Tuesday, August 12, 2008

#4 Homeschooling

Studies show that homeschooling is preferred two to one amongst Christian culture families. They often cite a reason for homeschooling is a way to protect their kids from the world.
Studies also show that homeschooling can set kids up to fail socially in many ways and go through a lot of pain in not knowing how to interact with people outside their family & church group. There are a few kids out there who have been homeschooled and are not complete social misfits, but unfortunately they are the exception. Homeschooled kids are not known for being comfortable with people outside of their small circle of family and church friends. When I was a counselor at a Christian camp, we would watch the new campers get off the bus every week and pick out the homeschooled ones with great accuracy. They usually stick out.


Anonymous said...

Too true. I praise God and Allah and all the others daily that I, home-schooled until 4th grade, was one of the exceptions (I think).

angela aka joyful saint said...

1. i homeschool. 2. my children are well adjusted. i think 3. i have a copy of that book.

Unknown said...

The reason why I will home school my girl is because i want her to flourish. Grow in creativity, a peaceful place, in nature.... I want to unschool her.
i want her to flourish in the area she points to.

my husband and his siblings were homeschooled - are outgoing, driven and creative to levels i could never concentrate to. This is why she will never see a standardized test, worry about her shoes, soccer, cheerleading or the bell.

Anonymous said...

The only people I know at my church who homeschool (very uncommon in the UK) are madly over-protective, and I think are using faith as an excuse for not letting their boy out into the big wide world. Not good.

Anonymous said...

Yes, heaven forbid we protect our children from the idiocy that goes on in the public schools. We should let them get bad educations so they can grow up to write poorly written blogs like this one.

Joe Crow said...

Heh. Well, as an actual Heathen* Anarchist**, the wife and I like homeschooling, too. Most of that's got to do with our own personal school experiences, the legendarily crap school system here in town, our beloved monkey's high-energy/very physical learning style, the personal schedule legacy of 14 years on the night shift, and reading too many UnSchooling books, though. As it happens, the kid's about five billion times more social than either me or my wife, which is reassuring and tremendously nerve-wracking at the same time. We dunno where she gets it.

*Yes, actual polytheist whose wedding featured oaths to Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, and Ganesh (who doesn't like Ganesh? He's so cute! And friendly!)

**Yes, anarchist. Focused more on trying to figure out a way to remove the authority figure in our mind than blowing up the authority figures on the street, but that's because humans have a tendency to replace missing authority figures with exact duplicates. See: French Revolution, Russian Revolution, New Kids On The Block.

Anonymous said...

So the only socially awkward kids are the ones who are homeschooled? Laughable notion...the socially awkward kids are just another clique in the public schools. Homeschoolers are smarter, there's actual proof to back up that notion, and actually interact with people outside their age group. Basically, an adult can tell a kid has been homeschooled because the adult can have a conversation with them.
But hey...the "homeschoolers are socially awkward" stereotype makes as much sense as the "asians are bad drivers one"..so by all means.
Point is: You don't see a socially awkward public schooler and blame it on the fact he/she was schooled in a crowded classroom ruled by their equally unintelligent peers, do you?
People homeschool because they want their kid to have a halfway decent education free from drugs, gangs, school shootings, and the idiots who work the system.

Micah said...

The interim pastor at my church years ago homeschooled his kids. One of them got a knuckle-sandwich from me one time for constantly harassing me about how he could name all the presidents and I couldn't.

Little bastard.

Anonymous said...

Growing up, I had a chance to interact with homeschoolers (or reformed homeschoolers) on multiple occassions. While they commonly had excellent reading and analytical skills (no tv in the house) they always reminded me a bit of the kid in "Deliverance". They tended to be totally unaware of pop culture, shrugged off organized sports and were just a bit off. The integration of homeschoolers into "Big Kids School" was always difficult to watch.

Anonymous said...

well, homeschoolers might be easy to pick out... I did it just the other day at the mall. but you know what? It's totally Biblical to teach your kids at home. Deut. 6:7. where is government schooling condoned in Scripture?

stephy said...

Homeschooling isn't a theological question, it's a social question. Here's a stereotypical homeschooler just so everyone can be aware of what they are generally like.

Anonymous said...

Although homeschoolers are often "weird," I have encountered just as many eccentric people who attended a public or private school. As someone who made it through homeschooling from pre-school through high school relatively unscathed, I'd like to state that the social adeptness of the individual depends on the actual individual, not necessarily on a particular educational background.

That being said, my siblings and I are all socially competent beings. We all date, are relatively popular, have more non-Christian friends than Christian friends, attend parties, go to liberal universities, and are academically successful. I'm currently a medical student and my peers are always shocked that I was homeschooled and, when in college, my friends often commented on how jealous they were that I had so much worldly experience for someone so young since homeschooling gave me the opportunity to explore.

jmarinara said...

"Studies also show that homeschooling can set kids up to fail socially in many ways and go through a lot of pain in not knowing how to interact with people outside their family & church group."

HA! I love it when someone says "studies show" and then don't cite the studies.

When someone can prove to me that my talkative, and highly adaptable kid, is socially awkward (as he makes friends incredibly easily on a daily basis), then and only then I might be inclined to believe this point. Until then, I'm satisfied that this is THE most baseless accusation thrown at homeschoolers.

And when someone can show me that Homeschooling isn't a superior education to the awful public school system, I'll stop homeschooling immediately.


Alice AN said...

I always wonder why all these home schooled kids ever let their kids leave home. Why go to college or Medical school? Shouldn't you just learn carpentry or metalwork from Dad and open a business (preferably at home too!)

jmarinara said...

So Alice, are you saying that education is only about getting a job or having a career?

Tammy said...

Stephy, I would be very interested to read the studies that you allude to here. Would you either post or email me the links, if possible?

As a homeschooling mom for over a decade, I've always been amused by the misinformed assumptions about homeschooling, especially in regards to socialization. First of all, please be advised that homeschoolers are not The Borg. Therefore, we do not have a collective conscience. Hence, I cannot speak for all homeschoolers, but only from my own family's perspective.

Secondly, perhaps clarifying the definition of socialization would be helpful. If by "socialization" you mean the process by which an individual learns to conform to a particular group's habits, beliefs, and values, in this case, the group being public school, then my family and I are guilty as charged. We have no intention in allowing our children to take on the hedonistic habits, malignant beliefs or obscure values that are present in the public school atmosphere. As a former public & private school teacher, I've seen firsthand the effect of such socialization on child after child. In all honesty, it was that issue alone that first led me to consider homeschooling my own children.

In contrast, if you are defining socialization as the process by which a child learns how to become a productive, compassionate, intelligent, and valuable member of society, then let me assure you that for my family that is our goal. We desire that our children learn to think critically, communicate clearly, read voraciously, serve wholeheartedly, and, yes, live Biblically. Homeschooling just happens to be the means that we use to that end.

Lastly, if we are successful in our educational endeavors, then our children will be "complete social misfits." They will not "fit into" the status quo of institutionalized complacency, mediocrity and narcissism. Indeed, I hope that they will stick out like sore thumbs.

ben parsons said...

let me be the ferst to say that i was homschooled and i'm doing just fine. fine fine fine. fine-dy fine fine. finest. and i have like, SO many toadly well ajusted frends. man- you are such a negadive nelly, stephy!

jmarinara said...

Don't you mean "homskoled" Ben? I mean if you're going to make obnoxious jokes, why not take it all the way?

I love that you particularly choose to portray a homeschool student as having poor language skills.

Nevermind that homeschool students win a majority of the spelling bees and consistently score higher than any other group on the SAT's, no we'll just foster a stereotype and call it truth. Why think? Why investigate a claim? No, we never learned those skills in a public school!

BTW Ben, is your comment an example of the refined social skills you learned in public school?

Aaron said...

My issue with home-schooling is that it tends to do what mainstream Christian culture in America has done: retreat from anything perceived as being different because it is sinful and may cause "stumbling," which seems to me to be rather selfish and fearful. Good thing Jesus said it's cool to be both of those things- wait, what? Oh...

Instead of confronting the issue/person/belief and using the opportunity to sharpen one's steel, people have become homogeneous and reclusive and know very little of the reality of other points of view. This is, of course, not true of all Christians nor of all "home-schoolers," but I have seen a disproportionate amount of it in both groups and am only speaking from my experiences.

My wife and 6 cousins were all taught at home, for religious reasons, and the few who had some public school experience preferred it. It was an opportunity to see the world from a variety of perspectives they couldn't get at home, and in doing so, come to their own conclusions about the world.

If you're afraid that your child will be engulfed in the bog of sin that is public school, then perhaps you're not doing your job as a parent. Or as a Christian.

Why is public school so bad? Where is the light? Oh, there it is - right under that bushel behind that fence. Kept all to itself.

(A note to the previous poster: Please don't refer to spelling bee contestants, and follow that paragraph with a jab about social skills.)

Tammy said...

Aaron, you bring up some very valid points. I'd like to address them one at a time.

#1 I'm certain that you do not mean to imply that a parent who chooses to protect their child from a potentially harmful environment is being selfish or fearful. Few parents, I hope, would willingly and knowingly allow their child to watch a R-rated film as opposed to a PG-rated film because the contents of the "more mature" film would be different and may cause the child to emulate some undesirable behaviors and language. Does that decision mean that the parent is selfish or fearful? Or is that parent simply being responsible and reasonably protective over their child?

#2 Although there are some whose main motivation to homeschool is fear, that is not the case with all of us. In my family, we homeschool as an extension of our faith, which is the opposite of fear. We believe that God has given all parents the responsiblity to educate their children. Some choose to delegate that responsibility to the public school system while others, like us, choose to tackle that duty head on. Therefore, we are exercising both our faith and our right to do so.

#3 Jesus did not say that "it's cool" to do anything. However, He did say: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38) A more in-depth study reveals that He was quoting from Deuteronomy 6 which elaborates thus: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (v. 6-7) Although not impossible, it is a bit more challenging to teach one's children to love the Lord their God in that context when they're sitting in a public school classroom for six or more hours a day.

#4 I wholeheartedly agree with "sharpening one's steel." Critical thinking, effective communicating, and careful analyzing are all hallmarks of our homeschool philosophy. We have very rousing discussions around the dinner table over various cultural, political, social, and spiritual themes almost daily! My husband and I do not hesitate to bring up other viewpoints and perspectives because we want our children to be able to defend their positions logically and courageously.

#5 With the widening sphere of the Internet, access to differing perspectives via blogs, podcasts, websites, etc. is very easy. It is not necessary to board the yellow bus to be introduced to other ideas. Moreover, we have been very careful not to tell our children what to think or what conclusions to draw. But we have encouraged them to determine what it is they believe and why they believe it.

#6 As a Christian parent, my job is not to build up my children's resistance to sin. That's the Holy Spirit's assignment, not mine. My job is to walk out an authentic relationship with Christ in the midst of marriage and motherhood before my family. However, I do have a responsibility to give my children the best academic, social, and religious foundation possible. For our family, a home education lifestyle fits that responsiblity perfectly.

Tammy said...

#7 I will not attempt to delineate the ills of public schools for three reasons. First of all, it's not all bad. As a former public school student, I survived in the midst of it and thrived in spite of it. Perhaps my kids would too. However, a great deal has changed for the worse in the system since. . ahem, I was there many moons ago. As a former public school teacher, I enjoyed the thrill of teaching and seeing that lightbulb of acquired knowledge electrify a child's eyes! It was addictive. . .and now I get to experience that same thrill day after day with my own home-grown class of 7 pupils! Secondly, pick up any newspaper, speak to any public school teacher, or disgruntled parent and they'll answer your question better than I ever could. Thirdly, I've already written a book here, and Stephy has been so gracious to allow me to do so!

#8 "Where's the light?" In my backyard, as I peek out the window and see blond-haired, blue-eyed, public-schooled boys from the neighborhood shootin' hoops with my curly black-haired, brown-eyed, home-schooled boys. They're laughing and joking, cuttin' up! Guess that's 'cause we never put up that fence!

ben parsons said...

i jist dont understand what all is beeing sed on here. is somebody makeing fun of me? i am jist doing my best to use this internet and learn/read a lot. i do hafe a learning disablity, so i wonet be winning ane speling bees! thats for sure.

ok, so, in His preshus, gracious, tender warm fully hetero-embrace, peas be on you all.

Meagan said...

Cafe Mocha Momma said in response to Aaron:

"I'm certain that you do not mean to imply that a parent who chooses to protect their child from a potentially harmful environment is being selfish or fearful."

Actually, I think it can be both. And to add, it's controlling. I was home-schooled for 7 years, so I am entitled to say anything I want on the subject. Thank God I was one of the exceptions and came out normal! Truth is it’s not so glorious for the student. And although you're kids are most likely very different from me, here's what I have to say about being the kid in the situation.

I never once had a say about any of it. My parents thought they were doing me a favor by "protecting" me when all the while I did nothing but resent them for it. To this day it angers me they did what they did. Because they feared the "secular" world so much? It’s sad. My 60 year old father still has to check every single lock on every single window and door before he leaves the house! Aaron of course isn’t saying all parents who choose to home-school their kids are both scared and selfish. It’s just the common reason for it. Why try to control every single thing your child does? I’m pretty sure that’s not what God meant by a parent’s responsibility. It's an easy decision for you, having had the opportunity to know what secular school was like. I doubt you have any idea what it's actually like for children who never get the choice.

High five to you on sitting around the dinner table discussing different viewpoints with your children. I was not as lucky as the kids today with their “internets”. I didn’t know who Charles Darwin was until I was 18 years old. It was “secular”. My parents found no reason to teach that “hogwash” to me. And I didn’t learn it the two years I went to private Christian school, either. We were far too busy in chapel all day speaking in tongues and being slain in the Spirit. No time to learn what that outside world was all about.

Tammy said...

Megan, my dear, my heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry that you had such a negative experience with homeschooling. Admittedly, I have met some parents that exhibit the fear and need for control that you dealt with in your family. However, in my response to Aaron, I was merely pointing out that not all parents have such negative emotions as their basis for homeschooling.

Speaking of dinner table discussions, this post and its subsequent comments, including yours, was the topic of discussion today. As a result, my 11 year old daughter, who, incidentally, does high school level work, would like to share her homeschooling experience with you all. So, here she is, uncensored and unedited!

Hi. I'd like to make this sort of a Q&A session, in which I will answer the questions in a honest way.

Q: Do you enjoy being homeschooled? Why or why not?
A: I defintely enjoy being homeschooled. I like doing family studies, being able to stop when I need to, and making my own schedules.

Q: What's your favorite thing about homeschooling?
A: Pretty much I love doing my own thing. I love that my mom let me decide what I was gonna study for history. And I love being able to pick up a Middle Ages book (our latest topic of study) and read for an hour, then pick up my baby sister and just love on her. I love playing games with my family and having all the discussions that we have and not being forced to believe something. Really I'm an independent person and I think public school would pin me down, whereas here I feel free to do my own thing.

Q: What about friends?
A: I don't think I'm in the least bit poorly socialized. I have friends that are black, white, and latino. I have friends who are both homeschooled and public schooled. And I also have friends that are older than me, younger than me, and about my age. I can even get along with my friends parents.

Q: Do you feel like you're missing out on anything about public school?
A: Probably just bullies and horrible lunch food. While my siblings are annoying sometimes(as would be the case with even a public schooler)they're not gonna send me home with a black eye. And I've heard on more then 1 occasion of the terrible lunch food they serve at public school.

Well there you have it. That's my view on a few things about homeschooling.

stephy said...

Caffe Mocha Mom,

the question came to mind, has your daughter ever attended public school? You may have mentioned she has and I missed it and if so I'm sorry, I just didn't see that mentioned but I could have skimmed over it. Kids who haven't been to public school can only guess what they're missing out on, and think they're "probably just [missing out on] bullies and horrible lunch food" and "[getting sent home] with a black eye."

I really hope it turns out well for your kids, and I think there is a good chance it could. I'm only speaking from my own experience. I wasn't homeschooled but many of the kids I went to church with while growing up and were in my cabin when I was a christian camp counselor were homeschooled. I definitely haven't known all the homeschoolers ever, but the many homeschoolers I've known have been extremely socially awkward and/or depressed and had a drug problem (either while they were homeschooled or after they left home). This is my personal experience with the many I've known. And the most poorly socialized people I've known have had no clue they were poorly socialized. That is the upside of it. A giant upside that I envy, actually.

When you say you discuss current issues and perspectives at the dinner table and your kids feel free to share their opinions, are they able to say that they support Al Gore and want to vote for him when they come of age - things to that effect? I know that if I'd said such a thing at my dinner table, even though I wasn't homeschooled, I'd have paid a price. Just some thoughts that came to mind. Thanks for wanting to engage in discussion!

Tammy said...

Hi Stephy! I was wondering when you would join in the discussion. First of all, thank you for allowing us to openly engage in the discussion here. The experience has been enlightening and rigorous. . .great foundation for a quality education, don't you think?

Now to your questions:
~No, my daughter has never attended public school. However, she does interact with public-schooled kids (friends & family), and they often compare experiences. Each one of them, and several of their parents, I might add, has expressed in some way their disdain of the system and how it would be "cool" to be homeschooled. Therefore, my daughter's view of public school is fueled by their description and personal experiences just as your view of homeschooling is charged with your personal interactions with some of them and the negative experiences that others have had. I simply wanted you all to get a glimpse at an authentic example of a child who enjoys the home education lifestyle.

~On the other hand, my eldest son who is almost 15, did attend public school for his kindergarten year. At that time I had been a SAHM for two years and had homeschooled him for preschool. I had attempted to homeschool him for kindergarten for a couple of months, as well, but a combination of circumstances quickly revealed that I was not up to that challenge. When he joined the classroom, his teacher was so impressed with his character that she informed us that she would purposely put him with the "problem kid" in the classroom to see if he could be a good influence on him. Well, by the end of the year, our son had become the "problem kid." After that little social experiment, my husband and I made the decision to homeschool him, and we've been so thrilled with the results!

Now in prior years, this child would have fit the stereotypical description of homeschoolers as being socially awkward, but that is because he has symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome. As informed parents, we knew that if he stayed in the public school classroom, he would face an educational lifetime of labels, IEP's, and special Ed classes. We customized his education here at home, and walked with him through various social situations so that he would feel more comfortable in his own skin. As a result, my son now exhibits few, if any, signs of Asperger's. Moreover, instead of being influenced, he has become the influential one.

Case & Point: We've recently had two teenaged brothers from the 'hood in Detroit move into the neighborhood. When they came over to play basketball with my son, one of them in particular began cussin’ & cuttin' up, demanding to play "Prison Basketball." My son promptly informed the young man that that type of sportsmanship would not be allowed on his court. He also admonished him to watch his mouth in his backyard. The boy refused. My son immediately ended the game and offered to walk the boys home. A day or two later, the other brother returned and apologized both to me and to my son for his younger brother's behavior. Since that time, both boys have returned and been welcomed in my home. I honestly don't think that my son would be neither so strong in his convictions nor so mature in his social skills if he had not been homeschooled.

~As far as our dinner table discussions go, they are always engaging, usually animated, and sometimes heated because of the fact that there are differing opinions! From music choices to political candidates, our children are encouraged to probe, research, question, and debate. My husband and I emphasize to our children that what they believe is up to them, but they must be able to defend that belief in order to be taken seriously. They're not allowed to simply go on feeling or because so-and-so believes it.

Incidentally, my son, in particular, is more of a staunch Republican than I am! Currently my concern is making sure that he doesn't go too far to the right, not that he'll end up on the left.

Tammy said...

BTW, Stephy, thanks for the links. Lots of opinions and perspectives, but none of the links that you referenced were connected to studies. Therefore I did my own google search and came across several studies.

Admittedly, some of them are biased because they were initiated by homeschool advocacy groups, but at least there's some reference to actual scientific data and not mere opinion and assumptions.

Here are some of the findings that I thought were relevant to this discussion:

~Recent studies demonstrate that 98% of home taught children are involved in two or more social/community beyond the home each week, including such things as 4-H, Bible Clubs, Scouts, Ballet Classes, Music Lessons, Sports, Field Trips and Sunday School. (Answers)

~"The home school group has about a 3.0 GPA their freshman year," Donahue said. "In the entire freshman class, the GPA is between a 2.3 and a 2.4. They are well prepared. They're self starters. Faculty, in general, enjoy having them in class because they know how to do things independently." (Answers)

~"None were unemployed and none were on welfare, 94% said home education prepared them to be independent persons, 79% said it helped them interact with individuals from different levels of society, and they strongly supported the home education method." (NHERI)

~95% said they were glad they were home educated. 82% planned to home school their children. (HSLDA)

~The Galloway-Sutton Study, which examines five success indicators, showed home schooled children (with the exception of the psychomotor) excelling above other students in the academic, cognitive, spiritual and affective-social categories. (Answers)

Check out these links if you're interested:




Stephy, if you happen to come across any actual unbiased studies, then please let me know.

stephy said...


thanks for sharing your side with us, it's good to hear. I'm really glad your son with Asperger's has thrived like he has. I'm sure your schooling him at home was nurturing to him in the ways he needed most. It sounds like you're sensitive to your kids' emotional needs, which I think is the very most important thing. I really feel that if kids are loved well by their parents and are engaged by them and know that they are their priority then that's the best thing we can do as parents. I respect your reasons for homeschooling and from what I can tell all the way across the internets it sounds like you are pretty vigilant and thoughtful.
I wrote the thing about "studies also show" that homeschooling can set up kids to fail socially kind of as a joke. I don't know of any scientific studies of the social aptitude of homeschoolers. They could be out there but I don't even know if you can scientifically study social aptitude. Maybe you can, but it also seems like it could be more of an intuitive thing and maybe you can't actually measure how socially comfortable people are in different situations. Maybe some kind of heart rate monitor/blood pressure thing? haha. I have social anxiety sometimes and I was public schooled. I know someone who had such a hard time transitioning from homeschool to college that he dropped out, it was that difficult for him. And I've known really socially, um how should I put this, challenged people who went to public and Christian schools. I think the most difficult part of comparing public/private school to homeschool is that there's no black and white comparison because people have different experiences. I want to look at both sides of the issue as much as I can and not write anything off. It's easier to dismiss homeschooling or public school as something bad but it's just not that cut and dried, there are good elements in both things and we as parents and as decent human beings in general have to weigh both sides and make our decisions from there if we're going to equip our kids to be whole people, I think, and also be whole people ourselves.
I've started to feel the same way about politics. I used to call myself very conservative because it was all I'd known but now I see things that are good on both sides of the political spectrum. I have to say that it's messy and uncomfortable and I wish I could write off liberals as being bad or conservatives as being bad and be done with it and have my one political party to cling to, but I just can't. Ugh. It's messy like I said and it was easier when I could just pick my side and defend it till my face was blue but I think that if I'm going to be honest then I have to acknowledge there are good things on both sides of the spectrum, with politics and homeschooling and just everything, really. I wrote more about all of this in my "formulas" post.
So all that to say, thanks for wanting to dialogue about it!

jmarinara said...

A note to Aaron, but may I first say to Stephy that I am enjoying this discussion, and would like to thank you for the opportunity.

To CMM, you are awesome.

Now, on to Aaron:

You said: "My issue with home-schooling is that it tends to do what mainstream Christian culture in America has done: retreat from anything perceived as being different because it is sinful and may cause "stumbling,""

Well first off, it's not the practice of a Christian to isolate himself from the world. We are told in Scripture that we are to be in the world but not OF the world. What does that mean? Well, we can't help the fact that we live on planet Earth and that it's inhabitants (including us) reject and offend God rather often. So, we are in the world. But, we should not be OF the world, which means that we don't source our actions and decisions in worldly thinking and ideas, and try to shield ourselves from worldly influence.

You went on to say: "which seems to me to be rather selfish and fearful. Good thing Jesus said it's cool to be both of those things- wait, what? Oh..."

It's not selfish. Or at least it's no more selfish than choosing not to eat poison because I don't want to die. As far as fearful? Well, in a way yes it is fearful, but it is not the fear you are thinking of. It is fear of God. God has the power to cast me into hell, and I deserve it, even now. But where my sin abounds, grace abounds much more. I don't want to reject that grace because, yes, I fear God and I fear hell.

You continued: "Instead of confronting the issue/person/belief and using the opportunity to sharpen one's steel, people have become homogeneous and reclusive and know very little of the reality of other points of view."

Yes, this is very true and very undeniable. And very sad. Again, we should be in the world, but not of the world.

It is always my encouragement to Christians to get out of their stale Christian bubble and into the real world where people DESPERATELY need to hear the gospel of Christ.

4,000 children die a day in this country before taking their first breathe because they're mother thought caring for them would be too much of a hassle. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Adultery and rape are on the rise. Murder grips many of our nations, and our worlds, great cities. Our country may have never faced such a great need for Christians to stand boldly in the streets and. . . PREACH. THE. GOSPEL.

And trust me Aaron, when Christians do that, they meet more people, more types of people and cultures and ideas and beliefs, than you would ever even imagine. And their steel becomes mighty sharp.

You went on: "This is, of course, not true of all Christians nor of all "home-schoolers," but I have seen a disproportionate amount of it in both groups and am only speaking from my experiences."

Well, ok. I can't really tell you what you have experienced and not experienced, but what I can tell you is that you and I have apparently had greatly different experiences.

Then you said: "If you're afraid that your child will be engulfed in the bog of sin that is public school, then perhaps you're not doing your job as a parent. Or as a Christian."

That's rather unfair and presumptuous don't you think? The Bible calls Satan a worthy adversary to God and declares him to be the god of this world. When we send our young ones into the world, what exactly are we to expect even if we give it our best efforts at home?

No, I am called by God to be a provider, a protector, and a pastor to my home, and that is exactly what I intend to do. You are critical of our parenting skills and then criticize us for being good parents and protecting our children. That doesn't add up.

jmarinara said...

Part 2 of my response to Aaron:

Aaron continued "Why is public school so bad? Where is the light? Oh, there it is - right under that bushel behind that fence. Kept all to itself."

No sorry, that's a straw man argument. As long as Christians are being told not to pray aloud, not to have Christian clubs, not to hand out gospel tracts, and not to bring Bibles to public schools, (And these things are exactly what they are being told in the government schools) then the light could shine all it wants and it's not the Christian putting it under a bushel. It's the state.

Your anger, sir, seems mis-directed.

Oh and by the way, if you think that the light needs to shine in public schools, then might I encourage you to go to the sidewalk outside your local public high school and hold a sign that says "Repent of your sins" and hand out a tract from livingwaters.com. I'll even buy a package for you. My guess is that you won't take me up on the offer.

Then you made this crack: "(A note to the previous poster: Please don't refer to spelling bee contestants, and follow that paragraph with a jab about social skills.)"

Good. Make fun of incredibly intelligent kids who worked very hard to win a very difficult contest. That will score points for your argument.

stephy said...


You sound threatened by Aaron's experience and appear to be dismissive of him.

jmarinara said...


How do I sound threatened? Heck, how COULD I be threatened?

I am dismissive of his ideas, I suppose, because I know he isn't correct. Not necessarily dismissive of him though.

Please Stephy, you must admit that Aaron's tone in his original comment was very similar to my own. It's not like he got on here and was respectful, but merely disagreed. No no, he made fun of us and presented many assumptions and straw man arguments as established fact.

I simply felt he needed responded too.

I'm not trying to turn the whole world into a homeschooling world, although it would be nice. But I am trying to defend us from being constantly portrayed as monsters and almost abusive to our children because we made what can be reasonably argued as a wise decision.

Look, the bottom line here is that CMM and myself, and others like us, see this as a valid, if not the only, decision for our children. We see it that way because as Christians we feel we have certain responsibilities towards God, and towards our children.

Stephy, if I may be honest, I'm not so much concerned as to why you don't homeschool, but as to why you don't feel you have the same responsibilities to God and your own kids. Is it because you have a totally different world view than us? If so, why? Is it because you don't believe there is a God that you must be responsible too? If so, why? Is it because you think differently about raising children? If so, why?

See, those are good questions that can lead to long, fruitful, respectful, and interesting discussions. Making fun of people, calling them bad parents, and fostering sterotypes (*AHEM STEPHY* http://digg.com/d1ohvs ) lead to short, divisive, disrespectful, and quickly boring discussions.

Meagan said...

jmarinara said regarding Aaron:

"I am dismissive of his ideas, I suppose, because I know he isn't correct."

WOW. Really? How interesing. I think that's how short, divisive, disrespectful and quicky boring discussions start.

CCM actually had some great responses to my view. I'm sorry to say, but your response to Aaron seems quite arrogant and defensive to me. Maybe it's those kinds of reactions that helped him form his opinion of homeschooling parents to begin with. Sorry if I seem irritated, it's because I am.

ps - I have a quick question. How is standing on corners with signs saying "Repent of your sins" and handing out a tracts reaching anyone? I'm pretty sure that's a great way to turn off non-believers. WAY off.

jmarinara said...


You said: "CCM actually had some great responses to my view."

Yes, she did. :-)

"I'm sorry to say, but your response to Aaron seems quite arrogant and defensive to me. Maybe it's those kinds of reactions that helped him form his opinion of homeschooling parents to begin with."

Well, I could have recycled what CMM said and been redundant. Or I could have called him stupid or acted like he was a child.

But instead I stated the truth, he's wrong and the opinions he's spouting don't measure up with scripture or any sort of correct hermeneutic process. (Think his hiding a light under a bushel analogy) When someone or something is wrong, what exactly do you want me to say? That it's right?

I'm confident that he is wrong and I explained in such a way.

As for being arrogant, well I think you mistake confidence in my point of view as arrogance.

"ps - I have a quick question. How is standing on corners with signs saying "Repent of your sins" and handing out a tracts reaching anyone? I'm pretty sure that's a great way to turn off non-believers. WAY off."

Well First Corinthians 1:21 says "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message PREACHED to save those who believe." (emphasis mine)

God doesn't seem to think it would turn people off. God seems to be pleased to use it as His method to save those who desperately need saved.

Also I, and others, can personally attest to the fact that this method works. Remember, it is our job to preach, and God's job to save.

Let me ask you, and please put our differences aside because this is a very important question: What is it about "Repent of your sins" that "turns you off"??

stephy said...

Is anyone else thinking what I'm thinking about jmarinara?

Unwinder said...

Home schooling closes up certain opportunities, and opens other opportunities. It has pros and cons.

I know many people who were homeschooled through High School, and they are all somewhat eccentric, and some of them are a little socially stunted.

But all of them are outstanding in some area or another. Almost always to an extent that I never see in public-schooled individuals.

Also, what the hell, how long does it take to learn to get along socially?

I was homeschooled, and had trouble fitting in, but after two years of college, I made my public-schooled friends look like wallflowers.

Obi-Mom Kenobi said...

I had a fun time reading all the comments. Stereotypes against homeschooling and bitter reactions were rife.

It's what you make of it, I suppose. My son is currently homeschooled, formerly schooled. We're a family of atheists (my son most of all). He's not brilliant, but is bright. He's not a wallflower nor a social butterfly. He has several good friends - some homeschooled, some not. Likes things ranging from Parkour to Piano.

Damn, pardon me I mean dang-gummit, you sure found a hot topic.

ipsa said...

Hey Stephy, I'm reading your blog backwards and I really love what I'm seeing. As a Baptist PK and ex-church-goer, I am doing a whole lot of head nodding (whiplash). And you've given me some fresh insights into my family members who are still in the fold (I'm the only black sheep out of the 5 of us kids). I've been out of it for 20+ years now so I'm not up on the barefoot worship team antics.

But... I really have to disagree with your assessment of homeschoolers as being socially odd. Sorry. It's a generalization, with no back-up research-wise, and your p.o.v. seems just a wee bit prejudiced, if you don't mind me saying.

Professionally, I've worked in alt ed (including home-based education) AND in public school (teacher and counsellor) and I don't really see that most homeschooled kids are less successfully socialized than school attendees. However, it is true that parents may pull kids from a school setting and homeschool them if their child is having a shitty time in a school setting for any number of reasons (learning disabilities, bullying, social issues...).

Here's an article from The New Yorker magazine that you can add to your arsenal of "proof" about the goofiness of h.s. kids.

Confession: we are secular homeschoolers, so perhaps I do feel a bit defensive. Maybe we can call it a draw if you were to say that only the Christian homeschooled kids were socially messed up?

stephy said...

Totally, Rebecca. :) This entire blog is a generalization. I put that that not all homeschoolers are weird, just in my experience a lot of them are but I know not everyone has run into the same people as me. We're actually going to a bbq tonight with a really wonderful Christian homeschooled family. I have to maintain though that in my experience the non-weird ones are the minority. This blog is just based on my experience though. Hmm, can I write the word experience one more time? Experience. :)

hornblower said...

While many Christians homeschool, not all homeschoolers are Christian. We're atheist homeschoolers. My kids are probably weird. But I suspect they'd be weird in school too.

And this quote?
"Homeschooled kids are not known for being comfortable with people outside of their small circle of family and church friends."

Um sorry. Go pull a random teenager out of a highschool and drop them into a novel social situation: a corporate board room/seniors housing committee/funeral/political debate/wedding of a distant relative which parents insisted s/he attend. And watch them flounder around. Or sit with a bored expression plugged into their mp3 player while simultaneously texting the 3 friends they have at school.

I suspect most homeschoolers are MORE likely to be able to socially maneuver through real life. (And camp btw is not real life. It's only a step away from boarding school hell complete with ritualized bullying and cliques)

Ash said...

I'm really enjoying your blog. I was homeschooled, and homeschooling my kids, and, well...

In defense of my kind: I'm sorry you've had such shitty experiences with homeschoolers. :oP

That said, I understand that the premise of the blog would be defeated if we were to split hairs, so, for the sake of being a good sport, I'll let this one slide. ;)

stephy said...

It's okay, dissent is fine and good and people should post their thoughts! :)

ipsa said...

I just watched 10-year-old Molly as per this.

She is absolutely not a typical home schooled child. Definitely not.

She is, however, probably gifted (or "highly able") and that sometimes comes with some social awkwardness. Also, she seemed a bit introverted and was likely feeling nervous and a bit shy (she's 10!!).

Kids are kids. You are just as likely to run into some Molly-like kids in a school setting as in the homeschooled setting.

Not that I'll convince you. :) Because, well, there's that darned "experience" getting in the way. LOL

Anonymous said...


Bleu said...

Hi Stephy,

I'm an atheist homeschooling mom of three, and I love your blog. I was reading backwards, then decided to hit the archives and read forward, and so far, I'm having a ball.

In my town, homeschooling is pretty common, and fortunately, I've been able to find several other atheist homeschooling families. We've met gregarious homeschoolers, shy homeschoolers, and total nerds. We've also met gregarious, shy, and nerdy public school kids. What do you know--kids are kids. :)

Also, the video clip link you posted about Molly O'Hare was interesting. I didn't hear anything in the clip that indicated she was homeschooled, though. I'll have to go back and listen to it again.

Now, I'm going to grab a little snack and settle in and read some more of your hilarious blog. I enjoy it so much because I used to be a Christian, and to be honest, just as people like to poke fun at homeschoolers, I like to poke fun at Christians.

Anonymous said...

I have to weigh in here. In college,,, I was on the debate team (I know, that should make me less likely to comment on the social abilities of others) and we debated against Bob Jones University one time. Those kids were obviously home-schooled by right-wingers. You can tell it from a mile away (there were a few kids at my school that were also,,,, they got good grades,, but not good jobs). They were pretty good at debating,, but not at talking. I even met a few homeschool rebels when I dated a Christian girl. These guys rocked out to Christian punk,,, but didn't know the first thing about football (which was pretty important to fit in). The result was that the hs (homeschooled) rebels really only hung out with girls (galpals) and the nerdy homeschool kids only hung out with each other. Very few succeeded,,, by my measure of success, which was being independent, financially and otherwise, from my parents... Maybe that's the point though.

skaMEDIA said...

Love your blog, perhaps because even though I'm a Christian, I also have a sense of humor about moronic things so many Christians do. :) You're a gifted writer, for sure!

However, I have to disagree with the homeschooling assessment here. Homeschooling gave my sister and I a chance to learn at whatever pace we chose (which happened to support our individual giftedness in different areas very well), and we also got to travel the world, learn other languages, and experience cultures that opened our minds to all kinds of opportunities out there.

Sure there are wacky homeschoolers, but then there are also plenty of public and private schooled kids with behavioral problems, learning disabilities and other forms of downright weirdness. I think that most weird homeschooled kids would be just as weird if they went to school elsewhere...

The homeschoolers I grew up around (30 years ago when homeschooling was NOT a popular trend like it is today), had plenty of social life, music lessons, field trips and other activities. We have all grown up to be professionals in various fields, dated plenty, married and have our own children.

For me, homeschooling was a way to explore the world without having to be held back by the slowest kid in class, and to soak up every bit of learning and adventure available. That's a big reason why we now plan to homeschool our son, as well.

Josh H. said...

You said "My husband and I do not hesitate to bring up other viewpoints and perspectives because we want our children to be able to defend their positions logically and courageously."

You just indicated that you essentially brainwash your children to a particular view. You bring up other viewpoints so that they can learn to speak AGAINST those viewpoints...and not just to simply know the variety of viewpoints.

I'll add that what "your daughter" said could simply be "sock puppet" action or could be speaking from what effectively amounts to Stockholm Syndrome.

You said that of homeschooled students, "none were unemployed and none were on welfare"; so none have had physical health issues or other personal disasters (e.g. employers that closed) that landed them on some sort of welfare? That's pretty hard to buy. I can't find any information that states whether the study was a longitudinal cohort study or was a survey of people who simply said they were home schooled.

Then there's that statistic about GPAs in college. That's got a host of demographic problems as the sample of those in college who are home schooled is representative of those who actually get admitted to college (or even bothered to apply) is going to be smaller; this includes the fact students who went to public schools probably had to meet lower standards to actually get admitted!

Jmarinara said that students are "not to pray aloud, not to have Christian clubs, not to hand out gospel tracts, and not to bring Bibles to public schools"; I don't recall any such thing from my own experience or those of others' experiences. I never handed out any tracts, but I do remember a few friends who did so. Granted, I haven't been in a public school in ten years, but I've never heard any friends with kids in public schools complain of such problems, either.

Tammy said...

Josh H.,

The arrogance and ineptitude that led to your spurious conclusions about my family are quite amusing! My kids have endured the application of a wide range of labels…from loud and rambunctious (7 kids + 1 house = a lot of noise!)… to polite and endearing (They love to bake up goodies to deliver to the neighbors.)…to class clowns and trouble-makers (a genetic tendency, I’m afraid!)…even future exhibitionists (Preschoolers and toddlers who are usually bare-bottomed, bare-chested, or butt-naked at some point during the day!) But…congratulations, Josh because “brainwashed hostages” gets the prize for the most insanely inaccurate and embarrassingly unintelligent label offered so far!

I’d love to dialogue more with you on this issue, but it appears that your ability to comprehend any future discourse will be greatly hindered by your vile prejudice. Moreover, my previous comments, if read carefully and thoughtfully, should more than suffice as a realistic and honest representation of one family’s homeschool philosophy, which incidentally, does not include mind-control or duct tape! Perhaps a second or third reading after a breath of fresh air to clear your mind would aid in your understanding.

Besides I must relinquish my seat at the computer for my son so that he can feed his Facebook addiction, and I must convince my daughter who has music pounding at interesting decibels in her ears that it’s time for bed. After all, it is a school night. And we need our rest to be ready for another day of brainwashing our homeschooled hostages!

P.S. When I asked my 15 year old son if he thought that he was a brainwashed hostage, he immediately quipped, “Brainwashed?! No! A hostage?! Yes! Every teenager feels like a hostage, Mom!” Oh, but perhaps, Josh, you may fear that I’ve brainwashed him into saying that as well, hmm? Well, you know those teenagers...ya just never know what they're gonna say!


Josh H. said...

You said it, not me. You only teach them the views of others so that they can argue against such views. That's the sort of thing that cults do.

CmdrChristof said...

I was never homeschooled but I was taken out of mainstream education and placed into a private school due to a myriad of issues.

Government run schools are over taxed, they cannot give the attention that certain types of people need, on both scales of the spectrum.

I excelled in certain subjects and as a result by the time I left government run schooling I was over 6 years behind on my English skiills. TO this day I still strugle with basics as a result of this.

I fully plan to supplement my future children's education at home, if not totally home school them, so that I can not only focus on what they are good at but help to raise the level of their abilities in things that they do not have a natural aptitude for.

@Josh H- Introducing them to other ideas so that they can better understand why they believe what they do is not brainwashing,
would it be better to leave them unprepared to be able to defend why they believe what they do?

Knowledge is the key here, would you allow your child to not know what the causes to the first world war was incase you might brainwash them into believing that it was a result of any of the things that caused it (it may very well be correct, but we wouldn't want to brainwash them now would we.)

Heather Ann said...

I went to college with and lived with a woman who was homeschooled from kindergarten to the end of high school. She was a bit weird, yes. Sometimes I think getting teased at school teaches us which behaviours are appropriate in which settings. Not always a bad thing.

She struggled a lot with deadlines though. She was so used to going at her own pace that she would panic when there was a deadline for a paper to be handed in or a limited time for an exam to be finished. Maybe some homeschoolers do somethings under deadlines, but it seemed to be totally new for her, and she didn't have the skills and strategies for dealing with it. She just panicked and got paralysed. She would sit in her dorm room agonizing over one sentence for HOURS. It was pretty painful to watch.

All this not to say that all homeschoolers are [fill in the blank], but to say that if you ARE homeschooled, you may want to hone this particular skill if you want to go on to college. Getting things in on time is very important to getting good grades, and it hurt her GPA a lot.

Unknown said...

I was homeschooled my whole life. My wife was too, and her brothers. And one of my best friends. I know a few people who are still socially awkward from it, but for the most part we're all working in jobs, interacting with people regularly, and nobody is the wiser unless I tell them (which is funny especially after they go on a rant about how homschooled kids are all screwed up).

Unknown said...

By the way, homeschooling also allows children to interact with people of all ages, not just their own. I find this a useful trait in my professional life.

Josh H. said...

I didn't exactly say that "introducing them to other ideas so that they can better understand why they believe what they do" is brainwashing. My point was introducing ideas simply to provide new counterarguments to defend a belief IS.

It's like how some street preachers in some cults are trained to provide certain canned responses to what people say.

Tammy said...

Josh, your responses just keep getting funnier and funnier...no, really! My family and I have shared much comic relief during this week discussing your unfounded accusations. So now, we're not only brainwashing our captive children...but now we're a cult, as well!

Now, I'll be the first to admit that my husband is a very likable guy...he's tall, dark, and handsome...quite the catch! But a charismatic leader of a religious sect he is not! As a matter of fact, we don't even drink Kool-Aid at our house, spiked or unspiked!

Nevertheless, if you want to talk semantics, let's consider the fact that one of the synonyms for the word "cult" is "school." Therefore, we need to remember that our government-run school system has its own set of ideologies, prinicples, and beliefs that are pounded into innocent, malleable minds.

I'm not sure if you took my advice or not, so here are a few excerpts from my previous comments that will hopefully clear the air for you:

"I wholeheartedly agree with "sharpening one's steel." Critical thinking, effective communicating, and careful analyzing are all hallmarks of our homeschool philosophy. We have very rousing discussions around the dinner table over various cultural, political, social, and spiritual themes almost daily! My husband and I do not hesitate to bring up other viewpoints and perspectives because we want our children to be able to defend their positions logically and courageously."

"Moreover, we have been very careful not to tell our children what to think or what conclusions to draw. But we have encouraged them to determine what it is they believe and why they believe it."

"As far as our dinner table discussions go, they are always engaging, usually animated, and sometimes heated because of the fact that there are differing opinions! From music choices to political candidates, our children are encouraged to probe, research, question, and debate. My husband and I emphasize to our children that what they believe is up to them, but they must be able to defend that belief in order to be taken seriously. They're not allowed to simply go on feeling or because so-and-so believes it."

And in reference to the statistics...

"Admittedly, some of them are biased because they were initiated by homeschool advocacy groups, but at least there's some reference to actual scientific data and not mere opinion and assumptions...Stephy, if you happen to come across any actual unbiased studies, then please let me know."

For the record,

stephy said...

Steven, I could smell the homeschool on you all the way from here. :)

Josh H. said...

There's nothing "scientific" about those studies. Their method of survey distribution creates totally self-selected responses, meaning that those who are dissatisfied with--or developed problems from--home schooling will not respond at all.

And I read your previous comments, so take your "I'm not sure if you took my advice or not" snark and shove it where the sun doesn't shine, you Pharisaical troll. I guess you have trouble reading because you didn't read where I quoted you when you said:
"My husband and I do not hesitate to bring up other viewpoints and perspectives because we want our children to be able to defend their positions logically and courageously."

(deleted and reposted after accidentally hitting "Publish" before finishing the post)

Tammy said...

Oops! Guess I hit a sensitive nerve on that one! :) Didn't mean to get your undies in a bunch over this "discussion." Some can...and some can't, you know. But thanks anyway for the attempt at a productive conversation. Let's call it a draw, shall we? You still have an extreme aversion to homeschooling...and I still plan to continue brainwashing my homeschooled hostages while sipping Kool-Aid! Sounds fair enough to me. It's been...well, uh...real!

stephy said...

Oh my goodness.

ElktoothChain said...

Haha. Hilarious discussions here. I think it's quite interesting that the only people to defend homeschooling are those that were homeschooled. These are also the same people that will talk about how public school is evil, even though they themselves did not attend public school.

I attended public school my whole life and am just about the graduate from a state university. I also attended a church for 15+ years with my family in which many, many of the families homeschooled their kids. Interestingly enough, the only kids from a homeschooled family that I can think of that are now "normal" and can interact without any major hitches with the rest of society are kids from a family of about 14 kids who all left home at relatively early ages and most of whom now proudly call themselves atheists or agnostics and read books like Jesus, Interrupted. Interesting.

From what I have personally observed, homeschooling certainly has no educational benefits over public schools (unless of course you're talking about the many, many public schools in urban areas which are underfunded, deprived and basically run into the ground in America's secret apartheid cf. The Shame of The Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol). Unless you consider it a "benefit" to be able to teach your kids only what you want them to learn and not expose them to other ideas from an unbiased and non-belittling point of view. For instance, as far as I know, the kids that were homeschooled that I am familiar with were all taught that young earth Creationism was the only acceptable form of "science" to believe. Do you really think that any of these kids were taught actual science, 99% or so of whose body teaches that Darwinian theories of evolution are by and large correct and the most scientifically valid way to understand the physical development of this planet? I don't think so.

My wife is graduating this year to become an elementary school teacher. I am graduating as an English major (non-education) but had to take many classes dealing with education, since the elementary education program is actually intertwined with the English program. We are leaving together to teach overseas with the Peace Corps within the next year. And being very aware and familiar with the amount of incredibly hard work, study, knowledge, learning and stress that goes into training to be a teacher, not to mention actually doing the teaching jobs, leads me to no other conclusions than that parents who decide to homeschool their kids and thus become the sole source of education that their children have and, congruently, have never been trained or certified as teachers in any way, nor studied the actual, qualifiable tenets of how education works, are absolutely unqualified and in no position to teach children. You can buy all the do-it-yourself kits that money will get you, but you are deluding yourself if you think that that actually gives you some sort of insight into the inner-workings of childhood education, cognitive development, and so forth. You're also deluding yourself if you actually think you're going to teach your children to believe and view the world around them in a critical and unbiased way, since there is absolutely no standard to stop you from indoctrinating your children with whatever viewpoint you wish.

ElktoothChain said...

It is my view that education is possibly the most important thing about which we need to concern ourselves when it comes to raising our children, the next generation of this world. And it is incredibly disheartening to see that so many people out there have such tainted views of education as to believe that they can just keep their kids at home and teach them out of a DIY kit and have them turn out to be aware, thoughtful and productive members of society. It just doesn't work, and I've seen the results personally many, many times.

This is not, by the way, to say that public education is perfect or infallible. It's extremely messed up in many ways right now, but that has a lot more to do with politics rather than curriculum (although when the two intermingle, as with No Child Left Behind and the advent of extreme standardized testing overpowering actual education). There are people who devote their lives, time, and effort to the point of emotional breakdowns to teaching children, fighting injustices in the education system, and creating an atmosphere of learning and thoughtfulness which will benefit the young generation of today. I interpret as nothing short of an egregious insult to these people, my wife included, who sacrifice so damn much to help children, because they care and believe that education is vital (certainly not because their after the massive paychecks that they're doling out all over for becoming an elementary school teacher) and to have people who have been misinformed, misled and, in some cases, just plain brainwashed by an odd, ignorant culture of fear and xenophobia into thinking that homeschooling is the only way to raise good, Godly, intelligent children. Indeed, without the opportunities given to me by my very public education, I would have never gained the knowledge and insight to leave the oppressive and narrow views in which I was raised by my parents and church community. And that in itself is proof enough for me of the importance of true education.

ElktoothChain said...

Few typos. Sorry — didn't proofread.

Josh H. said...

EC, don't worry. You didn't make half as many typos and grammatical errors as some of the homeskewl parents on here. Kids, can you say "comma splice?"

Josh H. said...

Just look at jmarinara's writing for examples of bad grammar/spelling that will make your eyes hurt.

Josh said...


Like your posts so far (spiked Kool-aid comment made my day) although I do have a few comments.

Public schools are messed up however I don't think that automatically makes the alternative better. You had the benifit of being a teacher, so I'm guessing you went to college and got the degree, but there are alot of parents out there homeschooling their children who can't teach a dog to fetch. I think those people are the ones Stephy has her eyes on.

Also, alot of problems I have with homeschooling (all my cousins are homeschooled so they are my reference) is that faith and education don't really go together. Theories don't stop at faith, they have to be analyzed, proven and then proven again. It's the beauty of science, in my opinion. There are some things that should be taught on Sunday, and others that should be taught Monday-Friday. Are you teaching your kids about evolution or just telling them there's a "false" theory out there called evolution? Unless it's a bible college, when they try to attain a higher degree, it's going to be something they have to know.

You also quoted your daughter about how she doesn't have to worry about black eyes. That's great for her, but I also think it's a benifit of public school. Learning how to deal with the fact that ceartin people are just going to not like you. I'm 32 years old and still deal with "bullies" to this day, they just take another form.

Big world out there and about a billion different viewpoints. I know you're teaching your kids about some different viewpoints, but are you also teaching them that these viewpoints are not wrong just because they're not shared by you?

Just asking, not patronizing. I'm not exactly a poster boy for public schooling so forgive any misspellings or grammar errors.

Covered in the blood,


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Stephy: Max Blumenthal's new book, *Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party*, discusses his thesis that the Christian right's power lies in converting personal crisis into political resentment. While abortion and immigration are more obvious examples of exploiting religious feeling for political power, I submit that home schooling, despite all the tender testimonials and noble declarations, is largely and most effectively an irrational political expression generated and positioned by the GOP's extreme right wing, to devalue, disparage and cut funding for public education. Fear, resentment, alienation, martyr and other emotional complexes are manipulated to empower politicians and the wealthy, while impoverishing the rest of us. (Yes, I'm saying that Christian Culture is easily misled into cutting off its nose to spite its face, and that the moral majority doesn't know why it acts the way it does.)


Tammy said...

*Stephy, I'm about to hijack your blog with some exceedingly long comments! Please forgive me, my friend!*

First, let me say congratulations for volunteering with the Peace Corps! Wow! Such a commitment is a self-less and benevolent act, not at all akin to the egotistical tendency of modern society. I applaud you and your wife for your sacrifice. However, in the same vein, I also celebrate the many mothers that I know who have laid their lives on the same altar…only they didn’t have to go half-way around the world to do so. Their sacrifice is made daily in their homes when they eschew lucrative careers and opportunities for self-advancement in lieu of investing a decade or more in educating their children. Neither activity should be taken lightly or without much consideration of the inevitable risks or the immeasurable blessings. I’m certain that you and your wife have thought long and hard on your decision, weighing the positives and the negatives and coming to the joyous conclusion that the benefits far outweigh the risks. In like manner, the mothers and the fathers that I know of who have prayerfully deliberated on what course to take with raising their little ones arrived at the same conclusion: no sacrifice is too great to ensure the success of the next generation.

You touched on several good points which I’d like to address one at a time.
1. There seems to be an overriding tendency in this discussion to believe that only homeschooled kids end up depressed, maladjusted to society, unable to cope with real life, and atheists or agnostics. Could we all please agree that these conditions are equal employment opportunities? They do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, Bible-translation preference or educational lifestyle choice. The ugly truth is that none of us parents really knows if the choices that we are making for our children will end in the desirable result. {Just ask my husband who for years has tried to groom our son to adopt his die-hard allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys…only to realize that his blessed boy has sworn his loyalty to the Tampa Bay Bucs! This Sunday ain’t gonna be pretty at my house ya’ll, let me tell ya!} We’re all just doing the best that we can to prepare our children to live productive, conscientious, and passionate lives.

2. As far as the educational benefit of homeschooling, I can only speak experientially. But, first I’d like to clarify what I mean by education. And since many greater minds have defined that comprehensive word so much better than I ever could, I’d like to borrow from them:

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. ~Albert Einstein

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. ~George Santayana

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. ~Robert Frost

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. ~Mark Twain

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey

My children’s educational success is demonstrated by their insatiable thirst for knowledge, their contagious excitement over a new fact learned or a discovery made, their willingness to make mistakes and to take academic risks when seeking truth, and their desire and ability to communicate what they have learned to others. All of our school-aged children read at levels far above their current grade. Incidentally, my kindergartener read his first story today to the background tune of cheering and applause from the whole family! I am so excited because I know that this accomplishment is the key that will unlock the door to years of learning for him!

Tammy said...

As far as grading is concerned, we do not utilize such a rudimentary system for our elementary level students. They are required to do the work and/or assignment until it reaches the acceptable level of excellence. Period. However, both of my highschoolers (a 15 year old and an 11 year old) have maintained above average GPA’s in all of their courses for the last couple of years. Moreover, my 11 year old is on track to graduate at 15. Honestly, I cannot entirely attribute her success to our homeschooling lifestyle because this is the same child who refused to be taught how to read…she literally taught herself…and at the age of 5 was reading chapter books, such as Little House in the Prairie and Charlotte’s Web. With my teaching background as my guide, I insisted that she still had to complete the phonics program that we had purchased so that I could have proof that she had done the work. After about two months of force-feeding her basic phonics rules, she was bored to tears…and I got myself and my teaching degree out of the way so that she could learn at her own accelerated pace. She’s been very pleased with the results!

3. All of this emphasis on homeschoolers being twisted in their teaching content is essentially absurd. There’s no Christian way to read C-A-T, nor is there a Christian version of 1+1=2. I don’t have to evoke the Holy Spirit to diagram a sentence, nor do I have to speak in tongues in order to compute an algebraic equation. Now, in matters of history, bias abounds in every culture and civilization. He who wins the war writes the history books. Therefore, the colonization of America, for example, would be told in a rather opposing way if Native Americans had been the ones to pen that history lesson. Word War II and the Holocaust would have a completely different spin if the Germans had won. The Dark Ages, as the time period has been coined from a Eurocentric point of view, was actually a time of great enlightenment, achievement, and prosperity for much of the rest of the world. But all of these discrepancies are present because history is just that, a story…and we all know there are at least two sides to every one of those. So what if I choose to teach my children history using our faith as a contextual lens by tracing the hand of God and His workings throughout the web of time…what difference does it make? Will not Columbus still have sailed the ocean blue in 1492 whether I believe it was the sovereignty of God or not?

Even in the case of Creationism versus Evolution, how much of the body of scientific knowledge is affected by choosing one perspective over the other? ROY G BIV will still stand for the colors in the rainbow. H2O will still be water. And some of us will still have further to evolve than the rest of us to achieve a state of true humanity. Moreover, let’s be painfully honest, how many of you contemplate the origins of the universe on a daily basis? As you’re stuck in rush hour traffic, and a bug splatters on your windshield, do you sense a spark of genius which asks, “I wonder from whence that poor little creature evolved.” When you crack your eggs for your breakfast, do you immediately begin a mental tirade over which came first: the chicken or the egg? In my home, that would be an exercise in futility because while I’m pondering I guarantee that one of my little chickadees will demonstrate the survival of the fittest and swoop in to steal my eggs!

Tammy said...

4. When speaking of proper teacher training, we must be mindful of the fact that many public schools do not enforce even the standards that you mention. My next door neighbor has a degree in Computer Science, but is currently teaching Special Ed in our public school system. All he had to do was to pass a $50 test to land the job. His words to me: “The fact that I’m ‘qualified’ to teach a special ed class scares the crap outa me!” I also have two friends in other states who are currently teaching high school courses that they know nothing about and have no previous teaching experience for. Perhaps that’s because anyone who has ever looked at a teacher’s manual knows that they generally tell you word-for-word what to say and how to plan and implement the lesson. If one can read, then one can teach from a teacher’s manual. Moreover, none of my friends who are teachers (both those who meet your qualifications and those who do not) have had anything but encouragement and support for my family’s decision to homeschool. No doubt there are many dedicated, gifted and compassionate teachers in the system. I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with many in my former career as a classroom teacher. But if any Joe Blow can pass a test to gain access to a classroom full of innocent minds and a 10-month paid contract, then surely a caring, thoughtful, and intelligent parent should be allowed the privilege of educating their own child.

Hi Josh,

Thank you so much for the considerate and thoughtful way in which you posed your comments! It is indeed a breath of fresh air!

1. I have to respectfully disagree with your argument that faith and education and/or science don’t really go together. It all depends on one’s commitment to Christ and His teachings. There are those who believe that one’s Christianity is a Sunday-only thing…they make their appointment with God in their Day-Timers (Thanks, Stephy!) to be there on Sunday morning for the 10 a.m. service and when the last note of the Benediction reverberates throughout the church building, they check off that commitment as a done deal and move on to more pressing matters. Personally, my love for Christ transcends any delineation in time or space because His love for me does the same thing. I will not compartmentalize my life into Christian and non-Christian activities or pursuits. Therefore, my goal is to allow the fluidity of my faith to penetrate every thing that I do, say, feel and think. Now, I fail everyday…but that’s the beauty of forgiveness and grace. And I am so grateful!

Apparently, I’m not the only one who sees a link between faith and science. Check these out:

‘Though these bodies may indeed continue in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws. Thus, this most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the council and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.’ (Pricipia- Sir Isaac Newton)

Here we are concerned with the book of nature, so greatly celebrated in sacred writings. It is in this that Paul proposes to the Gentiles that they should contemplate God like the Sun in water or in a mirror. Why then as Christians should we take any less delight in its contemplation, since it is for us with true worship to honor God, to venerate him, to wonder at him? The more rightly we understand the nature and scope of what our God has founded, the more devoted the spirit in which that is done. (Johannes Kepler, father of Celestial Mathematics)

Religion and science are opposed...but only in the same sense as that in which my thumb and forefinger are opposed - and between the two, one can grasp anything. (Sir William Bragg, British Physicist, Nobel Prize Winner)

Tammy said...

2. I have always taught my children using a variety of secular and Christian curriculum. So there is a balance as far as resources go. Sometime during the course of their high school career, my children will be required to read The Origin of Species. Moreover, they will most likely read Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X when we get to those eras of history in our studies because I believe that history and science are best learned from real, living books and not dry, stale textbooks.

3. My husband is a former college linebacker who has bequeathed his tendency towards natural aggression, his addiction to blood-thirsty competition, and his love of contact sports to our four sons and one of our daughters…so the existence of bullies and the necessity of developing proper coping techniques and conflict management skills are harsh realities in our home. The daughter that you refer to is the one who has developed the “Stay as Far Away from the Conflict as Possible” strategy. She’s my peacemaker, so she’s usually the one nursing the wounds, not inflicting them. I firmly believe that if my children can learn to get along with each other, then they’ll be able to get along with anyone. Contrary to popular belief, socialization does not need to occur in a classroom filled with 30 kids of the same age. Sin, immorality, and utter selfishness occur in my home on a daily basis. There is a pecking order, after all, and the sooner that everyone knows it the better. Nevertheless, after my interaction with certain “adults” online, I would most definitely agree with you: many bullies just never grew up! The playground mentality is still alive and well in the adult world, especially when it can be so easily cloaked by the anonymity of cyberspace. Perhaps if IP addresses were made more readily available, these bullies could be exposed for the cowards that they are. I am giving your suggestion some real consideration because I do want my children to be prepared to enter a world that may simply not like them because of their educational background and their religious preferences. After all prejudices, stereotypes, and bigotry abound both behind the computer screen and in front of it.

4. I would like to answer your final question with a few questions: Do public schools attempt to teach all of the billion different viewpoints? When they teach about community and family, do they discuss fundamental Mormonism and their polygamist views? When they teach about the roles of women, do they eschew the traditional Muslim view of a subservient womanhood? When they teach about the Civil Rights Movement, do they spend class time discussing the effects of the Black Nationalist Movement or the influence of the Nation of Islam? When covering Pearl Harbor, do they teach about the horrendous effects that event had on the lives of Japanese Americans in our country? Perhaps they do now, but when I was coming up through the ranks both as a student and as a teacher, those issues or viewpoints were never brought up. By omitting or bypassing these perspectives, is the public school system teaching students that these viewpoints are wrong or irrelevant?

All I’m asking is: Please don’t hold me or other homeschoolers to standards that even the revered public school system cannot adhere to.

Tammy said...

Now, if I may, I’d like to ask all of you a few questions:

1. Are your misgivings and apprehensions about homeschooling, in general, or about Christians who homeschool, specifically?

2. Would a Muslim, Wiccan, or Buddhist family who homeschools their children in order to pass down their religious beliefs be accused of brainwashing or sheltering them?

3. If an African-American or a Native American or a Spanish-speaking family decided to homeschool their children so that they could teach them freely about their heritage and their culture’s role throughout history, would that family be labeled extremist or narrow-minded?

4. What if a lesbian couple pulls their son out of school because of the hateful threats he has received from bigoted kids who are aware of his home situation? What if they want him to grow up in an environment in which their way of life and family is celebrated, not just tolerated? Would you advise them to throw him back in school so that he could learn how to deal with the bullies and so that he could be exposed to other viewpoints?

5. When it gets right down to it, is it really anybody's business how a consistently loving, conscientious, competent parent chooses to educate their precious children? Wouldn’t your own children be better served if you spent as much time analyzing your own how’s, why’s, and wherefores about their education as you have invested dissecting mine?

~Can't Believe You Read the Whole Thing!! *Thanks, Stephy, for your graciousness!*

Anonymous said...

Tammy, they'll need a crane.

Tammy said...

P.S. Because of the tendency for this discussion to be reduced to labels and name-calling, I thought it would be best to clarify that my kids are in the process of reading and memorizing portions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution this year...I don't need anyone accusing our family of being socialist, communist, racist, or Neo-Nazis because of our list of reading materials.

Josh H. said...

That first question tries to oversimplify what most most people have said.

The answer for two and three is "yes." They can be educated on those matters in addition to whatever they learn in any school of any kind.

As for the fourth question, a gay/lesbian couple shouldn't decide to homeschool simply because there's homophobia in school; if they exclude their children from homophobic situations, they'll be excluded from a LOT of things and won't be prepared for it to happen when it does.

nadine.w said...

why do Christians think that extreme sheltering is the most godly way?!

nadine.w said...

p.s. i used homeschool curriculum up until 9th grade and i can say for a fact that i am suffering for it. i am horrible at math b/c i had to teach it to myself, and was
unsuccessfully. i guarentee i'm not the only one who can't teach herself math or chemistry or other topics.
i did well on english and other topics so the curriculum looked successful, and i managed to figure out what answers the curriculum would require of me to get by. but i suck at math to this day!

i'm afraid that homeschool, without tutoring, is raising a generation of ill-educated kids. because mom and dad aren't necessarily the best teachers either on these difficult, complex topics.

most of the time you need experts on these topics to teach these things correctly. and homeschool just doesn't offer that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CmdrChristof said...

Homeschooling is as good as the people who run it, the same can be said about mainstream school.

By the time I was 13 I was so far behind in my english writing skills that it took severe work on the part of the english dept of the private school I attended after that age, to get me even to the average standard (C grade)
I excelled in other areas and so they ignored the ones that I struggled in. I made them look good by bringing up the mainstream schools academic averages.

I would as soon trust my children to be's education to be to mainstream as I would let them be raised by wolves.

If I found a school that offered a good program I would entrust them with part of the education, but the education of our children is and has always been the responsibility of the parents. Most parents cannot spare the time or do not have the ability to successfully teach their children what they need to know, but they should not entrust them to a place that will leave the children ill prepared for the real world and what they will need to survive.

Anonymous said...

I waiver on the issue of private/homeschooling.

First, I would like to point out that before the public school system was implemented, people had, on average, an eighth grade education. Think that's bad. Think about this. Back then, an eighth grade education was what we today consider college level reading and advanced trigonomety. So, I wouldn't be so proud of the average high school diploma.

Additionally, I am distressed by several trends I see as a tutor and in my peers in college - even at the law school level. I believe that we rush students through subjects, settling for basic understanding. No student should be rushed on to other topics without first having mastery of the basics: reading, writing, and arithmatic. Someone with a solid foundation in these areas can learn anything. And it is most distressing to see people who can barely grasp the English language being pushed into other topics.

Additionally, I am concerned with the lack of protection for personal rights of public school students. No child of mine will ever go to a school where they can strip search or criminally question a child without at the very least having the parents present. It's illegal for police to do so, and I don't understand how any organization should get a pass.

I'll get to why I favor public school in a minute.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, Cafe Mocha Momma, one of the reasons my parents switched to public school (I attended private school through elementary) was because both their children were disabled, myself physically and my sibling in the learning. They did not believe that the private school had the resources or the training to provide for us and because they both had to work full time to provide health insurance, etc. public school was the only option. My brother and I thrived in public school. IEPs and special ed classes did not isolate or inhibit us. In fact, my brother was very popular with his nondisabled peers. We attended some normal classes with accommodation and others to assist us in succeeding in the normal classes.

Another issue I have with the private/homeschool trends is that those that withdraw their children, don't just affect their own children, they also cause detriment to those that must remain in public school. And remember that not all people have the option. Even with private school vouchers, not all students would be able to attend private schools. Every student that avoids public school causes economic damage to the school as a whole. I won't go into detail. Obviously I find problems with the public school system, but the solution is not to remove our children, but to improve the system. On that note, even when I attended private school, my parents voted in favor of school bonds (in other words, they voted to increase their taxes to benefit te public schools that their children did not attend) and refused to ask people who did not have children at the private school to participate in fundraisers to support a school they didn't even have access too. And we all benefit from having a strong public education.

People in public schools participate in our community and we should want them to have the strongest education they can to prepare for that.

Also, I want to point out that the internet is NOT a good way to access alternative viewpoints and diversity. Studies have shown (and I know I should cite) that the internet makes us less tolerant, because it is too easy to end an interaction or behave rudely behind the anonymity. Face to face interaction will always be essential in learning tolerance and acceptance for diversity.

Finally, someone said that "some parents choose to delegate their educational duties, while others choose to handle it head on." That's not fair. Many, MANY parents who have their kids in the public school "handle it head on". Being in public school does not mean that the parent is hands off. My own parents, after exhausting 9 to 5 jobs would then invest time in hearing what their kids were learning, helping them with their homework, engaging in lively discussions, and supplemeting their educaton with personal experience and knowledge. For example, my economics class was quite biased, and my mother, who had a financial career would balance the education I received with the opposing point of view. All parents, regardless of their schooling choice have a duty to participate.

All that said. Homeschooling is only as good as the parents that choose it. The same goes for public school, altough in this case we have the additional investment of the community. I don't see a problem with people wanting to shelter their children from certain situations when they don't have the experience, maturity, or strength to cope with them. This doesn't have to mean that the child is socially awkward or untolerant. It all depends on how the parent handles the situation. You can expose your child to situations in a controlled and safe manner, and if you don't feel the school can do this, then why not handle it yourself. This is the duty of the parent. To educate their child in a safe way, so they don't have to learn their lessons in the school of hard knocks.

Anonymous said...

You waiver on home schooling?

Lift just a little our despair at poor education. Say pun intended. Please and goddamnit.

Anonymous said...

You caught me. That'll teach me to rush when posting opinions on education.

Anonymous said...

Ai, confessing Christians. Why can't you just lie to me?

Unknown said...

I am rather divided on this debate. While I do think homeschooling has pros like a learning system personalized for the child, I also think that the child is missing out on a lot of things that a classroom environment provides academically, especially for advanced students. I'm not as concerned with the socialization aspect (there are groups homeschooling families form to let their children interact with other kids), but I do think that there are some things that you just can't provide a child at home.

I'm seventeen years old, public schooled since the beginning, and I've been in gifted programs since I was in the first grade. In elementary school, it was a special class we went to three times a week, and it was an amazing experience. We did science experiments, had chess tournaments, and did all sorts of things that, back then, seemed fun, and really helped me later. For example, I realized in middle school that my elementary school gifted teacher had been teaching me pre-algebra since the first grade without me even knowing it! And as a writer, I am very appreciative that she nurtured our writing skills and had us write creative fiction at least once a week. It was a class of about eight, so we got the personalized, individual attention we needed without having to be slowed down by the kids in our normal classes who were behind.

From middle school onwards, all my classes were specifically for gifted students, and I had absolutely wonderful teachers who assigned us very outside-of-the-box assignments that went above and beyond busywork out of a textbook. In seventh grade, one of our projects in math was to design and build a model of a roller coaster that would actually conform to all safety hazards and laws of physics! My teachers also had such diverse backgrounds, and a lot of them had traveled around the world and had plenty of experiences to share.

Now, as a senior in high school, by the time I graduate I will have taken 12 college level (Advanced Placement) courses and earned actual college credit in most if not all of them, and I've still had the most awesome teachers imaginable. I had the privilege of editing one of my teachers' novels, wrote my own novel in a creative writing course, and have been taught and inspired by some of the most fascinating, brilliant people I have the good fortune to know, and most of my teachers had masters and doctorate degrees in the fields they taught instead of just passing a test and getting handed their teaching job.

My high school is also extremely diverse, so much so that we've won awards for it. I have friends from countries all over the world, like Bangladesh, Uruguay, Thailand, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Columbia, Korea-- and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head! I've learned so much about so many different cultures, and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world.

I'm not even going to touch on the religious aspect of this debate since I've gone on and on enough already, but my point to all this rambling is that public school can be an absolutely wonderful experience when a student is in the right classes. Homeschooling has its advantages, yes, but if a student works hard and gets into the right classes in public school, it can be (in my personal, somewhat biased opinion, lol) the best experience available. :)

Cassie said...

Sheesh, there are a kazillion comments on here already (probably because I'm a year or two late to read this) but I guess I'll add my two cents. I was homeschooled (I'm 25 now), as were my 4 younger siblings. Honestly, I think the face of homeschooling has changed a lot even since I was younger. There are so many more resources available to homeschoolers now, particularly "social interaction" opportunities. Both of my younger sisters (teenagers) are homeschooled and I can barely ever get a hold of them on the phone they're so busy. Every weekend I call they're at a friend's house or going to a birthday party or having a sleepover or SOMETHING. If you met them (or most of their friends) the idea that they might have problems socially is laughable. I, however, was a different story. My brothers probably fall in the middle somewhere. But I also had a very different personality. I'm much shyer and, sure, I was probably "behind" in terms of "social experience" by the time I got to college. I have a feeling I was your stereotypical homeschooler that you *could* pick out of a crowd. But not all of us are like that.

Heavy J said...

I'm late to the party...Just stumbled on this blog and enjoying it thoroughly. My wife decided to home school her future children while earning her BS in education at Texas A&M. After learning how to fluff a child's self-esteem with a bunch of fairy tale bullshit for four years, she decided it would be a good idea to teach her children other important subjects like math, science, Latin and maybe promote individualism and encourage creativity.

It reminds me of Ben Stiller's character in Greenberg when he's partying with the new gen crowd "There's a confidence in you guys that's horrifying. You're all ADD and carpal tunnel. You wouldn't know Agoraphobia if it bit you in the ass, and it makes you mean. You say things to someone like me who's older and smarter with this light air... I'm freaked out by you kids. I hope I die before I end up meeting one of you in a job interview."

My wife and I both went to public school and are thrilled to have the opportunity to home school our children. They aren't sheltered, they're also not thrown into a system that sucks out all creativity and free thought and jams 8 hours of pointless data into their brains. The reason for the climb in ADD is an ever increasing emphasis on jumbled facts that make school boring as hell! This isn't the same public school you went to folks.

Liz said...

Very late to the party here, but my own observations of home schoolers is that they come in two varieties -- very socially well adjusted or sort of freakishly provincial and psychologically capable of dealing only with people who are extremely similar to themselves. Which way they turn out seems to have a lot more to do with what the parents are like than being home-schooled per se, which I suppose is not surprising: whether because of genetics or environment, the fruit doesn't usually fall very far from the tree. If your parents are not capable of dealing with people who are different from themselves except in the most superficial and formulaic ways, the chances that you're going to be able to deal with people outside of your own family is not that great.

In general, I don't think home schooling is a bad thing though unfortunately it means that some kids with special needs will never get the help they need to be able to function optimally because the parents do not even realize their child has issues or are in denial because it upsets them so much. OTOH, many parents of kids with special needs end up having to pull them out of school because the education the system is willing to provide is so inadequate.

I considered homeschooling my kids and both are in public school because my daughter has high social needs she wouldn't get met at home and my son needed speech therapy and OT and it's offered through the schools. The imperative should be to provide the best education to meet the needs of the child whether at home or in a public or private school. We taught our daughter to read and I'm teaching my son and we do tons of enrichment activities at home. But we're lucky to be living in one of the best public school districts in America.

nateyomatey said...

i'll keep this short (for me, at least) since i'm a few years late to the party (just discovered this blog—very neat!), but as a homeschooled prefrosh (with ties to CC, for sure), i must take a brief beef with this post. homeschooling is indeed a wonderful option for a creative, resourceful kid (with parents of an equal disposition). if executed properly, teaches a kid how to think critically, explore the intellectual and creative world, and develop a passion and vision for his/her future. this is only one possible benchmark of success, but after graduating, i was admitted to a very selective Ivy League university for this upcoming fall.

as far as socialization amongst homeschoolers goes, i'd say we do a mighty fine job. we're obviously disadvantaged in some ways (we don't sit for 8 hours in the same brick-and-mortar cage with the same faces), but this just means that we learn to seek out our company for intellectual discussions, pickup sports, crappy indie bands, entrepreneurship, world travel, etc. our friends come from all across the age spectrum—not just from our graduating class—and in my case, they include people from across the world. even the evangelical kids in my homeschool circles (you know, the ones who go to those "Christian" colleges hehe) are mighty fine socializers. i got along with them, at least :D

generalizing, of course, as you find socially inept people from all educational backgrounds. but in no way are homeschoolers "complete social misfits" on any sort of scale.

of course, i'm biased :)

nateyomatey said...

i'll keep this short (for me, at least) since i'm a few years late to the party (just discovered this blog—very neat!), but as a homeschooled prefrosh (with ties to CC, for sure), i must take a brief beef with this post. homeschooling is indeed a wonderful option for a creative, resourceful kid (with parents of an equal disposition). if executed properly, teaches a kid how to think critically, explore the intellectual and creative world, and develop a passion and vision for his/her future. this is only one possible benchmark of success, but after graduating, i was admitted to a very selective Ivy League university for this upcoming fall.

as far as socialization amongst homeschoolers goes, i'd say we do a mighty fine job. we're obviously disadvantaged in some ways (we don't sit for 8 hours in the same brick-and-mortar cage with the same faces), but this just means that we learn to seek out our company for intellectual discussions, pickup sports, crappy indie bands, entrepreneurship, world travel, etc. our friends come from all across the age spectrum—not just from our graduating class—and in my case, they include people from across the world. even the evangelical kids in my homeschool circles (you know, the ones who go to those "Christian" colleges hehe) are mighty fine socializers. i got along with them, at least :D

generalizing, of course, as you find socially inept people from all educational backgrounds. but in no way are homeschoolers "complete social misfits" on any sort of scale.

of course, i'm biased :)

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Anonymous said...

I'm another who's very late to the party (not sure why, as I was reading this blog steadily about a year ago).

I was public schooled, and am horribly socially awkward. I have severe social phobias, which were exacerbated by the school environment. I never figured out how to pretend to an interest in fashion, sports, etc. I also did poorly academically, despite easily acing tests (marks in the high 90s and perfect papers were very common, although I never studies), as I simply didn't care if I did well or not. I never accepted the priorities that were handed to me by teachers or peers, and I've never coped well with being pushed hard in a direction I don't want to go. (I do much better when allowed to find my own pace, and with gentle encouragement.) I'm also uncoordinated, unathletic and pretty much the antithesis of a jock, which was a major social handicap in the 80s...not sure about now.

My 20 year old son was also public schooled. He's amazingly socially adept. I'd say he was born that way - he certainly had more self-confidence at age 3 than I've ever had in my whole life, and able to be himself, even when he doesn't "fit" (he was captain of the gymnastics team in his senior year, and is now pursuing acting). He's also gifted in many, many ways.

My 10 year old daughter has many of the same traits I had, especially introversion and shyness. She's also homeschooled. She has a huge number of friends, and is developing good social skills. She's still somewhat shy, but is learning to cope with it. She's homeschooled, and she's thriving.

My 8 year old son is socially awkward, and homeschooled. He also has a firm diagnosis of ADHD (combined type), and tentative diagnoses of Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome. He has tremendous challenges, and is doing about as well as can be expected. I have a nephew with Aspergers, who is public schooled, and he's having a really rough time, and is far more socially awkward than my son (or me, for that matter).

I know quite a few socially awkward homeschoolers, but many of them are being homeschooled, *because* they have issues that weren't being addressed well in the school system. One of our homeschool groups has one child with Cerebral Palsy, two with autism, one with a severe anxiety disorder (and history of abuse, from his father), and my son. There are only about 15 kids in the entire group. These kids aren't socially awkward because they're homeschooled. They're homeschooled, in part, because they're socially awkward.

That said...I'm an atheist, and faith based reasons for homeschooling don't apply to me. We started homeschooling, because of a combination of my daughter's temperament, and our unhappiness with my oldest son's education.


Anonymous said...

I was educated in public schools 50 years ago, and I still have my public hair.

Unknown said...

Loại trạng thái này cực kỳ thống khổ nhưng đối với Vương Lâm thì lại có lợi ích không thể tưởng tượng nổi. Nguyên thần của hắn trong gió lốc không ngừng giãy dụa, cảm giác dung hợp với thiên địa là càng được khắc sâu hơn, cuối cùng dường như được khắc vào tận tâm thần, cả cuộc đời này khó có thể xoá nhoà nổi.
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Nếu có tu sĩ khác biết trạng thái của Vương Lâm lúc này thì hẳn là tim sẽ đập nhanh như đánh trống. Bước tu đạo thứ hai ngoài nguyên lực ra thì quan trọng nhất là hiểu được quy tắc, nắm giữ và điều khiển được nó. Nhưng mọi thứ đều rất hư vô mờ ảo, không thể hiểu rõ ràng. Vì thể nên việc dung hợp với thiên địa trở thành phương pháp tìm hiểu bắt buộc phải dùng.

Chỉ có dung hợp thật chặt chẽ với thiên địa thì mới có thể tìm hiểu được những quy tắc của lực luợng!

Không thể nghi ngờ, lúc này nguyên thần của Vương Lâm dưới sự trợ giúp vô tình của lão giả thần bí giống như một đôi bàn tay lớn nắm lấy hắn, mạnh mẽ dung hợp với thiên