Why are homeschooled kids so annoying?

About a year ago, when I first started considering taking my kids out of public school, I wasn’t met with the kind of incredulous questioning that I expected after suggesting something so reckless and foolhardy.  For the most part people were excited and supportive and helpful.  Many thought we were already homeschooling, in fact.  What surprised me most though is that folks who were concerned about the prudence of such a decision weren’t worried that my children might not learn enough or the the right things.  They didn’t wonder how my kids would know how to be quiet when they were supposed to or to wait in lines when they have to.

No, the biggest concern among the concerned was: SOCIALIZATION.  Ahhhh!  Socialize those kids!  Learnin’, schmlearning- those kids need to be among herds of other kids their exact age in order to learn how to be normal.  In other words: homeschooled kids are annoying and weird, and you don’t want your kids to be annoying and weird, do you?

Annoying and weird.

Well, if someone tries to tell you that their kids are never annoying, they’re lying to you.  And if someone else tries to tell you that any child of mine isn’t going to be at least a little weird no matter how they’re educated, they’ve lost their minds.

But I digress.

Why is this perception of the weirdo homeschooler so pervasive?  Why is it that despite the clear academic achievement of most homeschooled students, the fear of them “acting like that one weirdo guy I knew when I was a kid” is enough to turn otherwise supportive folks against the idea?  I’ve thought about it a lot and the best explanation I can come up with is this: ridicule.

See, everyone is born with a certain temperament.  Parents of more than one will all attest to this.  Same parents, same environment, same rules….completely different reactions from their children.  And some kids- well, some kids are annoying.  And what do I mean by “annoying”?  I mean what people mean when they say that homeschooled kids are annoying.  I mean kids who ask too many questions and know too much information and like certain stuff and refuse to like other things and don’t care what other people think about their silly hobbies and their know-it-all-ness.

When “annoying” kids like this go to a traditional school, they’re ridiculed.  They have a hard, or even impossible, time finding their niche.  They must either hide their true personality and inclinations in order to be accepted or they’re pushed to the fringes and made to feel abnormal.  Not good enough.  Made to feel less likable than those who keep their ideas and opinions to themselves or fail to form any to begin with.  Made to feel that convictions and fascinations are stupid and that pop culture is the only culture.  Not because “normal” kids are mean.  They mostly don’t even know they’re doing it, I assure you.  They just don’t know what to do with someone who’s so, like, weird.  Ya know?

I know.  I was one of those weird kids.

My eldest daughter knows.  She is one of those weird kids.

But when one of those “annoying” kids is homeschooled, no one makes fun of their outfits that don’t match.  Or the fact that they like to memorize things and wish the math assignments were harder.  No one looks at them askance when they know every answer to every question and are eager to share their knowledge.  When an annoying kid like that finds a new hobby and wants to learn everything they can about it and talk about it incessantly, no one treats them like there’s something wrong with pursuing an interest like that, no matter how dull it may seem to the other members of the homeschool classroom.  They are not ridiculed into trying to be who God didn’t create them to be.

“Oh but dweej…that’s real life!  You can’t just go around being annoying all the time.  Better they learn now than later!”

Better they learn what?  That the crowd knows best?  That their interests are boring and a waste of time?  That they need to wear a certain thing and buy a certain thing in order to be worth people’s time?  Better they learn now not to stand up for themselves?

Because that’s the thing.  By the time annoying people like that are older, they’re older.  They’ve advanced beyond certain stages of childhood and are better able to confidently stand up for what they believe in.  The idea of being ostracized by a group of people that they don’t really like anyway no longer sends them into a panic.  If they spend their whole childhood trying to be something they’re not or believing that what they are is weird and weird is bad, they’ll enter adulthood with those same perceptions, that same lack of self-confidence.

If, on the other hand, they’re able to cultivate their interests, learn to be comfortable in their own quirky skin, encouraged to achieve as much as their little over-achieving hearts desire, they’ll enter adulthood with the confidence to continue on that path.  They won’t automatically wonder if people will disagree or make fun of them when they make assertions or cling to ideals.  And if those people do disagree or make fun of them they won’t care.  Because they’re not kids anymore.  They’re all grown up!

Of course, not every homeschooled kid is like that.  Not even every one of the kids who lives in this house is like that.  But no one asks the “normal” kids and adults if they were homeschooled.  It doesn’t cross their minds.  Because they’re so, you know, normal.

But the homeschooled kids who are like that, who are “annoying” are so different, so confident, so willing to allow themselves to be something that the majority of society has labeled as weird, that people can’t help but paint all homeschooled families with the weirdo brush.  Because shouldn’t kids like that want to keep their mouths shut and keep their opinions to themselves?

And that’s why homeschooled kids are so annoying.  Because no one tells them that the way God made them isn’t cool enough.
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Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their four (soon-to-be-five!) kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.


Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their five kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.

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  • sonofbosco

    As the great Flannery O’Connor said – “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you Odd.” – As a homeschooler (6-12th Grade) I like to make sure that I remain odd. Thanks for the article!

  • As the mother of one or two (or five or six) slightly odd children, I think that homeschooling allows more manageable doses of “ridicule as behavior modification”.  All my kids have, at some point, run into a peer who didn’t know how to deal with my kids’ annoying habits any other way than through mockery.  I think most people’s kids have come across this at some point.  It hurt my kids as much as it hurts anyone’s kids- but the difference is that mine don’t have to process these interactions with the same frequency as conventionally schooled kids do.  They have time to get council from a parent, process the interaction, and heal from it, before it happens again.

    It took me six million years to write this observation, thanks to one of my annoying homeschoolers, who has peppered me with 34095835987358932723 questions about battle strategies during the typing process.

  • Mary Kate Dempsey

    Oh man, that’s why I love sending my kids to a Montessori school: no one ridicules the unique-ness in each child. But, we get those questions, too: Are your kids “special”? Are they really smart? Can they behave themselves in public?  Are they really being socialized properly in such a small, non-traditional school?
    Of course, my answer is “yes” to all of the above! 😉
    The real issue/problem is how we, as a society, are teaching our kids to view themselves, others, and the world around them. Universal kindness and acceptance of individuals is some things that a lot of people talk about, but rarely practice or teach. They really mean that they want “their rights” — above and beyond the rights of everyone else. What we all need to do (me too!) is follow in Christ’s footsteps and view each person as an individual and unique image of God.

  • Absolutely, MK.  It’s only okay to be different if you’re a certain “cool” kind of different.  But the other kind of different, that “annoying” kind?  No sir!

  • Hey, I need some battle strategies during the typing process.  Tell him to shoot me an email with some tips!

  • She was truly a gem, wasn’t she? 🙂

  • As one of those weirdo homeschooled kids who is now raising her own weirdo homeschooled kids, I have to heartily agree.

    When I was in school and “socialized” I spent my recesses either remaining in the lunch room by myself or playing under the slide by myself.  As an introvert, I found the whole “socialization” aspect of school complete torture.  Also I was constantly ridiculed for being weird.  I had plenty of friends.  They just didn’t go to school with me.

    I can’t claim to not care about other people’s opinions of me.  I do care.  Sometimes to a fault.  But I’ve honestly never felt the need to change myself to conform to someone else’s idea of normal.  After all, maybe I’m the normal one and the rest of ya’ll are all weird!

  • lovely, lovely, lovely.  exactly right.

  • Well, you KNOW I’m weird, Racheal.  Soooo…. 😉

  • This post made my day! I have two “annoying” kids (that I homeschool) and I like it that way, dammit! Bravo!!!

  • Love this 🙂  Found myself air-fist-pumping my way through!

  • Dplunkt

    I get frustrated with these arguments. Our kids are not weird, and there is less than zero quantifiable evidence that public schools “socialize” our kids in anything but a negative way. Its a straw man. In reality the NEA has no defence so they throw out this nonsense and some folks grab onto it. The public school system is against any competition from private, Catholic or any other source because they can’t propagandize our kids.

  • tim

    my favorite bumper sticker: when it come to school, thre’s no place like home.

  • Jeanine P

    LOVE IT!

  • ben

    the more I think about it, people who worry about ‘socialisation’ are probably more worried about children’s lack of indoctrination, entirely BECAUSE they are upsettingly independant thinkers.

  • The next time someone asks “What about socialization?!!!” Ask- what do you mean by socialization? Then, they get to explain that they fear that your kids won’t be able to sit still for hours in a group of 25+ of their age-peers, listening to a teacher and taking notes and passing notes about Justin Beiber. And they might be right. 

  • Kathleen Wagner

    When we started homeschooling, I got this question a lot.  I always answered that socialization was indeed a very serious concern.  For example, did they know that one-hundred percent of children who open fire on their classmates are enrolled in campus schools?  That’s right, not one single juvenile spree killer is homeschooled.  That response invariably ended the stupid-questions portion of the conversation.

  • I never wanted the herd to socialize my children.  Far better that they be properly socialized by adults rather than peers.  That way, they know how to get along with people of all shapes, sizes and ages, and they are less likely to be dragged down by the culture.  God bless you in your efforts.

  • JB

    My homeschooled group is almost all in college now, unashamedly defending the faith to community college and music conservatory peers.  I knew I had “socialized” the appropriately when my older son said that he was regularly being offered the opportunity to “become a man” but always told whomever was offering that he is waiting until marriage.  Caelitus mihi vires!

  • we all know it is more important to be popular than to be smart

  • Guest

    You had me then you lost me–and I was really lost after reading the comments.  I favor homeschooling and think it can be the basis for better socialization.  But your article basically says–to heck with socialization.  Gratuitous weirdo-ness is simply inconsistent with the charity we owe to others.  The world–and the Church–is not a Montessori classroom.  Plus it’s horribly impractical.  It cripples your children’s future vocations.  Teaching, encouraging gratuitous introversion and disdain for others will not prepare your son or daughter for citizenship, marriage to the vast majority of fellow Catholics, or the priesthood. 

  • Jim

    Just chiming in with another perspective a few pews away
    from the amen corner.


    First thing…overly precocious kids are annoying. I was one
    of them, and I was annoying. I still am. Read on!


    I have known people who have raised solid citizens through
    homeschooling. I have also known people who have no business homeschooling because
    they’re only doing it in order to have flexible schedules and/or make a political
    or religious statement.


    The kids from those families aren’t “weird” but they can often
    seem oddly detached. They aren’t learning the reality of schedule
    responsibilities and dealing with people who aren’t like them.


    If you’re homeschooling because it is truly the best thing
    for your children, and you’re sincerely dedicated to being both teacher and
    parent during the course of the day (yes, I realize that’s exactly what we ALL
    are as moms and dads, but you know what I mean), more power to you.


    Just let me leave you with this thought. My son goes to an
    independent Catholic school that has transitioned a number of homeschooled children
    over the years. The homeschoolers, on average, have a hard time catching up to
    their respective grade levels in our classrooms. That doesn’t make our school
    an educational paradise, and it doesn’t make all homeschoolers “weirdos.” But
    it does tell us that homeschooling is not, just by virtue of being homeschooling,
    a universally desirable or appropriate option.


    Okay. I’m done being annoying now. May the Lord bless you
    and your children.

  • Rosana

    are they really “cathcing up to grade level”  or are they adjusting to having to do every subject every day. And adjust to an entirely different curriculum than what was used at home?

    I use a very different approach to teaching my 5 kids then a brick and moratar school of any type would use. I don’t school my kids at home but I teach them at home so, the one size fits all of an 8am-3pm classroom really doesn’t fit my household and therefore if anything happened where I put my kids in school, they would have an adjustment time,it would not necessarily  be that they are be behind.

  • Socialization, the ability to be controlled by the status quo rather than a set of values determined by reason or faith apart from peer pressure.

  • Karen Loe

    Love the post!!!!

  • Virginia Metzler

    Loved this about unique kids….I homeschooled only one of our’s the last one. Didn’t know back in the day that it was an option. We’ve been BRAINWASHED by SOCIETY to think that parents are not capable of teaching their kids. HAH!!! 
    Well, our daughter had an interest in almost everything; She finished Kinder when she was FOUR…we took Spanish when she was FIVE. …Graduated when she was 16…and is on her way to becoming a doctor…working on her Masters in  micro-bio. research.  I’ll never, EVER stand and listen to anyone tell me that our children need socialization. I CHOSE where she’d be “socializing” & with whom..HOMESCHOOLING is a WIN-WIN situation. I got to spend ALL THAT TIME with our daughter…every single day…and YES, THAT was a sacrifice…but it was also, a decision that has been a blessing to me and to her…that can never be altered. NOW, she wants to homeschool her children when they are blessed with children. AWESOME…I’d do it again in a  heartbeat. Virginia Metzler in Lubbock, TX….

  • Amy K

    Just realize that your school is taking on students from parents who have, for whatever reason, given up on homeschooling.  You’re dealing with a particular piece of the pie, not the whole. 

  • Guest, I wonder if we’re reading the same article.  I’m not sure the author is advocating “gratuitous weirdo-ness”, since “gratuitous” means something uncalled for, something unwarranted.  I think that many of us, from all walks of life, look at the current culture and see that something is very broken.  That brokenness, largely accepted as something too big to fix, is what Dwija is trying to address.  It’s not uncalled for.  It’s not unwarranted.  Therefore, it’s not “gratuitous”.  Also, no where do I get the sense that Dwija is encouraging “distain for others”.  I wonder what passages lead you to that conclusion?

    I’m not sure how being the unique person God created you to be is “horribly impractical” or crippling to one’s future vocation.  Those are interesting ideas I wonder if you could follow up on.  How is cultivating the unique gifts God gave us something damaging?

  • Love this – you just described several of my kids, but especially my war obsessed, faith obsessed, history obsessed know it all nine year old son. His whole family thinks he is totally cool, because he knows and is so interested in all this stuff. Pretty sure kids at school would think his fascination with the Holocaust (brought on by his fascination with war and St. Maximillian Kolbe) was pretty weird. He is totally cool enough for me! Thanks!

  • teaching DAD

    “When we STARTED homeschooling…”  See!  You stopped seeking affirmation of others, as it became so clear-cut that homeschooling was superior.  Now you know better than stand there in conversation like a sheepish kid stares at the schoolground bully to see if he’s going to walk over and punch him.  Anyone who asks is either pondering homeschooling and some relaxing advice is in order, or is trying only to affirm their intellectual presumption and no response is sufficient.

    Socialization?  Isn’t that what got the Nazi’s into so much trouble?
    Socialization?  You mean like teasing, cussing, and cliquing?  (That’s stolen from Dr. Ray!)  Oh, they get THAT from me or at church events.

  • William

    Bumper sticker:  “My dog is smarter than your honor student!”  So much for our government run schools.

  • Pargontwin

    Well said, Dwija!  I was one of those “weird” kids, too.  I think the biggest triumph in my entire life was when one of my worst tormenters met me years later, when we were both in our twenties, and told me how much he had come to admire me, because I had the guts to stick to my guns despite all the ridicule and even physical abuse I endured from my schoolmates. 

  •  Wow.  That is huge.  Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Home-schooled children are better prepared for the world and are far more socialized than regular schooled children. My home-schooled children have lots of friends who go to Christian and public schools, and my children are better behaved and play better. They share well, play with both genders well, are polite…etc. Their friends have picked up awful habits from school, are divisive, aggressive, followers…etc. I don’t keep my children away from them because they need to learn how to deal with that behavior. In my town, a huge number of parents home-school. Maybe if more children were home-schooled, our next generation would not only be better prepared for the world, but they would epitomize what true citizenship is meant to be. The children churned out of public school represent this less and less these days.

  • Quinzjunk

    right:  who needs that?

  • Guest

    My six year old daughter is homeschooled and she is such a social butterfly.  She talks to everybody she can.  She’ll have a full on conversation with someone who is a customer at the stores we frequent.  “I like your shoes/necklace/earrings and it turns into a full blown conversation.  I think she does feel a little left out sometimes when we go to the park with our friends and the kids want to play with their friends from school and then it becomes cliquish, which is one of the reasons why we homeschool is to avoid cliques.  I guess we can’t everything.

  • Camgustafson

     Wow.  Rachael just described me!  Except I never got to be homeschooled… oh how I wish I could have had (known about) that option.

    And my daughter (age almost 8) is definitely “weird.”  Hooray for all us weirdos, eh?  She would be eaten alive at school.  I know — I was a teacher for a lot of years.  Thank goodness I have the option to keep her home with me (oh, and for the record, her social calendar is way fuller than mine)….

  • K Koenig

    I look over at my daughter, wearing a red and white plaid dress with black and white striped leggings, reading a thick science book as if it were a novel, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for this inspiration to keep going.

  • nino

    I have been a teacher for 20yrs. in catholic, public, and private schools. I can tell you from experience that “schools” (for many reasons) are not the best places for human beings to “learn”. I don not know what the answer is but I think that “homeschooling” (for those families who are dedicated to their children’s learning), has come the closest to what a good learning experience should be.

  • Great article.  The thing that I always come back to when people make the comment “Make sure they are socialized” is yes I know homeschooled kids may not get as much social time in some homes but who cares because they are getting less of the culture, society, peer pressure, secularization and instead being taught the love of the family, faith, and more recess time!  

  • Grammashelly08

    “My Daughter homeschools”  I used to whisper this to my friends so no one else would hear and judge me for her mistake.  When she first announced her decission to follow this path, I was concerned.  No, not concerned but scared to death that she was going to ruin my grandchildren.   They were going to become one of those wierd – annoying – groups that we look down our nose at!   Well, I was wrong.  I’ve watched not only the kids but their mother become strong, independent, INTELLEGENT, individuals.   I can’t keep up with all they are learning and exploring.  They have encouraged me to look outside the box when it comes to my own future.  Annoying – yes, in a good way.  Today,  I love telling everyone I know “MY Daughter Homeschools”  and I shout it with pride!!

  • Amcollins

    beautifully said.  As a mom who’s been home schooling for 17 years, i couldn’t agree with you more!   OUr shy child, because more comfortable with his shyness, the quirky ones, grew to  enjoy their quirkiness.   They grew to become who GOd intended them to be, not who their peers thought they should be!  

  • Pvalent

    I have found that some home schooled children are annoying. But that correlates with preexistant annoying parents. There are annoying public school parents, and sweet public school parents. Since home schoolers are a small sample, they come up as more annoying since they have smaller number of folks to see from the sample. When home schoolers equate proportionately to we poor sods that have to use the public then they will appear less annoying. Since the annoying cretins we deal with in public schools will be properly represented.

  • SouthCoast

    The purpose of “socializatio” is, or should be, enabling children to become adults. Based on the past two generations of our society, the increasing encapsulation of children within their age-grade peer groups has, to an appaling degree, produced a large cadre of arrested adolescents between the ages of 12 and 50. I vote for homeschooling, with actual social interaction with actual adults providing actual role models!

  • I am a veteran homeschool mom of 18 years, and I know what you are trying to say, Jim.  There are good homeschoolers and bad homeschoolers just as there are good parents and bad parents.  Unfortunately, the bad ones are often the ones people remember when the issue comes up because we are a minority in the education field.  I’ve seen gross negligence from public school parents and teachers, Catholic school parents and teachers and yes, even homeschool parents/teachers.  Homeschooling alone does not a good student/person make.  Most homeschoolers really are serious about their child’s education though, and that can make all the difference in the world. 

  • Lynn

    Love this! My kiddo is absolutely perfect in all her quirky ways. Thank you.

  • Guest

    I find it hard to imagine a parent trying to teach their children AP classes such as AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, and AP English plus language and other elective classes to the level where children need to compete. There’s a reason why teachers went to school for this and they know the subject best. They teach because they have a passion for teaching. Public schools offer programs such as music, art, sports, business clubs, service clubs, etc. Children need to be exposed to these things to develop interests. As far as the socialization goes, children are more resiliant than we think. Exposure to peer pressure is needed more than a theoretical approach. Children need to realize that there are different types of people in the world and they need a level of stress in their lives in order to push themselves to be great. Parents coddle their children too much and schools are not full of bullies. There’s different groups of people and a kid will find friends if they look for people with similar interests.

  • Ann

    Thank you for this article.  I have been homeschooling for nine years.  I’ve analyzed this many times, since I was the academic and prayerful Catholic school kid who was ridiculed for being who God created me to be.  I was eventually worn down (and redefined) by sophomore year (praise God I had the fortitude to withstand the ridicule all those years) and rejected my nerdy “holiness.”  I turned my back on my Church for a time and cashed in for “coolness.”   The limitations that are created today in ANY school classroom is elevated and defined by our pop culture and our youth are boxed up even worse than in the 1970’s.  However, what you describe as one of the reasons for being and annoying homeschooled child, is this:   that great and wonderful cofidence of spouting off their passions, and all the answers they know (if they are an extrovert).  Well, there is even a time and a place for this.  What some homeschoolers forget to do in an effort to nurture this creative confidence, is to teach the virutue of humility, and to some extent, manners and how to treat others that are different from them.  It’s almost as if the homeschool and regular world blames “socialization” as the problem, when really the root of the problem is no different at home or in the classroom.  Great article!!

  • J G

     Plenty of schools don’t have AP classes. Many dumb down their courses for the LCD. Teachers are sometimes in it for the retirement benefits and that is their passion. Homeschooled children have no problem being exposed to music and the arts or joining a club. Most of them have varied interests. Most homeschooled kids are quite socialized. I was at an event and the public school kids were acting insane while the teachers just gritted their teeth. Then a group came through that asked questions and acted “normal”, they were the homeschoolers. No worries about gangs, bullies, homosexual education, liberal indoctrination, fad classes in environmentalism. Annoy the secular left and homeschool your kids and they will be far more successful in life.

  • I can see what you are saying in this article, and I guess today “weird” can apply to kids who are respectful, obedient, interested in a wide variety of things, helpful, kind, don’t swear, are service oriented, humble, etc.   As a homeschool veteran of kids ages 18 on down to baby,I have seen a lot of kids who are not just cutely annoying and precocious but have solidly moved into the disrespectful and rude range.  I think sometimes homeschoolers are tempted to be militantly weird in order to stand out and thumb their noses at nay-sayers…or to be identified with the homeschool community. Good parenting and God’s grace is the key to virtuous, intelligent kids whether or not you homeschool.  The truth of homeschooling is that you have more time with your kids to work with them…to guide and instruct them.  It maximizes good parenting…and unfortunately, it also maximizes and reinforces bad parenting as well.  It’s not easy to be a parent these days.

  • Sara Lee

    I can see where your argument comes from but then again the numbers speak for themselves. Children that are home schooled tend to be smarter somehow. I mean, it seems like the homeschooling is working in that area.

  • Sara Lee

    As far as home schooled kids being weird (i.e. not like the others), I would say that isn’t that one of the goals of home schooling? It’s not something to be ashamed of. You want your children to be different than the average child. You want them to be of a better moral character or smarter. That’s why you home school. You feel that they will receive something in the home environment that they won’t receive at school. You don’t want them to be like the kids you see in public school with their drugs and their hooking up. It’s a good thing if they’re considered weird.

  • chaco

    Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with keeping all of life’s variables in a managable order, I go to Jesus’ telling; “All law comes from 2 Great Laws; Love God & Love Neighbor.”  In a similar fashion, I see this whole debate boiling down to 1 FOUNDATIONAL PREMISE; SUBSIDIARITY. In the same way that centuries of devotion to Truth & reason (Holy Mother Church) has taught that governments should be submissive to the LOCAL RULE (subsidiarity / “Govt. of the people – For the people”), education of the young & vulnerable should be guided / governed mainly by those who hold them dearest; parents who see them as “Flesh of my flesh & Heart of my Heart”. Such “Governors”(parents) will never allow destructive ridicule or squelching of individualism. I gained this insight from a father of 18; “The main thing a parent has to do is teach kids how to work.”  That, along with giving them a sense of security & enough time / freedom to realize what they love to work at is the “Secret Recipe”. Oh ! and 1 more pointer in regard to socializing skills; the lady who was assigned to teach president’s children manners (sorry, forgot her name) said that it all boils down to “How do I make you feel special ?” (Blessing & Praise are synonomous). Oh ! And keep them away from addictions ie; sexitizing of children by Federally controlled schools.  OK, now you have all the answers from “The Annoying Know-it-all”. 

  • Lia’s Mom

    Why you find it hard to imagine is that you have a very narrow minded view of homeschooling. Homeschool parents don’t only rely on their own abilities to teach their children. There are home-school co-ops where parents share their talents with others. One parent may be a whiz at math and another a whiz at English so they take turns teaching each others children. Some homeschooling parents hire tutors or even send there children to the junior college.
    I failed high school Algebra and because I failed it I could not take it during summer school. I did not want to take it for another full school year again so I took it from the college. It was a lot more fast paced, there were no stupid questions, the students in the class were there because they wanted to be, etc. I passed the class with an A. I wish I would of taken more college classes because for me it was a lot easier than high school because it was more at my pace than drawn out.

  • Jim

    As a parent of 6 children, some who are homeschooled and some who are in public school, I have learned that the public school system and the catholic school system is very interested in socialization and not so interested in what is needed. Reading writing and math. My wife and I beat our hearts for sending our older two to private and public schools in the 11 and 12th grades. It was a wonderful waste of money on our part and time on the part of our children.
    We found ourselves continuing our home education of our children who were no longer homeschooled because the public school and private did not do their jobs of educating and did a miserable job of socializing. So what it comes to is that even though they both in school my wife and I had to educate them when they came home each day and in some cases reverse educate them.
    Of course now that we have let the ghost out of the bottle it is impossible to convince our 17 and 18 year olds to come back to home school. They are now lost………..

  • A F

     Passionate teachers and AP classes were not our experience in public school … the pressure to conform and be quiet in class created stress, but not the kind that pushed my children to be great. Now we are homeschoolers, and I expect much more of my children academically and socially than our local school ever did.

  • chaco

    Whoa; This topic is ON FIRE ! I’ll bet it’s because it strikes a parenting nerve; “Don’t call my kid weird !”.  It serves as proof that forming little ones should be guided / governed by those who love them most.     Jim, YOUR KIDS AREN”T LOST; Did you know the author of  “Amazing Grace” was really, like the song says, “a wretch” ? Heb. 5: 7;  “…cries & tears to Him who was able to save Him…”  shows that our parental concerns will not go unheard; Especially when united with the “Longing-Parental YES”  of Our Heavenly Mother that brought Salvation to the World. Console Mama’s Heart (Fatima Peace Plan) and in turn; your Heart will be consoled. [“Rejoice Queen Mother;  Your Son -Our God has gone into the depths of darkness and illumined it with the VICTORY OF DIVINE MERCY. It has penetrated the hardness of our selfish vanity & softened our Hearts into Praise & Thanks for God (who longs to share His Glorious Love with us”.)]

  • Pamela Jorrick

    It seems to me that each one of us has our own weirdness. Some are more blatant than others, and some (many) are just squelched into conformity and coloring between the lines at an early age. Just like snowflakes, God made us each unique for a reason. Unfortunately, many people think that one must either completely assimilate at 3 years old or have lifetime misfit status. There are plenty of grey areas where we can maintain and thrive in our individuality and still manage to get along in public.

  • Dawnstiller

    I am the secular left, and I homeschool my kids. That is truly the oddist reason anyone has ever given to justify homeschooling.

  • Dawn S

    “The next time someone asks “What about socialization?!!!” Ask- what do you mean by socialization?” I find this to be the best response because it opens an honest dialogue. Generally people who throw out the “socialization” argument are people who don’t know any homeschoolers and are just repeating what they’ve heard in the media where for some reason this myth pervades. The person making the comment tends to imagine mom sitting at a table all day with her kids, teaching. In this imagined scenario, the kids never get a chance to make friends outside of their siblings. I think we all agree that this is inadequate, which is one of the many reasons that homeschooling parents work so tirelessly to provide such a rich and diverse set of experiences for their students. Homeschooling is all about educating – part of that will always be educating the public at large about what it means ro homeschool.

  • DJ Hesselius

    Rosana: you are spot on about the curriculum mismatch.  This year, one of my children went to a private school full time. Although he’s had Latin for two years, he was doing very poorly in their Latin program. So they switched him to a different book. Voila, instant A+ and without having to do a lick of work!  Neither his low grade nor his high grade were indicative of his abilities, but they spoke volumes to me about curriculum mismatch.  Next year he asked to come home.  Guess what? Due to curriculum mismatch, he will be “behind” in math, but possibly ahead in Latin.

  • Annie

    Thank you for saying it. I have known many people who have done it and they have done fine. I also know lots of people who did it and it was a disaster. Our kid’s Catholic school has had to help kids who were homeschooled and needed to catch up. I know some monks who have had lots of homeschool kids be servers and many had a hard time reading. That doesn’t mean everyone but it has been a problem.

    One more thing. My parish has LOTS of homeschoolers and you can see who they are by the way they dress. That can be a problem like it or not when trying to get a job later in life, My parish also has religious ed but only when my kids are in the Catholic school. So my kids are stuck.

  • guest

    I am a former high school English teacher and loved my time at public school.  I now homeschool my daughters and find myself amazed at their abilities in their studies—not because of genetics (although that would be nice!), but because of my ability to find the time and interests to connect their education to real life.  I am their teacher.  I know their curriculums.  I know what I can hold them  accountable for when approaching an interest, because I have been there since the beginning.  My 4th grader is working on lessons that I gave my 9th grade students in class.  I love high school teachers, especially the passionate ones!  I do wonder about AP courses, but my homeschool experience so far has taught me that anything I feel like I cannot handle, someone else can.  Moms and Dads are amazingly talented with real world experience.  When you are working with your own kids, you do not need all the educational theories needed to handle 120 students a day.  You need passion, patience, and the ability to learn as you go—that’s one of my favorite parts!
    As far as exposure to peer pressure—I used to feel that way too.  I was also a coach and wanted my girls to be mentally and emotionally ‘tough’ like the athletes I trained.  Now I see that the girls are learning how to handle themselves bit by bit.  It IS different, but it’s not coddling.  The girls experience the same stressors, but on a less frequent level.  The biggest difference is that they have me to guide them on appropriate responses rather than relying on the kids on the playground or the poor teacher who is overwhelmed by the 30 little personalities she must deal with everyday.  Our response is quick, positive, and mature–not always the response kids get in the class. 
    All this said, my point is that I was once in your shoes with your same concerns.  It wasn’t until I took the opportunity to homeschool that I could truly make a judgement on what works best.  As for me and my family…we choose homeschool!

  • T

    Actually teachers don’t know the subject best. People who are engaged in actively participating in the subject areas are, so perhaps teachers aren’t the best choice to share this type of specialized knowledge.  Passing an “AP Course” means nothing if you can’t actually apply the knowledge in a useful manner. The term teaching implies the student must adopt a passive role in order to receive “teaching”. Ironically, “learning” requires an active role and the desire of the student. See the difficulty? Public schools offer many programs, but it is in an artificial, institutional setting, which by its very nature, works against self-expression and self-discovery. I’m not sure why exposing children to an unnatural situation, such as being only with children of the same age and geographic location helps them realize there are different types of people in the world. I would think active participation in the whole community would be a much better opportunity for socialization and much more realistic. As for stress, the idea that being in an institutional setting and the type of stress it provides is helpful to anyone astounds me. It is a common,modern problem, but why would you “want” it? I would think the idea would be to avoid it, and an emotionally healthy person would try to combat or eliminate sources of it. 

  • Lynee_Graves

    So sorry to hear your story. But know there are many of us grateful for your story so we don’t do the same thing.

  • Janice

    Thank you for this.  It is the best homeschooling article I have read in a while.  We do not home school and are not able to for several reasons.  My son goes to a Christian school that operates like home school in a classroom (individualized program).  We have been his teachers at home since he was born.  Even though he goes to a school during the day, we keep the learning alive at home as well.  He is the epitome of this quote:  
    “I mean what people mean when they say that homeschooled kids are annoying.  I mean kids who ask too many questions and know too much information and like certain stuff and refuse to like other things and don’t care what other people think about their silly hobbies and their know-it-all-ness.”  
    Thank you for reminding me that my sons “quirks” are a gift and not something to be mainstreamed. Sometimes well-meaning family members tell me that he is a little odd and will not fit in well. But I am glad that he is not the typical video-game, cool kid with an attitude.  I hope my daughter ends up annoying as well! lol I am passing this article along!

  • Mary @ Better Than Eden

    I love this Dwija, thank you!  I think this is probably one of my favorite aspects of homeschooling.  My son has no idea that some things are not ‘cool’ or even how to be self-conscious.  What freedom there is in that!  

  • Shoeatlanta

    Reason our family applies homeschooling is because the teachers of today are more concerned about their wages, their paid days off, and shortening the school day so they can get to the tennis court or golf course sooner. Yea they may have graduated college but I can show you a lot of my classmates that fulfilled their college days and now teach and I would not give you a pound of dog @#*# for them both as an educator or a person.  They beat the kids out of school.

  • I was sort of like that too (meyers-briggs has me introvert/extrovert so I call myself an extrovert wanna be).  I absolutely hated school.  I tried my best.  Used to cry that no one liked me.  I was born in 1969 my mom didn’t know it was an option for us kids.  I would have loved to do science projects with my sister at home instead of the drivel I got in school (where I didn’t learn squat but could take tests in my sleep and therefore got good scholarships and awards).  Never learned how to think and so struggle with teaching my kids to think now as I homeschool them.  Love homeschooling!  My sticky kitchen floor doesn’t, but who cares?  We have wonderful families that are big that we can visit, we live in the country so are really extra free, belong to 4-H.  The world is so open to options of socializing.  I can teach my boy to look someone in the eye when they are speaking to him and say yes and no not yup and nope.  Well, you get the point.  Thanks for the story Rachael!  I will keep teaching my son about following God’s will, not the will of the herd

  • Your article brought tears to my eyes, particularly as I’ve just waved off my husband and 12yo son as they set off for a Cosplay competition, that requires them to get dressed into costumes they’ve spent weeks creating, and perform in front of 100’s of people.  Totally fuelled by my son’s love for a particular video game, a depth of passion that would likely have him ridiculed and ostracised in a school situation.  But instead I saw his face just so lit up with excitement as he prepared to join many others with similar passions – most of whom are adults.  Yes he is different.  And that will make the difference for him in the future.  I am loving watching him unfurl into a young man.  Thank you for writing this article 🙂

  • Margaret

    Being a former homeschooling parent of 20 years,  (all three of mine have graduated), I was struck by the crutch of “socialization” that seems to be “catch all ” reason against home schooling.  In the book School Can Wait by Dr. Raymond Moore, an entire chapter is devoted to socialization (good and bad) and why the classroom model that is used in modern times has thoroughly failed students.  He goes on to give statistics not only to back up his points but gave logical conclusions between certain classroom practices and the detrimental effects of having children only in a classroom of their peers as opposed to multiple grade levels as in the one room schoolhouse.  Negative peer pressure and  poor self image are just two of the results brought about by being forced to learn in this one age environment. 
    Another reason to homeschool – learning styles.  There are three:  auditory, kenetic and visual.  If the teacher doesn’t teach the way your student learns the best – they are both less effective – the teacher and the student. 
    We were able to pinpoint the primary and secondary learning styes of each of our children and teach them so that their time was spent learning at their optimum level.  With a classroom setting – no teacher has the time to pinpoint that for each student and teach in that style.  It really is a “one size fits all” – not that it really fits all but only about 1/3 of the students in the classroom.
    MANY MANY MANY elite theletes across the country are homeschooled in order for the student athlete to devote the necessary hours to the sport.  Schooling is not neglected in this way but enhanced.  It weeds out all the “wasted” classroom time and puts the emphasis on efficient learning. 
    I will be the first to tell anyone that homeschooling is not for everyone. . . It is only for those willing to sacrifice to see that their students achieve all the necessary skills, (learning and social) to be a productive, honorable, character driven human.

  • Nieciesnack

     Grammashelly08 – Thank you for your *real* statement…when I first told my mom I didn’t get the support I though I would get – merely a “well, if you fail you can always put them back in school” We will be graduating #1 from home school this year.  It was been worth the investment. 

  • Guest

    I would answer comments by acknowledging the fact that all schools are not the same. There are differences in the quantity and quality of teachers, academic programs, and extra-curriculars. I am in no way bashing homeschooling. I just think schools should be analyzed first to see of it meets a student’s and family’s criteria. I don’t think homeschooling should be done just because of an ideology. Not all teachers and schools are alike. People who are engaged in the subjects may know that subject best, but are they able to pass on that knowledge? Now I firmly beleive that non-academic lessons about life, virtue, religion, etc should be taught and learned at home. As far as academics go, if a parent or co-op of parents can teach children at levels they can compete with then okay. But if homeschooled kids are at a disadvantage academically because their parents want to pursue an ideology then I don’t agree with that. As far as stress goes, I’m saying an amount of stress that challenges a person to think and push their minds to new levels is better than keeping them in their comfort zones. Public school is only 7-8 hours a day, there’s plenty of time to teach  your children everything they need to know and guide them in life. At some point all children will be exposed to pain, failure, stress, ridicule, differing personalities but also triumph, success, and joy. Parents can still play signifcant roles in responses to this no matter where children go to school.  

  • Ninacoe

    My daughter is similar to how you describes yourself and your daughter. As a public educator myself I am proud to say that she is a product of public schools, K-12. She was a National Merit Scholar and one of three Valedictorians. She grew wise and mature as she learned to handle comments and be her own person. In college, she lived in the Honors Dorm Freshman year and enjoyed the change from bif fish in a small pond to small fish in a big pond. She has finished college and is in her first year as Library Media Specialist at her old high school. She is a nerd and proud of it and enjoys how “cool” her nerdy students think she is.
    Home schooling does not have to be the answer.

  • I agree with a lot of things that you’ve said here, T.  I was never homeschooled but participated in a theater group for homeschooled kids in high school (because they didn’t have quite enough people for “The Sound of Music” without me) and had a good experience with them.

    However, I took AP classes in high school and was a very motivated student, and I personally think that AP teachers often teach better than college professors because they are actually trained to teach instead of just trained to do math, chemistry, etc.

  • Ansell222

    I was never sure weather I should homeschool or not, I even critizied my sister for doing so because I told her that she was keeping her child from meeting new people and not able to socialize with others. I found out that I was wrong about that, you can be involved in a lot of out side activities that go through the school system IF YOU WANT, I don’t but, the main reason I didn’t think homeschooling would work for me is because I was scared, having a learning disablity, I didn’t think I would be able to teach my children well enough. Well, my 18 year old just took his ged and passed with higher numbers than another boy that quite school and took it. They were both at the same level in school but one quite school and mine finished early.  I am now teaching a 7 year old and will be teaching a 4 year old,too. The reason my 18 year old took his ged is because my school district would not reconize homeschoolers. So I said the heck with that and let ’18’ graduate early.

  • ddd

    Dwija, I think you’re demonizing those of us who hesitate to homeschool because of social isolation a bit unfairly. My fear of my child’s social ineptitude is not that he will be weird or annoying, convicted or confident – he can be that without homeschool – but that he will be unable to handle crowds of strangers or non-family because he’s not used to them and be unable to converse and empathize with others in real time (intellectually and emotionally) because his experience of the world is so narrow. Co-ops can change that but then you’re not doing strict homeschool but a homeschool co-op. Very different. This world created by God should be neither feared nor loathed just because there are jerks out there as you indicate in your last blog post yet that is the main reason I hear so many parents choose homeschool. If choosing homeschool is not because the parent thinks the child will receive a better education, I really question whether that parent should be the educator. 

  • Lisa

    Annie – how old are these kids who had a hard time reading? My oldest homeschooled daughter is almost nine. Up until about six months or a year ago, she was way “behind” in reading. She’s now easily at grade level and is reading for pleasure quite regularly. She simply wasn’t ready to read yet. I knew kids her age who had a lot of trouble with reading when I was in school, too. Nobody was worrying about it, though, because everyone just assumed the pros would figure it all out. When it’s a homeschooled child, many people assume that the homeschooling is the problem.

  • Charlabeth

    As a creature endowed with a rational mind I consider socialization the condition that enables your children to be in contact with a large number of rational beings. Much better than Mozart or phonics drills.

  • I8ajellybean

     ” Public school is only 7-8 hours a day, there’s plenty of time to
    teach  your children everything they need to know and guide them in
    only 7-8hours?!?! of course that does not include the 2-3 hours of homework, 30min (if you are lucky) for meal time, 30 min of bath time, 8 hours of sleep time, 1 hour of morning prep time…let’s see…if we cut out all extra-curricular activities…that leaves how much time in 24 hours to “teach your children everything they need to know?”

  • Judith_arnold

     Another homeschooling member of the secular left chiming in!

  • Judith_arnold

     I don’t have to teach my kids AP classes. I also don’t have to make do with whatever mediocre teacher our public school system assigns to teach that AP class, I can shop around and sign my child up for the best and most competitive AP class available. Clearly you are not aware that there are certified teachers who have made a business of offering classes to homeschoolers. Teachers who are really great at teaching get glowing recommendations and more students. Teachers who are not great go out of that business, instead of getting tenure and sticking around forever. I know for a fact that my kids are getting a much better education at home one-on-one with me than sitting in an overcrowded classroom with an overworked teacher who is focused on bringing up the lowest third for standardized testing. How do I know this? Well, you know those standardized tests……….My kids consistently score at least four years ahead of grade level.

  • Lisa

    “Children are more resilient than we think.” What are you basing this on? The crap I experienced in high school left scars on me for life…and I’m in my 40s (my oldest child, who wasn’t public schooled, graduated last year). Some children bounce back well. Some don’t.

    “Children need to be exposed to these things to develop interests.” My children (8 year old daughter and 6 year old son) have done multi media art classes, pottery classes and dance classes. My daughter is still in ballet. She also takes piano. They both take Tae Kwon Do. They’re learning circus skills. During our homeschool group meetings, they’ve done workshops in science, music, printmaking, and had three visits from a local guy with a small menagerie of small mammals, reptiles, arachnids, etc. (My daughter’s thing is spiders, btw. I also loved them at her age, but I was mercilessly mocked for being “weird”. Her friends just acknowledge it as something she’s really into.) We do regular “field trips” to the local aquarium, zoo and two different science museums. We read a wide variety of fiction. We read non-fiction on a tremendous variety of subjects.

    Homeschooling families can, and do, get outside help in certain areas. If and when my children need advanced schooling in subjects about which I lack knowledge, we’ll go elsewhere.

    And, while I normally don’t comment on spelling errors online, I find it amusing that you’re concerned about whether or not homeschooling parents can teach AP English, but you don’t know how to spell “resilient”.

  • Judy

    My son learned calculus by himself – studying books and watching you tube videos!

  • Judy

    And another thing – children need to be exposed to subjects to develop interests?  I don’t think so.  You can’t make a child learn and you can’t stop a child from learning.  Look at sex.  Who ever teaches kids sex and yet, they certainly develop an interest!

  • Lisa

     In 13 years of public school, I don’t recall ever being challenged or having to think and push my mind to new levels. I was usually bored out of my mind. I was pushed *into* my comfort zone, because I need to take small steps out of it, and the school tried too hard to push me out (not talking about pushing my mind – just my comfort zone). They destroyed my self-confidence and it took over a decade to even begin to build it back up.

    Contrast that with my 8 year old. At a recent workshop on elecricity, the presenter expressed concerns about the age range of our group. The workshop was intended for 7th grade students, and our kids ranged from age 6 to 9 (we have one 11 year old, but she was absent that day). Participation was optional. On the way home, I was talking to my daughter about the workshop and she said the experiments were a lot of fun. I asked her if she understood the underlying concepts that had been discussed. Her response? “Of course, mama – I knew all that already. It was pretty basic.” She was absolutely shocked when I told her it was meant for kids who are four years ahead of her in school.

    Also, “public school is only 7-8 hours a day” is misleading, as there is also homework to consider. When my son went through public school, there was absolutely not “plenty of time” to teach him everything he needed to know.

  • Lisa

     I have to say that I’ve also noticed a few homeschooled kids who are disrespectful and rude, and whose parents don’t seem to notice or care. However, as a mom who straddled public school and the homeschool community for a few years, I have to say that those kids exist in public school, too. There seems to be a percentage of parents who really think their children are too special to ever need correction for anything.

  • timesoftrouble

    Actually it is the home schoolers that are normal. I ask the question “Socialization to what?”The shool kids are immersed in divided subcultures and conform to (or are socialized to) those subcultures. From my vantage point, if I had young children today, I would not want them socialized in those subcultures where there is lack of direction, lack of discipline, lack of moral guidance. The home school kids I have known seem to communicate with young kids and adults alike.  They can actually engage in enthusiastic conversation with an adult. They can actually play with and be affectionate with the little ones. They seem more normal to me, more well-rounded with no attitude.  I think that is the way it is supposed to be.

  • I found that my oldest daughter, who was paralytically shy in the four years she went to school, actually bloomed socially once we removed her from the pressures of that environment. She went on to be heavily involved with children’s theater as a middle-schooler, and to take college classes as a high-school student. She’s now a college freshman, has a large group of very lovely friends, was chosen to be a freshman-orientation leader for next fall . . . in short, she’s fine. She does well academically — which was in fact the greater part of why we decided to homeschool in the first place — and she does well socially.

    Ditto my younger kids, one of whom went to school for a year, and the last two of whom have never been to school at all. They have literally none of the social hang-ups and fears that I had, as a bookish introvert who just wanted people to like me. We don’t do any homeschool co-ops, but we do go to Mass daily, where we see and talk to people;  they’re in Scouts and American Heritage Girls;  we have neighbors whom they know (in fact, the kids know our neighbors far better than I do, because I’m still an introvert, and they like to chat over the fence);  we go to the store, the park, the pool, to other people’s houses . . . They talk to adults and other children. We have family friends with severely disabled children, and my kids talk to and play with them;  we have a huge Hispanic population in our parish, and my Anglo kids have friends in that group, maybe because nobody’s ever told them that different groups sit at different tables in the cafeteria. My 14-year-old is holding his own in a college history class right now — my husband’s a professor, and one of the perks of the job is that his friends will let my kids into their classes — partly because he’s bright, but also because he never got the memo that 14-year-olds don’t have anything to say that 18- 21-year-olds shouldn’t listen to, and vice versa.

    Really, unless you as a parent have no friends and no desire or reason to leave the house, your children will learn to talk to other people. Unless you yourself are an unempathetic jerk who never speaks to anyone and demands silence at the dinner table, you children will learn to converse and empathize because to them that will be the norm. It won’t occur to them that anyone wouldn’t be that way. I think I’m more mindful and purposeful about my own interactions, in fact — say, with the grocery checkout lady — because I realize that even as I’m buying my groceries, I’m also educating my children.

  • I’ve heard the socialization excuse from people I know as well.  But I always counter that home schooled kids are know are the brightest and most well-behaved children I have ever encountered.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for parents who take on the challenge of homeschooling.  As a grandmother, I see what our tax funded government schools have become:  cesspools of violence, diversity which is a form of discrimination, sex ed, and teaching kids to hate the country that gives them freedom and liberty.

  • Guest

    Clearly I have hit several nerves with this post. Kudos for the person who noticed my spelling error. I come from a Catholic school and public high school experience. I spent 7-8 hours a day in school, stayed after school for a few extra hours to participate in extra-curriculars, had passionate teachers in both schools. I was a ‘wierd’ nerdy kid, but I took that to my advantage. I took 11 APs in high school, and I thank my school for offering them to me. Believe me, I know 7-8 hours of school is misleading (key is get less sleep) because homework would keep me up past midnight and 6 am would come early. My parents did teach me and guide me throughout everything regarding faith and life in general. I am eternally grateful to them- they had plenty of time maybe not explicitly, but implicitly.  I’m not a parent so I don’t know whats its like, but trying to keep kids safe from every external conflict is the answer- helping them get through it is. I don’t regret my public school education and was accepted to a university in the top five- one that prides itself for its ‘wierdness’.  Schools have changed and progressed in the past few decades. Honor programs have been developed in schools so that people who want to learn and excel can. Sorry if I offended anyone here, but I do think school is for academics and homeschooling should be only done if you can provide children with a better education than the public school.

  • MrsF3

    Right on, once again! Homeschooled and taught to explain how I was NOT missing out on any “socialization”–I expected some ridicule in college. Instead, professors eagerly told me how they LOVE homeschoolers and always enjoy their well-developed sense of direction and responsibility. In my major (piano performance), the majority of us were homeschooled! I believe it’s because we discovered what we loved and weren’t too busy trying to keep up with sports and clubs in high school.
    And no one ever asked if I was homeschooled or judged me as weird (annoyingly attached to studying, perhaps), because I actually did know how to socialize!

  • Fred45

    That’s the oddest statement (not “oddist”) coming from a lefty secularist, whose gospel is preached in public institutions and who by nature would not opt for homeshooling. Methinks you are just posing as a homeschooler..besides, you can’t spell.. 🙂

  •  There was a boy who failed at public scool math.  He failed at school and drpped out in the 5th grade.  He went home with some books and learned there…  His name was Albert.

    Albert Einstein. 

    You know. the first person that most people think of when asked “Who is the smartest person in the world.” 

    Don’t put down what you don’t understand!

  •  There was a boy who failed at public scool math.  He failed at school and drpped out in the 5th grade.  He went home with some books and learned there…  His name was Albert.

    Albert Einstein. 

    You know. the first person that most people think of when asked “Who is the smartest person in the world.” 

    Don’t put down what you don’t understand!

  • Tara

    I nearly cried reading your article…it’s just so…true!
    We are just about to take our kids out of school for homeschooling and the amount of judgement we have recieved has been quite unsettling. You have described the whole ‘socializatio’ argument beautifully and I will be quoting you in the future!!

  • Laurigreenfield

    I absolutely love this!! I have 4 of the “annoying” homeschoolers too. Each is different in their weird ways, and we revel in that. 🙂

  • Annie

    The boys were in Jr High and High School. Not good.

  • Sweetfairiebug

    I for one am one of the “weird kids” this article speaks of. I have been homeschooled 6 years and so far, I love it! Sure…i may be annoying at time but can a public schooled child learn a song in a day or can they speak Sigh language after watching a video twice…Well I can… Oh..ok here’s a good one…With as much time as I have on my hands…Can a public schooled child write a book in a week…Not even a week 5 days…I CAN!!


    Learning starts in the womb and is continued throughout life! I think everyone should home-school themselves even if they go to “conventional” school.

  • Hmm. Interesting article and following comments. I’d like to throw in my two cents:

    I recall BEING one of the weird ones…and THANK GOD!!
    I never did exactly find a niche in high school or early college with much of anyone.
    ..and THANK GOD FOR THAT!!

    ..Or did I?
    As I think about it, throughout my first two years of college, I DID spend a good deal of time in the..well, not QUITE a computer lab, but a general study area. After finishing some of our morning classes, some of us DID tend to gather there to work on problems. Within the first hour or two, you probably wouldn’t hear that much, but especially on Fridays, likely you WOULD hear quite a bit of conversation. In fact, Friday night could almost be a letdown as most people disappeared homeward, while I went back to my dorm room. I became rather well acquainted with HBO then….. If I ever had a niche though, it likely came when I graduated from junior college and began at the University. During my second year there, though still an undergrad, I wound up in a dorm aimed at grad students. As I recall, I had some of the MOST exciting conversations in that dorm that I can ever remember having! Sometimes I miss those days.

    Look, I get the whole thing about how it’s nice to have friends, nice to have someone you can fool about with, and so on. Honestly though, I don’t regret having NOT had any particular friends throughout high school. If anything, I almost pity many of my classmates. I gather that many of them did..whatever they did, which may have involved listening to a VERY zany DJ on Friday night. I recall being mostly annoyed by the guy, because he seemed so desperately senseless. Waaaaaaaayyyyy to much enthusiasm for the amount of substance he offered. But he was popular….
    I think I found him mostly obnoxious though because I could read a book about what adults might do and distinctly preferred to let my imagination run wild that way.

    Thank God for a chance to be a weirdo!!

  • Alexis

    Great article. All true,
    signed a second generation homeschooling mom.

  • I think you are absolutely correct.  People don’t know how to process a child who actually has their own opinion (gasp!) about something that might be different from what others think.  My homeschooled son is very much like this–opinionated and smart and inquisitive–all of the things that are his best qualities!!!  I can’t WAIT to see what a wonderful adult he is going to be some day. 

    Thanks for this essay and for putting into words what so many of us have believed all along.  

  •  I would like to swipe this quote from you if you don’t mind.  Hearing the word “socialization” from homeschool doubters has become my biggest pet peeve!

  •  Lisa, you made my day because I caught that too. 

    Incidentally, I am capable of teaching all of those advanced subjects to my son–not that he needs me to, since he is learning to self-educate and only rarely asks for help.  This is the point of what we are doing, I think.  Ultimately, you have to be able to acquire (and retain!) information for yourself.  When you can do that, there is NO limit to what you can do. 

    I never argue with anyone about homeschooling, because I have seen the change in my son with my own eyes.  The evidence does not lie.  Furthermore, I find the comment that “schools are not full of bullies” to be ridiculous.  My son is middle school age, and I assure you, the peer group is highly toxic.  My friends have their kids in school, and it is appalling.  I’m so glad we left that behind, and that my son will grow into an adult who can made decisions and choices without worrying about what the group thinks. 

  • Ktsmom9

     (Please keep your nastiness to yourself)

  • DJ Hesselius

    Annie: could it be the reason they are homeschooling is because they have a hard time reading? One of the fastest growth areas is special needs. From what I have seen, dyslexia (and yes, dysgraphia, although I wonder if that is a real disorder) are rampant in both the homeschool and the non-homeschool environment.  I have one son who is mildly dyslexic and one who is quite severe and goes to a special tutor twice a week.  The tutor says my son would have extreme difficulty in the local public or private school envirnoments. Our town does not have a school dedicated to those with dyslexia or nonverbal learning disorder, etc, although some larger metropolitan areas do.

  • Colleen

    I find this very offensive being married to a high school teacher.  My husband purely teaches theology for the love of it.  It is certainly not for the pay or the time off.  We choose to send our kids to Catholic schools, but we respect the decisions that each individual family makes about how to educate their children best.  Let’s not rip each other apart.

  • We don’t homeschool because we have a pretty amazing deal with the local Catholic school, and not homeschooling allows me to work, which is a necessity for us.  However, my husband was homeschooled for a few years, and I know if we couldn’t afford Catholic school, I would seriously consider homeschooling.  

    I think there definitely are “weird” homeschoolers, just like there are “weird” Catholic school kids, “weird” public school kids, etc.  

    I don’t know why some commenters feel so strongly about putting down the education choices other families make.  I understand feeling pride in your own decision to best educate your children, but can’t we just play nice?  It does me no harm that you choose to homeschool and our neighbors choose public school and our cousins choose Catholic school. Who Cares?  As long as parents can honestly say they are trying their BEST to give their children what they need, then we are all doing a great job.  It’s when we aren’t doing our best that we feel guilty and start knocking down others….

  • Jenn

    Most homeschooled students I know who end up this advanced simply finish “high school” at age 14-16 and then attend community college for college-level course work (which is all AP classes are – low-level college courses.) Then at age 18, they can apply to a university as a transfer student.

  • ” There’s a reason why teachers went to school for this and they know the subject best”

    Really? My state is desperate for high school and junior high math teachers, yet my husband, who was phi beta kappa in electrical engineering, tutored freshman chemistry, and was the head freshman physics grader his sophomore year, could not teach algebra without going through all the state education courses. Because knowing -what? – pedagogical theory? is more important than actually knowing math?

    In my city, (some) teachers appear to be more concerned with getting insurance coverage for Viagra or protecting the teacher who cut off the braids of her student than in making sure the students are learning.

  •  As far as the socialization goes, children are more resilient than we think.

    Exactly. Which is why it is not critical that a kid spend five hours a day in school with other children. Or go to pre-school.

    There are other ways to learn how to get along with other people. Like having brothers and sisters. Or being in Brownies. Or going to Sunday school. Or having friends. Or being on a soccer team.

  •  Perhaps the correlation is what I think it usually is: parental involvement. I suspect homeschooled children would do well even if they were in public school simply because their parents would be involved, helping them with their homework, talking to the teacher, etc.

  • Dottie

    I am also a “lefty secularist” who homeschools.  There are more of us than you would think.  Not everyone homeschools to protect their children from public school, I homeschool in order to best meet the needs of my children.  A homogenous, LCD group setting is not the best environment for any child who does not fit the mold. 

    I even have one that is about to graduate from public school and it’s obvious that you don’t have a child in public high school and that it’s been a long time since you were there yourself.  Many teachers are teaching classes outside of their usual subject area, many are unable to answer any questions not covered in their subject manuals.  If a homeschool parent wants to teach an AP course at home, they can have access to many materials similar to those used in high schools.  They also have the option of dual enrollment and their kids can skip over all that AP stuff for actual college credit.

  • Sharing this with the whole universe. 🙂

  • Dr. Paul Cates

    Like the way you wrote this. Keep up the good word.
    I have been in home schooling since it was illegal in all 50 states.
    If desire more information go to our website faithchristianmin.org

    RevDr. Paul Cates

  • Jeannine

    I do not homeschool my children simply because I do not have the disciplined personality for it . Two of the four had major language disability problems. I thought best to send them to the local public school because the special ed teachers were trained to help them work around their disability. I also complemented the teaching with after school tutoring w/a reading specialist & a speech therapist. They are now at or above the appropriate reading-writing level.

    I am glad that I took this route. My children are friends to many different types of people with different religions, ethnicities, education, …. (Is that also the case with homeschooled children? From the few I have contact with–I don’t think so.) My children generally are the only practicing Catholic in their groups. Am I worried that they may leave the faith? No. They know & come to either my husband or me to ask any question about anything. For example, the 16 yr old currently asks questions about homosexuality & why we as Catholics do not agree with same-sex marriage. I tell her what the Church believes in along with telling her about the good science for corroboration. Does she agree w/me right now? No because it is hard for a teenager to understand these counter-cultural beliefs & make them their own. But, I am working on it & she knows that I tell the truth.

    I want my children to be exposed to the secular nonsense (Does that happen in a home-schooled environment?) while they are living in my home so that I can talk about the Church’s beliefs on moral issues & the facts to back them up. They would then be able to defend their beliefs intelligently when they finally move out of my house. 

    Just for the record, I pray for my children everyday so that they never fall away from the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Jacksmithe

    The order of children (kids are the offspring of Goats) after their education thru high school is: #1 Homeschooled  #2 Private and parochial schooling #3 (last) Government schools. This is more than proven in College intrance exams. As far as their social ability goes # 1 and 2 are light years ahead of #3. What they are trying to tell you is that they are ashamed that their government trained children are more like robots and have a liking for the secular point of view on almost all subjects that the government tries to mandate. In other words they are not thinking democracy but socialism……

  • Delightful, thank you.

  • DJ Hesselius

    I don’t think this is necessarily true. It certainly is part of the reputation that my oldest son (with mild dyslexia) hates.  He is often “tested” by the local public schoolers at the sports club–its a competative group and can be a rough, smart alex-y crowd.  They try to see what he knows and what he doesn’t know.  And you know, he knows a lot of things they don’t know. And they know a lot of things he doesn’t.  Curriculum mismatch rears its ugly head again.

  • Tennismom

     I agree with your comment that, “Children need to be exposed to these things to develop interests.”  That is the exact reason why we homeschool. 

    Why is it so hard for you to imagine a parent teaching AP level classes? I am homeschooling my children, and I am teaching my 15 year old AP level Chemistry this year (our public school is not even offering the class).  My son advanced to the National round of the Chemistry Olympiad this year and based on the College Board released prior AP Chemistry exams posted on the CB website, he should score a 5 on the AP exam that he takes in a couple of weeks.   My 15 year old was also the highest scorer for his age in our entire state on the AMC12 exam this year.  No one at our local high school even had a high enough score to advance to the AIME. 

    Those who say that parents are incapable of teaching their kids have no idea how homeschooling works.

  • Lisa

    Firstly, if I tried to get by on six hours sleep as a teen, my health would have suffered badly for it. Different people have different sleep requirements, and I needed about 7.5 to 8 hours. (My sister only needed about 6.5, but my brother needed 9.) My 6 year old son requires about 9 hours. I’m not going to mess with is health, so that he can sit in a classroom. Please note that I do know what the school system is like, as my oldest son only graduated last year. I’m not basing my views on foggy memories from 25-30 years ago.

    Secondly, the fact that school worked for you doesn’t mean it works for everybody. I know my kids and my daughter, in particular, would not thrive in public school. FWIW, most adults who know here, even those who vehemently disagree with our decision to homeschool, are blown away by how bright she is, and by how much she knows about a variety of things. She’s absolutely thriving as a homeschooler.

    Thirdly, I’m not trying to keep my kids safe from every external conflict. I simply have no interest in helping them to “get through” the artificial environment of public school. I know my kids well enough to know that both of them, in slightly different ways, would suffer tremendously in a school environment. They’re learning to navigate peer relationships. They’re just doing so in a different environment than public school. They’re making friends. They’re just doing so in a different environment than public school. They’re learning to function in the real world, not in an artificial one, because the real world is where they spend their time.

    There is *no* real reason why academics should be handled in a school environment. We’re simply culturally conditioned to believe that such is the case.

  • Excellent article! I was one of those annoying weird kids in public school. My son was badly bullied by his psK teacher for being one. Being homeschooled for the past 8 years hasn’t made him any less weird or “annoying.” It just means that no one is shunning and taunting him for reading law books for fun and studying Klingon and Ancient Greek.

  • Mary Pat

    I agree with you, Colleen.  I have had my children in public or parochial school depending on their individual needs.  In conversations with my fellow parents I have always defended the choice to homeschool.  It is a wonderful choice for many families but I believe it is a very individual decision.   I could not do it myself based on some glaring shortcomings on my part plus some complicated needs in my children.  I am proud to say my children will defend their faith and values with friends, loved ones and strangers. They also don’t mind being the “different” one.   Just like homeschooled children, they learned this at home.  I know that homeschooling parents feel under attack by society. But when I read articles on Catholic – not homeschooling – websites, I am often saddened that my schooling choices for my children are put down in many of the comments.

  • San Flex

    Who says a parent can’t learn AP anything? It only reinforces what an adult can teach with maturity that the child can’t grasp. We, as parents are “ignorant” of any subject until we conciously learn about it. Anyone can learn. It is the willingness of the student. So you’re not good at math, find a tutor. Learn it with your child so that you can solve problems together (which is what math is all about, problem solving). Just because you are homeschooled does not mean you have to know everything. You are not alone. There are hundreds of other homeschoolers you can swap subjects with. That’s the beauty. After homeschooling 6 kids for 9 years we have absolutely no regrets. My kids are hard working, self-motivated, successful and happy. Bullies are out there, not just in school but in life and they come in all ages. Be aware and seek help. If socialization means removing children from exposure to demeaning or selective teaching then as a parent I have every right to teach them morally and respectively the views of others. Remember the teachers are teaching what others want them to teach. They may not agree with such teachings but are manipulated into teaching it by duty. If your child is NOT homeschooled be careful of what they ARE teaching them and if you don’t like it, SPEAK UP! You have every right to voice your misgivings.I must point out that homeschooling is not for everyone. It takes complete courage, dedication and sacrifice. If you are not 100% sold out on it, look elsewhere. It is not for the half-hearted. It is tough. Are you up for the challenge?

  • San Flex

    Well said Ben. We’d be “just another brick in the wall” just like the song. Do we really all want to be that? Homeschoolers are the cornerstones not the filler.

  • Nicknm

    Brilliant. Reminds me of a quote – “Forced association is not socialization.”

  • Denise

    I have two young boys who were in special education classes due to a learning disability and speech. One of them was having a really hard time with bullies. After years of prayer, my husband finally told me to pull them out. Can you imagine the shock and awe of the school “professionals”? I’ve known these people for years and they won’t even greet me in the street. Now that I’ve been HS my boys for a year and a half, one of them looked to me and said, “I love homeschooling, because I acually learn things everyday”. I have absolutely no regrets and I’m pround of my “weird” kids.

  • Stephen

    Actually, yes, knowing how to teach is important.  While I’m sure that there’s plenty of useless stuff in those education courses, they’re there because it’s not enough to simply know the material very well.  There are more and more programs, though, designed to speed new teachers through certification so they can get in the classroom to start meeting the crying need for teachers that you mention.

  • Stephen

    “. . . the teachers of today are more concerned about their wages, their paid days off, and shortening the school day so they can get to the tennis court or golf course sooner.”  This is a clearly false generalization.  I know plenty of teachers who do not fit it.

  • Ksaffel

    I think my Mother-in-law had the same fears when we started homeschooling. However, she never told me her fears or negative thoughts. She was always loving and supportive of our choices (except for possibly our decision to deliver our babies at home). Recently, she called and told me how proud she is of both the children (who are 22, 16 and 14) and me. They are bright, articulate, hard working and have a good sense of humor. I enjoy spending time with them!

  • Jkyttyn

    What you’re stating is not just limited to home schooled children. Any child that is around people can go through this. Did you forget about the cliques that are in every school in America. What it sounds like to me is that you are making these children a stereotype when they are acting like any kid could act!

  • Nick

    but what about his other subjects?  do you have a science background that enables you to teach him effectively in this area?  

  • guest

    As a small business owner, I am so tired of homeschool kids running rampant at my business and handling every single thing, unbridled and unmonitored, only to have their parent smile adoringly at their progeny and comment on their darling “learning experiences” at the expense of broken and ruined products and nary an offer to pay for anything!  Our staff can spot these homeschooled, unsocialized, annoying and precocious terrors a mile away!  There ARE a handful of homeschool families who are teaching their children to behave well and to be accountable in these situations, but they are such a minority. But, alas, no juvenile spree killers so far…

  • leahoxendine

    “Public schools offer programs such as music, art, sports, business clubs, service clubs, etc. Children need to be exposed to these things to develop interests.”

    I am a homeschooled 16-year-old and let me tell you something. I have never been in a public school and yet I am active in literally dozens upon dozens of activities, sports and interests. So, no, you DON’T need to get “exposure” to these things through public schools. I have gotten excellent “exposure” simply by being allowed to pursue the things I am interested in, in the wonderful setting of home education. 

    “Parents coddle their children too much and schools are not full of bullies. There’s different groups of people and a kid will find friends if they look for people with similar interests.”

    Oh, so wanting to protect your children from sexual predetors, perverts and immorality is ‘coddling?’ So wanting to protect your children from brainwashing and indoctrination is wrong? And you say the schools are not full of bullies? Have you considered the adults? Many of the teachers themselves could be called ‘bullies’ for the way they treat their students. My mom lived through a nightmare of this sort, with a racist teacher who looked down on her heavily.
    OH and it’s NOT about ‘finding friends.’ That is the one of the LAST things I’d be worried about. What I’m concerned with is the purposeful indoctrination and brainwashing of these children, and the harmful influences and peer pressure from the other kids. Also, that I would be spending practically my whole childhood with strangers, not my family. Yes, I have friends. No, I don’t need to go to a public school to attain this.

    Oh yeah… and you claim parents are not capable of teaching their own children? You do realize this is one of the brainwashing propagandas used by the secular system? “Parents aren’t capable of teaching their own children…so hand them over to the government, instead.” Doesn’t that sound a little scary? Especially if the government is a flawed one? Doesn’t this sound like creation of followers, lemmings, people who don’t think for themselves because it’s too ‘dangerous?’ Well, what do lemmings do? Follow the leader off the cliff. That’s what’s happening with a lot of people today. I am ever so thankful that my parents home educate me so that I have been taught to think for myself and question things. To use my brain. I am thankful to be sheltered from the gross perversion found in public(and even private) schools. I am thankful to be learning in the way that God intended children to learn. From their parents. Not strangers. Homeschooling ROCKS!!! And, yes, my mom and dad are perfectly capable of teaching me advanced calculus and trigonometry.

  • Tennismom

    I am an engineer, but all subjects are studied in great depth.  My kids take literature classes online because I want them to discuss their books with peers.  I also want their writing to be evaluated by professional writers.  Homeschooling works. 
    My freshman took the PSAT for practice this year and scored in the 99% math and 98% in Reading and Writing.  My 7th grader took the SAT in hopes of qualifying for  CTY summer program classes; he scored 100 points higher than our public school’s graduating seniors in the Math section, and only 30 points lower in the Reading and Writing sections – which qualifies him for both math and humanity classes at CTY.  .

    By the way, none of my children qualified for our local public school’s “talented and gifted” program.

  • Ms. Jeannine,
    My daughter attended public school from K-6. I taught at the schools she attended. While she was exposed to different cultures, faiths, and people, I must say that taking her out after the 6th grade was one of the best things we did for her. She says this herself. We used a full Catholic curriculum and she was taught catechism every day until her senior year. She was not exposed to some of the people and things that she had encountered in the public school years, but I have to admit, she is  well educated academically and in spiritual/faith/catechetical matters. She says had it not been for this specific training in her faith, she would not have been able to really counter questions and secular beliefs of others that she has been exposed to her first year of Public University. This also from university profs whom she says are very liberal. 

    She is faring very well. She had opportunities to work as an intern with a State REpresentative, worked on her dad’s campaign to public office, participated heavily in 4-H (she won/received $23,000 worth of scholarships), involved in pro-life work both in high school and university and she was named a National Merit scholar for 2011. She has a fully paid education.

    In building her intellectual mind through Catechetical training, she has been able to defend the faith and believe not because I told her to, but because she sees the TRUTH of our beautiful church for what it is. So, yes, children are exposed to the “secular nonsense” to a point, but one must always be cautious. Peace, sister

  • Jim

    Just checked to see if anybody cared about my post and found a bit of conversation around it. The fact that we all have examples to which we can point pretty much makes the point. The homeschooling population is a diverse one, and can boast many successful educations along with some unsuccessful educations. It is not fair to characterize all homeschooled children as “weird.” It is not fair to label all families who choose public school “less-than-Catholic” for choosing a secular milieu for their kids. It is not fair to call parochial school parents “not-Catholic-enough” for availing themselves of a local, but not particularly ortodox parish school (not all are unorthodox). And it is not fair to call those of us who choose an independent school whatever it is that one might call parents who choose independent schools. May we all, as parents, be able to go to God one day able to say that the decisions we made were in the best interests of out children. As an aside, please forgive the sloppiness of my original post. I’m not used to posting and made the rookie mistake of doing a cut-and-paste from Microsoft Word!

  • brooke

    “government trained children are more like robots…” (sigh) Could we please remain as polite as the others I’ve seen so far in the comments I’m reading? I homeschool my five children, but have numerous nieces and nephews who are not homeschooled and who are nothing like your statement.

  • brooke

    “government trained children are more like robots…” (sigh) Could we please remain as polite as the others I’ve seen so far in the comments I’m reading? I homeschool my five children, but have numerous nieces and nephews who are not homeschooled and who are nothing like your statement.

  • Cara Putman

    It always amuses me that this is the best argument people have. And it hasn’t changed in the 26 years since my parents started homeschooling me and my siblings. Still the main argument today as I homeschool my kids. 

  • brooke

    I agree fully that knowing how to teach is important. In fact, one can be a total whiz at a subject, but a terrible teacher. I have several friends with teaching degrees, though, who all agree that their university classes actually gave them next to nothing in “how to teach”. They told me they learned far more from being a mother.

  • brooke

    I don’t know. One of mine is ADHD and used to be extremely overly-sensitive. He was a bullying target and being homeschooled, has not totally come into his own. He couldn’t concentrate on schoolwork and being an involved parent wouldn’t have helped. Two more of mine have dyslexia. One is another extremely sensitive child who is also super clever and wouldnt’ have been caught. The other is so well-behaved, the tester said the school would have thought he was just unintelligent instead of extremely clever but also very dyslexic. There are many children who would not have done well regardless of where they were schooled. Certain environments really do suit certain children better.

  • brooke

    I’m a homeschooling mom and really offended you would say this about the many many dedicated and gifted teachers out there.

  • brooke

    With sports and neighbors and extra classes and family and friends and trips … yes, my kids are very exposed to people of all different backgrounds and beliefs. It’s been wonderful to have that exposure and yet be able to be there to guide the conversation and discuss those things with them from a mature point of view. I’m not against public or private schooling … but just wanted to mention that it works well.

  • brooke

    You’re fine. 🙂 But remember, the school is dealing with kids who may have had struggles at home and the parents wisely recognized it and made the change. Or the kids had been taught with a different curriculum/approach. I’ve noticed schools assuming they had “fixed” the homeschooler. My son was one of them. He had accomplished so much in his little life when he went into school in 3rd grade after some craziness in our lives that necessitated me not schooling for a little bit. He was so far ahead in math, but it was only obvious because we used the same curriculum. However, he was “behind” in some other things … only because we had used different curriculum. His teacher was horrible. She had favorites in her classroom (all confirmed), disliked my son (was she possibly threatened by homeschooling?) and actually made disparaging remarks about him in front of a roomful of parents AT an awards assembly (!), lied to other teachers about him and her behavior (confirmed as well). This was a private school. Anyway, I have learned not to worry about “where” another child is academically, being that I don’t know what subjects they have covered, what curriculum/order they learned their information in, or what challenges that child faces. If I don’t know that, I can’t make a comment.

    But I do know that some homes don’t work as hard at schooling. They are also like the public schools in that they try various approaches which do not always work.

    I agree that some kids are annoying. Ideally, school would merely rub the rough edges off. It doesn’t always work that way.

  • brooke

    Really good point. I have at least two with significant dyslexia. I am an excellent teacher and have worked hard to be trained in working with dyslexic students. I teach my two at home and we do remediation an hour a day, plus tailoring their work to move them up as quickly as possible. However, if someone asked my 5th grader to write a paper – without knowing the background on that child, they would assume I was the worst homeschooler ever.

  • Homeschool children are far more aware of the secular nonsense which is why statistically they are more likely to be involved with civics as an adult.  Homeschool children generally participate in many activities which involve children from a variety of backgrounds.  I think everyone imagines that we lock our kids up and keep them from the ‘real world’. It is just the opposite for the majority of families.  Yes there are those ‘kids in a bubble’ families but they are the minority.

    Most of us are making sure our children remain in the faith by educating them far better than we were educated by our parishes as kids and better than most parishes are doing today.

  • Carrie

    I was thinking of this same topic the other day. My oldest of 4 wears a cowboy hat all the time and that is unheard of because it’s different or “he’s weird” . But everyone who sees him out in public (mostly adults) comment how they like his hat and it has given his 2 other brothers (and other kids in our homeschool group) the confidence to wear theirs also and the cowboy boot phase has started to run rampant in our homeschool group!  I know for sure, that had I wore something like that “back in the day” or if he went to public school he would be ridiculed for it. When people used to ask me, “How can you homeschool? My reply would be, “How could you not?” The subject was always changed instantly!  Or another one was, How come you homeschool?” My reply, “How come you send your kids to school?” Answering a question with a question stops them in their tracks, they aren’t expecting it and therefore, have no answer prepared or have not thought about what they do and why they do it…(because the masses do it and they don’t want to be ridiculed!)  I am so grateful for the opportunity to homeschool and be able to allow them to “Be” who they were created to be. “100% Weird” 

  • rob

    Well articulated and Excellent points!

  • Allison

    My sister is/was concerned about socialization of our children yet BOTH of them (my daughter was 4 then and my son not even 2, stepped up and said “Hi!” to children whom they’d never met before when she organized a playdate while we were there for a visit. My “unsocialized” children hit the playground and were having a grand ol’ time while the “socialized” school ones (ages 5 and 3) clung to their mom and barely played. I don’t think my sister even realized it and is still “concerned”. However, my daughter I’m sure has covered material that 1st graders are doing!

  • stacy jones

    wow- just to clarify-  smart kids that know answers,love learning and everything school related are not weird-  they are nerds/geeks- just as i was in school-  the weird that I have encountered with homeschooled kids both as peers in college and in some younger kids at the karate dojo (getting their dose of socialization) is from an inability to accurately interact with others their own age and realize that they are not part of the adult world before they reach adulthood-  when one only has one point of view/ syle of life  they think that is how it is everywhere  – my regular schooled kids know not to invade my adult conversations and interactions and actually prefer to act silly with friends- whereas  the NUMEROUS homeschool kids that are in my circle of life are so used to adult interaction that they think they are privy to be in that arena-  there is plenty of time before school, after school, summers and holidays to enhance you childs regular school education without making them weird and most importantly annoying by keeping them home-  unless they beg- and are at an appropriate age to make such a decision- it should not be made for them-  just as you would tell your child to try a new food because they may like it-  you shouldnt deny them all that school has to offer without letting them try it and letting themmake that decision

  • Lisa

    What does “teaching effectively” look like to you? I’m sure people thought I was being taught “effectively” when I routinely scored 97% and 98% on tests in various subjects. But, by the time I’d been out of high school for a year, I’d forgotten most of it. I wasn’t taught effectively. I simply learned to cram in information and regurgitate it on demand. When the demand was gone, I lost it…because I was never interested in it in the first place.

    On the other hand, there are things I learned two and three *decades* ago that I still remember, because I learned them out of an interest in the subject at hand. My daughter already knows more about biology than I did when I started “teaching” her, because she’s constantly and utterly fascinated with how life works.

  • Lisa

     No – homeschooling doesn’t *have* to be the answer for all children. But, what happens when you have a child who doesn’t thrive in the school system? Three of the smartest (in the academic sense) kids I knew when I was in school dropped out before the end of ninth grade. I was a “brain”, and I hovered on the edge of dropping out for my last two years of school.

    When things aren’t working for my kids, I can tweak what we do. When things weren’t working for me, there was nothing to be done.

  • Lisa

    I agree that the world should be neither feared nor loathed. What does that have to do with cutting my kids *off* from the world for hours each day?

    I learned *in school* to be afraid of crowds of strangers, because those strangers were scary! They bullied me, and operated by rules I didn’t understand then, and don’t understand now. I thought about suicide almost every night for two years, because I couldn’t understand why people hated me so much when I wasn’t hurting anyone. My kids, on the other hand, aren’t afraid of the world, or of strangers, because the world full of strangers is…where we live. It’s where we buy groceries. It’s where we go to classes (at community centres). It’s where they go to see sharks, and baby seahorses, and lions, and wallabies, and tarantulas, and planetarium shows, and Christmas light displays. It’s where they meet other kids (often ones who weren’t born in the same year!), and cashiers, and teachers, and farmers, and firemen.

    I will never understand why we, as a culture, feel that the best way to prepare our children for the real world is to keep them away from said real world for several hours a day, five days a week.

    I’m not sure how a homeschool co-op is “very different” from homeschool, either. Many, many (I’m tempted to say “most”, but that’s solely based on personal experience) homeschooling families have some kind of arrangements with other homeschool families, whether for social fun, arts and crafts, or more formal learning (our group, which only meets biweekly, is a bit of all of the above). Homeschooling doesn’t mean having one’s children chained to a desk in the living room for six hours a day.

  • Lisa

    I can’t imagine any reason why I would see my children as “not part of the adult world”. The idea of an “adult world” and a “children’s world” just makes my head hurt. My children are part of the *world*. Full stop. There’s really not anything more to say to that part of it.

    Are you letting your children try homeschooling, so they can make *that* decision? If not, your arguement is hopelessly flawed. Of course I make the educational decisions for my young children (although we do take their feelings and views into account), and so does every single parent who puts their child in public school or private school, or anything else. To suggest that educational decisions shouldn’t be made for our children is…odd. Every parent makes those decisions.

    I also find it interesting that you frame it as “denying them” all school has to offer. I doubt you’d like it if I said that public schooling parents are denying their children all homeschooling has to offer, so don’t sling it in the other direction. I’ve had children go through both, and I have yet to see anything that my homeschooled children have been denied. My oldest, who was public schooled, is sometime envious of all the cool things his younger siblings get to experience, but the younger ones aren’t even remotely envious of their brother’s schooling. So, who is being “denied”?

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  • Kathy

    Thank you for your response!  I tried homeschooling, but realized it is not my vocation.  I think that respect from both sides it required.  We all have different gifts from God, don’t we?  The important thing is to do our best to teach our children to know, love, & serve God!  If we can do that, then I would say we have been successful!

  •  Two things stick out in my mind:
    1. I doubt if any course ever invented will truly “teach” someone how to teach. I think it quite likely that many courses aimed at educating a teacher may be more about fitting kids into a mold than about actually teaching anything.
    2. I thought about pursuing a teaching role a few years ago; I decided against it PRECISELY because I don’t care to deal with all the administrative, political, and cultural BS that I’d need to tolerate.

    If we truly want to see kids receive a decent education, we’ll need for the State worry far more about teaching useful stuff. We’ll need to leave the ethnicity, identity, and related malarky by the wayside.

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t get too rattled by a few of these comments. From what I’ve seen of life, our education system AND many of it’s practitioners have a great deal to answer for.

  •  Sounds to me like you need to have a chat with the parents regarding how people should behave when visiting your establishment. Or else find a different group of homeschoolers. Your comments reflect more of a rabble-rousing menace than a group of well-behaved kids.

  • Kathyg

    Yes.  But being a “know-it-all” is annoying anywhere.  It’s called pride.

  • Very true, Kathy.  But better they learn that from their parents, who will teach them with love and patience, than they receive that message from other children who might not be so kind.  And to tell you the truth, I expect a lot more humility from my eldest than her public school teachers ever did.  Because she always did well academically, they didn’t need to bother focusing on any of her other qualities, either good or bad.  Now that she’s home during the day, I can help cultivate her awareness of certain socially unacceptable and/or unChristian behavior on a continuous basis.  Therefore she has improved markedly in that area since leaving the public school system.

  • missy

     I think what you are saying with the robot analogy is that public school kids ARE pressured to conform to one another, which I think is generally true. But how kids respond to that pressure depends a lot upon the parents, their involvement in their kids’ lives, and the time and effort they put in to their children’s formation outside of school hours. I know two families whose kids all went through public school. Both sets of parents worked. The Moms in particular both had demanding jobs as nurses. Yet, despite the long work hours, those Moms were actively involved with the school. They spent their after-work hours with the kids, taking them to daily Mass, parish events, cultural events, personally teaching them their faith. I have home schooled all my kids, and while it has been a sacrifice in a number of ways, at the end of the day I’m tired and happy to have a little down time, time for “me.” But that’s when those Moms, after working all day, would start their “second job” of making sure they passed on their faith and values to their children. A daughter in one family recently became a nun, and a son in the other family is a writer on Catholic topics and studying to make Catholic films. All I’m saying is, I think I chose the easier path compared to those Moms. They made sure the stronger influence came from home, despite the hours spent in government school.

  • Rachelb

    This is a great article! I think that opinion of home-schooled children is just so outdated. When I was growing up, there were several families in our church that were home-schooled, and honestly, their kids weren’t so much  ‘weird’ as much as they seemed to be really slow and behind. It gave me a really negative opinion on home schooling! When my oldest sister started home schooling, I was a little nervous, but I’m so glad she did because it really opened my eyes to how different home schooling is now. There are so many opportunities and experiences that home school offers that public school could never touch. My kids aren’t school aged yet, so we still aren’t sure what will be best for them, but home schooling is definitely in the running! 

  • LFK

    I am also an engineer, and have homeschooled our children for 14 years now.  (Pulled the eldest out of Catholic school after 4th grade.)  I do not believe that my homeschool is quite as academically successful as yours – Wow! and Good Work!  My school philosophy has evolved to where I believe my most important educational task is to give them the tools of learning, i.e. grammar, mathematics, writing skills, etc. –  to a level of high competency, and to teach them to think critically.  Not that we don’t do all the “standard” subjects, we do.  But if our curriculum doesn’t exactly mirror the public or parochial schools, I don’t sweat it.  Given the tools of learning and the ability to think, they can learn anything.  And my main goal is to instill a desire for heaven in them anyway. So far so good, at least on the educational side: eldest has graduated magna cum laude and is gainfully employed (praise God), and second eldest will be graduating from engineering school in 2 weeks, and will also be employed.  My third and only son has a 4.0 in college, but believes God is calling him to the military, and has joined the Navy.  The fourth is a highschool freshmen, and really wants to be “normal” (see article above!) and go to “regular” school.  Not happening as my choices there are clearly against my values!  The last two are in 5th grade and Kindergarten and are doing well.  So after all this tooting my horn, I will say that my only regret about homeschooling has been that literature studies are not what they should be because they lack class discussion.  Local homeschoolers are just not on the same page as I am as to what should be studied and in what manner.  So I am very interested in your comment about studying literature online.  Culd you post some information?  Thanks and God bless.

  • linda

     Wow. Homeschooled kids are exposed to more kinds of people of all ages and walks of life than a child who spends all day, every day in a building with same-aged peers could possibly be. Again, I am speaking of school hours, not what those kids might do outside of school. Homeschooled kids are involved in all kinds of service activities, for example, ranging from preparing and serving meals to the poor, visiting nursing home, special athletic leagues which pair an able-bodied child with a disabled child to help them participate in sports, homeschool groups which include kids of all ages and abilities doing activities and trips together. They get plenty of “peer pressure” in these activities, but also the opportunity to move outside the insulated little same-age cocoon. The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (www.hslda.org) has many research articles on file which verify the fact that homeschooled children are much more resilient, and better able to relate to people of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds, not to mention consistently achieving higher scores on testing and being involved in a wider range of activities and interests.

    There are also studies that show that children who attend school with same-aged peers are less likely to want to play with their own siblings outside of school hours. They become less able to relate to or take an interest in children who are not their own age.

    Exposure to other interests? This year alone, our homeschool group– consisting of kids from age 1 to 15 at this point, plus parents and grandparents– has put on poetry recitals, visited an apiary, spent a morning with an opera singer learning techniques, visited a monastery and talked with the nuns about religious life, had the opportunity to handle birds of prey, visited a historic site in our community and learned crafts from that period, visited a chocolatier and made candy, gone to concerts of folk and classical music, and at least 4 or 5 other things. And these are just the “formal” activities we do together. A child in school is lucky if they have one or two such field trips a year.

    Jane Healy, author of the book Endangered Minds (on the effect of media and technology on learning), makes another valid point about parents as teachers, again based on research. Teachers are generally trained and certified to teach a certain range of grade levels and a certain subject. Ms. Healy contrasts a single (unmarried) teacher with extensive training in education and in his/her subject matter with a parent who has been involved with their child’s growth and development from day one. That parent will be a more effective teacher than the one with formal training, even of other people’s children as well as their own, because they are more sensitive to the subtle, individual needs and stages of development that a child is at. This enables the parent/teacher to be more responsive, even subconsciously,  to what each student needs in order to learn effectively. (Parents who think classrooms should have a computer for every child may want to read that book.)

    At this point in my homeschooling career, because of my multi-age children, I have taught ALL grade levels and ALL ages, sometimes several times over. This experience in teaching many different grade levels and ages and subjects enables me to make connections among subjects that gives much greater meaning to lessons than if I specialized in one thing and taught only one thing. I can change curriculum if it isn’t “working” instead of being locked in to whatever the school has purchased. I know exactly what books my kids read, what their interests are, what excites them in another subject so I can draw it into the one I’m teaching now…and all of this provides for a rich education indeed. It uniquely qualifies me to teach my children effectively.

    And after all, education IS about learning. It is not primarily meant to
    be a “school of hard knocks” or “survival of the fittest.”

  • Jennifernettles

    The socialization issue is ridiculous. What do these people do with their children before they are 5 and old enough to be ‘properly socialized’ in public schools? My three year old has plenty of opportunities for socialization (church, play groups, dance class) without having to be enrolled in public school or pre-school.

  • anonymous

     I just feel the need to mention that there are many, many ineffective teachers in public schools. receiving training and a degree does not a great teacher make. In my own public school years, as well as my eldest child’s school experience before I took her out to be homeschooled, I encountered many apathetic, bored, burnt-out, nasty teachers. Of course there are many great ones. But “effectiveness” comes from really knowing and caring about your student. A parent who really loves and cares about their children can teach them more effectively than a mediocre teacher in a school.

    The same-age classroom is also a relatively recent phenomenon. Think of all the great writers, scientists, kings and queens from the past, those who spoke multiple languages and were highly educated. Most were taught by a tutor, individually or with their siblings– a similar situation to homeschooling. Some, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, were taught in one-room schoolhouses with multiple-age students. (Laura was taught by her mother first).

    There are also many resources available for homeschoolers. My friend has a Latin teacher come to her home weekly to teach her son. Another friend uses an online course for one subject. Sometimes Dad or a grandparent will teach a subject Mom isn;t comfortable with. There is no form of education more flexible in meeting a student’s needs than homeschooling.

  • Rachelb

    You are a great example of how well homeschooling works! What a well articulated post!

  • Waukeloon

    What a great article!  I was homeschooled in Highschool 27 yrs ago…It was great for me because as I put it:  I was able to grow into myself without the soicial pressures of school.

  • JMH

    Thank you for stating what I was thinking. I have a sister-in-law who declared that her home-schooled children didn’t have any socialization problems. No one was going to tell her otherwise! In my view they certainly did. I think the writer’s opinion that kids become stronger because they don’t have to be moulded into society’s form is weakly supported here. Sure, one might become pounded to the point of conforming. OR one might learn to actually deal with real life if they have parents who teach them at home what to do with what’s going on at school. It doesn’t have to break them. 

    The writer of this article has found what works for her and her family but she can’t presume to be 100% right. If she does that is just indicative of the point the “rest of us” are trying to make–that she lives in a bubble.

  • Bruno

    What a wonderful article. My wife wanted to explore the idea of homeschooling last year. Reluctantly I agreed and worried myself at the same time. 
    What a waste of time to worry. What a wonderful journey it has been. Our children are amazing and what a priviledge to see them develop in front of our eyes. Their curiosity, imagination and zest for learning is contagious. It’s not all roses, but in the end, I firmly believe it was the best decision my wife made and I so proud of her and heck I even taught a class to a homeschool group just last week! I never thought I would be doing that. Thanks again for sharing a great article. It was a great way to start the week.

  • Optimist

    Is it possible?…possible….for us all to commit to refraining from judging one another on one issue this year? Just one for now – let’s start with the “which job is harder – SAHM vs working mom” battle. I challenge us all to refrain from making any judgmental or insinuating remarks about this one single issue, for 2012. Can we do it? We feed into the hysteria by reducing an extremely complex issue into some black and white, either/or concept. No matter what judgment you make, someone can see your card and raise you one, so what’s the point? 

    Maybe we need an international value scale, to end this once and for all? 

    Score 1 to 100. All moms will be evaluated by a new professional, credentialed team of international experts from every political party and social class and be assigned a score. Here’s an outline – we can fill in the rest of the scale together. 

    1 – mom of 1 child, SAHM with nanny, house keeper, lots of money, a whipped DH and is “blessed” 

    25 – mom of 2 children, SAHM, does most housework, DH helps 25% 

    50 – mom of 3 children, 1 w/ disability, works part time, DH helps 50%/50% 

    75 – mom of 4 children, works full time, DH helps 25% 

    100 – mom with fibromyalgia, with 6+ children, 3 w/ disabilities, works 3rd shift, attends college and waits on DH 

    Humm…but how to factor in breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, helping a family member battling cancer, a mom suffering miscarriages, homeschooling, financial stress, or a mom getting help with antidepressants vs going it alone? Maybe then the mom can get a temporary “bonus” to her score for each additional hardship or effort…plus 5?…plus 10? 

    Should each mom’s score be assigned yearly, like a merit review? 

    Perhaps a matrix of life conditions would capture the data more accurately? 

    Oooooh, I’ve got it! We can make a one hundred way ANOVA – analysis of variance, and then we could get a statistical probability that one mom’s job was harder than another’s! That would work! A national database, where moms can update their life circumstances, from a drop down menu (birth of a new baby, child diagnosed with disorder, mom returns to college, etc.) and the computer would recalculate each mom’s Fcrit and she would be assigned a new score! Of course, even a mom with the most challenging circumstances, might do a bad job and not deserve a high score, so we could also have customer and peer evaluation forms. Our kids, husbands, friends and family could complete the form and that score could easily be factored into the ANOVA! 

    This could be a ground breaking project that would even create jobs! And FINALLY, once and for all, the mommy wars could end, because our value would be quantified! 

    Then, when your friend complains about a rough day, you can say, “tell me ’bout it sis’ta, I’m an 83!” 

    Or, maybe we could just remember that whether we create the scale or not, it exists. I can see your “organic only meals” and raise you one “learning disability”. 

    This is my vision….join me? 

    – Kristine 
    An expert in MY children who respects your expertise with YOUR children! 

  • KC

     I went through public school and public college.  I have my M.S. in education.  I homeschool because I have a passion for teaching.
    “There’s a reason why teachers went to school for this and they know the
    subject best. They teach because they have a passion for teaching.”
    I got an “A” in AP Calculus by washing my teacher’s transparency sheets for extra credit.  I was completely left behind in that class, but because I got an “A,” I got college credit and didn’t have to take calculus in college.  So, I clearly learned a lot from my AP Calculus teacher…how to wash transparencies (oh and decorate his bulletin board for him for extra points too).  My kids are expected to wash their own dishes and they don’t get extra credit for it.
    “Public schools offer programs such as music, art, sports, business clubs, service clubs, etc.”  Apart from the fact that I also have my B.A. in English and another one in music, my first-grader and pre-schooler know more about music than most.  They participate in piano lessons and a pre-school music class.  My first-grader’s new “thing” is to study the work of various artists and produce his own artwork in the same style.  So far he has done an entire book of pointilism, a flower inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and an amazing piece inspired by Kandinsky’s circles.  He participates in basketball, baseball, and Tae Kwon Do.  He is a cub scout.  He and his 5 year-old brother run two businesses almost completely on their own.  They grow and sell pumpkins and they take care of their own night crawler farm.  I’m pretty sure that actually running your own business might be more of a learning experience than sitting around in a club talking about how you might do it.  As for service, last year, my Kindergartner was so moved and touched by the 1 year anniversary of the massive earthquakes in Haiti that he wrote a letter to all the local businesses asking them to pledge $0.50 per bag of garbage that he picked up around our town.  He picked up 31 bags of garbage and raised and donated over $800 to Samaritan’s Purse for Haitian relief.  This year, he is recycling cans and newspapers to make projects to sell so he can send the money to Haiti.  He also memorized over 100 Bible verses this year in AWANA…oh and by the way, he has a documented learning disability.
    I could go on and on about my homeschooled child’s achievements, but what I am most proud of is his heart and character!  He is an amazing and respectful young man!
    “Parents coddle their children too much and schools are not full of bullies.”
    Have you seen homeschooling families work?  Because they are at home, there are consequences for their actions rather than “a time out.”  My homesechooled children are disciplined.  They are taught that education is a gift and when they are not giving their best or they complain about having to have school, I read them articles about children in other countries who have to work every day instead of going to school and give them the option.  They can either spend the day working or go to school.  Each of them has done enough chores as part of daily life to know they would much rather have an education.  My children are loved and protected–that is my job as their mom and if you want to call that coddling, so be it.  Schools are not full of bullies?  You should take a poll of some public schooled children and see if they agree.  You could also take this up with every single one of the major news networks. 
    I escaped school relatively unscathed by bullies.  My husband did not.  He was even told by his teachers that he would never be anything more than a rotten kid.  And now he’s the best husband and father I could ever have been blessed with…not to mention that he has a Bachelor’s degree and an A.A.S. degree! 

    And as far as our school experiences go, you might say that “not all schools are like that” or “not all kids are bullied” or “not all kids are scarred from public school.”  TRUE!  Just the same way that “not all homeschooled kids sit around chewing on shoes all day!” 

    I love homeschooling!  It is, by far, the biggest and most rewarding challenge in my life.  But, I am a huge believer in doing what is best for your child.  I think we, as homeschoolers, are always under attack and the immediate response is to point out all of the flaws in the public school system in defense of our choice!   The bottom line is that we all have to do what is best for our own children and support each other in their choice.  I happen to know a lot of very well-mannered and bright kids who are schooled publicly.  It won’t kill them.  It might be what’s best for them!  And if God thought I could have done a better job parenting them, He would have given them to me!

  • Yellingmom2001

    She is right. That is the constant drum beat I hear from friends, family, and total strangers! Few people deny the academic abilities of homeschooled children. Too much proof of excellence exists. Some have resorted to the playground tactics of ridicule. Last year, a stranger, (a stranger who didn’t know me hadn’t met my children), ridiculed me for making my children weird. It’s bad enough when relatives disagree with my choices, but random strangers? Can you say, “brainwashing”?

  • KC

     You have struck a nerve here because you have criticized without having any background knowledge.  You’re not a parent.  You’re not a teacher.  You are making all sorts of assumptions based on nothing at all.  Of course you’re going to strike a nerve! 
    Based on my own experience, I was a perfect parent before I had kids!  I was a perfect teacher before I had students!  And I could judge a wife better than anyone else before I had a husband…and then came the humbling process that included an almost failed marriage, a colicky and strong-willed child and a kid with a learning disability.  And I’m a much better person because of these lessons from God!

  • Dan Crofts

    Homeschooling is highly underrated — so much so that even some newly homeschooling parents have reservations about it. But from what I’ve seen, kids who are homeschooled are able to more easily find and hone their areas of passion and greatest aptitude, without the time-sensitive and sometimes intense pressure of a school system that is, at this point in time, excessively data-driven.

  • KC

     And by the way, my kids know how to deal with external conflicts….they’re called SIBLINGS!

  • Tennismom

     Regarding literature online classes, online g3 has some great humanity classes with a lot of peer interaction.
    My kids have enjoyed many of their offerings!

    My kids have also taken classes with Lukeion.

  • Mck05002

    I’m a young homeschooling mommy. I took many AP classes in high school, and I have to agree with Dottie.  None of my AP teachers were specially trained.  If fact, most of them would teach an AP class and then would teach a regular class next hour.  I remember one experience in my AP biology class where someone asked the teacher a question and he dug around in the book for 20 min., and a student found the answer before he did.  I’m not here to trash teachers, but they aren’t as specially trained as you might think.  One of my friends just got her bachelor’s in education, and she mostly learned about theories etc.  I don’t need theories to know how to best instruct and guide my children.  And as for the coddling, I think that it is a parent’s job to protect their children until they can protect themselves.  This doesn’t mean that I hover and stop any bad situation that could happen.  This means I allow them to explore and grow into themselves without having to worry about fitting in (which is an illusion anyways).

  • Homeschooled

    As a grown-up homeschooled kid, I honestly think that the importance of good socialization is downplayed too much by the homeschool community. It’s often taken for granted that the family will offer good socialization. I loved homeschooling while I was doing it and then only realized how lonely I was when I got to college, where I am constantly surrounded by supportive classmates and professors. My parents decided to homeschool me and then just gave me a computer and lots of books and left me to myself for most of high school. It was awful. 

    However, I know from talking to my friends that public and private schools often do not offer good socialization to kids. And by “good socialization” I mean a supportive, accepting community. 

    So, my point is, yes, homeschooling is great, but don’t forget that kids need good socialization and don’t take it for granted that the family will give to them.

  • aduck

    To steal your thought, LFK, “My school philosophy has evolved to where I believe my most important educational task is to give them the tools of learning… and to teach them to think critically. …Given the tools of learning and the ability to think, they can learn anything.  And my main goal is to instill a desire for heaven in them anyway.” 
    Amen! THIS what I’m aiming for as we set out to begin homeschooling our Kindergardener this fall (but we may start sooner, well, because we can!). If we teach our kids to THINK and how to find answers to their inquiries through a variety of resources, they will learn and learn well – for life, not for some AP exam (though they will probably do quite well there, too, if they put their well-trained mind to it)! And to top it off, the goal of heaven stands at the top. Thanks for putting this aim succinctly.

  • E B

    Love this! The bigger fight is the public schools trying to prove their relevance when they increasingly fail at educating our children and preparing them for their adult lives. Socialization doesn’t matter a whit if you can’t get yourself a job after school. Sure, I don’t blame public schools for losing money with smaller enrollment. But who really wants the state to be in charge of mediocre education – mediocre so it looks like most students are succeeding? Not me. Increasingly the public schools are pushing anti-religious stuff through classrooms, and they so often stifle creativity and children’s natural excitement to learn.

  • 8inHawaii

    I agree – not all socialization is good socialization! (I use that line a lot!)  My parents thought homeschooling was weird when I was a kid and would joke that they would only consider homeschooling us once kids started bringing guns and knives to school!  They thought that would never happen! I don’t want my kids absorbing what is considered ok behavior in most schools today. My kids participate in so many groups and activities – we actually have to limit their activities and time with friends so we can actually get our work done.  Our family has chosen to homeschool not just for academics, we do it so that they become happy, kind, well adjusted people who enjoy being a part of their family and community.

  • School is the great antisocializer.  I mean that school imposes an antisocial conformity upon young people; they get along with one another by being antisocial.  If you are not antisocial, you won’t fit in with the cool crowd, the bunch that despise everything.  School is where people learn to be lonely in packs.  School is where you learn to pretend that you are actually enjoying the dissipated party where you are having “fun” with people you hardly know and don’t care to know. 

    When I meet a sullen freshman — bright, but sullen, as if the poor kid had had to live all his life in an unnatural confinement — I immediately guess that he’s a graduate of public schooling, and I’m almost always right about that.  When I meet a freshman who looks me in the eye and smiles on the first day of class, and introduces himself to me and thanks me, I immediately guess that he’s been homeschooled, or that he’s attended a good Christian high school.  I’m almost always right about that, too.

  • Sharon

    Thomas Edison’s mother didn’t have a background in science.  She homeschooled him. I don’t have a background in math past high school.  Our oldest son is nearing his bachelor’s degree in engineering and has been asked to consider a doctorate program.  What you fail to see is that we parents that school our children at home teach them to learn how to learn.

  • Mibsbt

    Keep in mind that teachers, even at the high school level, are not necessarily teaching the subject they’ve studied or know best.  They’re placed wherever the school has the greatest need.  As for AP classes – good point, although many parents and homeschooled students are choosing to take those classes at their local colleges through programs such as Running Start.

  • HSMama

     I think you nailed it in your first six words:  [you] find it hard to imagine.  Most people from institutional education do.   

    Parents, the people who care most about their children’s development, learn to be industrious and find the BEST sources for subject matters in which they themselves do not excel.  And you FAR underestimate the motivation of a learner who has not been “socialized.”  They know how to dig, how to research, how to figure it out on their own.  The involvement of an “expert” is not always needed, and when it is, we can find one.  When their drive hasn’t been killed in school, children are more resourceful than you think!

  • Guest

    Im not sure being “socialized” is all is cracked up to be. Being socialized into drug use, teen sex, the whole Britney Spears thing, no thank you.  Kids can get good social experience in church youth groups, the boy scouts, cousins, etc.

  • ddd

    If a parent is taking his/her child out of school because the public/private school is full of signs that culture is somehow falling apart and they fear negative influences, the child is not being brought home for schooling because the parent thinks the child will have a better education but out of fear of the world. This kind of fear of the world is pervasive among many homeschool families I know and it seems unhealthy if not unChristian, particularly since this condescending view will be transferred to the child and left unchallenged because the primary if not majority of time will be spent at home. The world is not bad nor are the people in it, even though they may do ‘bad’ things. Taking kids out of school because one thinks a child will avoid being influenced by negative examples is delaying the inevitable and teaching children to avoid if not condemn those who don’t always make wise choices. These people need to be embraced, not rejected. I’m not saying a child needs to put himself in harm’s way but by being a witness, the child does an immense amount of good by being a source of positive peer pressure. If the bad examples are effecting one’s ability to learn then yes, the kid needs to be taken out and homeschooled or go somewhere else.
    If a parent makes a conscious effort to have their children engage with others, do extracurriculars and make friendships, then great! I’ve seen some who do that; I’ve known others who don’t. I never said I was opposed to homeschool. I might do it myself if I don’t find a school we can afford and like. I’m opposed to the demonizing of those of us with claims that we find homeschoolers weird and annoying and that only homeschoolers are confident, convicted and heroically different. I’m skeptical of homeschool because we consider being around non-family members in the context of learning to be of great value for the experience it gives our children to learn empathy and understanding as well as social skills, i.e. what it means to work in a group of other intelligent people who are at your similar (b/c of age) yet varied experience level (b/c of diff background), knowing boundaries, being aware of social cues, having a sense of what can turn people away and prevent relationships – we are here to love and create relationships, not avoid them – not to mention the opportunity to be an example of Christian love to those who might not otherwise ever experience it in the way your child can give it. That might happen at the zoo on the day your kids are around others but to be an example every day for the same people can surely make an impact and in turn my child could learn something about others that makes him/her more mature in his personality and faith. 

    My husband too works at a University. He’s had professional experiences with three homeschooled undergrads. One was bright and able to engage with others easily, two seemed to lack self-awareness and were narcissistic. That doesn’t mean homeschool did them in but if we’re going to get anecdotal… 

  • EK

    I realize this is a polarizing subject matter and I would never pretend that I could change someone’s mind about what they think is best, but I disagree with parts of this post. 
     As a public school teacher, I am against homeschooling for most families.  It is NOT for everyone. I think you are fooling yourself if you believe people without a college degree can teach higher level courses.  Also, I spend the bulk of my free time becoming better at teaching the grade level and the students that I do.  I have spent years trying to MASTER teaching this curriculum.  If you honestly believe that you can teach it better than I can with my almost 10 years of experience, then bring it on.  For you see you might have mastered teaching YOUR child, but I am trying to master teaching every type of child. 
    The most curious thing about homeschooling and Catholic schools is that you all are NOT held to the high testing standards as the rest of us.  With the upcoming Common Core curriculum, I would LOVE for homeschool and Catholic schools to administer the same tests that public schools do.  You can see what it is like to be under the microscope! 
    As far as socializing, I would love to see how homeschooled adults function in job situations with people who aren’t so religiously minded.  The world is full of people who are different and I think that public school teaches you how to deal with bullies, and people who do not live up to your expectations. 
    Best of luck with educating your kids! 

  • Alex

    I have to disagree with your statement, as a high-school student who has been homeschooled most of my life, and having chosen to attend public school in part last year, and for all subjects this year. People have tried bullying me throughout both years because I’m a homeschooled weirdo who dared to actually raise my hand in class more than once and give an intelligent answer. The kids I see in schools, at least where I live, act passive aggressive towards any student who demonstrates anything but a passing interest in learning anything aside from how to drive, shoot a gun, play video games, or football/volleyball. They don’t accept anyone who’s noticeably different, no matter what the reason. Most kids in my school will complain for three days straight if their cell phone is taken away by their parents, but will tell someone who’s experiencing serious depression to “get over it.” because it’s not that bad in THEIR opinion.
    As a homeschool student, I was exposed to many different types of people, with a vast array of social experiences, interests, and ideas. I was also challenged by my siblings to achieve more (in part because of the resulting bragging rights at the time) and to gain interest in a variety of other subjects. Furthermore, many normal home-schooling materials are on par with or better than AP classes (this from someone who’s taken both). Likewise, language courses can be taught quite well by parents, especially if they speak the language.Also, schools aren’t the only places kids can go to for sports, clubs, art, etc. Scouting programs, community service programs, volunteer activities, and private music/art lessons are easy to find in practically any area.Yeah, people need to be exposed to a thing to develop interest in it, but that doesn’t mean they have to go to school to do it. And if peers pressure each other to play more video games, eat more garbage, and study less, how’s that going to help out any of them? Peer pressure is only useful if it’s actually driven towards something useful. Otherwise it’s a load of crap at best, and dangerous to a person’s health at its worst.

    Finally, home-schooling allows for individualized teaching, which public schools suck at on average. In order to actually be challenged after homeschooling most of my life, I’ve had to take courses that are far more advanced than my age-level, including a college class, and even that’s barely keeping me occupied. In addition to the academic part of school, my art teacher has to assign me about three times as much work as any other student if she wants me to work for the same amount of time as everyone else. Note that this is while still maintaining excellent grades and high standards. Kids don’t need peer pressure to keep high standards for themselves. All kids need is motivation. Sometimes, it comes from peer pressure, but (in my opinion at least) that isn’t nearly as effective as being encouraged by parents, siblings, and other family members.

  • DJ Hesselius

    Well, let’s see here: I administer the IOWA tests for our local group of homeschoolers.  While I don’t know the other homeschoolers scores, my kids about in the above average percentiles and stanines. And they were in the above average percentiles when they did the CAT a few years back.

     I am not interested in teach every type of child, only my own kids. (By the way, how’s your ability to teach students with dyslexia and nonverbal learning disorder?  Got those Orton Guillingham phonograms down yet? Do you know what they even are?)  Incidentally, you are not teaching a curriculum, you are trying to teach children, who may or may not have a learning style suited to the curriculum your district has decreed you will use. 

    The fact is thousands upon thousands of publically educated children are lost in the public education system, which is why there was a documentary entiled Waiting for Superman.

  • DJ Hesselius

    I wouldn’t blame homeschooling for loneliness, although I conceed it may contribute to it to a certain extent. I was publically educated and spent a very lonely junior and senior high. College was pretty lonely also.  I think personality has a lot more to do with it.

  • c Klotz

    What I have noticed about homeschooling is no homework, they work at home already! The children who live across the street go to a private school(17,000 per year) and come home with a back pack full of books to do homework, which the parents help them with! My grand children are very normal children who have time to play in the afternoon, make gardens and do special field trips or play sports with time to spare! Homeschooling Rocks!

  • Designermom4

    Socialization is such a fallacy! We have been homeschooling for 12 years, our kids have more active social lives than the public school kids we know. Our kids interact well with adults and other children of all ages because they have been homeschooled. I constantly get compliments from strangers at church who are impressed by the way our sons look them in the eye and shake their hands during the greeting. Public schools are set up to make kids not interact with others who aren’t their own age, and they don’t know how to interact well with adults. I hope that the socialization issue will disappear in the future with more and more people choosing to homeschool.

  • Fwyh96

    love how this article puts down ALL children who go to a school.  Not every child who goes to a school follows the crowd, brings guns to school or are afraid of being made fun of.  In fact, I know alot of children who thrive and become a great person because of being in school and around others (their age).  I’m not putting down home schooling and home schooling shouldn’t put down ALL children who go to a school.  ITs called parent teaching child about what is right and wrong and how to deal with everything that comes along with going to school and socializing and not always having things their way, and how to deal with the way others think.  I have 2 children who attend school and they do not follow the crowd.  My daughter’s love is for horses and would spend 24/7 with horses if she could.  Most of her friends are into boys, music and what nots that come along with it.  She’s still friends with them but does not share their interest and she has not pushed aside her interest to be like her friends.  They accept her for her and she accepts them for them.  I personally LOVE the fact my children go to a school.  They have to learn routine, that they have to do certain things at certain times. school starts at this time and if your not there you can’t just say, well we start later no big deal.  They are learning skills that will help them when they are adults.  I, as a parent, also teach my kids at home.  So do whatever works best for you, but don’t put down ALL schooled children just because you don’t like it.

  • Another secular home educator

     This is a perfect example of how home education does not exempt one from bullying, abuse, and/or negativity.  Why focus on a typo (or maybe it was a true misspelling, since I know I make them also) rather than the focus of the post, that annoying the secular left seemed to Dawnstiller to be a very odd reason to homeschool.  The point is that there are a lot of people in the secular left (I am one.) who home educate or have home educated their children.  More will.  Not every left-leaning humanist supports all unions, or the education unions in particular.  There are eve “lefty secularist” people who find public schools too Christian.  I believe in social justice.  I believe in treating one other with respect.  I respect your right to speak up.  I just didn’t want to let the opportunity pass to point out that opening your mind up to what others think and do might connect you with people who surprise you with what you have in common, even while everyone retains his/her differences.  For me, the commonality here is preserving (and improving) freedoms to educate one’s children as one sees fit.

  • Kola

    I teach classes at an informal science institution and can say that while home schooled students are generally confident and on par or ahead of their peers they often can not listen to or value thoughts from others in their peer group. They ignore or ridicule each others ideas and they are often self centered to an ‘annoying’ degree. I worry about them working in teams as adults.

  • Helenrr

     I have to say it depends. It depends on the teacher (s) and schools and parent (s) – it is not so difficult to find online and alternative classes for AP work. After all, the student is essentially preparing for a rigorous test. If they are not prepared they will not pass and will have to cover that subject in college. My youngest child graduated homeschool middle school and made it into our local GATE/Honors at the Only local high school I would consider. Despite it having better staff and a full board of offerings the Honors/AP experience has been spotty at best. Disappointingly so.  Additionally, colleges are beginning to weight the usefulness of AP-changes are afoot…  I would say, almost all the homeschoolers (etc) I know with kids who are pursuing AP classes are very adept at finding ways for them to fulfill that need and get a quality class under their belt. It is most definitely a job for parents but they accept it and go far.  I can not necessarily agree with the statement that public schools offer everything under the sun (or that, as would be implied, it is ‘difficult’ to find these things elsewhere).  Where I live much of these things have been dropped as budget cuts and payroll/benefit needs increase.  As well, resilient or not, I had no qualms about any of my kids not having to got through what I went or my friends kids went through going to our local not so nice public schools.  Don’t worry, there was enough negative socialization opportunities in Scouts, T-ball, dance, 4-H, gymnastics, Lyceum, Junior College, even Catechism ….  (and frankly, I think there will be coddling parents no matter where you look, but really… parenting is a balance-it is mentorship, facilitation, loving care, and knowing when to step back.)  Homeschooling is not for everyone, yet it is worth having available as it is most definitely a viable option. Children of my friends and my three dk (18, 22, & 25) will attest to that…

  • RyGuy

    I am about
    to graduate high school after being homeschooled all the way. It is funny that
    when people talk about social skills they look at homeschooling not
    homeschoolers.  I remember when I was 15
    and teaching an after school martial arts class for my instructor at a public
    school.  My mom was talking with some of
    the other moms in the back of the room and told them that my sister (who was
    also teaching) and I were homeschooled.  They were surprised and asked why she would do
    that and deprive us of the social skills needed in life.  In answer, she pointed to the two high school students
    leading a class of public elementary school kids.  

  • KC

    As a former public school teacher, I can attest that you are under the microscope and that you do have very heavy curriculum standards to adhere to.  But one of the first things I ever learned in teaching courses was that you have to teach “students.”  Not teach a subject matter.  What you are saying here is that you are a better teacher of state mandated CURRICULUM and what (speaking for myself only) I am saying here is that I am a better teacher of MY own children.  If you examine even your own statement and the fact that you are under such high pressures, you might know that some kids would easily be left behind…including my own son, whose giftedness is often overshadowed by his learning disability.  Not because of the neglect of public school teachers, but because of the simple lack of time and resources to provide him with the extra attention he needs!  There is just no way that you can compete with the ration of students being 2:1–or maybe 12:1 in the largest families or 28:1 in schools!
    I am appreciative of public school teachers because you’re right, homeschooling is not something everyone is cut out to do.  But those of us who are choosing this do not need to be under such extreme scrutiny and criticism either!  And we are all required to use standardized tests and document our schooling and curriculums too.  We don’t all sit around chainsmoking while our kids try to teach themselves how to subtract using cigarettes…just the same way all public school teachers don’t molest their students.  As a homeschooler, I don’t like to be lumped in with the broad generalizations any more than you, as a public school teacher must.

  • J.Rudder

    Much of the training that teachers get is in adjusting their teaching style to multiple different learning styles and classroom management.  A lack of that training wouldn’t doom a home teaching parent because they will be dealing with a much smaller group of children that are all well known to them.

    Teacher’s do acquire specialized knowledge in their field, but, for most of your child’s education you just need to be a bit further along than they are.  The last two years of high school I struggled a lot with my IB Calculus II and IB Organic Chemistry classes.  I had wonderful teachers, but was not picking the material up as they taught it.  My dad would read ahead in my book and then tutor me after school to make sure that I stayed on pace and was able to pass the classes.  I got A’s in Calc and B’s in Org. Chem. thanks to his efforts.  He’s a smart guy, but he works in a factory and it had been 20+ years since his last chemistry class.  He was hardly an expert and yet he was able to explain it to me in ways that clicked and the professional teachers weren’t (or didn’t have the time to since I was one of 30 kids). 

    Now, I’m lucky in that my dad’s strength (math/science) matched up perfectly with my weaknesses.  Assume for a moment that my dad was just as bad at calculus and chemistry as I was – what would stop him from hiring a local college student as a tutor?  

    The same holds for home schooled children.  Parents are able to teach much more advanced material than they are given credit for.  The material they are not able to cover can be taught by a professional tutor or a college student.  At a certain point the kids can start signing up for college courses to supplement what they are learning at home.

    Most importantly, the emphasis in most home school programs is on instilling a how and why of learning.  When I home school my children it is entirely possible that I will miss out on a topic that is covered extensively at school.  However, if I’ve done my job correctly, my kids will have the skills (and passion for learning ) necessary to go out and get that information for themselves without me spoon feeding it to them.

  • KC

    Okay…so there’s just nothing quite like a post filled with sentence fragments and typos to make someone question my ability to teach my own kids right?  Sorry about those!

  • KC

    Thank you for saying that!  I discuss issues with my 1st-grader every day!  Issues that he has encountered and because he’s homeschooled, has had the boldness and the courage to stand up against it!  I have a homeschooled Kindergarten student in one of my music classes who raised her hand in class and said, “I need to apologize to (another student in the class) because my mom and I were talking about bullying today and I think I’ve been a bully to her!” 
    My son told me that a kid at cub scouts was picking on another kid–a fourth grader picking on a third grader and my first grader stepped in and told the fourth grader to stop it.  And it ended.  And my son came home and said, “I know that I did what was right and I helped someone else and that feels good.” 
    That’s living in a bubble alright! 

  • Zellie

     Students in a class typically receive a grade for their performance on homework/tests. A grade of C or D does not indicate that you taught the child the material. When you sit down to teach or tutor just one student to mastery, you realize you need to find strategies to present the material in a way that it is understood by that one student. Here homeschooling beats mass teaching.

    You can’t understand it because you are a teacher of groups and you have never seen it. All your education is counter to that idea.  Once you try teaching just one child you can begin to understand. When you observe just one child discover information in his own way you begin to understand learning without teaching – unschooling!

    My 2.5 year old nephew can draw and count and knows colors and letters and he doesn’t go to school and his parents didn’t teach him. He observed and internalized from his experiences.

  • I agree.  I have seen a number of home school kids come through college classes that simply don’t know how to work with others or to be a productive member of the classroom.  While not all home schools kids can be lumped together, most of those I have met seem to have a bit of a superiority complex.  They dismiss the opinions and view points of others, and often have trouble with group work or group discussions.  They have a tendency to need to dominate the conversation.  Most of the work-a-day world does require you to conform to a certain degree.  Most jobs require you to not only have individual ideas but to also work as a member of a team and take direction.  In fact, just about every sector of life, from work to relationships to parenting, requires an ability to listen to others and to be able to compromise.  There are many benefits to home schooling, but I think downplaying the importance of regular classroom and playground socialization is wrong and can make certain aspects of a home school child’s adult life more difficult.

  • Efw103

    Ha!  That must be what’s “wrong” with me.  Hee hee.  I’m still annoying and opinionated and curious and ask a lot of questions…and I’m 42!

  • Efw103

    Oh…let’s see…I was home schooled through third grade, went to small private inbred Christian school through 7th grade, public school till graduation, then a conglomeration of colleges and universities both private and state and online…not sure which camp that puts me in, but public school was by far my favorite schooling experience. In the end, it all depends on your family culture, not the school you go to as to how you turn out.  You find what you look for.

  • Homeschooling is a persecuted minority, thus it needs articles like this. Clearly  you wouldn’t like us to talk about your children in generalities, but this is how our children are treated every day. You understand… no fun to be attacked for how you educate your kids. But you’re living the societal norm, so you are defended in your choice every day. So you see, she wasn’t attacking you, just defending us.  🙂

  • BQ

    High standards? That’s a good one. I suppose that’s why the
    United States, a country of more than 300 million people, has to
    recruit engineers and other professionals from oversees because there
    aren’t enough qualified US students to become qualified engineers and other professionals. The
    public school system in this country is a failed system based on an
    anachronistic, obsolete model.

    You think public schools teach children how to deal with bullies? Public schools do nothing to stop bullies and have little concern for their victims who suffer psychological trauma from the brutal treatment they receive and that schools choose to ignore.

    It’s all very well and good that you are trying to master teaching every type of child. However, I only have to teach my children who, as homeschoolers, do no have to suffer being taught to to median academic level of the class but can learn as much as they want as quickly as they want

    I am a secular homeschooler. My objective in homeschooling is to expose my children to diverse people and diverse situations, not to keep them in a factory-like institution the entire day where their only contacts are overseer teachers and co-worker students.

  • DJ Hesselius

    Just a clarification:   that homeschoolers are “all required” to take standardized tests is not true.  It depends on what the individual states require and/or homeschool curriculum require.  If a homeschooler buys a program/transcript survice, like BJU, they are required to test (at least that is my understanding.  I could be wrong on that point.)  Some states require testing and/or portfolio reviews, etc.  My state does not require any standardized testing.  My curriculum provider does strongly encourage testing every other year.  A lot of homeschoolers in my area do standardized testing, IOWA and CAT being the ones most easy to obtain.  I’ve been testing my kids every year for the past 5 years or so.  Some of us get together as a group and do it that way.  Every other year seems to the be most common choice around my area, lots of 4, 6, and 8 graders. A smaller bunch on the odd years.  After that, people become concerned with PSAT, ACT, and SAT, which are done over at the local junior college.

  • Carter

    I am homeschooled and I have lots of friends; however, I know a few homeschoolers that don’t have a lot of friends and would get beat up in public school.  I dont think that they would do well in real life.

    Socialization and friends MY OWN AGE are very important to me, whether it is for other homeschoolers.

  • guest

    I am grateful for this opportunity to dialogue. Warning to both camps: do not be too egoistic or defensive about your choice. Lets not give up on the school system either – those kids will eventually be your children’s spouses. I went to school all my life (public, Catholic and Protestant). It was very academically challenging and I was engaged in many sports and activities.  I still struggled with my identity though. I believe homeschooling would have served me better since I was very impressionable.  The environment is extremely important for a young developing brain. As an adult you can shut some things out because you have the gift of experience.  However, some children soak EVERYTHING around them up. You can counsel children endlessly and lovingly but many times their peer relationships have more influence. Schools have excellent resources no doubt but they are just a reflection of our society. It is difficult to train a child not to be materialistic when they are bombarded with materialism at school – gadgets, expensive clothing, hairstyles etc. Like I said, you can advise until you are blue in the face but some kids will never get it until they have perspective (which for some takes years).  This is one reason why teens commit suicide – lack of perspective.  The schools today have little control over dating relationships that take place at school, Devilish clothing etc. I would have avoided so many hurdles if I had been protected from lunch time discussions about my friends sexual escapades, huggy kissiness at school proms,  girls with too much make up, too little clothes on, or too tight clothing, or all the nasty music we shared at school and so on.  Despite all my parents told me – my senses were on high alert at that tender age and I did need intentional protection.  So parents from both camps please continue to protect your children – they need it.  And they are smarter than you in many respects so pay attention for they know not what they do no matter how mature they appear.

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  • Wstacks

    We homeschool and that means we also seek out the best teachers for the job. Most people think homeschooling means they stay “at home”  very untrue!  ALot of homeschooling in the older grades is putting them in at community college, online distance learning, or  co ops that meet once a week.  Most home school kids have groups that also address the arts and sports too.  My own daughter does community theater and takes voice.  She has extra time to do this because sometimes we can set rearrange the schedule to help her be less stressed during a week of a production.  Most homeschooled kids aren’t as sheltered as the label leads you to think.  

  • Jen

    Angelicum Academy offers online literature courses so that they can engage in discussions, too.

  • Future Homeschool Mom

    Amen!  A friend of my husband was asked, wasn’t he worried his homeschool kids wouldn’t get the socialization they’d get in conventional school?  “Oh, no”, he said, “We’ve taken care of that.  Every day I hide at the end of the hallway, jump out, and steal his lunch money.”

  • Annie

    These kids did not have any “issues”. The monks were not crazy liberals either.

    I am not saying homeschooling can’t work but it isn’t always the best choice. I could not homeschool but some of my friends do a great job. As much as the homeschoolers get flack so do those of us who send our kids to school. In my Catholic circles many people do homeschool and some are extremely judgmental of those of us who do not. My kids even go to Catholic school and I get it.

  • Annie

    Ok how many kids actually have there money stolen? Not everyone is bullied and most good Catholic schools have a bully policy that is strictly enforced. Could we stop acting as if every kid in school is tormented?

  • lilacs

    I was homeschooled for 9 years, and I’m very grateful for all the advantages it gave me, but I was one of those “weird” kids you describe and no, I didn’t naturally grow up when I went to college.  I was introverted and had low self-esteem, and the fact that I was _encouraged_ to be “quirky” and not care about pop culture at all made me a wreck.  I didn’t know how to talk to anyone outside my own little culture.  I didn’t know how to form my own character, because I was so scared of being sucked into mainstream culture.  I was depressed in high school and part of college and still have social problems.  People need to realize that the most important factor is your child’s personality.  I hope to homeschool my kids, but I know that if they end up with my personality–a combination of annoyingly precocious and socially timid–I will send them to school because they really _need_ a dose of “normality.”  If you send your kid to the right place and shelter them an appropriate amount–neither completely cutting them off from the culture, nor allowing them to totally follow the crowd–they will do just fine.

  • Kelleenas

    i told people my kids were too social so i had to homeschool hahaha– one is a doctor, another bs in communications and theater major — so many young people have told them they wanted to be homeschooled…

  • T

    I am gathering from your post, that you truly believe the ONLY and BEST way to educate children is in a compulsory, government school? That the only people capable of teaching children (or anyone for that matter) are those that have been trained and certified to teach in that system? History easily debunks this idea as does most unbiased educational and learning psychology research, along with real world experience. I think you are fooling yourself if you think our current system is successful in relation to cost, not only monetary, but in time, resources, manpower, real estate, etc considering the results that are produced. The lack of return on investment is staggering. It is appalling to me to see the unwillingness or perhaps inability revealed in this post to conceive of any other option or to even be curious about it. Lifelong  learners tend to be curious about everything.  This “desire” to learn is one of the most important and necessary components in education. Are you modeling it here? Why, as an educator, are you not curious about it? This post lacks any real knowledge of homeschooling, a clear understanding of the variety of homeschoolers and their many different motivations for choosing this path.   You also readily dismiss private schools and ignore the other options to public schooling. If providing children the best education possible were the true interest  being expressed here, then you might want to know why people choose not to use the public schools, what all the options are, etc. rather than claiming that children can’t be educated outside the system. 

  • Alex

    That’s the thing though. Homeschooling, on average, DOES provide a better education than kids can get at a public school. There have been a lot of studies on homeschooling vs. public schooling, and they all show that homeschooling works.
    Also, homeschooling allows kids who need extra sleep the ability to have it, while still completing a full day’s worth of school. Homeschooling also allows people to move at their own pace – something you can’t really do in a classroom – and spend more time working on subjects they have trouble with. The courses are also far more flexible, so that if a student has problems with one thing, they can have other ways of learning it. One of my older brothers, for example, had problems writing in general, but especially writing papers, so my mom had him give them orally instead. Nowadays, he can write 30+ pages on a short novel. If he’d been in public school though, he probably wouldn’t. Why? Because he doesn’t actually have a reading or writing disorder, so he wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to learn how to write in a way that made him enjoy it, or share his knowledge in a way he actually could at the time.
    The majority of my siblings, as well as myself, probably would have endure years of bullying if we’d gone to school (as it is, I get bullied anyhow, but since I’ve been homeschooled, and I’ve gotten the chance to research things to my heart’s content, I was able to prepare myself more for it, and deal with it appropriately). If we’d had to deal with some of the things I’ve had to this year, a couple of us would probably be dead – either that or we’d have committed murder. Thanks to being homeschooled, none of my siblings have that problem, and neither do I.

  • Alex

    Another good question would be if they mean socialization or socializing skills. Most of the time, they mean the latter.

  • I’ve met wonderfully well socialized homeschoolers, and I’ve also met homeschoolers who meet the description in this by-now-classic piece:  http://catholicinformation.aquinasandmore.com/2006/10/15/i-hate-large-homeschooling-familes/
    If the families in this post–and others like them–didn’t exist, a lot of the issues about socialization wouldn’t exist either! 

  • Lynn

    First, a huge percentage of home educating mothers have education degrees, another huge percentage have advanced degrees in subjects like engineering. Often times these “just moms” are more educated than the average teacher. I, myself, have both an engineering and education background and felt perfectly capable of teaching my three daughters through high school.

     As luck would have it, I had three unique daughters who presented unique challenges to me because of my “weak” background. My oldest wanted to be a chef from the youngest of ages — I abhore anything to do with cooking, but I found her people who could mentor her and show the importance of all those basic skills she thought unimportant. Classes like math and accounting. We enjoyed lots of history reports about foods from various eras. lol. We also ate very well. Today she is a chef and restaurant manager and has large family of well-fed boys!

    My middle girl, was the artistic type and I can’t draw a straight line, but I found her teachers, we went on many treks to art exhibits and yes we had many history reports about artists and styles of art. She graduated from community college and then at the top of her class at police academy. She is married to a Navy Chief and manages Radio Shack store. By all accounts, without coddling her, she is a successful, productive citizen.

    Now my youngest, home schooled since birth (the others were in Catholic school through grade five), is my really weird one, she’s my muscian. At 18 months old she asked me to please not sing, you guessed I can neither read music or carry a note. At 18, she is soon to head off to university to get her degree in pipe organ performance and Music pedagogy and plans to minor in Biological science. (She doesn’t even think that combination strange.) She is very devout Catholic who wants to be a Parish Music Director and play the pipe organ some day for the Holy Father! She’s off to a good start, I would say.

     My middle and youngest both attended a community college dual enrollment program, earning both high school and college credits simultanously. Obviously, all three of my girls were exposed to things outside my own interest area — or how would they have developed these interests. My two older girls were home educated in the beginning of the current wave of home education in the 90s and we lived in the city where they belonged to many groups and participated in many activities. (I used to say, “if this is home schooling why am I always in the car?”) Our youngest, has been raised in a small rural town, the only town in the county, as the only home schooled child in the county. Because of her intence interest in music we drove between 60 and 120 miles each way to music lessons and other activities one day a week.

    Parents who choose to home school do not do so to coddle there child or to be overprotective. You don’t decide to home school unless you have thought long and hard about it — it is a huge investment in time, talent and money! You do it because it is the best for your child, usually both academically and socially.

  • lynn

    St. Michael’s Academy does alos. My daughter has used a number of hybred courses. DVD lecture and textbook and online discussion group very successfully!

  • Schala K

     I hope the education you provided your daughter successfully imparted your personal expertise in the use of capitalization and punctuation.

  • Natalie

    I did not enjoy homeschooling and begged my parents to send me to school.  When I finally went to public school in 7th grade I was behind in every subject and I was very backwards.  It took a lot of personal effort to learn how to communicate with others.  I believe homeschooling can be done well, but you have to  let your kids get out of the house and if you do it please teach them well–as I am sure most of you are doing.

  • Ciara

    I’m 16 and I’ve been to public school for 6 years and homeschooled for 5. I will start by saying that I did not want to be taken out of public school. Not because I had friends, or was being “exposed to things that would develop my interests”, but because I was used to how public school worked and didn’t want to change. Your argument is COMPLETELY invalid. What you don’t understand is that a lot of parents don’t teach their kids for the junior high and high school grade levels. I’m taking AP biology, calculus, and AP english/language online. I have print workbooks and textbooks to go along with the course and I can replay anything the teacher says. It’s like having my own private tutor. Instead of having to plow through the material, absorbing it just until the next test like I had to do in 9th grade at a public high school, I can do everything at my own pace, which always ends up being a lot quicker than the public school agenda, because I don’t have nearly as much “busy work” to do or as many pointless movies or power points to watch. I had a lot of great teachers at public school, but I wouldn’t say that all of them knew their subject “best”.

    At the school I went to, I found that the programs, (music, arts, sports, etc) were extremely inclusive. A lot of the kids were in them simply for the fine arts credit needed to graduate. And I will agree that those who were genuinly interested in their classes had a lot of resources availible to them. But so do homeschoolers. Saying that there are music and art programs at public school is not a sucessful argument, because just around where I live, there is an art leauge, a robotics team, several orchestras, 3 or 4 theater groups, martial arts, photography groups, several groups for pure socialization, and a group called “Inventors Without Borders”, that Javier Fernandez-Han started. Javier is a homeschooler. I went to a book club and a weekly dance class with him. He’s in Forbes magazine as one of the most influential people under 30. Google him. How’s that for “developing interests”? I’ve developed mine by writing, (I won an honerable mention in Gulen Youth Platform’s essay contest this year and will be flown to D.C. along with about 30 other kids from around the world to talk about issues facing children today). I also do a bit of web design. For a period of 2 years, some of my friends and I volunteered at the local food pantry.

    As for socialization, I’ve been to public school and experienced peer pressure enough to know that it’s definatly not something anyone needs. Enough of that happens every day, even for homeschoolers. At a dance class, an outside class, or just hanging out with their friends, there are plently of opportunities for homeschoolers to experience peer pressure.  I have friends from public school, including my boyfriend, and homeschooled friends. Kids don’t need to be in a place that it cultivates for 7 hours a day to “be great”. Believe me, I’m very well aware that there are different types of people in the world. I don’t know who informed you about how homeschooling works, but they obviously didn’t know what they were talking about.

    Parents don’t coddle their children by homeschooling them. Why should we all learn the same things in the same way? Why should the school decide what we’re interested in? I’m so thankful my mom recognized the value of homeschooling and took me out of school.

  • The last line of your blog had a particular resonance for me.  It was a major factor inspiring my own blog entry, “Dear God, Please Don’t Let My Children be “Normal.”  (http://neweducationexplorers.blogspot.com/2012/05/dear-god-please-dont-let-my-children-be.html)  Thanks for such an intriguing post.

  • P B

    Advice from a father of 4 home schooled children,  be in constant contact with them if they go away to college.   If possible, send them to community college for the first two years.
    The 18-20 years is crucial.  Cell phone, email and text messages has greatly improved the connection to family.   I trusted the first one to a very conservative college and visited on weekends but the progressive onslaught is too much for any one.   The last two were better instructed to handle their position in society.  

    It is very important to distinguish one’s family and home school and society. 
    Another sad thing is because the public school kicked out very bad children and families into the homeschooling world,  bad home school influence is a new problem.  Mine escaped it but several families being Christian opened their families to very bad people.  These children were destroyed by drugs and sex. 

    Be trusting but verify and paint a very clear picture of all society.  Often times, home school parents think every one is doing the very best with their children.  It is like the 1950’s leave it to beaver kids meet Lady Gaga.

  • BobRN

    We homeschooled our older two girls through eighth and fifth grade.  Our oldest daughter made the adjustment well, but she had an advantage in that she is an excellent violinist and was taken in immediately by the orchestra kids in her high school.  Our second daughter didn’t fair as well.  She was weird, but not academically.  She’s always struggled academically, and the middle school she attended ultimately wasn’t able to meet her needs.  Worse than that was that she was in a different moral world than her public school peers.  She had no one with whom to talk because she doesn’t drop the “f-bomb” every fifth word, and she has no interest in talking about sex, which she said is about the only topic of conversation among her peers at the local middle school.  Finally, she started to get bullied by the other kids, and even sexually threatened.  The school made it obvious that they couldn’t deal with it, so we took her out.  And, boy, that school sure made no effort to disuade us from that decision!  You want to take your child out of our school?  Yes, sir, we’ll get all the paperwork together today!  She’s doing much better, and we plan to put her in a small private Christian school next year.  It just saddens me that a young lady who has such a wonderful personality and deep faith has to struggle so among her public school peers. 

  • Claire

     BobRN, what’s even sadder is that there are people who would respond that by keeping her out of an environment where every other word is the f-bomb and the primary topic of discussion is sex, you are sheltering her and handicapping her from functioning in the real world.  Apparently spending 6 hours/day in an environment like that is crucial to normal development and socialization.  (I’m not criticizing people who choose to send their kids to public schools, and I acknowledge that some public schools are better than others.  I’m just criticizing the sheltering/socialization argument.)

  • Kathy

    I loved the article!! Thank you for putting my heart into words 🙂 Also, I LOVE the line in your description that says ‘ she pretends her time on the internet doesnt count because she uses the computer standing up’ !! That is so me and I never even realized I thought that way. hahaha. Thanks again for this.

  • BobRN

    Claire, thanks for your response and support. I write a monthly column for our local newspaper on family life and spirituality, and I wrote about our daughter’s troubles and our decision to bring her home.  I received exactly the response you describe from a number of those commenting on my column.  It is amazing to me how many parents have abrogated their responsibility to protect their children from the forces of evil, or even from situations they’re not yet mature enough to handle, and ought not have to.  I mean, my kid was threatened with being raped, and I’m supposed to leave her in that environment because to take her out somehow makes me a helicopter father who is over-protecting my fourteen year old daughter!  How bizarre is that, eh? 

  • Claire

     Bob, I am convinced that the term “helicopter parent” was coined by people who want to absolve themselves of protecting their kids.  (Again, this is not a judgment against people who send their kids to public school;  I myself plan to give it a try for my son.)  Sure, there are some overprotective parents out there.  And then there are the ones who jump in to defend their kid anytime a teacher gives a bad grade, etc.  But from what I’ve seen, parents who ignore their kids are far more common.  I understand that kids shouldn’t be in a bubble, and should be exposed to people from all walks of life.  But that doesn’t mean they have to be left in an un-safe school situation as you described.  And homeschooling doesn’t have to be done in a bubble.  It reminds me of comments about how stay-at-home moms need to be doing something in the world.  As if the only way to interact in the real world is to be employed.  These stereotypes have really gone too far.

  • Jeanine P

    I nominated this to be the 2nd best pin for the month of April.  Great Post.
    I made a best pin badge for you, come check it out.

  • Tori

    I rarely get the socialization questions, however, every now and then someone ask. It’s usually after they have already engaged in conversation with my child or me. Does that make any sense? Go easy on these people, not everyone is firing at the same level as you.

  • Matty107

    The only knowledge necessary, is that which makes us good rather than learned.

  • Pingback: Why we are taking the plunge to homeschool | MUMmedia()

  • Dphillips345

    I agree 100%. I used to be an advocate of home schooling until I went to a college that attracts students who were home schooled. A prevalent attitude among them was one of superiority. They don’t seem to mix well with kids/adults who attended public or private schools are were very much confined to their home schooling cliques. Additionally, their education seemed to be strong in certain areas and very much lacking in others, namely math and science. Christ is calling us to live in the world not to isolate ourselves from it.

  • Dphillips345

    I’m glad your son has had such a positive experience with Chemistry while being home schooled but this an exception not the norm.

  • Claire

     Do you have any statistics to back that up?

  • Claire

     Homeschooled kids aren’t necessarily isolated from the world, any more than stay-at-home moms are isolated from the world.  People can interact with the world without spending 6 hours/day in a classroom with kids their age, and without holding down a job.  There are all kinds of ways of interacting with the world. 

  • Virg

    Your children, all your children, are beautiful, smart, sensitive, funny, and so easy to fall in love with, quirks and all.  What would our world be like without the quirks?  I don’t really want to know, but I do know our world is a more beautiful place knowing your family is in it! God bless you all!

  • Guesto

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwf6QD-REMY&feature=relmfuAbsolutely wonderful show, Mr Deity, must see for every Catholic.

  • sdcojai

    We’ve home schooled eight children. Most publicly schooled children are less well adapted socially than our kids are. And I think the reason is simple. Home schooling allows kids to live and learn in a more natural environment than they have in those ugly schools. It’s more natural in many ways, including social ways. The social interactions of home schooled kids are based on natural relations: family, friends, community, church. The children aren’t forced to mix with others of only a single age group, nor to mingle on the basis of artificial impositions, in artificial circumstances, for artificial amounts of time defined by bells. As John Taylor Gatto so eloquently writes, home education (to be candid, I don’t even like the word “school”) is education in reality, which is what the souls of children actually want, without any need for force or artificial imposition.

  • Guest

    Personally, I’ve read half these posts and heard a whole lot of closed-mindedness. I’m very open-minded, but I have a very strong view of this subject. I’m a 16 year old girl, and I have experienced Catholic and public high school and would never choose to participate in a homeschooled alternative. When I was little, I didn’t have a concept of popularity, and chose to flock to what I enjoyed: the arts and music, math and science, writing, and trying to make friends and grow up. School got harder, though, when kids got nasty. I was told “my dad didn’t make enough money” and that my Goodwill clothes were my bully’s “garbage. I was wearing their garbage.” (aided by a cruel *sniff sniff*-you stink comment) When these issues started presenting themselves, I got plenty of sympathy and love and care from my terrific, successful parents, but they still chose to keep me in school, a choice I did not understand until I grew up. I dealt with this torture from kids for years (might I add, this was a Catholic school) and it grew into teasing because of my strong faith, because immorality was funnier, fun, and the cool thing to do. By freshman year, I had dealt with enough. One of the most “popular” girls in the clique that had caused me so much trouble my freshman year was a new transfer student, who came from a strong homeschool program.. I know this is certainly not the case with all Catholic schools, or many, for that matter, but I knew it served a purpose of exposure to this argument.
    The past year was my first in public schools. I have found a niche, the oral interp team and choir, that share my quirky and eclectic tastes. My classes are filled with friends, ones I made after our classes did group work and we realized our common interests. I applaud the social atmosphere I have been introduced to. I have not once been  bullied for my Catholic faith, my short hair, my odd music tastes, or my sarcastic and  “grown-up” humor. In fact, my faith has been improved, especially now that I’ve made new Catholic-in-public-school friends, and others, who respect my religious choices, my hair has gotten shorter, because I don’t concern myself with the thoughts of others, my music tastes have expanded and delved further, and my humor is more witty than ever. I have received encouragement I never had before, and I thank my parents for making me deal with cruelty to come out a stronger, happier person. They knew that people are always going to be harsh (before you disagree, how often do you hear water-cooler gossip, or hear friends talking about others, or even speak on what bothers you about others?) and they constantly reassured me that the kids were wrong. I love my parents and knew they truly cared about me because every night I came home, they unceasingly showed me how truly unique, special, and loved I was. Through all the torture, they helped solidify who I was and, in the end, I accepted myself like they had all along and finally acquired the confidence to stand out as who I was. 

    My success now that I am not afraid has been aided by the traditional schooling system. My first shot at the ACT, no study courses, since I was using it as a general gauge, was a 32, highest in my class and second in that above mine. I never truly became solid in what I wanted to do until this year, when my teachers encouraged me. Last year, I thought I would maybe do a general major and go back and teach or something, but now, my English, Physics, and Speech/choir teachers have inspired me to go into journalism, Physics, and the arts, and I’ve been receiving college mail from schools I never imagined pursuing me saying they want me in their programs. I’ve won state-wide and competed in national competitions for poetry, writing, oral interp/speech, chorus, vocal solos, and academics, opportunities I would have never seized if i were not in traditional school. I feel so adequately prepared, because I have had a slew of incredible teachers, despite a few who were difficult and were perhaps not as vivacious about teaching. My parents are always surprised at things I know, and admit they don’t understand most things I am learning.. Knowing that, should I really desire them to teach me? They are highly successful in their fields, but I would never ask them to give that up to teach me subjects they don’t know as well as my teachers. I don’t want my parents teaching me AP Physics unless they feel like they have a mastery of that college course. Coming from a student who has experienced AP teachers, I love my parents, but would never choose to take that class from them. Computer/online classes have a much lower success rate in the general public, because the presence of a teacher, always available for help, is critical in education.

    Personally, I enjoy the diversity of traditional schools. Rather than a select group of kids around me, I am exposed to different attitudes, family situations, religions, cultures, talents, and thinking. My mother said after picking me up from school one day that she had never seen a Muslim woman in full dress in real life that day. People skills are important, and I’ve learned them through every class, dealing with kids I don’t want to deal with. From what I’ve observed, in my own opinion, I’ve noticed homeschool kids are very “my way or the high way” because they haven’t had to learn outside a personalized system. These details make for a very select group and a huge bias. Also, competition is very healthy, and I’ve learned that school is a place where it can truly thrive. Stress and pressure, to an extent, is necessary and healthy, and if people take their kids away from it, every time it presents itself, it sends a message that problems are to be run from and not dealt with. Homeschool statistics show great success, but don’t forget that those statistics are skewed greatly. For the most part, homeschooled kids are in a very encouraging family, one that clearly is willing to sacrifice time and perhaps a great part of income from the parent taking charge of the education. Typically, they have a fairly stable family environment, and they get to personalize what they want to learn, when they want to learn it, a method that doesn’t teach structure, a critical skill necessary in adult life. If only kids meeting those criteria in public schools were evaluated, statistics might not lean so far towards the homeschool end of the spectrum. I don’t want to disparage homeschooling or the homeschooled, I just have to make the point that I, an “annoying” sophomore with odd tastes who has been bullied for years, find traditional school a much healthier and beneficial alternative to the (in my personal opinion) coddled and misled format of homeschooling.

  • DMac_77

    Well written and spot-on.   I am a Catholic High School teacher.  Now and again previously home schooled children attend our high school.  They do exhibit certain personality “quirks” different from the “socialized” students.  It is refreshing to teach real and authentically autonomous children who are not hindered by societal norms but rather, who act their age with all their youthful innocence and energy.  I’ll gladly take the “quirky” over the “normal”.

  • LorrettaMissy_fergie

    It is great all your children are doing so well – but I put you into the camp of over-parenting, micro managing could just well be that you are control freaks – a small percentage of the population.  Homeschool is good in cases where there are mental health issues, sickness, severe bullying but the rest why don’t you just teach your kids out of school hours – your kids will grow up to be loners with avoidant personalities.  Confronting but the truth – I bet you have your own issues to deal with from your education!

  • ninos714

    After reading the many replies to this blog I am more convinced than ever that our family has made the correct choice to school at home (or the library, or museum, or wetland, or zoo, or store, in the car, or well you get the idea).

    After 9 years of teaching my children, I am happy to say they have not been exposed to the likes of some of you. We are not interested in bullying, peer pressure, exposure to weapons, the the gay lifestyle, intolerance, or the many other so called normal ways.  We get along without all of these “normal” things just fine.  Children who school at home are kind, intelligent, driven, decisive, talented, INDIVIDUALS who are able to learn and use information.  They are not cookie cutter products.  They will truly be the leaders of tomorrow and everybody will be better off because of it.  As a matter of fact, all of society benefits from our dedication to educate our children.

    I am happy to say my children want to learn because it is fun.  I am happy to say they know how to learn (even without me).  I am happy to say my children don’t need a classroom in which to learn.  I am happy to say at their young ages they know more about many aspects of life than many adults.  Also, I am happy to say they know the difference between right and wrong (close as I can tell, this is becoming a real problem).

    I am happy to have given my children the time to learn to make the best decisions possible for themselves and for others.  I am more than convinced they are better equipped to do this today rather than at the age of 5.  Don’t be confused about the capability of a home schooled student to be social.  Exposure to deviant behaviors and situations in no way enhances, prepares, or is necessary for a great and full life.

    Here are some other things to ponder.  Have you ever heard of a child being abducted on the way to or from home school?  Have you ever heard of a child being molested by a teacher at home?  Have you ever heard of an institutional teacher who loves all of her/his students as if they were their own? Have you ever heard of a home schooled student having bowel problems because they have to earn points to go to the bathroom?  How many students schooled at home do you know who have had to repeat a year or drop out?  What do you think the student to teacher ratio is at home?  Any students taught at home show up with a gun and kill the others because of relentless mocking?  Obviously I could go on here but, I will let your mind add to this list.

    Let us not forget our own parents.  I hope all of you skeptics think more of your own parents than you are letting on. Was it mom or dad that taught you your first word, how to ride a bike, count to ten, sing your ABC’s, or tie your shoes?  I’m sure it wasn’t your public/private school teacher who taught you to wipe your buttocks.  Give people the credit they are due and try to be part of the solution.  Open your eyes, as things aren’t going as well as you’d think out there in normal land.  My kids don’t budge in line, give dirty looks, mock others, cause harm, fight, pierce themselves at twelve, disrespect adults, lie, push, shove, and only worry about themselves.  Aren’t we all lucky they won’t cut you off on the freeway, steal your ideas at work, misappropriate funds, take the easy way out, and generally make the world less enjoyable someday?

  • ninos714

    not sure what blog/comments you were reading.  Is it possible your comment got posted to wrong page?

  • ninos714

     right on!

  • ninos714

     We have to wonder what your “view ” would be.

  • ninos714

     Hello!?!  What are you talking about? Home school children have more exposure to the real world than institutionally educated children who are trapped in a classroom all day.  The world is the classroom of a home schooler, and guess what?  That includes strangers, other children, from places that your kids don’t get to go to during the 8 hour school day. When my children go to the library, museum, zoo, wetland, etc, during the school day, they have to interact with others, they don’t have 30 other students and a teacher to blend in with.  Wake up.

  • ninos714

     You scare me.  Pray more and blog less, please.  Also, find another homeschool parent to teach your kids.  Not sure what kind of Christian you are but, certainly not Catholic.  I would be weary of what you have learned about Christianity.  Maybe homeschooling would have been beneficial to you.  Also, if your husband is anything like you and teaching, God help us all.

  • ninos714

     Thank you!!!

  • ninos714

     See, another institutionally educated person speaks of what they do not know.

  • ninos714

     Spot on!!!

  • reve4sasoolappa

    Actually, I’m homeschooled. My mom doesn’t teach me any classes. There are books and student directed cds and everything. Also, if you get stuck, you can always call the author and they will help you. Trust me, I’m a normal 16 year old girl. I take things like band and choir at the public school and I have plenty of friends there. My parents don’t “coddle” me. I am an individual who knows what I like and don’t like. What I believe in and what i think is wrong. I’m my own person. No, schools aren’t full of bullies, but there are enough. How often do you hear stories of homeschooled kids commiting suicide because they were teased? Or coming into a school and shooting everyone? Not many. I know plenty of public school kids who have no friends. Not every kid does well in the public school system, not every kid does well private schooled, and not every kid does well homeschooled. Everyones needs are different. So don’t go hating on homeschooling any more than you on anyother education system. And if you cant say anything good, then you’re bitter.

  • Happy Catholic

    My first reaction to this article is that American culture is very conformist. This was noted by Alexis de Tocqueville in “Democracy in America” as a result of his observations after visiting the USA in 1831. The good results of American style democracy was of a population closer in habits and equality than other cultures. The downside is a tendency to conformity. As a Brit married to an American with American children I studied the USA in Universities in England and America and lived in the US (until recently) for 15 years. There are still many subtle and not so subtle pressures to conform in American society. To step outside the norm of social habits is worrying to many Americans. For the same reasons American society is generally anti-intelletual and want it’s presidents to be down-to-earth conformists.

  • Happy Catholic

     I would like to have the reference to this as my understanding is that Einstein attended Gymnasium which is the equivalent of Prep school or grammar (i.e. it prepares you for University) here in Germany. Only the top third of students attended Gymnasium and the students are rigorously tested each year before being allowed to continue to the next stage. Here is what Wikipedia has to say “The Einsteins were non-observant Jews. Albert attended a Catholic Elementary school from the age of five for three years. Later, at the age of eight, Einstein was transferred to the Luitpold Gymnasium where he received advanced primary and secondary school education until he left Germany seven years later.Although it has been thought that Einstein had early speech
    difficulties, this is disputed by the Albert Einstein Archives, and he
    excelled at the first school that he attended “

  • Barb

    I don’t home school my children, and I will try to define what others mean by issues of socialization.  One of the benefits of public schools is that it exposes children to other children from different social-economic-political backgrounds, races, cultures, languages, beliefs and abilities!  Do home schooled children get this exposure in their home school environment?  Public schools are not ideal, and my children have had to deal with bullies, teasing, different personalities and learning styles that don’t mesh with their own (or my own)…but it has taught them that this is our world and grown them in patience, empathy, tolerance, and understanding in the midst of such diversity. I don’t believe that this can be best learned in a textbook at home, but by learning and living it at school with others.  Our world is becoming less and less an enclave and children will invariably be living in a world that is larger and more diverse than ever before because of this.  I believe socialization is more important than ever.  Unless home schooled children will live the rest of their lives at home, this will be a very difficult reality to escape. 

    Schools, neighborhoods, public places, the world will never affirm our children; families and positive parenting are so important.  Families and parents affirm their children when others don’t.  This is the best way to protect and prepare our children to become adults.  

  • Claire

     If my son is homeschooled, he will (and currently is) most certainly be exposed to people from all backgrounds.  Certainly I will join a homeschooling support group that is consistent with our Faith and values, but homeschooled kids don’t just sit at home all day.  They’re out in the community.  My son at age 4 has already been exposed to children from all different backgrounds at playgroups, the library, Kindermusik, etc.  These enrichment experiences in the greater community will continue throughout his childhood, and he will also accompany me as I interact in the community while running errands, etc.  

  • Sandra Boyer

    When my cousin decided to homeschool her kids, we said the same thing, they need socialization skills. Well, they are now in their late 20’s, well adjusted, successful, have many friends and family that love them. Not afraid of what others think, “normal” people but not afraid of who and what God made them. 

  • You’re mean. Were you home schooled?

  • Careers are not nearly as satisfying as giving birth to and closely raising children.  

  • The home schooled children I know are exposed to music, arts, sports, and service.  For example, many are accomplished pianists. They act in Youth Shakespeare productions. They play sports. They are active in their church, and they are always achieving in spectacular ways.  They get National Merit scholarships and are recruited by the best colleges. And they are nice and well behaved and innocent in the best way, most of them.  They don’t need the peer pressure to dress like kids do nowadays, to listen to mind-rotting music, and to be immersed in popular culture.  They don’t need the stress.  

  • I have an M.A. in English and scored 99% in English and on my SAT essay way back when. We didn’t have discussions of literature in any schools I attended. I simply read through most of the great books as a sophomore and junior in college out of avid interest.  Don’t worry about the class discussion. They’ll probably do fine if they learn to love to read.

  • Guest

     I would just like to add that dyslexia (a reading disability) and dysgraphia (a writing disability – yes it is real and not made up) are not created by homeschooling or by public schooling or by private schooling.  Disabilities exist independent of the educational methods or the educational location used

  • Guest

    That should have read, “Disabilities exist independently of the educational methods or the educational location used”.

  • My3sweets

    Other parents (non-homeschooling) always comment on how much they like my 13-year-old son. They wonder why he’s able to entertain himself and others without electronic gadgets hanging from his fingers.  They are amazed at how he treats kids of all ages with respect and will actually PLAY with younger boys instead of look down on them. Because of these 2 attributes, he is a parent favorite who is requested to come to their homes to play with their sons. Because of economics, we had to put him in school this year. But I attribute his ability to respect and have fun with all ages of boys to the fact that he was never “forced” to be with his own age AND he was never in competition with his friends to be the best athlete or student.  We chose homeschooling for his younger years, and it was defi
    nitely the best decision for each of my kids. I wish we could have continued, but I hope the foundation they received to be “weird” will stay with them throughout their lives.

  • bearing

    Have you not noticed that charity is rather weird (aka rare and unusual) these days?

  • bearing

    Yup — one of the things that’s great about homeschooling is the way it brings together people from across the political-ideological spectrum, united around one goal — the desire to treat children as human beings.

  • Bethany D

    I have to be honest I don’t agree with your line of thinking. My husband and I will be home schooling our kids due to where we’re living outside of the States. I’ve been a public school teacher, and yes I’ve seen ridicule and been a “victim” of ridicule in public school settings, but almost all of the outcasts find their group of friends who don’t ridicule them. They also learn from those friends, no matter how awkward the mix of kids is. From a teaching standpoint, your kids aren’t learning social skills just from being ridiculed while in public school. (Although getting picked on when I was in school helped me learn to really stand up for my faith and the values that I had been raised with no matter what the cost.) I had numerous opportunities to talk with kids about behaviors and actions that were “annoying” and talk with kids about social norms. Having teachers who care and are able to see things that parents may not is a huge asset. For example, I’ve had students who want to answer every question and make what they know very well known. Because of the school setting, I’ve been able to explain to the kids that knowing the information is awesome, but blurting out or trying to answer every question doesn’t help other students who don’t get it. I’ve tried to teach them to help others if they are over-achievers rather than annoyingly blurt out every answer or attempt to answer every question. This is a super valuable character trait to take into the work force and most of my over-achievers have loved it. The kids who don’t get it also end up respecting that student more because the “know it all” is now a life line for the kid who is struggling. A lot of the time parents don’t see those things because they aren’t with their kids in such social environments, so those school lessons are awesome. I’m already struggling, not with my kid being a weird overachiever (because I know I was while in public school) but with how to relate to peers and pick up on social norms. Those two things are huge when kids become adults in big kid jobs. If you have ideas or information with how you have taught these two things to your kids I’d love to hear them!

  • Momengel

    Once, when I announced my homeschooling status to someone, she actually said the very words: “what about socialization.”  
    My calm reply was:  “My kids have over 100 first cousins.  I don’t think that’ll be a problem!

  • Angelae

     Wikipedia is an accurate source

  • Dnjhoffman

    Marla, I do believe you have somehow missed the entire point. 🙁

  • Michelle H

    That is not the only stuff the annoying kids are ridiculed for, but I get your point for sure! Nice article, Dwija!!

  • Sarah

    Well, you’re wrong. 

  • Richard

    This is so American it makes my head spin. 

  • NappyLady

    I wasn’t homeschooled. I am weird, ‘abnormal’, out of the box and a little (okay, a lot) crazy! I homeschool my kids and I preach this to my oldest child all of the time…he has advantages that I, his dad, and so many other PS or charter school kids don’t. He can be himself without being bullied like I was. Or being teased and taunted, afraid to speak, afraid to show my ‘real’ intelligence, like I was. Here, at homeschool, he can be free to be himself, ask questions (and he does…lol)…his sisters can be free to be themselves. They can be free to be physically strong females like me, and not have to worry about crushing some silly little boys ego because she’s tough. They won’t be ridiculed for being tomboys in pink! And yes, a lot of people talk about socialization as top priority, never once questioning my academic and intellectual ability to properly educate my child, or seek help in areas where I’m weak…nope, it’s about ‘socializing’! Tell me this: in school, we were told to sit down, shut up, pay attention, follow instructions. We were only given a chance to run around in PE in high school, and we only had 10mins or so (give or take a minute) to ‘socialize’ and catch up with our peers. Me growing up in Chicago…the south side, I ‘socialized’ with pregnant teenagers, drug dealers and smokers, a couple of pimps (no joke, true story), and people that were in the ‘in crowd’ and got talked about because I didn’t fit in…THESE were the types of people I socialized with…and they’ve only gotten worse! So….what’s that about socializing now?….lol

  • PER.FECT. I love this post. LOVE IT.

  • Opa Tom

    Maureen: I believe I can speak to your assumptions as we homeschooled our two daughters through High School back in 1987. Both my wife and I are Chemists by profession. After my chemistry degree I pursued a degree in Secondary Education from a different University. I taught Chemistry and Physics in High School and College before starting a career as a Materials Engineer for a well known engineering company in their Aerospace Division where I worked and retired.

    Your entire comment can be summed up by “and was a very motivated student.” When I was in school, I was one of those “annoying” students and was motivated as well. Looking back, students learn because of or in spite of their teachers. When I was teaching, I stepped out of the way of motivated students and became a counselor directing their pursuit of knowledge. Unmotivated students had to be entertained so they would learn “because of.”

    While I was in school for my Secondary Education degree I obviously had to take education classes. Some of this was good, interesting and applicable. I had one Professor bring in an article published in an established educational journal describing research regarding the use of TV to teach math classes, so the researcher was obviously a math teacher. Our Professor asked us to read the article and then make some comments. There were over twenty teachers in the class pursuing post graduate degrees and every one of them said that the article definitely showed that TV was a better way to teach math. When I looked at the article I had wondered how he figured out his statistics because he couldn’t have calculated the published significance level from his sample size but I didn’t say anything. The Professor, noting my silence, specifically asked me what my opinion was and of course I stated the above thought and received the appalled looks from the other students. After a very long silent pause, the Professor said that he had brought the article in just for that reason. Not all research is reliable and needs to be verified before it is acceptable. This is something that a scientist knows whereas the teachers did not find it necessary to check the reliability of the source.

    Neither of our daughters became chemists or scientists though both are involved in the biomedical industry in managerial positions. The learning skills developed during homeschooling far surpassed those presented in a traditional school setting and allowed both to move forward with their careers.

    One comment about Socialization – Traditional schools do not promote socialization. The do not foster the ability of one generation to easily communicate with other generations. Our daughters both had experiences that involved them with the elderly, youngsters and other cultures.

  • Mike


  • Claire

    Every mother is an educator, whether or not her children go to school outside the home. I hope you didn’t impart sarcasm and superiority to your children. That would definitely be an educational abuse.

  • stopthejunk1

    Exactly. This is why Richard Feynman sat at the back of the math class and studied a calculus textbook by himself. (He was too disruptive, because bored, to participate with the other children in his public school.) Later in his career, the arcane calculus techniques he learned — by himself, reading the textbook — proved invaluable to him (according to Feynman himself, in his autobiography.)

    “Teaching” in a classroom is entirely overrated. Naturally we would expect teachers to overrate it, since they’re part of it. Plenty of teachers are terrible at what they do, and are unable to interest students in their subject. That, and not explanation, is the main point of teaching.

  • stopthejunk1

    Sounds like you subscribe to all of the myths about homeschooling. Clearly, you’ve never participated in it.

  • Rachel S.

    I have this one online friend that is homeschooled who is honestly not so bright (has very very bad grammar and spelling; can’t even spell freezer), likes things that I learned to like although she pretty much refuses to like the things that I like, >>is<< pretty annoying sometimes, argues with me when I tell her that I don't like homeschooling because of the many benefits of public school, etc. I understand that homeschooling can be very good for kids in ways of intelligence and lack of peer pressure, but some people don't understand the disadvantages to it. Although public school has the tendancy to change kids negatively, it's not everyone who ends up like that, and many kids express themselves freely with others that share their same interests. Multiple cliques for them to choose from. Also, there are tons of homeschooled kids who aren't overly smart and tons of kids that go to public school who are very smart. I'm 13, in 8th grade, and I'd say I'm smarter than the majority of people who go to my school and even smarter than a lot of people in the grades above me. Homeschoolers aren't as special as people praise them to be.

  • Jeffrey

    The whole “socialization” argument is a ruse in my opinion. I have yet to meet a home schooled kid I wasn’t flat out impressed by. They actually use their brains and when compared side by side with a same age public schooled kid it’s like talking to someone ten years older. ADHD is a load of crap, kids are curious when they’re allowed to be and best I can tell kids in public school are pushed to assimilate to a certain set of bogus rules/guidelines and ideals. If they don’t comply it’s because of ADHD. Why don’t you ladies try replacing the word “weird” with the word “GREAT”. I’m floored by the fact so few of you can see this, even if you have kids. I’m a single Christian man trying to find a woman who uses her brain, is not swayed by bogus “public opinion” and can see what I already can. If you think your kids should shut up, look pretty and stand silently in some corner you are doing them a huge disservice. For those of you who do home school, I think you’re doing both your children and society at large a huge favor allowing your kids to become truly great individuals. Don’t listen to any naysayers.

  • Jeff

    By your comments it would appear you’ve never met a home schooled kid. As a guy who has not yet been blessed with kids of my own, the difference between a home schooled kid and public schooled kid is night and day. You’re a fine example of how “Sheeple” think.

  • SHEAFMom

    These types of reply comments are what I use, in my confirmation class, to illustrate the need for the Authority of thr Church. Without the Church we are forced to interpret black and white words(bible), using the life experience glasses we wear. Sadly our “glasses” blurr the truth.

    Using this comment and its replies let’s examine what was said and what may have been meant. I enjoyed reading the original comment by Virginia. When I read the reply by Schala I giggled because I assumed she, like me, enjoyed reading not just the words, but seeing the inflection of voice in Virginia’s writing. I was then sucker punched reading the attacks on Schala. I had not interpreted what she had written as sarcastic, but as a sincere compliment to Virginia’s “fun” writing style.

    These comments are not documents or textbooks meant to share the facts and only the facts. These comments are trying to convey feelings, tone of voice, emotions. Sadly, we are often on the defensive, probably from our childhood experiences. It is easier to assume the worst of our fellow man; thereby protecting us from being vulnerable to ridicule.

    When we read each article and the comments below, please try to remember we are brothers and sister in Christ. Lets raise the bar and assume the best, not the worst of each other.

  • Claire

    A compliment to Virginia’s writing style? That’s a big stretch. I agree with giving people the benefit when in doubt, but Schala was not commenting on Virginia’s vocal inflection. She was referring to her less than perfect use of punctuation and capital letters. And did so in a derogatory way. Yet you’re criticizing the rest of us for attacking her. Now that’s ironic, because she’s the one who did the attacking.

  • Claire, the student in question is working on her MASTERS, apparently she can write. The punctuation and capitalization were obviously intended to show feeling. They were not errors, as you will, no dobt, find throughout m writing. That is why I believe Schala was being playful, not mean. My point was how often fights and disagreements online are not because people don’t agree but because we can’t see facial expression or hear tone of voice. It is why the Church is so important in reading the Bible. It is vital that we read Scripture through the eyes of the Chuch and not through our fallen blurred ones. I didn’t write my reply to criticize you (I was trying to reply to the original comment apparently I did not reply properly), which prove my point. My interpretation of what was written, according to you, was “a stretch”. You reaffirmed, without evidence, that you know she was “attacking”. You interpretated what I wrote was criticism. I meant it as a comfort for those that often feel they need to be constantly “on guard”. I sincerely apologize if my comments, regardless of my intent, “made” you feel insulted. I had hoped others would read my comment and feel comfort that maybe people from different backgrounds have different ways of expressing humor and that they need not assume injury.

  • Claire

    The student is working on her master’s, not the mother who wrote this comment. Furthermore, less than stellar use of punctuation and capital letters does not necessarily prevent someone from reaching that level of education. I have no doubt that her use of capitals was intended to stress a point. Punctuation, no, that’s not so obvious, and no, I don’t think Schala was being playful. Maybe you didn’t mean to “make” me feel insulted, and maybe you were trying to comfort others, but surely it isn’t too big a stretch to see how your categorization of my initial response as an “attack” (your word) would sound critical. I don’t disagree with your point that internet communications are often misinterpreted, and I guess I’m glad that I could help you to prove your point, but I have to admit that it seems a little bit like a set-up.

  • Clare, 🙂 I wish I was smart enough to plan “I have to admit that it seems a little bit like a set-up”. I am the worse chess player because I can not see one move ahead much less several. 🙂 Thanks for understanding that, although I am not always the best at expressing myself, I really didn’t mean to criticize you. It deeply saddens me when there is “infighting” on a “family”, aka Catholic site.

  • Claire

    Well SHEAFMom, if it’s any consolation, I can guarantee that you would beat me in a chess game! That is a game that I never mastered.

    I agree, it is unfortunate to see these conflicts.

  • Bryson D,

    Im homeschooled. However, I’m not one of those weirdos..lol anyway, One thing I get sick of, is hanging out with kids my age, once they find out i’m homeschooled, they write me off. Asking girls out, and getting rejected cuz youre homeschooled hurts. alot. I’m not saying homeschooling is bad. its a good way to educate your kids. My older sister was really introverted, so she loved homeschooling. However, some kids are extroverted, like me. Because of homeschooling, I am a 17 year old guy with basically no friends, because my parents don’t let me make any moves of my own. Summers are awesome, I make friends, work jobs, date, all sorts of great awesome stuff that public schoolers do. Then when school starts, it’s back to the grindstone of not seeing anyone for four days at a time except for your family. The lonely years of homeschooling, I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy.

  • MammaBear

    I’m not homeschooling my children, but I agree 100% with what you say here.

  • But you are able; you are teachers. I believe Beth was referring to the ordinary herd of people, most of whom have never cracked a chem book. I took it in high school and was lousy at it along with math and anything containing numbers. I could easily teach English, History, Geography, etc. but nothing in the numbers game. I suspect a lot of “regular” people are more like me than you.

  • Jen

    In response to: “Better they learn what?…That the crowd knows best? That they need to wear a certain thing and buy a certain thing in order to be worth people’s

    I say: Better they learn now that the the crowd doesn’t always know best yet they can still operate in it, as they will throughout the rest of their lives. That others in their midst will think they have to wear a certain thing but they won’t have to — and that’s OK, they can still be classmates and collaborators.

  • Delainey J

    I am home schooled and I am NOT weird…I mean I make my friends laugh by being a little weird but not like nerd weird. I am in 6th grade and I would HATE to be in the environment that my Public-Schooled friends are in….never have never will be….My parents CARE about my education…They don’t just stick me on a bus and forget about me for 8 hours….

  • Jennifer

    All you really had to do here was skip to the part where you openly admitted that you were “one of those” weird kids. Enough said. We now know the driving force between this whole article at least, if not the total reason why you decided to pull your kids out of school. Because it did not suit you. It probably has little real concern for them. I guess you are projecting your experiences and assuming that homeschooling will be best for your kids, all of whom, BTW are INDIVIDUALS, separate from YOU and each other in personality, temperment, and interests. Ever stop to think that your daughters “weirdness” might be just a phase, or letting her figure out how to stand by her uniqeness and develop a strong sense of self…instead of cloistering her away from the real world?!?!? I’m sorry, but this is about your selfishness and cowardice, not their quality of education.

  • Claire

    How can you even presume to “know” that the author’s motivation for homeschooling was not out of concern for her kids? She mentioned many reasons for homeschooling, each of which was linked to her kids’ well-being. And homeschooled kids aren’t cloistered. A child doesn’t need to go to school to be in the real world. Nothing in this article suggested anything selfish or cowardly. Your comment, on the other hand, is mean-spirited and judgmental.

  • anonymous

    I think this article is extremely rude. I’m a homeschooled kid and i am not annoying or weird. Don’t judge people unless you have done it yourself. This was taken in big offence in my part. If you really think that we are rude and weird then try homeschooling yourself. We are actually more social than kids that go to public school. So seriously just stop judging people

  • I’m sorry that you have such a low opinion of the education major. My father is a teacher, and as a long-time student (in med school now), I’ve noticed the often marked difference between the teaching quality of professors who have and who don’t have education degrees. You get the lucky minority of professors without education degrees who are very good and are able to pull it off well, but then you get professors who just wanted the research position at the university and don’t even look comfortable talking in front of a class or are bad at understanding students’ questions or presenting the material. That was my point. I’m not sure that many teachers use primary sources so the interpretation of research point that you make, while it may be valid, to me doesn’t seem as important as having teachers that are good at teaching.

  • jmjalways

    We homeschooled our 6 kids for a while, until the oldest was 5th grade. There are reasons it was not working for our family, meaning Not everyone CAN homeschool and from all the comments, it sounds like you homeschoolers are on a higher level. The parish we belong to is mostly h.s. families and I cant believe how some of the girls dress, listening to the kids gossip at donuts after Mass and the way they’ve treated my kids for being in school. They’ve been brainwashed by their moms that all schooled kids are the devil trying to corrupt thier minds. Its funny. Ya think with all that educating going on at home, this would not be an issue – basic respect for others. I love school and all it offers to our family. Yes there are things that are challenging, but they’ve all been great teaching moments. We still do all the things we did when they homeschooled. Teaching manners and how to talk correctly, even with adults, Nightly Rosary, Mass during the week, reading the Bible, celebrating the liturgical seasons, etc.. Life is good here. Im just tired of the sterotyping just like you guys are. I believe if all the Christian homeschoolers would put their kids in Catholic schools, then there would be such UNITY that the issues you dont like in school, would be more easily taken care – b/c of how many people would “fight the good fight.”
    God bless us all.

  • Claire

    Financially, Catholic school is not an option for me. So it’s either public school or homeschool. And after having my son in religious ed which is taught by our parish’s preschool teacher, my impression of our parish school is not good (I pulled him out after two sessions; the Protestant preschool he attends three mornings/week is much more impressive). My son will never be raised to be cruel to kids who attend school outside the home. Everyone’s situation is different, every school is different, and some school scenarios are a good fit for some kids and not for others.

  • Sonya

    This pretty much sums up my fears about homeschooling, which are also the same reasons that I really want to homeschool my child. I love the way you think, felt the same way growing up, and want my kids to be free to express those good if quirky parts of themselves! Thank you for writing this.

  • Billy

    Public school kids are just jealous because public schools are for bullies, drug addicts, cut throats, and liars. I regrettably went to public school and was bullied until I developed PTSD and other problems while another relative of mine was home school. There were times when I was younger that I thought she was weird and annoying but she wasn’t. She had a thirst for knowledge and civility that us public school kids had not clue of. Today she owns 2 homes, has a great job, and a very stable fiance’. Personally I think public are horrible and the real obnoxious, annoying, and weird people are from the public schools. If I had kids I’d put them into a private school or have them homes schooled rather than throw them in the toilet public school system.

  • David S

    I think private schools and/or home schooling is far better and safer. Mostly you’re throwing your child’s future away by sending them to an American Public school. Mostly where there are bullies but passive aggressive teachers that don’t and won’t protect your kid, teach them double standards, watered down education, and teach kids nothing but hopelessness. Also with the ton of school shootings all the time you are better off sending your kid to private school or home school (or a combination of both). It’s just safer. I mean teachers and public schools say they protect kids and have safety but they don’t really. These people aren’t even smart enough to teach let alone protect anyone. Public schools specially in 2013 are inferior. Bunch of burn out pot heads teaching watered down biased classes to kids that come from broken homes full of Math Head Dead Beat Parents that only want their kids to go to school and bully your kids. All the while the American Schools teach a double standard that 1. You must protect yourself on your own but 2. Fighting isn’t allowed in school. So when you child does protect him or herself the Ignorant Public Schools punish your kid. Also they teach your kids double standards when adult staff can call security or the police if they are harassed but teach your kid to cope & deal with bullies at school that are far bigger than them. So basically teaching your kids how to be good victims while others walk all over them. But in the real world Adults wouldn’t fight each other at the work place, they would call the cops or security to handle it. Or if they had to fight it was out of self defense. But like I said when ever your kid does use self defense in school they are punished for it – so Public Schools are teaching our kids how to lie down and die while a bully kills them. Public Schools are full of Oxymoron lessons that don’t apply to the real world. This boorish world may seem realistic to the burn outs that teach there but that isn’t how life is nor should be. Anyway international test scores show that public schools are horrible and on to of that public schools in countries like the USA are even worse than most other nations. You’re better off not even sending your kid to school these days if you can’t sent them to Private School or Home School and just possibly teaching them a trade. Though I am a big advocate for education I believe that public schools are extremely dangerous and a terrible place for your child to be brainwashed.

  • Sean

    I was homeschooled for 4 years between 6th and 9th grades before going to public school for the last 3 years of high school. While I don’t think the problem with socialization is as bad as some would suggest, I do remember that I had difficulty adjusting to public school. Ultimately I think I learned more in easily in the last three years of high school than I did during my time as a homeschooler so I disagree with anyone who claims that one method is better than the other in all cases

  • Gabbi Browne

    Such a superior-sounding answer. You are blessed that you are able to homeschool; not all families can.

  • Meg

    Nice article. I am also one of the “weird” kids who grew up to homeschool my own kids, who are weird also, in ways that I like, but that the school norm doesn’t. I will say, I learned eventually that being Brainy Smurf, with an answer to every question and an eagerness to show off knowledge regardless of whether the other person is interested, is annoying anywhere you see it, and I am making sure my kids have better social skills than that. They don’t need school to teach them manners and social skills. If they did, wouldn’t most kids in school display good manners and positive social skills? haha.
    One of the ways I try to instill good character in my kids, is also to avoid the trap of IQ worship. Being smart is fine and well, but getting puffed up about whatever your native intellectual ability is, is essentially taking credit for someone else’s work, or at least, taking credit for something you didn’t accomplish yourself. What we do with our abilities, and how we hone them, is something we can take credit for. To what degree we are or are not naturally able, shouldn’t be a source of pride, or shame, to anyone.

  • Cass

    We, too, homeschooled our children for a short time but it just didn’t work for our family as I needed to go back to work to help support our family. Yes, not all of us can afford to stay at home. There is a real world out there. We put them back in Catholic school. It has been a wonderful (not perfect) but right choice for our family. The school has always been open to my suggestions and I have been able to introduce the teachers and parents to some wonderful solid Catholic resources that I used while homeschooling. They were most grafeful and anxious to have my input. I, along with my children, have suffered “persecution” from HS families for putting our children in school and being told that “we should know better” because Catholic schools today are not Catholic enough. The HS children would not even talk to my children, and rudely said out loud, “HS is better because you don’t have homework.” My daughter was hurt, and I quickly pulled her out of that group.
    For those who say they can’t afford Catholic school, no child will be denied a Catholic educaiton because they can’t afford it. We have not paid full tuition for 6 years now.
    As for teachers, all four of my brothers are teachers. One brother works in a Catholic school and does not make much money but does it because he cares. He has made a tremendous impact on the lives of his students for the past 20 years. He has helped turn the lives around of many students.
    I am so tired of the self-righteousness of HS. I had a homeschool Mom not give me the hand shake of peace or talk to me for three months when she found out I put my children in Catholic schools. I don’t care of these Catholic HS know their Catechism upside down and inside out. What does St. Paul say? “If I have not love, I am nothing?” I don’t know the exact quote but you get my drift.

  • Erik

    What kind of horrible post is this? This is very hurtful, and doesn’t make much sense. I am home schooled and I really want to socialize, but it’s very hard… I think that’s a very broad statement saying all home schooled kids are annoying. You should really think of re-wording this because this could be very hurtful to others, and could crush someone’s self-esteem. So maybe try to help them, rather than hinder them, with statements such as this.

  • lovehomeschooling

    My boys play PAL basketball in our very diverse (racially, ethnically, spiritually) community, they play baseball in the neighboring borough – with another whole set of kids, they wrestle, learn karate, play piano and guitar, are active in a boys club. They LOVE to read, and they write plays for other kids act in. And they have cousins and friends from other home school families. I’d say my kids’ “socialization” is LESS homogeneous than the average public school kid. Socialization has been easy for us, but for some parents, it may take some sacrifice and effort to find what their kids like to do and to get them involved. When my kids are older, they will have access to all the public school sports teams and clubs, should they want to try out or get involved. But homeschooling my kids means they get a teacher that divides her time two ways instead of 20! And if my kids find JUST one person they can call a true friend for life, they will be very blessed.

  • …and not only is this young adult correct in assertations, s/he is also a gifted writer! I would have done anything to be homeschooled, but it was an unheard of option in my parent’s circle in the 1960’s.

  • Deb

    I am homeschooled and have even for 8 years. I am the most talkative and social person you will ever meet. All my friends are homeschooled and they are the same way. We go to a homeschool co-op, go to choir, church activities, camps, fiends houses, ect.. Ect.. Ect.. The same way public school kids do. I am going to Juliard performing arts in NY, when I graduate high school for theatre and broadway. “Unsocial”? Yes I am very “unsocial”. Many kids in homeschoomg get better grades and better opputunities than any public schooler could get. Now, I am not just arguing from one side. I went to public school for 2 years. I was in 3-4 grade , my brothers in middle school and going in high school. We started, and never wants to go back. It wasn’t school at all. I learned about Sooo many things that I shouldn’t have learned about. Sex, boys, gays, lesbians, ect.. Ect.. IN 4th GRADE!!! I hated it, they had so much drama and problems everyday and to me it took FOREVER to get through a day it was so long. My mom is a bus driver and has been for YEARS she has seen the public school kids.. Good and bad. Now… I’m not Saying public schooling is so bad you should never do it…cause I know certain people can’t do it, just don’t pick sides if you didn’t have any experience with both.

  • Jeremiah

    Sadly this fact has been broken. The kid who did the newtown shooting was home schooled

  • Claire

    The shooter in Newtown had a variety of different educational experiences. He spent many more years attending school outside the home than he spent being homeschooled. His educational background had nothing to do with his actions in Newtown.

  • Q

    He had, I believe, attended the school where he committed the massacre. Neither public school nor homeschooling worked for him.

  • Takoda N

    I am 13, and i am homeschooled. No socialization.. .HAHAHAHA!!!! What a joke!!! I have plenty of friends, and the thing is, if you are homeschooled, the friends that you make are real friends, not people trying to take advantage of you! You don’t have to deal with the cliques, or the jocks, just real people, that want to be your friend. I attend a church youth group, and i LOVE it! I have made a ton of friends, and i feel like i fit in. We are annoying? The people that attend public school are. When you are homeschooled, are you bullied? Have your books knocked out of your hand? Tripped and called a loser? NO! -Takoda

  • SchoolDude97

    Marla, that is not was was meant. What was meant was that she is on the way to that career, not that she is giving it up! There are other ways to homeschool, cyberschool perhaps? I do that, and i love it.

  • Lori_KeepingItSimple

    Oh my goodness! I have been homeschooling for over 20 years and I have never heard this put into words this well!! Amen!

  • Logan

    Sorry to seem rude, but… That is kind of a stupid answer to those stupid questions. Of couse home school kids don’t shoot-up the school! They dont have a school to shoot-up! And they don’t open fire on classmates because they don’t have any! Your answer was like saying “Did you know that 100 percent of felines are not dogs? That’s right, not one single feline is a dog.”
    You can’t use an argument like that.

  • Melanie Rudd

    Wow! I just stumbled on this post through a google search and am so impressed with this article! This is my 10th year homeschooling and it never fails to amaze me that people are more worried about socialization than any other area affected by homeschooling. You have summed up my feelings exactly and made me proud and glad to be raising two wonderfully annoying homeschool kids! Kudos to you for standing up to the naysayers!

  • Julie

    wrong…you must be a product of the public school system.

  • Good parents whose kids attend a public or a private school WILL LIMIT social interactions when thier children are young. They will tell the kids no, you can’t stay at Joey’s house because his mommy and daddy fight alot, or no, you can’t stay at Susie’s house because while she is a sweet girl, we want you to spend time with people who share our values,. In homeschooling families this is inherently easier, because the ENTIRE FAMILY will find other families who SHARE THIER VALUES… Don’t believe in Gay Marriage? Don’t teach in a public school or send your kids to one. Want your children to attend Daily Masses as part of thier education? Send them to Catholic Schools, and actively promote them going to a daily mass EVERY DAY instead of once a week, or make it a part of thier HOME SCHOOL EDUCATION to leave the house, appropriately dressed, and GO TO MASS… Homeschooling parents are generally active in church, most likely faith had a great deal of why they are not sending thier children to secular institutions.
    Public schools teach kids values that are not always in line with Christian doctrines… So to do some private schools… BE PROACTIVE.
    Oh yeah, and what exactly will kids learn from children who by and large have little upbringing in the way of behavior with others? Want to learn about ettiquette? It sure isn’t gonna happen by putting a hundred kids together in a room and letting them learn how to “socialize” without adult teaching…

  • fdfafds

    What a lame and small minded post

  • If you don’t like that answer… Go ask people in a welfare line, how many were homeschooled?

    Furthermore, every homeschool event I have been to the children all played together with no fighting, bullying, or any other abnormal behaviors. These were kids from all ages; from babies to high school. Some of the kids were very high strung; maybe from not being told to sit down and not talk for 8 hours a day? The high strung kids were the best playmates they played with everyone regardless if they knew them or not. There was no cliques amoung these kids because they haven’t been seperated from other kids based on age.
    Which leads me to the point out the grown adults that can’t exist socially without cliques and team up with like minded people in the work environment. That is a behavior learned in the public education system. It’s not natural to behave that way. The clique people are always the people that are causing work place drama as well. I have found from experience the best people are the ones who have varied social circles. The ones that can socialize with more than “there own type”.
    And there is a classroom they could shoot up if they so desired. They could loose it and kill their families.

  • Jill

    I would also like to use this quote. My in-laws are still not totally on board with us homeschooling and we have been doing it for 6 years now.

  • tired

    clear academic achievement of home schooled children? as a high school teacher for years, i never had a home schooled student who came close to measuring up, the parents insist on putting them in advanced classes and they can barely perform at the standard level. the parents are delusional!

  • Claire

    Judging by your use of punctuation and capital letters (or lack thereof), I don’t think you’re in a position to be making those kinds of generalizations.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    I think it is wonderful that some parents(mostly Mother) are able to home-school their children until they are ready to go out into society and find their niche within it. But not all parents can afford to not be either: A.) the sole breadwinner (single parents by many ways including widowhood or B.) secondary( needing two incomes to eek over the poverty line). I suppose some would say…less comforts ie computers, eat more of this and less of that, etc., etc., etc. But don’t judge another’s reason for choosing either, public, private or home schooling.

    I believe that there are many types of schooling. One of them is the “school of hard knocks”. Society outside the family home’s door can be merciless. That is one of the realities of life itself. Learning to hold one’s own value system in a world which doesn’t care one way or the other unless you are in your own familiar niche, is the true and final test of any K-12 schooling system. And yes people do and will continue to be educated until the day they die, by many others in one form or another.

  • lissa

    As a teacher with many years of experience in both public and private schools, as well as one-on-one coaching, I have seen far too many unqualified parents homeschooling. Just being at home is no panacea for coping with illiteracy. In fact, my last school took in quite a few homeschooled students. Virtually all of them had major problems academically and most had “helicopter” parents hovering to make sure their kids weren’t being “overworked” by our rigorous curriculum. I know my view is unpopular but I can’t help but think a good Catholic school is best. It worked for all our children (now grown).

  • bullied kid

    I graduated in a regular school with a degree of engineering. During my elementary and high school days I was an outdoor kid, I never stayed at home I want to be with my friends always, I was bullied when I was in grade school and my mother always remind me not to fight back and leave it alone, because fighting is not good. When I was in college I began experiencing negative thoughts in my mind, I don’t why I always entertain negative things in my life. I began to distant myself with my friends and other people. I always want to be alone, out from this so called “socialization”. When I started looking for a job no one hired me because I easily lose hope and get so frustrated and that frustrations ruined my career. Until one day I heard a preacher talking about homeschooling in order to protect your kids from bullying and he explain everything the side effects of bullying for a grown up. I never thought in my entire life that I was suffering on what they called the bullying effects in my younger days. It was so tremendous I lost my self esteem and confidence on things that I can do and I want to do. I always felt that every one is looking and staring at me, I felt pressured thinking that my family wants something good for my career, but that’s all only in my mind, in the world of negative state of mind. Until now age the age of 50, I had done nothing in my life. I have no career, no permanent job, nothing because of that so called bullying. So I decided to home schooled my child to develop his self confidence and to learn how to stand up against all odds. I do not believed in that so called socialization because I was a very socialized during my younger years, but now nothing, but unemployed. What is the importance of a degree when you have no self confidence? NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!! i HOPE YOU GET SOMETHING FROM THIS STORY! THANKS

  • sally field

    I would be a lot more open to learning about homeschooling if I didn’t feel the homeschooling community was so judgmental and close-minded about public school. I think there are pros and cons to both. I know homeschoolers think public school kids are bullied by friends and mean teacher who tell them to sit in a desk for 8 hours and not talk. This is simply not true. I worked on crafts, played games, and read books with plenty of really nice kids, and my teacher was always sweet and nurturing. I never, even in high school, sat in a desk all day.

  • Claire

    There’s plenty of judgment on the other side, too. I’m planning on sending my son to 1/2 day public school kindergarten in the fall. Homeschooling is my backup plan if public school doesn’t work out. If I do end up homeschooling, I have plenty of friends and family members who will be horrified. They think that homeschoolers are sheltered, unsocial, you name it. It’s time to put these stereotypes to rest. There are pros and cons to all different types of schooling, and it varies from region to region, depending on the resources available.

  • Samson

    You seem a little hateful with your comments here, Tori. In fact, after I’m finished asking people in the welfare line, I think I’ll go ask people standing in line to buy groceries, and then people in line at the movies how many of them were home schooled. You know, us home schooled kids are a pretty small sample size, Tori. You raised an interesting point in that drawn out description of home schooled play (as i read, I was envisioning some new genetically engineered species of humanoids, being examined for their social tendencies in a group setting; such fascinating creatures we are!), when discussing “high strung kids” being the best playmates. In describing your very intriguing observational study, you mentioned that they (meaning the “high strung kids”) were the best playmates, so much so that they even played with complete strangers! If I were observing this, I would have also noticed a very large red flag. I’m sure in the setting, everything was completely safe… but playing with strangers? A certain protective mechanism seems to be absent there. Anyway, I was home schooled, so I feel as though giving my own two sense is only proactive, right?! Some comments I read just make me sick. Please remember, mothers and fathers, that you are shaping a life. Something especially true for the home schooled is that we don’t know anything beyond what you decide for us to know (more so early on). These comments are plagued with forceful language of what the parent wants. Remember you are dealing with little human beings, and in being human, we need certain experiences in order to grow and understand the world in which we live. Some attitudes I read flash images of a dictatorship through my mind… Remember the recipients of your actions. Oh and I’m not very sure why you are worried about cliques, unless you feel left out possibly? My Catholic home school group sure had what we refer to as “cliques.” I feel as though people who act in such a manner (forming cliques) lack intelligence. At the same time, you might just want to learn how to- for lack of a better term- B.S. with people to avoid being discriminated against by people excluding you through the formation of such cliques. But that is just the point of view coming from a home schooled person. It would be wise to open your ears and listen. By the way, among many other horrific grammatical and spelling errors: high strung should be hyphenated (high-strung, like so), I believe you mean “*their* own type” (not ‘there’ own type), *separated* not seperated, and heaven forbid someone “loose” it (*lose*), etc… I hope you haven’t started teaching your children spelling or grammar already. Invest in a good book. I was a fan of A Beka

  • Zion

    I was home schooled as well and I disagree with you. Are you saying other children can’t make real friends since they are not home schooled? Think about what you are typing before you post it. Prejudiced actions towards other people are exactly what it sounds as though you are either afraid of, or are trying to avoid (judging by your comments about bullying). With your comments, you make it seem as though you enjoy being home schooled, in part, because your are not subjected to prejudice and discrimination from other people. Then, you shouldn’t say things like you did about kids in public school, and you shouldn’t generalize either. You don’t want to be a bully I assume? Some families simply cannot home school their children (both parents may be working to make ends meet, there may be only one parent who holds a job making them unable to home school their children, etc.). You are very blessed to be home schooled and loving it. Remember that, and also realize that if you think public school is a bad place, watch your step on the internet

  • PetersAP

    ‘socializing’ is a form of the word ‘socialization’

  • Samson

    Just don’t label yourself! Anyone has the potential to think on their own, as you do. It doesn’t make you weird, nor does it make anyone else so. Eleanor Roosevelt said- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” I keep that in mind always. My intelligence- academically, socially, and emotionally- has always been a barrier between myself and discrimination from others. I was home schooled until the age of 15, thrown into high school with minimal experience writing papers and without having ever taken a test in my life. I graduated with a 4.08 GPA, as a leader of my school, an independent thinker, and with many great friends with bright futures. Let’s tear down the labels. With a world view, normal is relative, and all that’s left to rely on is the content of one’s character. I’m glad to hear you are home schooling! I’m sure you’re kids will thrive.

  • Samson

    *your 🙂 whoops, I always proofread when it’s too late

  • Bumr50

    Teacher’s unions.

    THAT’S why home schooled children are ridiculed.

    It’s a meme that transcends all media, thereby reinforcing the concept.

    It’s simple really.

    Your children are their leverage, along with everybody’s tax dollars.

  • zagamaph

    I was home-schooled and I hated it. For most of my childhood I had absolutely no friends and almost never got out of our house. I still have trouble relating to other people, and have no close friends at the moment. I tell my mom about it and she says that I wouldn’t of necessarily had many friends in public school. But I would of at least had a chance.

  • I reposted this to FB a year ago, and when I stumbled onto it today, I posted it again. Excellent article. When I was asked, “What about Socialization?” I always answered, “Well yes, of course the improved socialization opportunities are great, but I’m really doing this for academic reasons.” Also often a stopper for all the rest of the condescending questions.

  • I completely LOVE this answer!

  • Person

    As long as the living conditions are fine and if the child is receiving social contact, then home-school is the way to go. But if the home is a stressful environment and there is no way to hang out with friends, then you will just put your child through absolute hell and you’ll be lucky if your kid doesn’t shoot himself in the head. Trust me, I barely made it through “childhood” with that kind of a life, if you can even call it a childhood.

  • You don’t need to have 100 friends having 1 or 2 REAL friends is what matters……..I grew up just find having 2 or 3 really true and good friends instead of so many fake friends.

  • Chickaree

    I love it! Thank you for writing this. My inlaws hammered me with these kinds of questions and still can’t quite come to terms with the fact that they don’t need to worry about “socialization.” I might just give them this to read….

  • it’s “two cents” by the way 😉

  • Candy Lawrence

    What you’re describing- the ‘weird’ kid- screams to me ‘the gifted child’. And it’s true that gifted kids will often do so much better being homeschooled, because nobody is going to be calling them weird when they’re just advanced. Often in mainstream schooling they become the target of bullies because of their ‘weirdness’. Go the homeschoolers, say I.

  • Stephen

    I really wish that the pervasive Homeschool vs Public vs Private school debate would stop being framed in this manner. Any time you pit schooling options against one another, everyone inevitably loses the argument. There are pros and cons to every solution… some people see options with more pros than others; thats why they make the choice that works for their family.

    However one of the core question that goes into making the best decisions for your children is often ignored (or at least not discussed openly): “Do I understand my child’s strengths and weaknesses intimately enough to make the appropriate schooling decision?” Trying to toute one schooling option as superior to another fails to acknowledge the unique character, skills, and attributes that each child possesses. It is my opinion that Children benefit most from a parent who tailor’s schooling decisions to the individual child wherever possible. For example, I have relatives who have three children: the youngest child goes to a private christian school, the oldest goes to a charter school, and the middle child is homeschooled. Each of these schooling choices is custom tailored to the child and can be changed by the parents should they begin to see that a different option would work better at any time.

    Furthermore to act as if the term ‘socialization’ refers solely to forcing a child into a the masses mentality is a misstep in my opinion. There are children who legitimately have a difficult time learning how to relate to or empathize with human beings outside of their immediate family structure. In this case, I believe that a strong case could be made for placing the child in a closely monitored environment where they have the opportunity to interact with those outside their comfort zone. Not because the child is ‘weird’, but simply because the parent is exercising good judgement to help their child grow in a given area that could potentially become crippling for them down the road.

    Again, it all comes down to parental involvement. A homeschooling parent who takes the ‘one size fits all’ approach can be equally in error as the parent who dumps there kid off in public school without a second thought. If you are not actively engaged in determining the best environment for your child, you’ve done them a great disservice- if you assume one size fits all you do yourself a disservice.

    My wife and I both grew up experiencing all three of these options: private school, public school, and home school. We are unbiased in that we didn’t prefer any of the options over the other. What I really enjoyed growing up was the blend of benefits that came from all three. In private school I enjoyed celebrating my Christian faith with likeminded believers, in homeschool I enjoyed getting to work at an excellerated pace, in public school I loved being part of a great arts/music program that opened many doors for me later in my college years.

    A giant pet peeve of mine is when homeschooling families talk down to, insult, or otherwise belittle kids who are have been raised in a private/public school. Homeschooling may seem like a small minority for some, but in many churches homeschooling is the prevailing method where they suddenly become the majority. When this is the case, things can turn downright nasty as some homeschooling parents teach their kids that public school kids are ‘demonic’, ‘unlearned’, ‘stupid’, ‘slow’, and on and on… I recently when in to receive CPA advice from a man who has 9 kids and homeschools all of them. Apparently he thought that I had been homeschooled all my life. He proceeded to degrade and insult families and children who weren’t homeschooled. I saw firsthand how is children (who also worked in his office) echoed this awful example set by their father with knowing, sly grins and snickers as their dad proceeded to denigrate his fellow human beings.

    When is this type of attitude going to stop? Let’s be involved parents who love our children enough not to instill hatred into them. You can see it in these comments… there are homeschooled children posting about public school life (bullies knocking books out of people’s hands, cliques, etc). They are playing to stereotypical portrayals of what their parents have told them, what they have seen on TV. They are mimicking the bigotry of their parents. We live in a fallen, sinful world and it is unrealistic to think that sin won’t touch our kids in one way or another, be it in public, private, or homeschooling scenarios.

    My point is not to convince someone of which schooling method is better. The crux of the matter is this: if parents spent less time criticizing other’s schooling methods and more time getting to know their children as individuals, the world would be a much better experience. There ARE weird homes schoolers. There ARE weird private schoolers. There ARE weird private schoolers. But mostly, there ARE just plain weird parents who don’t get the fact that they should be paying more attention to their children’s learning strengths/weaknesses instead of taking a hardline on some unrealistic one-size-fits all solution.

    Sorry for the length of this one, but this is an issue extremely near and dear to my heart. As a father to two littles ones fast approaching schooling age, schooling decisions have been at the forefront of my mind. Frankly, I’ve been absolutely disgusted with the nastiness of biases from all sides of the equation. Consider this my sanctioned venting… 😉

    May God see fit to bless our Children with an education that best fits the way He uniquely crafted them.

  • Stephen

    Note, my comment isn’t made in response to the article (I felt it was actually well thought out and justified). My response was made more with regards to some of the comments present in this thread.

  • Claire

    Very well said, Stephen. Thank you for a balanced and thoughtful comment. My son is finishing up a three-morning/week Christian preschool, and is going to start half-day public kindergarten in the fall. If that doesn’t work out, homeschooling is our backup plan (private school is not financially possible for us). I belong to a Catholic homeschooling yahoo group, and the members there seem pretty non-judgmental. I have encountered much more judgment from the anti-homeschooling side. But I know that in some areas there is judgment to go around on all sides, and that is unfortunate.

  • jb

    I was not home-schooled and I had natural curiosity to learn things that seemed “weird” to others and never waivered about being an individual or worried about fitting in even if I got teased. I have nothing against home-schooling. But don’t use the excuse to shield your child from ridicule as your reason. At some point, they have to develop inner strength and resilience to withstand ridicule. As Christians we are told that we will be ridiculed. If your child never faces this until they leave your home, how resilient will they be when they are 18 and it’s the first time they are ridiculed by peers?

    Furthermore, how are you teaching them to be a light to others who need a light when all their friends are in uncontested environments just like yours? Again, I don’t have a problem with home-schooling. Just make sure your children understand that a part of being a compassionate person entails having to deal with others who are not so easy to deal with. Jesus Himself engaged in less than desirable environments for the sole purpose of being a Light.

    That’s why I’ll let my children go to school. I’ll still be teaching them how to be exactly who God created them to be AND allowing them to blossom as an individual because I will still encourage that at home. We will talk everyday about what they faced at school. And if they don’t “fit in”, I’ll teach them about being a leader who doesn’t have fit someone elses’ mold to be a follower but how to be trail blazer.

  • Cheryl

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?pagewanted=all Whatever the setting I would want evey child to have the chance to reach their potential

  • Claire

    I think the hope is that by the time they’re 18, they’ll have developed a strong enough sense of self to be able to handle ridicule and know how to respond to it. If a child is ridiculed excessively during their formative years, it doesn’t always result in resilience. Sometimes it results in something very detrimental.

  • JulieCrowther

    Well said! What a great article. Our eldest daughter is ready to start school this fall and we have decided to homeschool. We’ve met with some resistance from our family members but are standing firm in our decision.

    If you have any advice for me…i’ll take it!!

  • Public School Teacher

    The results of homeschooling have a whole lot more to do with socio-economic status than it does with homeschooling itself. To the person who commented that everyone in a welfare line was schooled by the public school system, I have this to say: poverty breeds poverty. I’m willing to bet my salary that 99.9% of the people in that welfare line were raised on welfare. Their parents had neither the education, nor the financial means, to home school their children. Most of the people commenting on this article are of solid middle-class status. You are educated yourselves. You have the financial means to homeschool your children. Yes, you probably will be able to provide your children with a solid education. I do not doubt that. But that has to do with what you are able to provide due to your middle class status, not with homeschooling itself. You guys are the minority. Most people who homeschool stick a textbook in front of their child, tell them to read the chapter, and complete the questions.

  • I am an emergency physician and have decided to homeschool my kids (5 and 3). It has always been a dream of mine to be mommy to children. My husband fully supports me. He is willing to work full-time (and then some) to afford me the luxury of staying home with the kids. Granted, I had a 15 year career as an ER Doc and loved it! But now that we have kids, my priorities have completely changed. Nothing I can do in the world of medicine will ever compare to the importance of the work I am doing with my kids.

  • Dee Dee

    I always ask as my answer “What is socialization” Almost everyone gives me the wrong answer. As homeschooling moms, we need to know the real meaning of socialization so when we are asked this question, we will know how to answer it correctly and truthfully. Thanks for writing this article. It has been both informative and encouraging. I encourage each mom to find their “Own” answer and definition of socialization.

  • dawop

    I love how all homeschool parents think their kids are above-average and really smart. Some are, but most aren’t, friend. The smartest schooled kids are more competent at a whole lot of useful skills than any hometaught children I’ve met.

  • i agree ,my son who likes to answer with his knowledge and who always experimented and has interest
    that would be nerdy would not of fit in but he can be himself ,he also is pure yet not in the dark ,he stills does (kiddie stuff) ,but is gradually out growing .

  • Claire

    Well, now there’s a really well-researched opinion. And one that adds a lot to this discussion.

  • sg

    I like the article. I agree that kids should feel comfortable to pursue interests and feel free from peer pressure. I wish i could homeschool–the moms can set up whatever schedule they want–have playdates–excursions with other moms whenever, get up late, got bed late…who cares? the problem I have seen in our area where homeschooling is very popular is that public schooling is actually looked down upon…as if it’s not religious enough. I’ve heard one mom (a friend) say that all colds and flus come from public school kids. well i can tell you that the homeschool kids i know have more flus than the others. Then moms have lots of kids, homeschool which means they can’t work, then end up asking for a lot of handouts, qualifying for free this or that because their family size is big and family income small. this irks me. I planned my family according to what I can afford. I don’t ask for handouts and i dont’ give any in my business. also i kinda feel sorry for the homeschooled kids i know that are wearing Goodwill clothing 2-3 sized too small. their parents say “who cares, they’re not going to get ridiculed (because they stay at home)”. but i enjoy dressing my daughter cute–not expensive. i shop at consignment shops and she wears clothing that fits her. my older daughter has quality friends at public school and i am sooooo thankful that those parents sent their kids to public school so my daughter can find similar religion/nice friends at school.

  • Claire

    Hmm, you like the article, but then go on to make negative generalizations about homeschoolers. Nice.

  • sg

    i’m talking about my experience claire. It’s not all one way. it’s called being balanced–seeing both sides.There are some things i like about homeschooling—i can see some benefits such as those in the article–but there are some things about homeschool parents and their motivations that I have found annoying. I’m just pointing out that giving kids opportunity–they can wear whatever they want and be creative–is a good thing. but taking away opportunity–giving kids hand me downs, decreasing their choice but then not worrying about them being ridiculed because you homeschool anyway—is not necessarily a positive thing. The article writer mentioned laughing at her child’s outfit choices, but the homeschool families I know don’t really give their kids much choice–they simply don’t buy them clothes. whatever people give them for free, that’s it. So of course they have mismatched outfits. I’m just telling my experience. not ALL homeschool parents are one way, but i want people to examine their own motivations and prejudices. it goes both ways and some of the homeschool friends i have look down on parents who public school. In some churches, you are “in” if you homeschool and “out” if you don’t.

  • sg

    Thanks Zagamaph. I know if i had been homeschooled by my parents, I would have been alot less well rounded. and they never could have taught me foreign languages. There are things I did not like about school (the size) and things I did like.

  • sg

    thanks lilacs! i have to admit, I was a more weird type kid that loved being athletic or reading—i didn’t ever “get” pop culture. also i was socially backward because my parents were socially backward. I was raised in public school. I learned to be more normal in job settings where i had to perform. even now I am a doctor and find that I am much happier on days where I am busy at work, seeing lots of people and being social—performing and acting more normal. I like my days off and hours alone, but if I spend too much time that way, i get more isolated, more into my own thing and less social and less effective as a person. I think i would have benefitted from being in a smaller school, maybe of my religion, but homeschooling may have made me even more shy and introverted. being away from my parents helped me see what normal was–not religiously–just socially. i suppose i got some of that from church youth group, but public school may have helped. I can see your point. also we must remember that there is a fine line between being annoyingly precocious and flat out Aspergers. parents who homeschool would do well to keep in mind that people with Aspergers are generally more depressed and lonely than other people. We should not encourage our children to be more like Aspies socially because we think they are gifted or advanced.

  • Claire

    I do see both sides of this issue, and as I’ve mentioned several times, we are sending our son to public kindergarten next year, with homeschooling as our backup plan. But I’m certainly not going to make generalizations about homeschooling families taking handouts, or criticize them because the mother doesn’t work. I have a small family, only one child, and I only work part-time because in my mind, my job is taking care of my son. And that’s much more important to me than “dressing him cute”.

  • If you’re going to start attacking another person’s grammar, you might want to make sure your own is impeccable. “You know, us home schooled kids are a pretty small sample size, Tori.” <— should be "WE home schooled kids are a pretty small sample size." Also, it's two CENTS not two sense.

    And A Beka has plenty of its own grammar issues — ending sentences with prepositions comes to mind. I recommend Singapore. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    Good article… I was one of those weird kids, but I went to public school and got wear the scars from being teased a lot… I have kids who are also “weird” that way, and some who are not…. most people confuse social skills with socialization, and don’t understand their implications…. If someone asks me the “what about socialization” question, then I will actually say, “Did you just ask me if my kids were weird?” LOL… Throws them off a bit… but then I explain that socialization is actually a political and social term, and has to do with making sure the “masses” conform… meaning that all people think and do what they are told to do by the majority. Social skills is what we do try to teach them, and yes, they have plenty of opportunity to learn them. Now that I have adults as well as children, people can see that they are a little weird, but not as weird as their mom, so I guess that is why they have stopped asking…. LOL…

  • Susan C

    Never had kids, but was just praising home schooling. Seem to me it turns out rather bright kids who know who they are and what the like.

  • So no woman who is educated should want to be a mother full time? Ridiculous. Many of us have advanced degrees yet have chosen to be full time mothers and even home school our children. It is the most important job I have ever held. I use my education every day. I

  • My wife homeschooled my son through high school which allowed him to take college courses at the local community college during this time. He started a landscaping business at 12, earned the Eagle Scout rank, graduated from college in thre years and now works for Intel as a software engineer. In his spare time he has started a landscaping company, does IT consulting and is a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He could not have achieved all this if he had not been home schooled. I am the Scout Master for a Catholic home schooling Boy Scout Troop and the scouts are polite, respectful, happy and a joy to be around because they are so well socialized in the right way. believe the best hope our country has is that more folks will home school!

  • Macca

    The argument presented in the article is “people will make fun of my children anyway because they are smart, so I might as well homeschool them so they can be smart and not have to deal with ridicule”
    Except the fact that learning how to deal with ridicule and opposing viewpoints is a part of growing up. How you respond to it – silently, with a huge outburst, reactionary, loudly, quietly? You can protect your children now, but they will grow up and go out into the world as adults. And if your child never learned how to deal with people with opposing viewpoints, it may just cost them a job. It’s a sure bet that at least one of their future managers will be a “normal” person, that will test your kid’s resolve.

    Office environments, retail environments, factory environments, etc are often split into cliques, filled with people you don’t necessarily want to know and don’t want to be friends with, but you have to deal with and perform alongside. What does that sound like? Oh! High school! Your child may be lucky and avoid these social pitfalls yet again, but I think it’s rather unlikely. A person doesn’t have to change themselves, simply put on a mask now and again and nod along until you get a new job or move up the ladder. THAT’s the socialization kids have to learn. If your kid learned it, good. But from my experience with homeschoolers, they’re woefully unprepared to deal with people that don’t agree with their carefully boxed little world, completely controlled by the parents.

  • Claire

    Dealing with opposing viewpoints is a part of growing up and a part of life, and your generalization that homeschooled kids live in a completely controlled world is inconsistent with the homeshcooling families I know. Being subject to daily ridicule and bullying is not a necessary part of childhood, and far too many children experience this on a daily basis and as a result grow up to be depressed adults with low self esteem. It’s all about balance. Yes, children need to learn how to stand up to themselves and deal with adviersity. But it does not need to be the extreme scenario that occurs far too often in the school setting. I am going to start my son at public school kindergarten next year. But if he ends up in that extreme situation, you can bet I will homeschool him, and it’s not because I plan to keep him in a carefully boxed little world that is completely controlled by me. These generalizations are getting really tiresome.

  • Macca

    What you learned from that AP course was sometimes there are two ways to get to a goal. It is beneficial to know that every now and then, sucking up will get you through something that’s totally out of your league, so you can succeed later in life. And you think this was a bad thing to learn?

  • Claire

    When the subject of the course is Calculus, and she instead was taught the lesson of sucking up and playing a game, I would have to agree that this was a bad thing.

  • mom of three

    While I agree that homeschooling can be a fine choice, it is a blanket statement that a kid who questions things and has a wide range of interests will be ridiculed and stuck into a label. My daughter is a little “out of the norm”, if you will. Completely different than her more annoying (honestly, she is mine, I love her, but she is annoying!) 3 year old sister. We kill ourselves financially for her to be in Catholic school. Some would argue that this choice is even more oppressive than public school, but we have found quite the opposite. In fact, they are taught anti-bullying from the start. If we were to homeschool the elder daughter, it would be a disservice to her. Her school, as many non-home-schools, encourages the academic questions but helps her with the social rule-following that, while some frown on it, I feel is necessary for an adult to learn from childhood to function in the workplace and just the adult world in general. Questions are great. Not knowing when to follow the corporate culture and the time and place to voice those great thoughts…not so great. We all know those adults who cannot keep their mouths shut, no matter where they were schooled. Just my 2cents. I have no issue with anyone’s choice of schooling, and I believe there are homeschoolers who work very hard to accomplish all of the above. I give kudos to you because I know I could not accomplish this with my three. Just accepting my limitations and I feel schools are great for those of us who cannot. But please, consider that the brightest and most intelectually unique can also benefit from that socialization and order, especially since some, like my own daughter, have trouble self-regulating that and need the examples. I do not believe that uniqueness need be stifled or ridiculed in a formal environment. School is a collaboration of parent, child and teacher(s)/administration. I’m an at-home mom at this time, just as a background. EVERYONE believes their own children are unique, by the way. Everyone’s situation is unique, just support other moms’ decisions to know what works in their gut for their kids. As parents, we also need to remember the precious children in our charge will have to function in a world beyond us. I struggle w/ this daily.

  • Bill Guentner

    The comment made my Kathleen Wagner is incorrect. She is making a correlation between two incidents or actions; those who are homeschooled and have never opened fire on other students, and those who have not been homeschooled and done so. There is no scientific basis that supports correlations. Put that in your homeschooled pipe and smoke it.

  • Julia

    Thank you for saying something. I’m new to this page and cannot believe how people are snapping at others, this is a Christian page! The least you can do is be polite in your responses and if you don’t know how, say nothing at all.

  • xaviatress

    Your argument is true, but so are the statistics. Most people other than you just think about what they learn from the schmedia. Therefore, the non-home schoolers have heard those facts to be true, but don’t really “think” about it like you did. So…that argument works with them. In other words, when talking to stupid, answer in stupid so stupid can understand.

  • iamyors

    My wife and I chose home schooling and found that we had to tackle that same question about socialization. I begin my response by pointing out that school environments are not the best setting for normal socialization since the kids are inhibited by the institutionalized environment with authoritarian figures interfering with children communicating with one another. It is a stressful setting that does not allow a child to be “himself” (yes, “herself” too). A fact I discovered as a child when I realized that some classmates and close neighbors were completely different persons once they were out of school at the community park or shopping center. If socialization means being introduced to a new dirty word each day, the latest gossip about their mom’s new boyfriend sleeping over, or picking up the disease of the month, we don’t need it! We found that our son had lots of healthy socialization as he was a regular member of community sports teams and would convene with other home-schoolers in study groups and field trips. Add that to boy scouts and church and it would be difficult to find the deficiency in socialization.
    Do not allow anyone to discourage your attempt to homeschool as you and your children have more to lose than to gain if you cave in. Good luck and God bless all you wonderful parents.

  • Monarchangel

    There seems to be a lot of arguing in here about homeschool vs non homeschool and who is better and who is not, etc and so forth. Everyone seems to have forgotten the most important thing: Not every child learns the same way, therefore not every educational plan is for every child. That includes homeschooling. Some kids excel at home, some kids excel in public schools. Some kids excel in unschooling group (re: private) schools, and some kids excel in other more traditional private schools. Do what is best for your kid – not what’s best for your parenting identity. My daughter did not do well with homeschooling at all. She didn’t do well in the public school, either. But the private school she is in now has worked wonders for her. Stop judging people over what choices they’ve made for their children, it’s not productive. As long as your child is happy, healthy, and learning – you’re doing something right.

  • Angelica K.

    I love this! As a kid in elementary school, myself, I had a really tough time. I remember getting an award at the end of my sixth-grad year (one endowed to me by one of my peers, nonetheless) for “Wanting to Do the Homework Nobody Else Wants to Do.” I wasn’t particularly brainy. I was weird, though, and I knew it. I have always been weird, but add to that the pain of 12 years of scrutiny, ridicule, and isolation as a result of not “being cool enough,” and you get me: an indecisive, sometimes hermit of a woman with several social anxieties. For this reason, I applaud you! Don’t let ANYONE keep you from educating your children the way you’d like. If you have the resources and the time, go for it! Your kids will be stronger people for it. And, hopefully, the “weird” kids will be the ones to begin the redefinition of “normal.”

  • Claire

    Monarchangel, that’s how I feel too. And I would add that some people have fewer options than others, and must discern which (not necessarily the ideal) option available that will best serve their particular situation. My plan is to try public school for my son, with homeschooling as the backup option (private school is not financially feasible for us). I have to say, though, that the anti-homeschool comments on this thread have been really distasteful. I appreciate balanced comments like yours.

  • KAtlanta

    I was homeschooled (rather, un-schooled) from Kindergarten through 10th grade and socialization was never a problem with the abundance of homeschool groups, etc. And really, what is the socialization you really get from a herd of kids your age crammed into a classroom? Certainly nothing of quality during those school hours. Lastly, an observation I had (and still have) is that the “wierdo” “socially awkward” homeschoolers come from families that are keeping them at home for religious reasons and thus “sheltering” them from the world, and the teachings of (gasp!) Darwin therefore indoctrinating them.

  • darrell

    Great article. And I love the emphasis on the child being God’s creation. The closing was fabulous… “because no one tells them that the way God made them isn’t cool enough.”

    When we decided to homeschool our kids, I realized this was a concern that we would receive from others who would seem to be concerned for our kids. But my wife heard John Taylor Gotto (spelling?) say at a conference once that do you want your kids learning their socialization skills from other kids… or adults… and/or your family? It’s been my canned response since. As just one simple example, our kids will look adults in the eye and aren’t afraid to have conversation with them. That’s not normal, and I am thankful that our kids have benefited from the socialization skills that they have from homeschooling!

  • Mary

    Except for the part where adults shoot up schools. Adults who were enrolled in those institutions. Whoopsies.

  • Tammy McAbee Brookover

    I would venture to say that almost 100% of home schooled children are given ample socialization by their parents who love them enough to home school them. Our kids do lots of things..one of them is a home school bowling league. When they offered the coach the chance to coach the home schoolers, he was hesitant. At the end of the year….he told us that it was the best league he has ever coached. He said our children were well mannered, well behaved, extremely bright and witty. He will be coaching our kids next year too. He coaches other leagues with kids…and said hands down…our kids were the best.

  • Guest

    Sounds not weird, per se, but more like delusional. Pretend you need to build a society, if you believe in the value of society, would your kids be able to accomplish it or would they live in a cave sucking their thumbs until 90.

  • Tamsyn

    It’s not that homeschooled kids are “weird”. It’s that we have a different culture. I think we need to recognize it as such. Just as Asian families in the USA have their own sub-culture, things that will set them apart, so do homeschoolers. With race, society recognizes those differences and has accepted and embraced them. Indeed, in the name of diversity, as a non-Asian, I want to better understand and honor their traditions. (my sister is volunteering in China, which is why I drew this comparison.) This isn’t true for the homeschooling culture. That’s the bottom line- it’s just a different culture.

  • Awesome! Love this! Thanks for writing it!

  • Guest


  • Jeanie

    There are pros and cons to all types of schools. There is no perfect fit. What I do see as a 7th grade teacher, is that many homeschoolers who come into public school after being at home is that they lack the creativity and higher order thinking that is born out of dialog and problem-solving with fellow classmates. The inner-classroom competitiveness, sharing and rigor is lacking. Additionally, nearly all homeschoolers require approval and checking before moving on to the next steps or before turning in assignments. (i.e., “Is this right?” “Am I doing this right?” “Can you check this?”) It shows a deficit in confidence and ability to stand their ground on decision-making. I am not saying these are necessarily bad traits, but it does put students at a disadvantage if/when they go to pubic school. It is something that parents need to be aware of if they choose to homeschool. There needs to be rigor. There needs to be higher order thinking. Do not quickly grade and check all your student’s work without make them think through their assignments for alternative ideas/answers.

  • Connie Jones Orman

    Wonderfully written! Thank you! We are just finishing remodeling a 100 year old farmhouse after 2 long years, the chickens are next year. So, basically, I want to be you when I grown up!

  • jkphipps

    I have several friends that home school. I don’t. I have 3 boys in public school they each have some goofy friends. I agree that kids are kids no matter where they school. The thing that I see lacking in the home school invironment is the respect for time and task. The “I can do it later”, “I want to sleep in”, I don’t want to get dresseded” attitude to daily responsibility is not how the world works. Asking questions is not weird or annoying. But, acting like you are the only one who should recieve attention is rude. The belief that a child will be smarter / get a better education, if they are home schooled is simply not true. There is a very clear need for social norms. Society is dependent upon them. The educational system in America is not top notch (to say the least). But, I would never say that there are not very intelligent people in the school system. There will be very successful people, leaders in business, developers, great neighbors, kind souls behind us in the checkout lines, and outstanding parents no matter where they are educated -if they are educated. Society is struggling. And because I know history…… I know that humanity began & developed with few educated people and many social norms. Now that this is reversed, I feel that it could be detrimental to humanity. Removing socialization – disregarding it is not good


  • Helene

    Annoying? No, I’ve never come across that with all my home schooled friends. Socially awkward, YES. Eventually they learned to communicated and express their thoughts in a group of people that was not their siblings. (Coming from someone who attended a Christian school so don’t crank and me for being uber secularized and not understanding the distaste for public education.)

  • Luke

    Yours is a sentiment that is shared by far fewer homeschooled children than homeschooling parents. The minimization of socialization as “conceding to ridicule” or something like that is as poor an idea from an anecdotal standpoint as it is from a psychological and developmental standpoint. I am a homeschooled 28-year-old who has found some success in education and business, and am married to a homeschooled 24-year-old who has found more of the same. We have excelled in many venues of life, but have had to work incredibly hard to connect on a basic level with our peers.

    Education is important. Success is important. Neither exists outside of the realm of other people, and that fact is too often overlooked in the homeschooling world.

  • bt

    The bottom line of this article is good – kids should feel empowered to be who they are, as God made them, without fear of ridicule. However, at some point, kids need to be able to stand up in the face of adversity and still be who they are. It’s real easy to feel free to be as God intends within the segregated and social limited world of a lot of homeschooled kids. But living in society is important. And parents go nuts over this, but kids need to be of a world that is bigger than just their families – like of their churches, of their eventual workplaces, and of a group of friends (because, at the very least, they can’t grow up to marry their siblings).

  • Claire

    Homeschool kids do live in society, and not all homeschooled kids are automatically segregated in a socially limited world. And I’m sure many homeschooled kid shave experience with adversity.

  • bt

    I’m speaking from my own experience, but I begged my parents to take me out of my catholic grade school. It was a toxic environment full of bullies (a good number of my classmates ended up either pregnant or with a record by the time they finished high school). But my parents made me stick it out and learn to be a good person amid those who, not only didn’t understand, but ridiculed me for it. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe homeschooled kids get the opportunities to stand up for themselves. They are protected to the extent of not knowing what it’s like to live with people who are not like them – and I understand why parents want to protect their children, but in the long run, I think they’re doing them a disservice in a lot of cases.

  • bt

    I also want to say that there are good reasons to homeschool a child, but I don’t think a desire to control their social situation is ever a good reason (I do think that a child in danger with regard to their mental or physical health is an exception). And I do think that there are real social limitations to homeschooling that this author too simply dismisses.

  • Claire

    That is a generalization that might be true in some cases, but not in all.

  • Kelley

    …”who love them enough to homeschool them…” Wow, judgmental much?

    Actually, I love my kids enough to know that I would be the worst possible teacher for them due to any number of reasons but, in particular, a tremendous lack of patience.

  • Claire

    That’s a good point, Kelley. There have been a lot of judgmental anti-homeschooling comments on this thread, but you’re right that this comment is an example of judgment coming from the other side. I wish both sides could let go of the judgment and generalization. There is no one-size-fits all approach for every family. There are pros and cons to all types of education, and some will work better for some families than others.

  • Katie

    My husband and I have considered homeschooling and honestly, “socialization” is part of why we aren’t (yet). And it’s not because we want our kids to conform – it’s because we feel like it’s good to understand some of the rules of interacting with peers (not all those rules are negative). We have not found a satisfying answer to the question, “How do homeschoolers expose their kids to others who have vastly different values, beliefs, and life experiences?” That’s what we want to get out of “socialization.” I would love to know what homeschoolers think of this question – maybe we’re totally off-base with our thought process.

  • Claire

    I’m not currently homeschooling, although it is my backup plan. But I would think that homeschooled kids would have exposure to kids from other backgrounds through extra curricular activities such as karate, music lessons, etc. Maybe even through their own neighborhood (that’s certainly the case in my neighborhood). My family and many of my friends have very different beliefs and experiences than my husband and I do, so my son is already exposed to a lot of diversity. He doesn’t need school to provide that for him.

  • Ophelia

    You rock! Excellent post. Reminded me of this, “Here’s To The Crazy Ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world – are the ones who DO !” – See more at: http://herestothecrazyones.com/#sthash.M0hDxG8J.dpuf

  • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

    And that is a valid response to the current inquiry? “Our home schooled kids don’t become mass murderers so whatever other aberrant personality and behavioral traits they have are acceptable.” I can tell you from personal experience that in my children’s catholic school, when the harried home schooling mom’s give-up and send their kids to the school they are almost without exception, ill-mannered, mal-adjusted, disrespectful and years behind academically. I am sure there are parents who pull off homeschooling, but the dirty little secret in the catholic community is that it is mainly a failed experiment.

  • I guess my question to you would be if you plan to keep your kids locked up in your home 24/7 if you decide to homeschool? I’m guessing the answer is no, and THAT is how kids learn to interact and socialize — by interacting with real people in the real world. You can join a homeschool group, a community sports team, take an art class, shop at the grocery store, volunteer at a retirement community or go to the park, and your kids will be exposed to more, not less, diversity as they learn to interact with people not just from different backgrounds but from a variety of age groups as well!

  • Claire

    Do you have any statistics to back that up? Homeschooling is not an experiment, and just because your school has families who had unsuccessful homeschool experiences doesn’t mean that there aren’t many homeschooling families who continue on that route and do so successfully.

  • Fr.Duffy Fighting 69th

    Statistics? Do you have any? I am telling from 12 years experience of having children in catholic school that the home schooled kids that get dumped back into the system are extremely problematic. I reckon 80% of moms who try it are not qualified academically, emotionally or spiritually. Be honest. Take an inventory of the home school moms you know. And don’t just defend home schooling in a knee-jerk way.

  • Mom_ofthree

    She said homeschoolers aren’t spree killers, which can affect areas outside of schools…her point was quite logical, your comparison is more of a nuts are not oranges statement wich is not stupid but shouldn’t require a discussion, unlike the real concern from parents and society about the socialization of children.