For me, being a homeschooling parent having finished “normal” school it’s important and interesting to get feedback from people who’ve been “on the other side”. So when Jo made a comment on my blog about being homeschooled I immediately asked her if she would be willing to share her experience, her thoughts on my blog. I truly enjoyed reading Jo’s first guest post. A fantastic take on what teaching and learning is all about, if you’d ask me…
I’m very happy to welcome Jo, blogging at Jo Robin Blog, here as one of my guest bloggers and I can’t wait to read her series of guest posts. Please head over and check out her great blog where she shares her life as a college student and so much more…
Now let me add to this, that what Jo is about to share here is one point that is always brought up by other parents when we speak about homeschooling and it’s the one point that annoys me the most. I’m so glad that Jo is writing about this very subject and I truly hope you give her some good constructive feedback here.
(4.7 minute read)
As this is a topic I am very passionate about, I decided to start this post with an excerpt from another resource (which can be found here) in order to provide structure for my writing and avoid getting stuck in full-on rant mode.
Home schooled children may not have as many opportunities to interact with other children in comparison to children who attend regular schools. Forming bonds and socializing with children their own age is important for the child’s developmental health and development of social skills. If home schooled, they may be deprived of the chance to form friendships and may suffer socially. Of course, they can make friends with other home schooled children, but it is quite different when special effort has to be made to arrange meetings. The lack of socialization may affect them in later stages of life.
I’m going to link the topic of socialization with another topic, that of whether home-school children are prepared for the “real world.” There are 3 questions we need to answer:
- What is socialization?
- Is socialization a good thing?
- Do home-schoolers socialize?
Based on the article, I suppose we’ll define socializing as interacting and forming bonds with others for the sake of developmental health and learning social skills. That sounds like a good thing. But, in Philosophy class, I learned that the single most cause of disagreement is equivocation (using the same word in at least two different ways), and that seems to be what’s happening here.
Those who think home-schoolers don’t socialize, and who don’t count arranged meetings with other home-schoolers as socializing, seem to think that socializing is co-existing with other people one’s own age for extended periods of time in order to fit into a specific culture. Thus we hear people all the time remarking on how “odd” or “weird” home-schoolers are, and using that as evidence that said home-schoolers are not socialized. And, with this definition, I have to agree. We’re not “socialized.” We don’t “fit in.” That’s what happens when you’re not constantly worrying about what 30 classmates are doing, and watching, listening to, and thinking… you have time to find your own hobbies and develop your own tastes, and you don’t really care if 30 random people approve or not.
For home-schoolers, part of socializing is learning to make special arrangements to meet other people; that’s the point. This includes old people, young people, middle-aged people, poor people, rich people, home-schooled people, public-schooled people, writers, engineers… everyone, from all different backgrounds, and all different generations. (This is where the claim that home-schoolers aren’t prepared for the real world comes in.)
In the real world, will you have a constantly reliable environment where all of your friends are neatly stored? Or will you have to initiate conversations with strangers in new places, be it to make a friend, get a date, or do business? Will these strangers always be within a year of your own age? In my experience, particularly where business is concerned, the answer is no. If you don’t like someone you work with, will you have to decide how to handle it, or will your boss step in and put a metaphorical desk between the two of you so you don’t have to deal with your problem? The classroom does not imitate or prepare students for the real world, where as the home-school classroom is the real world.
I would also like to make a last point that in a classroom full of similar people, the blind lead the blind. Naive 10-year-olds lead naive 10-year-olds. Being exposed to the wisdom of those who are older and the innocence of those who are younger provides valuable and diverse perspectives necessary for true development.
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