Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Homeschooling misconceptions

"I think that homeschoolers are at a disadvantage socially. They don't learn social skills." "They have their parents hanging over them constantly." "They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Someone said these things to me even after I explained my experiences in homeschooling. All I can think of to say is that she didn't listen to me, or that she thought my experiences as a homeschooler (from late 3rd through 12th grades) counted as nothing.

I'll address these comments one at a time.

"I think that homeschoolers are at a disadvantage socially. They don't learn social skills."

Well we can have a problem with socialization. As one homeschooling parent once said, "I'm so busy taking my kids places we don't have time for schoolwork!"

Ok, that was an exaggeration. There's always time for schoolwork.

The point is that where there is a thriving homeschool community, there's no lack of socialization. As a homeschooler I was involved in choirs, Girl Scouts, I took dance lessons, I studied some fencing, I went to dances...I even went to prom. I did plenty of other things, too. And I had friends. My brother participated in different activities mostly, but he was also had a social life.

Sure lack of socializing can be a problem in places where there isn't a good homeschool community. (I've heard a few bad things about southern Oregon from former homeschoolers.) But that isn't an issue in Portland, and homeschoolers in general shouldn't be branded as socially inept.

"They have their parents hanging over them constantly."

Um, no.

Yes my mom was my Girl Scout leader for many years. And yes she sung in my choir for a year or two. But my parents were not always hanging over me.

My mom actually made a point to back off. (Since my dad became disabled and stayed home mostly, it wasn't an issue with him.) She would drop my brother and me off at dance lessons or whatever and stay away until it was time to pick us up. Then we would talk, do homework...whatever. But she gave us time away from her.

Thinking back...I realize this wasn't the case with all homeschooling families. Some (many?) parents did hover, and not all the teens complained about it. Most homeschoolers are, in my experience, closer to their parents than public school teens. But I also know my mom wasn't the only to give my brother and me some space. And we all had a chance to "practice social skills" out of our parents sight, which is what I think the criticism was really getting at.

"They never have to deal with people who don't like them."

Ok, really...this one deserves a post all of its own. Stay tuned.

2 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You and your brother are great examples of homeschooling done right! Kudos to you and to your parents.

Sarita Rucker said...

Thanks. :)