Many parents who are considering home schooling worry about what their children will miss if they are homeschooled. They worry that their children will be lonely. They worry that their children will not know how to cooperate with others during group activities. They worry that their children won’t “fit in.” These questions boil down to THE question, “What about socialization?”
What we worry about as homeschooling’s greatest weakness is actually homeschooling’s greatest strength. Home educators have the unique opportunity to “civilize” their own children through training, teaching social skills, and real-world socialization with people of all ages and races. Children develop true, lasting friendships with children from like-minded families. Park days, field trips, and church activities—rounded out with work and service opportunities—provide ample, POSITIVE social interactions. The artificial world of a classroom, where children are all the same age and all do the same things at the same time, cannot compare to the real world of home, work, and family.
If you are still worried about the things your children might “miss” if you homeschool them, consider the list below.
Things Children “Miss” When they are Homeschooled
- The religion of secular humanism and other new age philosophies.
- Being taught moral relativism and even a tolerance of sin (otherwise known as “political correctness”.)
- Social contagion (“catching” the “contagious” attitudes, behaviors and immoral knowledge of peers, and even teachers.)
- Peer pressure (pressure to “conform” to group norms in order to “fit in”).
- Peer dependency (relying on peers for love, support and advice instead of relying on parents).
- Sexual harassment, bullies, gangs and drugs.
- The fear (and reality) of school shootings and other violence—fights, bomb threats, gang fights, school lockdowns, police chases, and so on.
- Catching (frequent) illnesses, diseases and head lice.
- Feelings of insecurity (feeling unwanted or rejected by their parents as a result of being pushed from the home nest before developmental maturity—see Home Grown Kids.)
- Being taught the test, and then promptly forgetting it.
- Inadequate, inferior education.
- Lots of wasted time (while the teacher quiets the class, passes out papers, takes attendance and so on.)
- Being or becoming unwilling or unable to speak to or relate to anyone who is not their age or in the same grade.
- Being bored by work that is too easy, OR being labeled “learning disabled” because of work that is too hard (it will come easily when they are developmentally ready!)
- Sex education, death education, and “outcome-based” education (“lessons” whose goals include changing your child’s attitudes and/or beliefs.)
- Not knowing who your teacher will be the next year, or who your classmates will be.
- Being away from your family all day.
- Having separate lives from your own siblings; growing apart from them.
- . Having to send your child to a school nurse if s/he is having an asthma attack or needs an Advil.
- Having to get a doctor’s excuse for every time your children aren’t feeling well or are sick (OR every routine doctors/dentist appointment, etc.Missing school while sick (we just “do school” later—our kids don’t miss anything.)
- Getting arrested for bringing nail clippers to school.
- Having to use filthy bathrooms (or avoiding them all day, to the point of physical pain….in my high school, the bathrooms were favorite hang-outs for the smokers and dopers. If you had to go, you had to breathe it.)
- Having to endure holidays you don’t celebrate (such as Halloween, in our case) and being forced to ignore holidays that you DO celebrate (or ignoring their true meanings.)
- Cafeteria food (or soggy packed lunches.)
- Enduring a year with a teacher who can’t teach.
- Hours of homework each night, leaving no family time.
- Compartmentalized education—nothing inter-relates (not even God…)
- Growing up too fast, but never really growing up.
- The systematic undermining of parental authority, teachings and beliefs.
I bet you can think of even more things to add to the list! Are you feeling more confident about your decision to homeschool now? How about a real “shot in the arm”? Remind yourself of the following reasons to homeschool, and the advantages of the homeschooling lifestyle:
Reasons We Homeschool
- To obey the Lord. Since we believe the Lord has called our family to homeschool, and that the scriptures command parents to teach their own children, we homeschool to obey the Lord2. We want our children to grow up to be Christians, and not stray from our faith/morals.
- We want our children to receive a Christian education and develop a Christian world-view. We want them to learn truth, and use the Word of God as the ultimate standard for truth.
- We want to protect our children from immoral and ungodly influences, especially before they are old enough to learn discernment.
- We want our children to learn to stand up (and speak up) for their beliefs.
- We want our children to develop Godly morals, habits, and character traits.
- We want our children to have a developmentally appropriate, individualized education that is customized to their learning style, interests, talents and abilities (we want them to have the freedom to learn at their own pace/we can choose curriculums and methods that fit their needs.)
- We want our children to enjoy an old fashioned, traditional childhood. We seek to preserve innocence and imagination for as long as possible, and provide plenty of time for play.
- We want our children to know how to read, write, and do arithmetic.
- We want our children to love to read, and to be read to (for longer and longer periods of time) daily.
- We want our children to love to learn, know how to learn, and how to do research (and we want our children to be curious.)
- We want to help our children prepare for real life, have real-life experiences, and develop real life-skills.
- We want our children to develop discernment regarding dress, music, literature, friends, politics, religion and morals.
- We want our children to be independent and critical thinkers.
- We want our children to understand the flow of history—how one event influences others—and we want them to understand how church history is interwoven throughout it, influencing it “behind the scenes.”
- We want to expose our children to the best in art, music, and literature…and we want them to appreciate/enjoy art, music, and literature!
- We want our children to grow up without becoming a part of the rebellious teen sub-culture. We want to be our children’s culture.
- We love our children and want them to be with us. We enjoy their company.
- We like being able to tailor our school schedule to fit into our family’s schedules, sick days and vacation times.
- We want to socialize (or civilize) our children ourselves, instead of letting them be “socialized” by their secular, untrained, and often unsupervised schoolmates.
- We want to know who our children’s teachers are every year.
- So that we can encourage our children’s interests, bents, and hobbies (these often turn into careers.
- We want our children to be successful in the Lord’s eyes, not the world’s (we homeschool with eternity in mind.)
- We want our children to develop true, deep, and long-lasting friendships with people of all ages and races, based on common beliefs and interests (not simply “you’re my friend because you sit next to me in class.) We enjoy socializing with other FAMILIES, not just having our children socialize with other CHILDREN.
- To promote sibling love and bonding: we want our children to be each other’s best friends.
- Because we want our children to homeschool our grandchildren.
- Because God gave these children to us. We are responsible for them. They are under our authority, not the governments.
Here are a few other, far less serious reasons we enjoy the home education lifestyle:
27. So that we can “do school” in our jammies or sweats.
28. So that we can “do school” wherever we want to (outside—on a blanket in the back yard, in the fort, or on the patio with a dog on our laps….or inside, in front of the fireplace, on the couch, at the kitchen table…or wherever (we control the atmosphere.)
29. So that we can “do school” via fabulous fieldtrips (A.K.A. family trips/vacations OR support group fieldtrips), when the opportunities arise.
30. So that we can provide our children with lots of hands-on learning.
Read these lists over when you are feeling discouraged, overwhelmed or inadequate. Remember, if God calls you to homeschool, HE will give you the abilities and self-discipline you need to carry it out. Be assured, you HAVE made the right decision. Your children aren’t missing anything God ever intended them to have.
© 2010, 2013 Susan Lemons all rights reserved. Taken from Homepreschool and Beyond, used with permission.