Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in a series regarding my decision to home school my three children. Here are the links to the introduction, part 1 and part 2
School is more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. School is where we learn about standing up for ourselves. It is frequently the first time we are exposed to people of different faith, values and culture. It is also the place where we learn to challenge ourselves to succeed in an uncomfortable situation. School is also where we learn about deadlines, timelines, and doing work because we HAVE to do it, not because we WANT to. In other words, am I worried about my kids growing up to be socially awkward, insecure and incapable of functioning in society?
It is true that many people choose to home school out of a desire to raise their children in a societal bubble. This is NOT what I want to do. So then the question becomes how do you recreate this at home? And are all home school kids really awkward and nuts?
In 2011, Dr. Richard G. Medlin, a professor and researcher of psychology at the University of North Carolina, published a study in the Peabody Journal of Education regarding the socialization of home school students. In this study he interviewed and surveyed adults who had been home schooled as children. The conclusion of his study can be summed up with this quote:
“Home-schooled children are acquiring the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes they need. They have good self-esteem and are likely to display fewer behavior problems than do other children. They may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills than other children as well. And they appear to be functioning effectively as members of adult society”
This isn’t the only study that has come to this conclusion but it is the most recent and is the only study that includes the survey of adults. Statistical research is all well and good but how do you guarantee this is going to happen? Like all things with home school it comes down to the parent.
Clubs & Organizations
My children will continue to participate in the extra curricular activities that they have already been involved. Their best friends will remain their friends with play dates and other activities that they already do together outside of school. In addition to this my kids will be taking music lessons and we will be joining a home school co-op.
The home school co-op we will be joining is a non-religious group of 400+ families. This co-op organizes field trips, as well as science clubs, debate clubs, boy scout troops, girl scout troops, 4H clubs, and other activities. In addition the co-op format allows me to teach the children of other families in exchange for them to teach my children a possible subject that I don’t know as well.
And then Tim Tebow happened. For those who don’t follow football, Tim Tebow was the winning quarterback from Florida State University. He was home schooled. He was heavily recruited and scouted by college football programs due to his participation in a public school football team. Recently in Texas the “Tim Tebow Law” was passed. This law says that public school systems are required to allow home school students to participate in all University Interscholastic League activities. This includes things like speech clubs, athletic teams, band, orchestra, choir, debate, etc.
In addition to this, it has been proven that home school children usually mature faster because they spend more time in mixed age group settings. In other words, they don’t spend 7 hours a day only around other 8 year old children telling fart jokes. Then there is the obvious, no longer will I need to explain to my children why we don’t allow them to watch R rated movies in first grade, or deal with bullying. And don’t you dare tell me that bullying is just “part of childhood” that forces us to be “stronger”. No, it is a part of childhood that creates detrimental self talk that we all live with for the rest of our life.
Okay, so the academics are solid and there are plenty of resources to support my children socially but I know what you are thinking. Are you crazy? Do you really want to spend that much time with your children? And how do you even start thinking about educating your own kids? Well, I will talk about all of that in the next and last blog post on this subject. If you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will answer them as honestly as I can.