Tuesday, March 9, 2010


When I dropped my daughter off at dance class today, she and another little girl who is homeschooled starting talking about their homeschool experience. A third girl who was listening piped up and said, "Homeschooling isn't good for you." My daughter said, "Why not?" She said, "Because you don't learn to play with other kids." I said, "Oh, that's not true. Who told you that?" Of course, I knew who told her that. I don't know why I asked. I stood there like a fool, listing all the ways my children get social interaction in spite of (actually, because of) their educational experience. Yes, I was arguing the socialization issue with a 7 year old...defending myself and my children as if I were on trial for child abuse. It was ridiculous but I couldn't help myself.

Can I just say how sick to death I am of hearing that "concern"? Why is "socialization" (or lack thereof) the one thing so many homeschool opponents choose to focus on? I suppose it is because people can't really pick on any other aspect of homeschooling. "Hmm, overall, homeschooled children excel in every academic area, so we can't say the kids aren't learning. I know, let's say they weird and unsocialized."

Do people think we sit at home all day, just the three of us, never interacting with the outside world? Do they think my children stand, noses pressed against the glass storm door, watching longingly as the children on the street play together? Do they think we drive past the park and just wave at the children playing there?

Why do people think that spending time in traditional school is the only appropriate way for children to socialize with other children?

Why is sitting in a crowded, noisy lunch room at a table with 25 other children who are trying to eat their lunches in 20 minutes while the lunch lady yells at them better for children than a group of 12 homeschooled children eating a leisurely lunch at a picnic table outside?

Why is being teased on the playground at school better socially than a multi-aged group of children playing a game of football after our science class?

Why is my child looking at pictures of a naked woman on another child's cell phone in the hall at school (yes, my child saw this) preferable to him taking a trip to the art museum with a couple of other homeschooled children?

Never in a million years would I go up to a parent of a traditionally schooled child and ask, "Don't you worry how all the negative stuff that happens at public school will affect your child's self-esteem?" Yet so many non-homeschooling parents feel free to question and criticize what I'm doing and talk about how it will negatively affect my children. (By the way, as a parent of two children who attend public school, I do worry about all the negative things they experience there.)

Here's the real story. I find the "socialization" issue to be a challenge, but it's not in the way you would think. We have so many opportunities to socialize with other children that I have to carefully choose what we do or we would never be home to do our schoolwork.

We have been on more field trips than I can count. We have had play dates at the park. We "school" with a group of 10 other children every Monday. We go to the gym and play with other kiddos. We meet with our co-op for Culture Club. My children take lessons, go to church, play outside with the dozen or so other kids who live on our block. I think they'll be fine.

Really, the horse is dead. Let's stop beating it.


  1. AMEN Sista! Seriously! It's sooo true! Yesterday, and this coming Friday we are turning down "social" events because we have so much going on, we just can't do it all!

    Oh well. I'm in love with our "kitchen" school life!

  2. I love our kitchen school life, too...although, we recently migrated to the dining room. I needed more room to spread out and I got tired of packing everything up every afternoon. I just leave it all out until the weekend.

  3. I was going to post. Seriously. I was. I wrote four different ones and deleted them all. I am far too snarkey to respond. I just can't. Thank you for being sane and composing such a great response. I personally LOVE the choice we have made. Phooey on others that don't.

  4. I love this...I want to repost it on my blog! Can I?

    Love all you've been doing!

  5. I totally agree, I've gotten these comments since Kenzie was in kindergarten and I think we actually turn down play dates and have to decide which field trips to go on because we have to make time for learning due to all of the "socialization". So glad you made your choice and are sticking to it!



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