Monday, November 14, 2011

In the "Real World"

you need to be socaila and confident about talking in front of peopl and being around everyone and when your homeschooled it doesnt prepare you for that.  — Chelsea

My sincerest thanks to Susannah L. Griffee, Katherine Schulten, and the entire staff at the New York Times for publishing their Saturday article “Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?”    In a follow-up piece to Margaret Heidenry’s “My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists,” the Times encouraged students 13 and older to comment on the following question:

Tell us about your experiences and thoughts about home-schooling. Do you think this type of education can prepare children for the “real world”? How might it be better than traditional schooling? What might children miss from not attending a regular school? Do you agree with the writer’s mother that working at one’s own pace and following one’s genuine interests is the best way to learn?

In publishing the comments, Ms. Griffee and Ms. Schulten clearly demonstrated why homeschooling must remain a freedom for all Americans.  The results are both stunning and sad.  I am sharing some of them here, unedited, as they appear on the NYT website.   They speak for themselves.

AJ did not think “that home schooling is a good thing because it will not prepare a certain child for the world.”  He did not tell us who the certain child is, so we are left to trust that there is one child who should remain in a public school.  Leslie thought  “homeschooling is dumb.”  She continued, “I think homeschooling doesn’t prepare kids for the real world. they don’t learn how to socialize with other people. Some parents may sugar code the kids. So they might not know everything there suppose to know. no i do not agree.”   
“Sugar code” their kids?

The “real world” theme of criticism ran through mulitple comments.  Kristen expressed her concerns that “homeschooling is ok but public schools are better because its almost like life you are going to have to deal with people that you dont like in life and school shows this at times.i dont think this could preper us for the real world because your not comunicatingi with people as much as you would at school.for most people it is a good learning activity”   Kristen, learn how to write well.   It is an important skill that you need for college and the work force.  Your comment has so many errors, I’m thinking of making my homeschooled children correct it as a grammar exercise.  If you believe that you do write well, your teachers are sugar coding your grades.
Brandon was “not in favor of home schooling. I think that it is important for a student to attend a regular school. This is because it will allow them to become more prepared for the real world.  When you think about it, home schooling only encorages children to stay at home, instead of preparing them to leave.  It gets them used to the comfortable living arangements at home more than usual.”  He expressed his fears for the future of all homeschoolers when he wrote that “…if they do go outside, they have no personal confrontations with other children, so they will not easily develope speaking to other people, which means no friends, no girl/boyfriend, no husbands or wives, their lives would be pretty much empty.”
What a tragedy!  All homeschooled children are condemned to a life of hermitude, living in their parent’s basements, passing the years playing Xbox and Wii, knowing that their lives would have had purpose and meaning if their parents had only sent them to a real school.  Oh, the humanity!
I’m not certain where these kids think homeschoolers live, if not in the “real world.”  Is there a secret “unreal world” in which all homeschoolers reside?  If there is, I did not get the memo.  Is there a secret handshake or password that I need to get inside?   In fact, homeschoolers do live in the real world, and in doing so, we have to deal with the results of the average public school education as demonstrated in the comments section of the NYT article.   Alas, I must take great comfort in the knowledge that my homeschooled children will grow up to run the company where these kids will sweep the floors. 


  1. Apparently, the real world doesn't require writing skills. Who knew? I've always wondered where this real world is, too. Do I have to have my life documented by the authorities for it to be real? Does my child have to get bullied as a child to make it to adulthood as a real person? Are metal detectors and lockdowns such a normal part of adult life that my child will suffer from not having undergone them before he is even old enough to defend himself? My husband goes to a cubicle farm every day and does all that "real world" stuff. I don't see how being half-literate, resigned to bullying as a normal part of life, and unable to imagine a life structured according to his own beliefs and desires would help him very much. Fortunately, he's living the *grown-up* real world, which doesn't remotely resemble the real world that teachers and students seem to envision.

    As for being too comfortable at home, well, it's obvious these school children aren't required to participate in home life, or they'd know that it's not about staying comfortable. We WORK. Hard. Every day. They go home to sleep and play video games. We go home to LIVE.

  2. The proponents of public education would do well to stop criticizing our choice of how we educate our kids, until they can become a better representation of their choice! Good grief!

  3. Oh. My. I shouldn't laugh..... Hahahahaha! Where do they find these kids? I am so happy that my parents taught us to write correctly, and both read comprehensively and think critically. Which is not the same as thinking with criticism.

  4. Oh my!! That was classic!! I enjoyed the rants of the children that cannot spell or write correctly and have no experience with the subject matter.

    By the way, TL told me to tell you that he cannot share the secret handshake with you.....only homeschooled kids in the "unreal" world know it!

  5. Wow. Just wow. One part of me is impressed that the newspaper printed those responses "as is". The other part of me is shocked and appalled.

    Exactly what point were they trying to make? If it was that homeschooling is inferior to public schooling...well...epic fail.

  6. My son's too young for me to homeschool, but he is frequently sugar coated, so apparently I'm off to a good start! I love all these comments here. This article reminds me of when in school they would have us do writing assignments of what we were grateful for, Come to think of it, this may have something to do with my mixed feelings about teaching children gratitude. Anyway, you know what I mean, the teacher expects the kids to write about being grateful that they aren't Chinese kids because it sure would stink to be going around starving all the time... Cause you know, we are all authorities on anything at all, whether we have personal knowledge of it or not. ;)

  7. My husband and I got a good chuckle reading the comments this past weekend. We especially enjoyed the "sugar coded" comment.