Homeschooling… The very word has the innate power to conjure up any number of stereotypical images in one’s thoughts. While one person might instantly see a table of bookish kids pushing their glasses up higher on the bridges of their noses while hungrily devouring Plato and Aristotle, another person might just as immediately see barefoot, shirtless boys loudly playing stickball in an open field until dark, not a book or pencil in sight. These two images are simultaneously exactly the same and the polar opposite of each other. Both represent the decisions of parents to take the reins away from outside forces and educate their children at home. Both might differ in setting and style but both represent families realizing that they can make one overarching decision and give themselves the freedom to be nonconformists in a multitude of ways.
“It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed.”
There are diverse reasons why people might shy away from electing to homeschool, but the three most often perceived obstacles stem from fears that can easily be quelled. Don’t be afraid to give your children the leg up to join the ranks of Mozart, Bach, Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Monet, da Vinci, Einstein, Newton, Pascal, Edison, and countless other world-shaking individuals who don’t need introductions other than their familiar last names… (source)
As you turn over the idea of homeschooling in your mind, S’moresUp is a wonderful tool to begin creating structure in your home and in your children’s schedules. The app effortlessly cultivates the self-motivation skills that are incredibly useful in homeschooling. If you are tired of refrigerator charts or tired of being the Human School bell for your kids, forced to nag and remind them when to do homework or chores, give S’moresUp a try. It can be fully customized to include not just chores but a daily routine organized by time and can be utilized with different kinds of rewards for accomplishments. Your creativity is the limit!
“Schools have not necessarily much to do with education… they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.”
Fear #1 – Socialization Motivation:
The most cited reason not to homeschool is that dreaded and generally misunderstood word “socialization.” Parents are afraid that their homeschooled children won’t get enough of it. Ironically, when I was in school, teachers constantly intoned to us to “Stop socializing!” Generally speaking, public schools tell children to be still and quiet, yet somehow they are supposed to be the only beacons of socialization, robbing our children of the values of friendship if we turn from their monopolized light.
In her book, “But What About Socialization? Answering the Perpetual Home Schooling Question: A Review of the Literature,” Dr. Susan McDowell says about worries of a lack of socialization of homeschoolers, “It’s a non-issue today. All the research shows children are doing well.”
Chris Klicka, Senior Counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), elaborates that “In nearly every community throughout the country, local homeschool support groups have formed in addition to the state-wide homeschool associations. In many areas, these local support groups sponsor weekly and monthly activities for the homeschool students, including physical education classes, special speakers, sports, camping, trips to museums, industries, farms, parks, historic sites, and hundreds of other activities. Regular contests are also held including spelling bees, science fairs, woodworking contests, and geography contests. Homeschoolers in many localities have formed homeschool choirs, bands, sports teams, bowling leagues, educational and activity clubs of every kind, and many types of resource libraries. The state homeschool associations generally sponsor a major conference where homeschool children can attend and the older children perform plays, assemble yearbooks, and participate in graduation ceremonies for eighth and twelfth grades. A review of the state homeschool association and local support group newsletters testify of a great many social activities available. Homeschool families, as a whole, do not raise their children in social isolation.” (source)
Richard G. Medlin of Stetson University notes that “Compared to children attending conventional schools, however, research suggests that they have higher quality friendships and better relationships with their parents and other adults.” (source and also source)
“One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood.”
So, if you have considered homeschooling but were worried about socialization, hopefully, your fears have now been banished. As John Holt said, “It is the duty of a citizen in a free country not to fit into society, but to make society.”
In part 2 of this blog series, we will address the 2nd and 3rd most common worries that pop up when families consider homeschooling and explore practical ways to fly over that fear.