s worth reading, as well as the comments.  If you leave a comment of your own, please post it here, too.  We’d love to read what you wrote!


  1. I wrote:

    No matter how many times we hear that US schools are dropping in the rankings of schools world-wide, we hear homeschooling critics insist that all children should attend public school. No matter how many stories we hear about middle school and high school students distributing nude photos of girls via cell phones and school laptop computers, we hear public educators raise concerns that home schooled children are not properly “socialized.” It does not matter how many teachers make the World Net Daily list of sexual predators who have raped students, opponents of homeschooling seem more concerned about what happens within the walls of a home school than what happens within the walls of our nation’s public schools. Inherent in the desire to shine light into the houses where homeschoolers reside is the belief that there is something evil that must be exposed. In short, no matter how poorly public schools perform, supporters continue to believe that those public schools are head and shoulders above any other choice. Homeschoolers rightly reject that notion.

    Why do so many people criticize homeschoolers even after test scores clearly demonstrate that homes educated students score better on standardized tests? Who do so many people criticize homeschooling over unproven fears about all those children being abused under the guise of homeschooling? Parents who see the failing state of public education yet place their children in that system anyway see a homeschooler’s rejection of public education as a judgment of their values. Parents who see instances of sexual abuse in their schools and still choose to send their children to those schools see a homeschooler’s rejection of that option as a judgment of their parenting. The public school teacher who hears home educators say, “No thank you, we can do it better at home,” hears a rejection of his or her professional competence. And what makes that rejection even more offensive to the teacher is that it comes from individuals whom they consider grossly unqualified—parents who are not tested, not certified, and not licensed by the state. The success of homeschooling is a mirror which reflects the state of public education to the greater community. It is no wonder that so many people want to break the mirror. It is easier to ignore a problem than to turn an introspective eye and correct what needs to be corrected.

  2. I absolutely LOVE your response! This statement sums it up:

    "The success of homeschooling is a mirror which reflects the state of public education to the greater community."

    I think it hits the nail right on its head. They (teachers, parents, and administrators) can't accept what we do is a good thing because they view the success of what we do as an indictment against what they do. It is SO true.

    The comments on the post were great. Some FANTASTIC responses that I was tempted to copy and paste into the comments (or a new post) here! So good!

  3. Socialization....ah yes. I agree wholeheartedly with Arby. Homeschooling is not the norm, yet that is. One day it will be. With more and more issues in schools and budgets being cut, more people will turn to "the dark side", and they will join the rest of us not socializing our children.....locking them in closets and sliding bread and water under the door. People are ding dongs.