08 January 2009

Homeschooling Varia

It is a new year yet again and the St. Louis Catholic Homeschooling Association's Annual Homeschooling Conference is fast approaching.  This year's featured speaker is the inestimable Susie Lloyd, the popular (and downright funny) author and homeschooling mom.  I have attended this conference the last five years and have not been disappointed yet.

Changing pace, a reader sent me this list of drawbacks to homeschooling, from a child's perspective.

  • No snow days
  • You can’t miss the bus
  • You can’t be suspended and sent home
  • You can’t hide the vegetables you don’t like in a milk carton
  • Mom always sides with the teacher
  • Dad always sides with the principal
  • You can’t intercept your report card and “fix” it before your parents see it
  • You can’t transfer to another school
  • The nightmare of showing up at school in your pyjamas is a daily reality
  • The good-looking boy/girl in the desk next to you is your brother/sister (gross!)

  • Dana Loesch of Mamalogues fame posted a piece on the constant companion of the homeschooling parent-- the accusation/lament about the lack of "socialization".  An excerpt:

    "...In the four years I've homeschooled, I've realized that my biggest problem isn't making sure that my kids are getting socialized - it's curbing it from becoming too much socialization. Our area libraries, our zoo, Science Center, Botanical Gardens, nature areas (to name a few), all offer regular programs or classes geared specifically towards homeschoolers. Area attractions routinely offer discounts to homeschoolers (the St. Louis Symphony, Dance St. Louis) and with so many other attractions following suit, it's near impossible to pass up a field trip or outing. 

    I've always questioned the sanity of the person who created the unspoken rule that the best socialization is found solely amongst one's peers - especially when those peers are first graders. I define truly successful socialization as the ability to get on with all people, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or sex. Neither of my boys bat an eye at speaking to an elderly woman, a kid their age, or someone of a different race or religion. Liam even once struck up a basic conversation in Spanish with a fellow shopper at our farmer's market. I just crossed my fingers and hoped that he wasn't saying anything vulgar as I had no clue what was coming out of his mouth. Most homeschooling groups are incredibly diverse as well: my group counts Hispanic, black, Bosnian, Russian, and white families as members. Some are Christians, some are not, some are Republicans, others Democrats. It's a welcome change for me, someone who went to an average, all-white suburban school district. My socialization in school did not prepare me for the diverse world and were it not for the 15-plus years of ballet training with people of all backgrounds I would have experienced major culture shock when I hit college.

    I don't think you need to stick a kid in an institutionalized setting to teach the virtues of sharing or taking your turn; that humanity accomplished such eons before public schools were established is testament to that. (Public education rather than homeschooling is the real new kid on the block as it's still relatively a new practice.) Plugging them into the vast world surrounding them sharpens their social skills more than you'd think."


    TGL said...

    Interesting post. I personally think there's a lot to be said for socializing and, frankly, learning how to deal with children your own age whether they be first graders or high school seniors. However, I must admit that the home-schooled kids that I have encountered (mostly through my children's sporting endeavors)for the most part seem to be very well adjusted. So there's room for everybody. The child's perspective on home-schooling is hilarious!

    cmziall said...


    You recovered yourself nicely at the end of your post on socialization! People tend to think that because you homeschool your kids are hermits and are kept inside their own home at all times. Not the case at all.

    Here is a great quote from St. Thomas More (who put his own curriculum together for his own children):

    “Put virtue in the first place..., learning in the second; and in their studies esteem most whatever may teach them piety towards God, charity to all, and modesty and Christian humility in themselves,” because “the whole fruit [of education] should consist in the testimony of God and a good conscience.”
    -- St. Thomas More

    MP said...

    I think that home education can actually prepare children for family life as future spouses and parents better than going to school. Adults at work and in the family are rarely around others exactly their age.

    My children, and many home schoolers have first hand experience with contributing to the smooth running of a household, cleaning, cooking, sewing, building, gardening, and even taking care of siblings and babies.

    These are important skills that most children who go to school just don't have time to really become proficient at.