Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

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Here’s the email I received last week. I was saving it for today, as I’ll be speaking at a homeschool conference tomorrow:

*The subject line of this email was: “Not all public school teachers are the devil.”* 

Hi Matt,

I’ve been a pretty decent fan of some of your writings, and while I don’t always agree I find that you sometimes have an entertaining way of presenting your opinion. Anyway, all due respect, I find myself having a hard time continuing to follow you now that I’ve gone back and read through your views on education.

It doesn’t so much bother me that you seem to be PROUD of your lack of a college education. You seem to be of the lucky few smart enough to get away with having no real education to speak of (congratulations). What I can’t reconcile myself with is your vitriol and hatred for public education and your insistence on peddling “homeschooling” like it’s somehow the answers to all of our problems.

I worked in public education for many years so it’s hard for me to stomach your ignorance. However I’ve enjoyed many of your posts so I don’t want to give up on you just yet. Hopefully you’ll consider this email and consider retracting many of your statements about public school. Public school might not be perfect (we can’t all be perfect like you, Matt) but it’s certainly far superior to “homeschool”. Any number of studies prove this. Studies aside, I’d like to see your response to these two point:

1. The flaws in our public school system have to do with PARENTS. Parents send their kids to school and think their job is done, instead of being involved in their child’s education. How can the system ever improve if the involved parents pull out and do their own thing? We have a responsibility not just to our own family but to our community. Homeschool parents hurt their communities when they isolate themselves and remove their children from our academic institutions. If we don’t help the system, the system will not work.

2. You mock the idea of socialization, but the fact is that kids need to learn how to socialize. That skill is not ingrained in them. How can they learn proper social skills if they aren’t around other children? You might as well try to teach your kid how to swim without ever putting him in a pool. It’s most important for kids to learn the academic fundamentals, but learning proper socialization is very important as well. Public school gives young people the chance to become well adjusted adults.

I look forward to your responses to these two points, and to your admission that “homeschool” does far more harm than good to our society. I don’t think I can read your site again until that has happened.

In Christ,

Dan

 

Hi Dan,

Thanks for reading.

I actually went back to check, and I can’t find the post where I refer to all public school teachers as ‘the devil.’ Now, I can tell you that I had a music teacher in elementary school who once ‘disciplined’ a kid by having him sit in front of the class while she went around the room and asked all of his classmates to insult him. True story. I’m not saying she was ‘the devil,’ but if the devil ever DID teach an elementary school music class, I’m sure he’d do something similar. Let’s just settle on calling her behavior ‘devilish,’ and leave it at that.

But, no, I don’t think all public school teachers are that bad. Some of them are, but not all, and probably not most. In my own experience, I’d say 10 to 15 percent of my public school instructors were so obnoxiously terrible at their jobs that I often wondered if their classes were elaborate practical jokes, or maybe some kind of strange performance art stunt. On the other side, a good 10 to 15 percent were wonderful, dedicated, tuned-in, engaged, and brilliant. The rest fell somewhere in between the two extremes, as is often the case in any profession. The only difference here is that, in most other (non union) occupations, the obnoxiously terrible ones can and will be fired.

I notice that you have no problem laying the blame on parents (or PARENTS, as you call them), but, apparently, leveling even the slightest criticism at the sainted teachers is akin to accusing them of Satan worship. This strikes me as an awfully unbalanced way of approaching the issue.

Also, I’m anxious to read any number of those any number of studies you mentioned. I’m not sure what subject you taught in public school, but I’m positive you’d have given your students a failing grade if their Works Cited page simply said: “-Any number of studies.”

That’s the thing about claiming to have read “studies” that validate your argument about public education being superior to home education — you really have to offer, like, maybe ONE example.

I’m not sure which studies you’ve researched, but I guess it isn’t the one confirming that homeschoolers outperform public schooled kids on standardized tests, or the one showing that homeschooled kids are more prepared for college, or the one showing homeschoolers achieving a higher 4th year GPA.

Really, though, we could go back and forth with studies all day (well, I could — still waiting to see you produce one on your end). What’s the point? This is part of the reason many people are thoroughly disgusted with the way we treat education in our country. We don’t need to be studying our kids like lab rats, running academic experiments on them, and then comparing and contrasting their performance with the other kids across town, and the kids across the world, and the kangaroos in the zoo. Education is not a competitive sport. I’m a little tired of this “quick — learn more stuff faster!” attitude. Education is a much deeper pursuit. It can’t always be quantified and qualified and whateverified. You can’t necessarily measure a person’s knowledge, anymore than you can measure their artistic talent or their sense of humor.

Maybe we should stop turning our kids into charts and bar graphs, and instead work on connecting with them as human beings.

Furthermore, if we treat education like a race (“Race to the Top!”), we only reinforce the notion that the whole endeavor is just a game to see who can absorb the most information, and carry it all across the finish line without having a nervous breakdown.

There is no finish line. Education is a lifelong journey, despite the fact that nowadays we tend to say: “Hey, you graduated college! You’re done! Now go watch Netflix until your eyes bleed!”

So let’s forget the studies and move to your two points:

1) You say we should keep our kids in public school in order to help ‘the system.’

Dan, listen, I have to be real with you: this isn’t just a bad argument — it’s disturbing.

‘Help the system.’

Is this really a priority for parents? When my wife and I make a decision for our family, should we stop first and ask, “wait, but will this help the system?”

Would you REALLY put the welfare of ‘the system’ over that of your own children?

I’d hope that you wouldn’t, and I’d hope that this line of logic is unique to you, but I know that it isn’t. I’ve heard it before. I’ve heard it so often, in fact, that I’m starting to think I’m the strange one for having absolutely no desire to make my children martyrs for some bureaucratic machine.

You know what my kids need me to be? A parent. Their dad. Not a cog in the system, not a member of the community, not a loyal townsperson in the village, not a ‘team player.’

Sure, I’ll tell them not to litter and I’ll make sure they play nice with the other kids in the neighborhood, but when it comes to making choices about something as serious as their education, I don’t frankly care how our decision effects the community. Does that make me callous? I don’t know. I think it just makes me a man with priorities.

Would the school system be helped if my family ‘participated’ in it? Maybe, and I’m sure the circus would be helped if you went on stage and stuck your head in a lion’s mouth. But you won’t sacrifice your scalp to the Ringling Brothers, and I won’t sacrifice my kids’ brains to public school. I guess we’re even.

2) You say that homeschooled kids aren’t properly socialized.

I give you this: with the exception of about 14 thousand other times, this is the first time I’ve ever heard this argument.

It’s an argument that seems to march on, even after its been disproven, discredited, deconstructed, and decapitated. I just promised to stop tossing around studies, so I won’t link to an article (here) that cites at least two different studies proving your assertion to be a myth.

I’ll only say that you chose a pretty strange analogy to prove your point. You can’t teach a child to swim without bringing him to a pool? I agree. But do you bring a child to the pool, drop him there with a thousand other kids, then come back 6 hours later, and repeat that process every day, five days a week, for the next 12 to 13 years? Or do you bring him to the pool, hang out with him, maybe even get in the water and play some Marco Polo, and then leave with him after a couple of hours?

I can tell you this: if you decide to just abandon your kid at the pool for hours and hours and hours on end, every day, for over a decade, he probably won’t do a lot of swimming. If he doesn’t drown (drowning is a very real possibility, especially if there’s only one lifeguard for every 40 kids), he’ll likely spend more time playing on his iPhone and smoking pot in the bathroom than learning the backstroke.

Indeed, when it comes to teaching your kid any other skill — whether its swimming, or driving, or riding a bike, or catching a baseball — all parents understand that their hands-on involvement is crucial. It’s only with the skill of ‘socializing’ where many of us suddenly decide that the matter should be outsourced to a factory in China (or a factory down the street, in this case).

Why do I even need to debunk the socialization claim? You’ve seen our society, haven’t you? You’ve interacted with people, right? Homeschooling might be increasingly popular, but the vast majority of the people you meet have been public schooled. And you’re telling me that the vast majority of the people you meet are ‘socially well adjusted’?

Really?

You and I both know that’s a lie. Sure, you can probably tell me about a homeschooled kid you met once who was totally weird and awkward and stuff, but I could see your anecdote and raise you school shooters, the bullying epidemic, youth suicide rates, a youth culture utterly dominated by cliques, fads, and trends, and then this:

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Well adjusted adults?

WELL ADJUSTED ADULTS?

Go to a college campus — any college campus — and tell me again how these public schooled ladies and gentlemen are such well adjusted adults.

For God’s sake, Dan, they literally cannot socialize without inhaling a barrel of urine-flavored light beer ahead of time.

Public schools teach our kids how to socialize? Then why is this such a common sight:

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I’m not claiming that homeschoolers don’t use smart phones or beer bongs, but I am saying that an overwhelming preponderance of our society has been exclusively public schooled, and if public school helped ‘socialize’ us, you’d think we’d see SOME positive results SOMEWHERE.

Expecting your kid to learn ‘social skills’ from public school, is like sending him to live with chimpanzees so that he’ll learn proper table manners.

‘Socialization’ — in the public school context — means that your child will simply absorb behavioral cues from her peers. She learns to socialize by aping her friends, who are themselves only copying other girls. She learns to repress the parts of her that don’t fit in, and put on an exterior designed to help her fade into the collective. I’m not theorizing here, this IS the social process in public school.

It’s also competitive; your social status depends on your ability to cut your peers down, until your can easily step on them and elevate yourself.

Expressing your ideas, showing vulnerability, communicating your deepest thoughts and feelings — these are all fervently discouraged. Kids are tasked with expressing not their own thoughts, but sufficiently imitating the thoughts and views of the peer collective. Children who can’t keep up, or who have no desire to keep up, will either have to be the most self-assured human beings on the planet (which is unlikely, since they haven’t been given the tools to develop that self-assurance), or they’ll become bitter, self-conscious, and depressed.

There is nothing positive about any of this. Nobody is better for it. Nobody benefits. The psychological damage can be lasting, maybe even permanent. Again, this is not my theory. This is just the way it works. How could you be so oblivious, Dan?

Now, homeschool socialization is different. Here, a child learns his social skills from his parents. He is oriented by adults, not other children. He matures, and grows, and is provided a safe environment to, as the phrase goes, be himself. Despite common perception, I don’t think most homeschool kids are locked in a tower like Rapunzel, and forbidden from human contact. They have friends, they play sports, they emerge into society and interact with people.

The only difference is how they learn to interact. The public school kid learns to interact based on how his peers carry on in the hallways and at the lunch table, whereas the homeschool kids learns to interact based on the guidance of his parents.

Who has a better foundation for becoming a well adjusted adult?

I’m not insinuating that homeschool is perfect, or that homeschool students are perfectly adjusted, but I am absolutely declaring that ‘socialization’ is the WORST part of public school.

Find a different selling point, Dan.

I appreciate the email.

In Christ (whose Word, incidentally, exhorts us to “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”),

Matt

*******

Note: every Friday I’ll go through my inbox and respond to one (or maybe more than one) email from the previous week. If you want to send me an email on any topic at all, here’s the address: TheMattWalshBlog@gmail.com

Also, message me on Facebook.

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1,709 Responses to Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

  1. Tabetha says:

    I’ve recently decided to homeschool my 4 kids. Too many bad things have happened in the last 5 years with this school. I don’t feel like my kids are safe. I always worry about them & so many kids are mean. Bullying is the LAST thing on the list of priorities of the school. They’re more concerned about their extra programs to bring in more money. It’s all about the money. My son is going to be 5 in a few weeks. We went to a “fun” intro to Kinder day & I saw a safety issue on the blacktop…didn’t even get to see the playground because the weather was bad & we didn’t have time. So the kids just ran around in circles on the blacktop. My son got knocked down. There was a set of stairs leading to another building that was pretty tall. One little boy managed to reach the top & stand on the railing before he was noticed. Anyways, something has happened to my 3 girls while with this school.
    Once, minister daughter (6 yrs old at the time) was dropped off at home (after I signed a permission slip for her to stay after for a cheerleading thing with her older sister) while nobody was home. She was locked out & alone for almost an hr in the middle of winter. We just happened to stop by the house to pick up my husband’s cigarettes & saw her standing there crying & wet from having an accident. Of course the school was not at fault for it. It was our fault for not writing a 2ND note to say she was not to ride the bus. I guess they didn’t feel the need to look into it when she told them she was supposed to stay.
    My youngest daughter was stabbed in the eye with a stick during recess last yr & the school failed to call me. Their excuse was that the phone lines were out. So my daughter was in pain for several hrs before I even knew what happened. The eye doctor told me she was very lucky it didn’t leave a scar & affect her eyesight permanently.
    My oldest girl is in 7th grade. She has alot more things to remember than she was used to in elementary school. She forgets alot & the START program actually worked against get because then she had even more things to remember to do. Well, we called to pull her out of the program because I was tired of the every day detentions. I live 8 miles from the school & it obviously wasn’t helping anyone. The teacher decided to wait for my daughter to check in at the end of the day before telling her to get on the bus. When my daughter went straight to detention (she figured she could check in with the START teacher after she got settled into her detention), she missed the bus. She didn’t know I called to cancel the program. My husband was mad that they failed to tell her until last minute so he called the START teacher & let her uni a exactly what he thought. Then after their conversation, she yelled at my 12 yr old for “causing problems”! I’m so done with this school!!! Those are just a few things that have happened here. The kids are able to just walk outside where a bunch of adults as ere standing around the front. Anyone can walk into the building…first line of defense is a secretary who can’t even see the entrance from where they’re sitting (and that’s the elementary & HS…both are connected). So anyone has open access to the hallways.
    Anyways, last night, my husband ran into a woman at the local dollar store who said her teen son comes home crying from bullies & has even talked about suicide! This is a SMALL school. So many of these kids are MEAN. The staff are only concerned about their system & paychecks. Makes me sick I didn’t think I could do homeschooling before. I thought it would be too difficult. They WANT you to think that! Now I know the truth. It’s better for my kids & I CAN do it!

    • Elizabeth says:

      The transition into homeschooling can be like culture shock, but just keep remembering that you CAN DO THIS!

  2. Tabetha says:

    My girls get up around 6am to get on the bus at 7. They get home around 4pm & then have homework to do. It’s crazy how much time school takes of their lives. So much time is wasted on things that don’t even really matter. With homeschooling, the kids will get to focus on the important things, we’ll all get sick SO much less, the kids will have alot more time to do other things they enjoy & won’t have to get up so early. Also, they won’t have to deal with idiot teachers & bratty kids. They’ll be able to express their own personalities without having to worry about what others might think. I think it’ll build their confidence & I’m excited to start! Only a few more weeks of public school 🙂

    • annie says:

      You are going to love it!!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Most of my school days were about 4 hours, and that was usually including lunch and breaks for wiggling when I was younger and needed it. Only 4 days a week, Fridays were kept free for doctor appointments, fun activities, or catching up if something happened earlier in the week and we were getting behind. I know some home schoolers who spend 6-8 hours 5 days a week doing the Beka online classes, I feel so sorry for them having to waist so much time. I understand doing one or two online classes for Higher math classes or foreign language in High school, other wise my advice is to avoid them.
      Just my personal opinion based off of being homeschool K-12.
      If there is a home school group in your area they can be fun for extra activities and give you a chance to talk with other home school parents as a support group.

      • cdciii says:

        My son often spent less than 3 hours a day schooling. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that when a child understands the lesson he/she can move on to the next one without waiting for a class to catch up with them,

        My son graduated HS (home schooled, of course) at 16. By 18 he’d placed 4th in a statewide college math competition here in Kahlifornia. But then again, with our leaders here being without the basic math skills to understand that taxing everything away from those have anything means that all will have nothing, I guess that’s not saying much. A cooked goose yields no eggs, golden or otherwise…

  3. Feather Blade says:

    This comment in the original letter really stuck out to me: “You seem to be of the lucky few smart enough to get away with having no real education to speak of (congratulations).”

    So.

    Matt Walsh (I believe) completed public school through the high school level.
    The public educator who sent him this comment says that he has no real education to speak of.
    Therefore: the public educator believes that public school provides no real education.

    And this is supposed to be an argument ~in favor~ of sending kids to public school?

  4. Andrew says:

    Nice Post Matt. I always love your take on things.

    If I could add a part to your rebuttal of Dan’s first point.

    If the school system needs parents to be involved to be successful, ins’t that an argument showing that the system isn’t needed? If all the parents just home schooled their kids and where involved that way in their children’s education… what need do we have at that point for the system?

    At least that is how I view it. Again, thank you for the post.

    • Gene says:

      Andrew, we need the public school system because, mediocre though it may be, it is still better than what some students would get if they were forced to depend only upon what they would get from their parents. For the rest, you point is well taken, that most children might do better with the involvement of their parents rather than in public school. But for those few who are not blessed with parents who can/will help them learn, the only thing worse than being the child of an uninvolved parent while attending a mediocre public school, would be to not have the mediocre public school to help educate you and to depend solely on the parent who either cannnot or will not participate in providing for his/her child’s education.

      • Hugo says:

        So you are saying, for the benefit of the few, the majority of us shall suffer. Yeah, sure, move to Cuba.

        • Gene says:

          Not what I said at all. Where did you go to school?

        • Yes, we need the public school system. It would be wrong to remove that option, for those who need it or prefer it. If you don’t like the way that public schools are run, then speak out about your specific concerns, but don’t tell others that they cannot use this important resource. I will repeat myself: raise your own children. Leave others alone to raise theirs.

      • Karen says:

        I have had a front row seat to this exact scenario. A neighbor was “homeschooling” her son, but there was no actual schooling involved, and he was also pretty lonely. Finally in at highschool age, he demanded to go to school. He was years behind, and now as a senior, still unsure how to catch up. I feel strongly that “homeschooling” has set him on a path of not feeling educated enough to pursue any dream involving further education.

        • KarenJoy says:

          It was not “homeschooling” that set him on a path of not feeling educated, it was his parents that did that. There are thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of kids, public school educated kids, that don’t feel like they can pursue dreams either. That is why the drop out rate is so high.

        • Melissa says:

          You rightly put the word “homeschooling” in quotes. This child’s situation was falsely labeled as “homeschooling”, as he was home but not being educated. The abuse of the right to homeschool does not nullify the validity and worth of homeschooling. But it does support the idea that we need public schools to support students whose parents are not involved in their education.

    • Alisa says:

      “If all the parents just home schooled their kids”. . . really???? You must be like me— you grew up in a home with two parents, one working to provide for the families physical needs, the other at home to provide for the emotional needs (yes I realize this is a bit of an overgeneralization) Growing up in a home like this was a PRIVILEGE that the majority of children in the United States today do not have. Being in a financial situation today to be able to have one parent stay home to home school is a PRIVILEGE. It is a PRIVILEGE because many American families can not choose to have a parent at home to provide these opportunities for their children. I am not saying that these parents of PRIVILEGE don’t work hard, because they do, and yes it might provide a “hardship” for the people who choose to participate in this PRIVILEGE of homeschooling, maybe you won’t be able to buy a new car, or take the vacation you wanted to take, or maybe, heaven forbid you might have to choose to live in a smaller home, but if you have the OPTION of home schooling a child it is a PRIVILEGE that many parents who are working 18 hour days to pay for rent for a one bedroom/no bedroom and put a little something for dinner on the table are unable to participate in. If they decided to homeschool, there would be no home in which to do the schooling.

  5. WarmSocks says:

    1) Many parents volunteer in their children’s schools because they want their children to have a good education, and they do not continue to volunteer after their children have graduated. They are not accused of hurting the schools by not volunteering once their children no longer are affected by the system. Other dedicated parent-volunteers move out of the district. They are not accused of hurting the school by no longer participating in it. Remember that their motives are not altruistic. They invest their time in the school because it is the best way they know to give their kids a better education.

    A case can certainly be made that students need their parents to be involved, but it does not hurt schools for parents to be involved only in their own children’s education. Johnny’s parents should be involved in Johnny’s education, and it is benevolent of them to assist with other children, too. They are not to be faulted if they decline to assist with other children or expect Jimmy’s parents to take responsibility for Jimmy’s education.

    Homeschool parents choose a different method of improving their kids’ education than signing over all rights to the local school. They do the teaching themselves. That does not preclude them from volunteering in the public schools. Many communities do have homeschool parents who volunteer in the schools and serve on the school board. People who want to work to make the public schools better can do so whether or not they have children in the system.

    2) Kids learn proper social skills by being taught those skills and then given opportunities to practice. Homeschooled kids learn to socialize with people of all ages, not just those born within a year of when they were born. http://hsadventures.wordpress.com/faq/socialization/

    • Taquoshi says:

      I was at a BOE meeting in a nearby, rather well to do town and one of the Board members commented that they wanted the parents to be fully involved in Elementary school, somewhat involved in middle school and not at all involved in high school. I was baffled because the topic of the discussion was an upcoming survey on risky behaviors. (drinking, drug use, cutting, sexual activity, etc.) So, it’s okay to be at school during the early years, but not wanted during the years when there is the most risk involved? I almost fell off the chair.

  6. Rachel says:

    I remember talking to a friend of mine about this “socialization” issue years ago. She has homeschooled her kids on and off through the years and I had asked her about homeschooled kids being weird. She responded that she’d been to a lot of different homeschooling conventions and had one indisputable response to this argument. (Because we all know homeschooled kids that were weird – no one ever remembers that we all knew classmates that were weird as well.) She said:
    “I have found that the kids are only as weird as the parents.”

    HAHAhahahaaaa! Now that’s the truth. Her logic has given me a lot of comfort as I’ve been trying to decide if homeschooling is right for my kids. If all else fails, they’ll only be as weird and me. 🙂

    • one of the best line of our homeschooling years: “your kids talk to adults . . . that’s so weird” … seriously? 🙂

      • Marilyn says:

        That made me laugh. I didn’t get to home-school my daughter other than what she learned before going to kindergarten…Not preschool. She was reading when she went to school. She had an excellent vocabulary, was artistic and creative. On weekends,I took her many places that others thought were unnecessary. Art and Natural History museums, She took short term training in karate, gymnastics, twirling, even a “beauty pageant”. Just for the experience. These are things that many homeschoolers do also and it makes a well rounded child. Public school seems to be stifling in my opinion. The only downside to this was that I never had a “baby” She was a fast learner and at school was enrolled in a part time gifted program. We lived in a small town and kept many different animals. Her childhood was happy for both of us. She even went hunting and trapping with her father.

  7. Cindi says:

    I really have to comment on the thing about socialization. I am so tired of hearing that argument! I homeschooled my three sons till they were close to high school age. They never turned their noses up at adults or younger kids and were quite capable of having conversations with any of them. They are ALL well adjusted; I never cease to get compliments on their personalities, etc, etc. etc.! They also know quite well how to think for themselves and make good decisions.

  8. Summer says:

    I started homeschooling my children 2 years ago and have found it’s benefits fingering it’s way into every aspect of our family life that I would have never associated with academics prior to homeschooling. I have found all that you said to be 100% true. I have yet to find a home schooled family that has a bratty teenager, that the world just calls “normal teenage behavior.” It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bratty teenager out there that is currently being home schooled:), but for the amount of families I know that home school, that percentage is astronomical! I have also yet to find a family that does not have at least 1 bratty teenager that sends their kids to public school. I do know a precious few teenage kids, that I feel are very exceptional kids, that go to public school and are truly good kids. I think these are the exception and have strengths that allow them to thrive in spite of what is learned in the public schools. Since starting homeschooling in my family, I am better connected to my children, they are more bonded to me as well, and we are all thriving, whereas prior we were all failing in life! What parent could possibly think that being better connected to your children would be bad for them! I think there would be a lot less kids addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, etc, if all parents were better connected to their children, had more trusting and loving relationships with them, and had the time and opportunity to give them an individualized education and care. Talk about giving children incredible self esteem as well! Public school does not allow parents to have a large enough impact in their children’s lives. Thank you for your blog and your posts on homeschooling!

  9. Jessie says:

    I loved the crap out of this post.
    I’ve also heard people say, “They need to be around kids their own age.”
    Why? It’s such an artificial setting to group that many kids the same age together. When in real life are you ever with a group of people your own age other than public school. When you get a job? No. Church? No. I can’t think of one circumstance as an adult I’ve ever had to use that “skill” of being around dozens of people my exact age.

    • petroskhan says:

      Oh, you are SO wrong. That skill is extremely useful.

      Without knowing how to fit in among a group of those close to one’s own age, how will these kids ever learn how to mingle and properly conduct themselves at all of those drunken college parties? How ever will they become the psychologically stunted, emotionally crippled puppets of socialism that our education needs in order to survive?

      Really…I’m surprised I need to point this out.

  10. Tim says:

    My goodness, for a guy who received no “real education” your pretty tuned into what the world is all about! I have just started to enjoy your blog a few weeks ago! Thanks and keep up the good work.

  11. Bob Pegram says:

    I have read about a study that showed homeschooled kids are much better at interacting with adults and kids of a different age than their own age. My personal experience at church verifies this. Homeschooled kids are much better adjusted and socialized than government schooled kids. They also aren’t brainwashed with crazy ideas.

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  13. karenhyatt says:

    I am so sharing this on FB.
    Gads, they keep my kids for 35+ hours a week and then get mad because we’re not doing MORE school at home. Kindergarteners don’t even get to play anymore, so they don’t get a whole lot of that highly coveted “socialization” – or even the simple physics lesson of watching their blocks topple. The public school report card is poor and getting worse by the year. I’ve had it!

  14. charlotteroyal says:

    I thought it was interesting that the teacher advocates more parental involvement in point 1 — while lambasting homeschooling as, basically, too much parental involvement.

  15. Curt Bradbury says:

    Matt,
    I have 4 sons, ages 23 down to 7, all have been or are being homeschooled. Before I ever met my wife, I was a ski instructor and decided then to homeschool my future children. We had a sign in the office that read, “Amatuers teach Amatuers to ski like Amatuers. Take lessons from a pro!” Hyper attention deprived children teach hyper attention deprived children to act like hyper attention deprived children.

  16. Danielle says:

    Wooooo!! PREACH IT MATT!!!!!!!! I’m so with you brother!

  17. Shirley Bossbach says:

    Interesting how when you have NO argument to make … you just start insulting people. “Where did you go to school”? Good blog Matt.. Early on colleges were leery of Home schooled kids but they READ the studies and now they prefer kids that know how to behave, how to do research, how to follow through and complete a project. Home schooled kids are today much sought after by the good Universities!

  18. tynkrbella says:

    Can I just say that as a public educated person, I totally love the idea of homeschooling! I had a case of undiagnosed ADD growing up. People with ADD are usually socially behind during their teen years and this makes it hard to be in a place where conformity is king! I had the absolute worst time in high school! I have an IQ tested in the high 150s and I absolutely failed high school. Why? My social life sucked! I couldn’t keep a lot of friends because of my impulsive and often childish behavior. Because of this, I put more focus on saving my social life than into my academics. I became depressed because no matter what I did, I couldn’t keep friends. I felt like no one even understood what I was going through.

    I don’t know if being homeschooled would have helped this situation. I wonder if having my parents there by my side and encouraging me the whole way, instead of feeling handed off to others, would have helped me feel more well adjusted. I have no idea. However, I know that more and more, I want to homeschool my kids.

  19. carrie says:

    ‘i’ve been in private practice evaluating kids’ readiness for college for over 20 years. i am sure that there are wonderful homeschooling folks out there, but of all of the kids brought to me for evaluation, none were prepared for college. many were able to start college after home school graduation, but began in remedial classes in an attempt to catch up. And because their ACT scores were too low, they were unable to get admission to the more competitive programs. It’s difficult to provide a chemistry lab, or plant biology lab in your living room, or allow kids who are interested in CAD to complete courses on this at home. Also, the kids who do well in the AP classes can begin college as 11th graders and complete their whole first year of college before leaving high school. Perhaps homeschoolers can do this as well, but i haven’t seen one yet.

    • feryl says:

      All 4 of ours entered college and excelled, including the one diagnosed as learning disabled. All graduated with honors, 2 were summa cum laude. I had difficulty convincing our youngest boy to go, as he pointed out he was helping his older brother (a college senior) with computer programming and saw no reason to waste 4 years studying what he already knew.

      Home schooling requires families to educate themselves on what resources are available and how their children need to learn. It also takes discipline, time, and patience. Many families are not prepared to home school, and they need to be realistic and avail themselves of the public or private schools available. For the home schooling families we knew, almost all worked hard to prepare their children for life, and most home schooled children graduated with honors from college. Many public school children I went to college with, had difficulty disciplining themselves to study. Most of the home schooled children I know are able to stay focused and thrive in college.

    • mrs.m. says:

      I’m on a committee for homeschool graduation in our area. 50 kids graduating. 40 moving on to higher education. 10 of those 40 received scholarships from college admission test scores. I don’t know who these kids are that you are working with but they don’t represent what is happening nationwide. My students were sought after during the college admission process. We were told over and over by admissions that most homeschoolers are successful in college and they want us! A number of schools have assigned admissions administrators specifically to recruit homeschoolers. My two children currently at university have high GPAs and are doing well. One is prelaw and the other electrical engineering. I have a number of friends with former homeschooled children successfully navigating colleges.

    • mrs.m. says:

      And my children had AP classes and attended classes at the local college their senior year.

      I think your service was meant to help struggling students? I would not send my children to a service to evaluate them unless we needed assistance. It’s true that not all homeschool students are successful. The parents take the blame even though some did their best for their children. If these kids did poorly in public school they would just be labeled remedial and no one would be at fault.

      It’s true there are the very rare cases that the parents do not properly educate their children. I won’t deny that happens and it is sad. But it is not as prevalent as you want the world to believe.

    • Sue says:

      My daughter, who was homeschooled throughout high school, scored over 1400 on the SAT. She was accepted into college with scholarships. My other daughter, who was homeschooled 6th grade through 11th grade and finished HS at a private school, also was accepted into college. She needed no remedial courses. She is now a nurse. Both were involved in homeshool support groups that included science lab work.
      Could it be the subset of children that you’re looking at are not the norm?

    • WarmSocks says:

      It is actually quite simple to have a chem lab at home — expensive, but not difficult. Not sure about plant biology, but regular biology, too, is expensive when purchasing a good microscope, dissection trays and tools, etc., but entirely doable. I took our high school science books to a local high school science teacher for evaluation, and was told that it’s the best thing she’s ever seen and wishes that she could use it in her classroom. My son phoned home after two weeks in college just to let me know that our science curriculum had him very well prepared for college. He aced that class, and was asked by the professor to tutor students the following semester. As for CAD, there is a pretty good CAD program available online free for those whose interests go in that direction.

      My oldest scored high enough on his SAT that he was given an $11K/yr scholarship to his first choice college. He has just finished his sophomore year as an engineering major and has a 4.0 gpa. My second child scored high enough on her SAT that she was given a $12K per year scholarship to her first choice college. She has just finished her freshman year as a health sciences major, and has a 4.0 gpa. My third child has not yet selected a college, but scored higher than both of her older siblings on the SAT, so I don’t anticipate her having any difficulty getting into the college of her choice and excelling in her chosen field. The statistics show that this is not an anomaly. Most homeschoolers do quite well in college.

      Perhaps you are seeing a skewed sample of homeschool graduates. Those who do well on their ACT or SAT tests don’t need to be evaluated for college readiness.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Depending on the state and county support of home schoolers as to how many you will see taking College classes during their last two years of high school. I know of some Home schoolers who complete the requirements for an Associate’s degree while they are completing High school, colleges who offer those kinds of opportunities do it for public and home schoolers. A lot of success really depends on the individual parents, the kind of support they can find in their area, and in some cases how far behind the students were before being pulled out of public school.

    • Peggy says:

      Why would a parent bring their child to you to be evaluated unless they thought that child needed your help? Perhaps that skews your results.

  20. brookelorren says:

    With the exception of an hour a week for one year as a four-year-old for speech class, neither of my kids have been to public school. Ever.

    Yet, this week I had two compliments about my kids. While we were on a field trip, a stranger remarked that my seven year old was “a sweetheart”. Yesterday, we had a CPS worker drop by our house (evidently, someone decided that he didn’t like something we were doing, and decided to anonymously accuse us of a pack of lies), and she said that my kids were “well behaved.” So I think that you can get the socialization thing down without going to public school.

  21. Heather says:

    Bravo!

    Signed, Homeschool Mom of 5, working diligently with my children for 24 yrs.

  22. Tom says:

    Would like to know if you have any resources for home school situations where the dad is the stay-at-home parent…even blogs about it would be great

    • WarmSocks says:

      Tom, I’m not sure what different resources a dad would need than a mom, but I created a website with homeschooling information. I rarely update the blog portion, but would be happy to answer any questions you have. My email address is on the About Us page of my site, Adventures in Homeschooling. Best of luck.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Just found this, so I don’t know the quality of this blog. http://homeschooldaddy.com/
      A quick google search for “Blogs homeschool dad” pulled up many links.

  23. Terry says:

    Hi Matt,
    I have just been introduced to your blog. Thank you, for your clear, direct thoughts.
    I have a concern, though, so I thought I would ask a question and offer an observation.
    Question: Did you notice anything special about Dan’s approach in his letter?
    Observation: I did. He approached you as he was “taught” by his peers in the arena of his socialization; public education and the “Union” collaborative.
    Parents should recognize the behavior, and stand firm for their children in spite of the pressure to conform.
    Please understand, that by example, and in most cases by special seminar or workshop training, teachers are indoctrinated on how to “influence” and “correct” parents and community members who don’t or won’t tow the Public Ed./ Ed. Union line. It is Bullying 101 through 615. “Make them dependent on you for their acceptance, and threaten to and withhold it if they don’t conform.” The underlying message is that they are sophisticated and know better than you because they are educated and really, you are beneath them. You should feel privileged that they are teaching your children. You don’t belong to their special society. How DARE you contradict them?
    I have fought this for my entire career in education, both public and private. I think it is just 2 years before the end of my 4th decade, as a Teacher (started as a tutor and am still substitute teaching). I have even been a Union Field and Building Rep. Things ARE worse than when I started. Unfortunately, “Es La Ley!” as they say, but so is Homeschool.
    Just 2 more years, too, before we “graduate” the last of our 7 children and 1 nephew from, Homeschool.
    Business Managers, a Health Care Provider, a Banker, a Chef, a Professional Athlete, and what promises to be an Athletics Trainer/Writer make up the student body we have been privileged to work with. I wish I could say it was totally a cooperative effort, but reality is their Mother/Aunt has done the vast majority of the work. I helped, but mostly I raised the funding to keep the school going.

    Keep going, Matt. Watch out for those “Professional Educator” digs. Glad to know you.

  24. mattscott says:

    At no point in my life aside from school have I ever been placed into a room with 30 other people,all exactly the same age, forced to listen to someone talk for six hours and had that called socializing. My kids are home schooled and they socialize by going out and talking to people in museums, libraries, and stores. They speak to adults. They speak to children. They ask questions. They pet dogs in the park. These natural interactions are far more like the types of contact we have with other people as adults.

  25. Todd says:

    Still waiting to see Dan’s sources. A public school official would never just make something up, right?

  26. AlannaOT says:

    I was homeschooled from sixth grade until I graduated high school. I absolutely loved my experience as it was perfect for my style of learning. Not only was I a very driven learner, but I had a lot of social stimulation through neighborhood friends, teen club, youth group, youth orchestra, chamber group, ensemble group, a tour group, music camp, and people I met at other group activities like concerts and whatnot. Because I had such a positive homeschooling experience people automatically assume that I would homeschool my own children. This is a huge no. I would never homeschool my own children.

    Having been homeschooled I have a lot of very successful formerly homeschooled friends. They did well in college, are well-adjusted, and the majority of the population would never know that we were homeschooled or not now that we are adults. They also seem to be split down the middle when it comes to homeschooling their own kids. Homeschooling is a complex and touchy subject. This is in no way meant to imply that if you do choose to homeschool, there is anything inherently wrong with it, but I think people also need to be aware of the implications should they do so. There are moral, social, familial, and communal constructs that go way beyond not wanting your kid to be bullied or even attempting to give your child something more than just a basic education. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly. This decision will have long-term consequences both positive and negative. It is natural to think of all the positives, but looking back on it, I can tell you there were some definite negatives too and it is foolish not to think of those as well. The real question for any parents is whether the positives outweigh the negatives. For those who have chosen homeschooling the answer is obviously yes. For me, it is no.

    • WarmSocks says:

      I’d be interested in knowing what those negative consequences were. Since I homeschool my kids, I try to do everything I can to make it a positive, beneficial experience, and would eliminate those negatives if possible.

  27. Alicia says:

    I appreciate both sides, and had a hard time deciding how I am going to educate my kids. But after homeschooling my oldest son through preschool, at the pressure of my in laws, I am more and more certain I am not doing it for the right reasons. I am not right person to shape my kids worldview single-handedly. I’m not Jesus.
    What I appreciate the most from my public school education was that I learned about the world from many different people. I learned how to bounce those thoughts off of my peers, and how to those opinions against the Bible. By simply hearing lots of different voices and cultures, alongside the true Word of God, I learned how to evangelize at a very young age. I learned to trust my savior, even when I didn’t understand His ways, and I learned that people have value no matter what they have done or believe, or their age.
    What I don’t love about my home schooled hubby and his family is that they were allowed a limited view on the world: their parents. And then behind that, their churches. They have somewhat rebelled against the laws of their parents but they have also adopted the dangerously accepted racism, sexism and politics. They have no acceptance of anything different than they were brought up as which wouldn’t hurt so much if I was exactly like them and not living with them. And more than that they weren’t taught to think critically. They were simply taught, this is what you should believe, how you should act, and anything different is wrong.
    Obviously, not all home schooling parents will raise their kids this way. But many people who want their kids to simply follow their path, and not seek the Truth for themselves, will choose home schooling.

    • Cory says:

      Seriously? That’s a blanketed statement! I could say more but will leave it at that.

  28. Shaylyn Matthews says:

    Yes! Yes and more YES! I tell people ” I socialize my dogs, I teach my children!” I have always thougjt the exact.same.thing. when I look out at girls wearing next to nothing, kids who are cutting or anorexic, boys who wear their pants to their ankles and use the F word when refering to their mothers 🙂 and think, “So….that’s socialization?! I’ll take a pass, thank you!”

  29. Shauna says:

    My kids are smart, very creative, fun and musical. They love to learn. We are huge readers at our house. They have a very defined sense of morality that most times I think is better than mine. I have one in HS, JHS, and 2 in elementary school. I love their teachers and we do get a few bad ones. I live in a great district. Do what you think is best fot your children. I am sick of home schoolers telling me that school is sucking the love of learning and creativity out of my children. Home school if you want I am so gld you can do it. But what I am doing works for me and my kids. I know no one will read this but I just had to put it down for the record.

  30. Lachelle says:

    Has Dan replied yet? I am really (REALLY) interested in reading his response.

  31. Juanita says:

    Matt, I couldn’t have said it better! I don’t have anything to add…you sure covered it very well. But I want to put in my 2 cents worth of experience with homeschooled children. While I didn’t homeschool my children, I have several grandchildren, some nieces and nephews, and friends’ children who have been/are homeschooled and I have to say that the lack of ‘proper socialization skills’ is a huge misconception. I’ve been around a lot of homeschooled children and the first thing I notice is how comfortable they are around other kids and, amazingly, around ADULTS. The average (for lack of a correct word) kid doesn’t seem to be comfortable talking to adults…they don’t seem to have anything to say. I still am pleasantly surprised when the homeschooled kids I happen to run into are so at ease with talking to me and they have a lot to say! It’s quite amazing and enjoyable!

  32. Kristie says:

    We recently moved which caused us to re-evaluate the school situation of our three daughters. After being told that my first grader was approx. 6 months ahead and my 4th grader was 1 1/2 years ahead of our new school district (and would be expected to just sit quietly until the other kids caught up), we decided to home educate our kids. My question though, is this. If public school is so concerned with the “socialization” of our children, why are my kids automatically ineligible for any school activities, including speech services and all sports. Obviously, we still pay the taxes that support these programs. Seems to me they either want to thoroughly brainwash my child or not touch them with a 10-ft pole. And they have my kids’ best interest at heart? I don’t think so. (And yes, I do know that some states will allow homeschool children to participate in certain programs. However, in West Virginia, that is not the case.)

  33. Katie says:

    I have taught public school – at the elementary level and at the high school level. I have taught at a private middle school. Now I teach at the college level. It was with this experience that I went and visited the local elementary school when my oldest was ready for kindergarten. After spending several hours at the school, I returned home with the decision that I would NEVER send my children to that school. So in the Fall we began a homeschool curriculum that I had put together. My younger child wanted “work” too, so I put together a pre-school curriculum for her. We quickly saw that the math was too easy, so I gave her the K math. The older child went through K, 1st and 2nd grade English/language curricula in that one year. The next year we moved up to K and 1st, with the younger child doing the first grade math and the older child doing 3rd grade English. The following year we moved, so I went and spoke with staff at the public elementary school. They couldn’t accommodate the levels that my children were at and wanted to hold the younger one back a year. I spoke with local private schools – the same story. So here we are, nine years later, and still homeschooling. The kids are in middle school, continuing to study at their advanced levels, and thriving. The are both in Scouting, they both play on sports teams, and they both have amazing socialization skills.

  34. Peggy says:

    I find that many homeschooled students feel free to express themselves quite flamboyantly because they are free from ridicule and criticism. As a result many of them appear “weird” to those who have been taught from early childhood to conform to group-think. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all children were free to be who they wanted to be?

  35. Shelby says:

    My mom is both a teacher in the school system and a in church. She has told me often of children who were homeschooled coming into her classrooms. In schools, many are far behind and have to go 1 or even 2 grades back because they don’t know how to do most things. In church, they come in and many, not all, are also behind. She ends up writing their names for them, and these are 6 & 7 year olds. They often fight and are disruptive. I’m not saying public schools are better by any means, but neither is homeschooling. I don’t like feeling insulted by “homeschoolers” simply because they didn’t go to public schools. I went to public school my whole life and I turned out fine, just like homeschoolers have. Neither system is perfect.

  36. Hunter says:

    Let me start by saying that I am currently a high school student. Now please, any one who is reading this do not immediately scroll away from my comment because you assume I am going to spew nonsense at you. Let me reassure you and say that I have read many articles on Homeschooling vs. Public schooling (simply out of curiosity) including this one. Let me also clarify that I will not be attaching links to those websites, most of them do not confirm or deny their position on the topic and would be pointless to include but I do not want to be harassed for it like Dan was. Now, from a personal level I would like to say that public schooling is definitely worth the occasional risk. Most of the parents pulling their children from the public school systems are upset with how their children are being taken care of. I will remind any one whom is confused: public schooling is not a day care program. Some parents seem to have forgotten this. Children need to learn how to take care of themselves rather than being coddled by their parents throughout their entire childhood. If they are not able to do so then they will be thrown into the real world (where mommy and daddy are not there to help them on their finals exam or job applications) and not have a clue what they are doing. By “protecting” your children from the dangers of spending time with others kids you are setting them up for failure.

    Moving on, I would like to quickly address one issue of pulling your child out of public schools to start homeschooling them. By doing this you are not only pulling them away from neglecting teachers, you are yanking their friends away from them as well. Please do not be in denial hoping they will keep their friends because the truth is they probably will not.

    Public schooling gives kids the chance to meet new people, expand their horizons and make friends. As an adult and loving parent I hope you can appreciate the importance of friendship. As we grow older our responsibilities grow along with us and we no longer have time to be a social butterfly while balancing car payments and work and raising babies. School allows students to see their friends nearly every day, being homeschooled will not support that.

    Furthermore the public schools offer extracurricular activities that home schooling can not. A good way to make friends is to join a team or club (again, not possible for a home schooled child.) Being on a school sports team is one of the most thrilling things ever. Kids meet other kids from their school, even from other schools, they can stay fit and healthy and the sense of pride, accomplishment and family that a team creates is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling. For most people (anyone that does not pursue sports as a career) grade school and high school is the only time a child will be able to experience such a thing. Why would you as a parent want to take that incredible opportunity away from your child? Other traditional experiences a kid will miss out on include homecoming, prom, Sadie Hawkins and Father/Daughter dances, seeing their senior prank, having a high school sweetheart, class trips, graduating with all their friends in a cap and gown.. Why in the world would you want to willingly take that away from your innocent child? Oh yes, because you think public schools will take away your child’s innocence, corrupting them with beer bongs and rolled up weed. Let me tell you a little secret, if you raise your kids right they will not want to do those things. Despite your misconceptions, not all kids drink and smoke and sneak out late at night for parties their parents said they could not attend. I personally have never done those things and no ladies and gentleman, I am not the 1%. In fact, it is people like you that give young people such a bad reputation. Do not be so narrow minded as to think that one kid you saw skipping classes to smoke a blunt last month outside Taco Bell represents all of us as a whole. From the fears expressed on this page it is also been made to sound as though parents do not trust their own children to either stay away from those vile poisons or to avoid everyday trouble. Throughout our entire lives we will be tempted by many things and only if we are raised right by our parents and learn to fend for ourselves will we be able to protect ourselves. If you do not have confidence in your parenting skills and thus your children to enjoy the wonders and still ward off temptations while at public school then by all means homeschool them and rob them of a memorable schooling experience.

    I would like to make perfectly clear that I do not agree with everything public education supports such as measuring a kid by their test scores or a letter grade. I do not think that the Union is a positive thing because some teachers lose their touch after a few years and should not have the job security that they do. And it is true that every once in a while there is an incident that occurs that discourages parents from that teacher or school but please, pretty, pretty please, do not let those rare occurrence push you in to taking away the most precious time in a childhood.

    Yes, being home schooled does let kids go to the bathroom whenever they want and gives them the opportunity to make lunch with their mom but concerning education that has no importance.

  37. peaceforthejourney says:

    Homeschooling has been one of the hardest parts of parenting to date, even with a Master’s Degree in Education to support me. Still and yet, after several years of watching my son be bullied and constantly having to go to bat for my son regarding his educational needs, we made the decision to give homeschooling a try. For the most part, it’s a win. There are a few aspects of it I still struggle with, but these are my struggles, not the kids. Ask them what they where they want to be next year, and they’ll quickly answer, “Peace Academy” – our chosen school name. Thank you for these words tonight.

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  39. Abigail says:

    Your post makes me smile.

    See, I was homeschooled my whole life. Then I went to college. That was interesting. However, I got in trouble repeatedly because I did not communicate/socialize well. (Let’s put it this way; they almost withheld student teaching from me because I did not have any other education major friends.) I was, and still am to a degree, rather shy. So I have been wondering if maybe some people are right. Maybe because I was homeschooled, and because I had no friends in high school, that’s why I struggle with socializing now as a 25 year old.

    Then your post comes along. One of the things I think that scared my professors at college is that I didn’t just like to spit back the information they gave us. And I asked too many questions. And I didn’t fit the normal college student mold. (It probably didn’t help that I was told that future employers don’t like to see students who get all As, to which I responded (in private), “It’s not my fault all the classes are so easy!”) On the other hand, I think about how much knowing who I am, (and in some ways how insecure I am anyway with my skills), helped when I actually went, per your illustration, into the pool on my own.

    So even with my own struggles at fitting in after high school, I’ve seen what happens at public school. I’ve seen the fights (sneaky fighting). I’ve seen the dancing to Lady Gaga at age five. I’ve seen the brainwashing. And so whenever I do have kids, they are being homeschooled.

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