Thursday, January 14, 2010

Answer to a Local Radio's Station Bashing Home Schoolers over Socialization.

Every time I think we've answered the socialization question once and for all, it pops back up again. Yesterday I turned the radio on in the car to hear a local commentator bash homeschooling--not for the excellence of academics, but for the lack of socialization.

I'd like to ask that commentator how many homeschool students he personally knows. His comments were so far out that I wonder if he knows any. He did have plenty of the stereotype ideas about home schooled kids.

According to him, kids shouldn't be home schooled because his high school years were some of his happiest ever. So this settles it once and for all? Or should we ask home school students about their experience? My daughter often says her home school years in high school were the happiest of her life! Her friends agree heartily.

Then he said he felt sorry for those poor kids sitting at home alone all day with no friends. That's when I began to suspect he didn't know many, if any, home school families. None that I know are like that. My kids laughed when they heard someone feeling sorry for them for lack of socialization.

Like the time a public school proponent lamented for them as they were in the gym for a basketball practice. My response, as the boys went down full speed for a layup was, "They seem to be having a pretty good time right now."

Wait. Did I just suggest that home schoolers play basketball? Surely, not on a real team. With real uniforms? (Yes, once someone actually asked us that. We were sorely tempted to wear t-shirts with duct tape numbers to the next game.) But I did say basketball, real teams, real referees, real tournaments. It took a while, but one of our persistent coaches finally got the local newspaper to report our games and stats along with all the others. It was kind of hard to refuse when we had one of the top players in all the area on our team. Public schools now call to invite us to play them and participate in their tournaments.

 Bet the radio announcer had no idea.

Here's a few other things my kids did that gave them so much socialization that they learned to laugh at the naysayers.

  • Ran for student council vice-president, won, and served in that office for a year
  • Served on a home school yearbook committee
  • Did community service with other home schoolers at the food bank, habitat for humanity, the humane society, and beach clean-up (to name a few)
  • Planned and provided a meal and a game day and Christmas gift drive for an orphanage in Mexico for many years
  • Attended many out of town tournaments including the National Homeschool Basketball tournament where over 300 teams participated
  • Went on field trips with other home school friends 
  • Planned and attended a spring formal banquet with home schoolers
  • Planned and participated in talent programs with their friends
  • Went to the mall to hang out with their homeschool friends (gasp, home schoolers do that?)
  • Spent way too many hour texting their friends (I include this because the radio announcer felt that the public school kids were so blessed to be there texting their friends. If homeschool parents didn't pay for unlimited texting we'd be broke.)
  • Participated in co-op classes with their friends
  • Took concurrent enrollment at a local university during their junior and senior years
  • Went on year-end trips to places like Austin, San Antonio, and Houston
  • Had way too many sleep-overs
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. This doesn't even include other activities I know our home school friends do each year like attend symphonies together, participate in the Nutcracker each year, join our Chess club with local chess tournaments, 4-H galore, and academic contests. Then there were skating days, picnic days, pubic speaking forums, and everyone-come-over-to-my-house days.

This doesn't even include the socialization with their church friends. The idea that home schoolers sit at home with no friends and no social life is a MYTH.

Now, have we finally got this issue settled?


  1. I completely agree! I was trying to reschedule a piano lesson so I could meet with another girl to go over some theory homework the other day, she said any day after 5 pm. She has no plans, nothing to do. My options? Monday from 6-8. That's it.

    How can these people be so narrowminded. He must only listen to his own radio show if he hasn't heard about all the OTHER things homeschoolers do.

  2. Cooper, could you share a little about the work you do on the political front?

  3. My new comeback for those who ask about socialization is this...My ninth grader doesn't know the "F" word...can any public school student say the same? I grew up in a small midwest town where I attended public school. Every bad word, sexual innuendo, and racial joke that I have ever learned was not at home, but at school. Yes, I had some good experiences at school, but overall they were very negative. I prefer to keep my kids innoncent for a little bit longer. I used to teach at a public school in the Valley and my husband is one now. I know all of the junk that is out there. I also think it is strange idea to group kids together just because they were born the same year. No where in adult life does that happen. In college, the military, and the workforce you are surrounded by a variety of ages...and I think it makes your life deeper and more interesting. My kids don't care quite so much about what their peers are doing...they care more about people across the board. I think spending 12 years with people your own age develops a false dependency on your peers...who, by the way, are as stupid and foolish as your are at times! After 9 years of homeschooling I am pleased with the product. I see that my children have strong bonds with their siblings. This is one benefit of spending so much time together. We are very involved with our local homeschooling group, church activities, music lessons, and sports. I don't think they lack for much, except that whole swearing thing..ha!

  4. This is me again. Just want to mention that I do know how to spell the word innocent. I was in such a hurry before that I didn't catch my mistake until after I posted it. Well, homeschool moms can admit when me make a mistake! Ha!

  5. What a coincidence to find this post at this moment, minutes after agonizing over some particular homeschooled child myself.
    I know many no-schoolers; I've been surrounded for years by them, their parents and the mindset that chose this lifestyle, which puts every importance on segregating the "world" and the "church." Their circle of acquaintanes are deliberately few. Their entire social outlet is church. The churches they attend are typically small, as in 12 - 35 people. Sometimes these children are the only children in attendace. Homeschool is their reluctant, singular option for maintaining purity. Academics are of little to no importance. Their work is not monitored or taken seriously. The kids stay up till 3 am and rise as it suits them. The work is left to the whims, interest and convenience of the child.

    I am aware that homeschoolers win national titles in a variety of academic competitions which indicates that some parent somewhere is taking education seriously, but this is the very first personal window I've peered into that offers any proof that some homeschoolers really are schooled. I am so heartened to finally witness a testimonial to contradict the lifelong representation of homeschoolers to my life.

    It appears that you can not imagine homeschooling falling below the high standards you apparently demand. My news is not as positive as yours but it is no less a reality. The radio personlaity may in fact know plenty of homeschooled children as I do and they are not the thriving children you describe.

    A student of mine is a strong advocate for homeschooling, employed by The Home School Legal Defense Association, yet she was the one to introduce me to the term "no schoolers." Even in an environment fighting for the rights of homeschoolers it is evident that this legal right like so many others is abused.
    Thank you for exercising your individual rights and displaying the muscles to prove you do.

  6. I know many types of homeschoolers. Some, I admit are overprotective, but most just want their kids to have a more dynamic education. We do attend church, but it isn't a little one. It is one of the biggest in a town of over 100,000 people. Most of my kid's friends from church are not homeschooled. The sports' teams they participate on are mostly non-homeschoolers as well. We have over one hundred families in our local homeschool group. Within that group there is a huge diversity of styles and philosophies. Over the years I have met many types of homeschool families...and most of them are very normal and very conscious of making sure their kids get the academics they need! Very rarely have I run into a family that is negligent of their children's education. If anything, most homeschool families sacrifice a second income in order to stay home and educate their kids. This is a big step in today's economy. What I can't understand it why people react so negatively about us. We aren't perfect by any means. Our kids struggle academically and have behavior problems too. I just want non-homeschoolers to understand that making the decision to homeschool is often a complex one. For many of us we see a failing product in the public schools despite the many great teachers out there and the money being poured into them. I think many of us just don't believe one size fits all. If we have the freedom to tailor-make our children's education why shouldn't we be able too? We are willing to carry the financial burden and academic responsibility that it asks for.

  7. As a mom whose son has gone to public school (where he learned the "F" word by 2nd grade), and is now homeschooled, I think the idea that homeschoolers aren't socialized is preposterous. When my son went to public school, he didn't have time to play with his friends because he was in school for 8 hours, and then had an additional 2-4 hours of homework--in elementary school. Now we finish a school day in 4-5 hours, and he can spend the afternoon playing with friends. Plus he participates in field trips, co-ops, sports teams, etc. He has much more time for socialization than he did in the public school.

  8. It is as unfair to characterize all homeschooled young people as poorly-socialized as it is to say all kids who attend public school are drug-addicted, foul-mouthed sex fiends. I have met a few high school kids that scared me, but to lump all of their peers in that category is wrong. So why must my homeschooled children have to suffer the small-minded bias of people who have had limited experience with homeschoolers and don't know my family at all.

    Like Teri listed, my kids were involved in more activities than I ever had access to in public school. My daughter worked with a wedding planner, played top-level tennis, hung out with people of all different ages. My son played all sports, played on traveling teams, did stand-up comedy and also hung out with lots of different people. I challenge this radio personality to show me two more socialized people than my kids.

    People really should know what they are talking about before they spout off in public.

  9. I googled the word socialization and here is what I came up with. Socialization is a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position. I don't see anything in the definition about where a child should go to school. It says appropriate to his or her social position. If my daughter went to public school, she wouldn't have been able to do many of the things she has done or wouldn't have met the people she knows today.

    In just the last 3 months she has traveled to 4 different states participating in 2 different sports. My daughter is a hockey player and a competitive shooter. Back in about January 09' she actually went up to Dallas and tried out for the Rocky Mountain District Olympic Player Development Camp which is the grass roots for going to the Olympics in hockey. She made it and ended up going to Utah for the next tryout. She didn't make it past that, but for a girl, a homeschooled girl, from the Valley, to make it all the way to the Olympic Oval in Utah for tryouts in ice hockey is a feat in itself. She also plays ice hockey for the Dallas Alliance Bulldogs. She travels to Dallas every three weeks for practice or games and then attends tournaments on top of that.

    She has also played roller hockey for Tamaulipas, Mexico. She was even a referee at the 2009 Olympiada in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

    She is also a competitive shooter and has been shooting since she was about 6 and has been a national champion in several disciplines of the shooting sports. This year she won the nationals in her class in San Antonio for sporting clays, 5 stand, and FITASC. She was just added to team Targetline,, this year and has also been picked up by Blaser USA, a major gun manufacturer. Here is a link to look at on that:, Furthermore, she is a Member of Smith and Wesson’s Sportsman’s Team Challenge Junior Team. On top of all of that, she shoots for 4-H and just this year was named a 4-H shooting ambassador for the state of Texas. This is an honor because there are only 20 ambassadors in the state and they don't lose their positions until they graduate from high school.

    My daughter has friends in just about every state in the U.S and some from other countries including Mexico and England. If she were sitting in a public school classroom, in and out, all day long, she probably wouldn't have accomplished any of these things and her world would have been limited. The world is so much bigger when seen through the eyes of a homeschooler.

  10. The homeschooled kids that I have had contact with are among the most mature, responsible, and well-adjusted people I know. You can add intelligent and purpose-driven to that as well. Anyone who continues to spout off the same tired old myths about homeschooling clearly hasn't done his homework.

  11. Thanks for all the comments. We'll continue to address this subject this week.

  12. My daughter decided her junior year in highschool to attend a local public school. Not only were some of the teachers biased against her, being a former homeschooled student, but the kids were mean, dishonest and undisciplined.

    Her algebra teacher didn't think she could pass because she hadn't had "real" math at home. Even though we used Saxon Math text books that many public schools use. She aced the the class. The school also put her in beginning art because they "couldn't test out of that class". She happened to be very advanced in art. We brought her portfolio to the art teacher and he was extremely impressed and vowed to give her advanced material since they would not let her move up to her level.

    The kids there not only were disrespectful of all their teachers and of each other but anything that wasn't tied to my daughter was stolen (even her lunch one day). Her remarks to me were, "They aren't here for an education! They are here to socialize!" Never has she regretted one of her decisions in life more than when she decided to "try out" public school.

    She is now in a university and she has made the dean's list for 2 years. She is extremely outgoing and has no problem conversing with her professors or anyone for that matter.

    By the way, she aced all of her junior year classes and was considered by all her teachers as an excellent, respectful student even though this brought persecution from most of the other students.