Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More "Nothing New" Arguments Against Homeschooling

Sandy Laurence is concerned. About homeschoolers.
"According to just about every article I see on homeschooling, the practice is definitely on the rise. That concerns me, because I often wonder what percentage of homeschooled kids are educated as well as they would be in a good public or private school."
If you've homeschooled for at least a week, you've heard it before.

Sandy raises concerns about the caliber of the instruction that children will receive from a parent as compared to trained teachers.

She raises concerns about...drum roll...socialization. Now there's a shocker.

She raises concerns about homeschooled kids missing out on music, languages and art.  She doesn't have a clue.

Go check out the article and read all the comments and leave one of your own. Or leave one here. I love to hear your thoughts!

Here's what I had to say:
I'm a mom and a teacher. But what has benefited my children most in our homeschooling experience is NOT the fact that I'm a teacher. It's the fact that I'm their mom. Period. I KNOW them. A teacher might have some fancy techniques and expertise (though MANY teachers don't!!), but a mother knows, and LOVES, her child. And she has a vested interest in that child's future. That's what makes homeschooling successful. Yes, there are good teachers. But even the best teachers DON'T always have my child's best interests at heart. I do.

But what irritates me the most about your post is the socialization argument. As someone who has been homeschooling for more than 20 years, frankly, I've had it with the "socialization" argument. I went to public schools. I've taught in public school. I've tutored dozens of children who go to public schools. Here's a newsflash. The socialization that children receive in public school leaves A LOT to be desired. There is nothing there (in a social sense) that my children missed out on. I reject the argument that homeschooled kids need to be enrolled in lots of extra-curricular activities in order to "make up" for the lack of socialization. In my opinion, there is nothing to "make up" for. My children were better off because they were not socialized in that environment. Period. (By the way, three of my children are now adults....I can back this statement with proof that they are all confident, mature, socially capable young adults.)

I wrote a general argument of why I wouldn't send my kids to public school here. Here's an excerpt regarding socialization:

"Schools are places where a dangerous brand of socialization is valued. This brand of socialization insists that children are capable of preparing each other to be meaningful, productive members of society. This brand of socialization argues that being bullied, ostracized, and laughed at is a necessary part of the socialization process. (How else will your children learn to get along in the world?) This brand of socialization exalts rudeness and vulgarity over civility and decency. It values disorder and chaos over discipline and self-control. This brand of socialization favors the popular, the attractive, and the likable, creating a social hierarchy which diminishes the value of those who don’t “measure up”. Ironically, in a place intended for learning, this brand of socialization often values academic mediocrity over academic excellence. In other words, in school it’s often considered "not cool" to be smart.

Here's another post I recently wrote about socialization.

School isn't supposed to be about socialization. It's supposed to be about learning. At least that's what my 5th grade teacher always told me.
"Be quiet and get to work. School isn't the place for socializing!"

(BTW...I linked this post at today's "Hip Homeschool Hop".)


  1. AMEN!! So glad you left this as a comment. Heading over to check it out.

  2. Great post!! I stopped by form the Hip Homeschool Hop.

  3. I really love your candid conversations about Homeschooling! Thank you for standing up and doing what is right....we all benefit from your courage!
    Thank you!

  4. (Long Heavy Sigh) And yet another writer joins the long list of people writing about homeschooling unencumbered by facts. Ms. Laurence conveniently ignores the results of the 2009 HSLDA study of homeschoolers that demonstrates how homeschoolers outperform their public and private school peers (http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200908100.asp). I’m willing to bet that Sandy Laurence has never spent any significant amount of time observing and interacting with homeschoolers as she offers the same inane commentary on education and socialization offered by every writer who interjects their opinions criticizing homeschooling, such as her concerns about music, languages, and art. Has she failed to notice that public schools in the United States have required foreign language studies for decades, and yet continue to produce students who are barely fluent in English, yet alone a foreign language? Homeschoolers can do no worse. On a side note concerning her foreign language argument, Wikipedia is the last source anyone should use for support. It is unreliable, at best. Wikipedia does not pass muster for a 100 level college writing class. I will applaud Ms. Laurence for desiring “someone who’s passionate about teaching and who’s been educated in the best teaching techniques,” as the person to teach her children, although I would argue that it is poor critical thinking to assume that our nation’s public schools are the best places to find those people. If she is not that person for her children, okay. I see no reason why she should deny the freedom to home educate to those of us who know that we are the best person to teach our children. She is completely unaware of how well educated homeschooling parents are, as well as how many of us are former teachers. Again, a little basic research would have helped the writer avoid this mistake. Like so many homeschooling critics, Ms. Laurence fails to realize that with the wide variety of “techniques” available for teaching children, it is far easier for a homeschooling parent to identify the technique that is the best fit for their child rather than trying one on a group of 25 kids in a classroom and hoping that a blanket approach works for the largest number of students possible. She should invest some time and energy learning about her subject matter, and come back and try again.

    I am amused at her defense of her article. Those of us who left a comment lack reading comprehension skills and are part of a mob response. It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

  5. LOL @ Arby's "long heavy sigh". That was exactly how I felt after reading her post and her responses to the comments!

  6. I left another comment.

    You’re right, Sandy. There is no denying the existence of children who are not being successfully homeschooled. But there are far greater numbers of children in our country’s public schools that are not being successfully educated. And frankly, that is not in dispute. There is a huge school reform movement afoot for that very reason. Our nation’s schools are failing to effectively education a very large number of our nation’s children.

    According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2009, only 35% of our nation’s 8th graders tested at or above the level of “proficiency” in reading. Only 42% in math. That means the rest, 65% in reading and 58% in math, tested at or below the “basic” level of achievement. And by their own definition, “basic” achievement denotes “partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade assessed.” Wow. (charts here: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/list/i2.asp)

    In light of that fact, why would anyone criticize the choice of parents who decide to take their children’s education into their own hands. Yes. Some will fail. But many, many of our schools are failing. And honestly, at this point in time, given all the available evidence, the odds of success favor the homeschooled child.

  7. I have been homeschooling for 12 years now. I have 3 kids ( 17, 15, 12 years old). I have always said from the time mine were little that my kids have such a large social life that I dont' have a social life. lol I speak at our homeschool group's new members that we have so much to offer to be careful what you choose so that you leave room for homeschool teaching time. It always amazes people when they find out that our kids are homeschooled because they can't tell (except they say they are well mannered)! In other words, our homeschooling socialization (sports, homeschool sports, classes, church, etc) works! Visiting from the Homeschool Hop.

  8. I too have been home-schooling for over 20 years and I too have grown children who have no problem socializing with people of ANY age, from birth to 100 (I'm sure they could socialize with someone over 100 but we don't anyone that old!)

    Lately, I have been so grieved and even traumatized by learning of what is going on sexually in the schools. I do not know how any Christian can send their children to public schools given that they are more or less a Sodom and Gomorrah. I am not exaggerating. And the thing is, parents have NO idea what is going on in their child's classroom, the hallway, the bathrooms or the buses. No idea. They blithely send their precious gifts off to a building where they spend 40 or more hours a week learning...what? Parents don't know. It's nothing less than tragic.

    Came over from the Hip Homeschool Hop. Going to check out more on your blog!

  9. Ah, the flogging of the dead socialization horse. I'll add my long heavy sigh to everyone else's.
    I think your rebuttal says it perfectly.
    And I've enjoyed the other comments too. It's all spot on.

  10. I very much enjoyed reading your rebuttals at Sandy Laurence's post. It is discouraging so see such deliberate ignorance on display. BUT! I do like to see the homeschoolers fight back.

    Viva la Revolution!