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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Homeschool and social awkwardness

LH asks a serious question about socialization and homeschool:
My observations are this. Academically, homeschoolers are just pure genius. But the world does not work based on your grade point average. In the business world, it all also depends on who you know and how well you get along with people. And I've noticed that homeschooled adults--people in their twenties and thirties--often seem to struggle with the rest of the working world.

Now, I am asking for opinions on these observations. I'm not drawing a line in the sand, making any declarations against homeschooling, or anything like that. I'm looking for other people's observations and testimonies that might prove hopeful.
I think it is a genuine issue.  I have observed the phenomenon on numerous occasions myself.  For example, at my eldest son's first soccer practice with a new team, all of the other players sat down and listened to the coach when he started addressing them.  My son continued to stand, bouncing a ball, and was observably paying no attention to the coach.

Now, obviously I explained that his behavior was unacceptable after the practice and likely to lead to a lack of playing time.  But the fact that I had to explain this to him, when he had been playing soccer for years, was indicative of what can either be seen as a feature or a bug.  That is to say, he simply does not appear to feel any peer pressure.  The fact that everyone else is doing X not only does not instill in him any need to do X, he doesn't appear to assign any significance to it whatsoever.

This isn't necessarily the result of homeschooling, of course.  I am a socio-sexual Sigma and a lone wolf.  Spacebunny is also, by female standards, a lone wolf.  Both of us were public-schooled.  So, it should not be at all surprising that our son would tend to be highly independent regardless of how he was schooled, and yet, there is still a material difference between his perception of the significance of the behavior of others to him, and ours.

On the other hand, once a parent is aware of this lack of awareness, it is quite easily dealt with.  The incident at practice was two years ago.  It has not happened since; once the team begins to line up in front of the coach, he recognizes the signal and not infrequently is among the first to sit down and pay attention.  However, it appears to remain a conscious behavior and not an unconscious one.  I happen to think this will serve him well in time, as unlike the others, he has the option to go along with the crowd or not, as he consciously chooses.  Independence and auto-conformity are mutually exclusive; the parent who fears the occasional social awkwardness later in life would do well to consider what sort of problems are more likely to occur with an auto-conforming child.

However, the most significant testimony I have ever heard concerning socialization and homeschool was from the children's pediatrician, who is a doctor of no little international repute.  We were the only homeschooling family in his practice at the start and he initially harbored some reservations about it.  However, after ten years, he mentioned that he was now fully supportive of it, in part because he had observed that our children were not only advanced intellectually, they were also the happiest children in his practice.

I think one should step back and consider what the working world presently is before concluding that those who struggle with it are somehow deficient.  What is natural or normal about spending 8-10 hours per day in a small grey cubicle, living like a rat in a cage and shuffling virtual papers while attempting to avoid conflict with various unproductive individuals of varying degrees of medication and reflexive hostility?  Considering how much the average worker has to modify his normal behavior just to avoid getting in trouble with HR these days, can one reasonably conclude that it is the homeschooled individual and not the increasingly outdated working world that is the problem?

The experts tell us that to succeed in the working world of tomorrow, it will be increasingly necessary to be independent, free of reliance upon the corporate patterns of the past, flexible, and agile.  To me, it sounds as if much of the "awkwardness" of the homeschooled individual in the eyes of the more conventionally schooled is akin to the strangeness of the mammal when viewed from the perspective of the dinosaur.

My suspicion is that the socially awkward homeschooler primarily represents a failure of the homeschooling parent to address socio-sexual issues with the child, and is little different from the tendency of most conventionally schooled men to be sexually awkward due to the maleducations they receive on the topic.  The fact that the homeschooled child is likely to automatically receive less socio-sexual education than the crude mindless one received by the conventionally schooled child does not mean that he is necessarily uneducable in the subject.

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113 Comments:

Anonymous SWW January 09, 2013 6:49 AM  

I think one should step back and consider what the working world presently is before concluding that those who struggle with it are somehow deficient."
Well said. I do think that inherently extroverted children will exhibit their natural tendency regardless of whether they were homeschooled or not. Likewise for introverts. However, all social settings seem to require and reward "followers" and "leaders". Those who fall into neither group find it difficult to "fit in".

Anonymous RedJack January 09, 2013 6:59 AM  

I went to public schools, and would do the same type of thing. Still do.

One of my teachers would complain to my parents that I was not a "team player" and she found it very difficult to have me conform to the norm. If she TOLD me to do something I would, but I wouldn't do what all the kids were doing out of habit.

It wasn't because I was/am a sigma. It was because I was often thinking about something totally different than what was going on at the time.

My point is social akwardness isn't always a result of homeschooling. Sometimes it means you will be an engineer.

Anonymous hardscrabble farmer January 09, 2013 7:17 AM  

Nonsense.

We home schooled our eldest child (a 16 year old male today) and the comment we most often hear from adults about him is how mature he is, frequently asking us what college he goes to. People who meet him for the first time are often the ones who make it a point of telling us that they have rarely encountered a young man with his level of maturity/intelligence/sense of humor/etc perhaps because they are expecting some kind of sheltered mommas boy. He is gregarious, multi-talented and able to enter into new situations without hesitation and we are extremely proud of how he turned out. He has several businesses of his own (firewood, hand built modular aquaponics systems) and enough money saved on his own to put himself through a four year college sans assistance should he so desire.

I'd like to thank genetics for a big part of this, but because he was socialized among adults, into an adult world (and on a farm that includes a great deal of responsibility, self reliance, observational behavior and inner drive) he has transitioned in a young adult ready to stand on his own two feet, confident in his own abilities.

I understand that this is anecdotal, he may be an exception, but I have met quite a few of his peers (he plays football with the local public school team and is a leader among his teammates who often spend time working on the farm with him) and they all seem to be developmentally retarded despite their obvious inherent intelligence. The difference in vocabulary and overall knowledge- especially history- is pronounced.

We know a couple of other home schooled kids in his age bracket, and every one of them, without exception, is an exemplary version of the modern teen.

I have always found the argument for public or even private schooling based on "socialization" to be the weakest one out there. Would you rather socialize someone to adult or childish behaviors?

My wife and I have a philosophy that she is raising our children, but I am raising adults.

It has worked out quite well for us.

Anonymous aero January 09, 2013 7:25 AM  

I don't think there is any facts showing kids that are home school lack social skills. I think it is a misconception that home schooled kids are isolated from the public. which many believe keeps them from interacting with others.
The truth is public school kids spend more time isolated to their desk void of any interrelationships with others.(The child's failure to sit quietly will result in the public schools to put them on some psychotic drugs)
Compared to the home schooled child who is an active participant with their parents.
The key to a child developing good social skills is the repetition of enjoyable results from doing it.
Is the repetition of sitting at a desk isolated from socializing an enjoyable experience for a child?

Anonymous . January 09, 2013 7:28 AM  

"Socialization" means your kid adopts the values, attitudes, and behaviors of the other kids.

That's... exactly what you want to avoid and why you should home-school.

Most likely the socially awkward homeschooler would be socially awkward if they went to public school -- except they'd also be bullied and harassed as they are not in a home school.

The way to reduce social awkwardness is, of course, extracurricular activities. Team sports are good.

Blogger tz January 09, 2013 7:29 AM  

If the society is pagan, being socially awkward is a virtue - often a cardinal virtue or two.

Sometimes it is a simple, "why?". A good answer changes things, the coach is not merely another idiot adult saying meaningless prattle to an audience, what is going on is important.

It is one thing to know how to do things, either a skill or knowledge, and another to know how to think. There is a site about a "Thomas Jefferson Education", basically what our founding fathers got, which is hownto teach someone how to think.

It's socially awkward to stand on the second ammendment when the people around you are acting like headless poultry screaming for gun control. But if you think for yourself, you can convince others. And avoid the paganism.

It is non-partisan. The republican flock of headless chickens supported Romney.

That is marketing. It is bad to be socially awkward, the popular people are doing it... This is good for you... But someone is doing the leading, and the followers think they are just following the crowd.

Blogger tz January 09, 2013 7:30 AM  

If the society is pagan, being socially awkward is a virtue - often a cardinal virtue or two.

Sometimes it is a simple, "why?". A good answer changes things, the coach is not merely another idiot adult saying meaningless prattle to an audience, what is going on is important.

It is one thing to know how to do things, either a skill or knowledge, and another to know how to think. There is a site about a "Thomas Jefferson Education", basically what our founding fathers got, which is hownto teach someone how to think.

It's socially awkward to stand on the second ammendment when the people around you are acting like headless poultry screaming for gun control. But if you think for yourself, you can convince others. And avoid the paganism.

It is non-partisan. The republican flock of headless chickens supported Romney.

That is marketing. It is bad to be socially awkward, the popular people are doing it... This is good for you... But someone is doing the leading, and the followers think they are just following the crowd.

Blogger Unknown January 09, 2013 7:33 AM  

To me, it sounds as if much of the "awkwardness" of the homeschooled individual in the eyes of the more conventionally schooled is akin to the strangeness of the mammal when viewed from the perspective of the dinosaur.

The strangeness of a wild animal viewed from the perspective of the caged.

I have always found the argument for public or even private schooling based on "socialization" to be the weakest one out there. Would you rather socialize someone to adult or childish behaviors?

Personally, I'm glad I was not "socialized" to think that promiscuity was ok, that backstabbing friends was normal, and that reading a book required a beating (may be getting a bit extreme there, but you get the point...)

Honestly, I seriously have to ask a parent complaining about the lack of "socialization" what they think the benefits of being socialized really are? I don't think they have a clue what they are saying.

As to having a social life? It takes a bit more effort, but homeschooled children are not prohibited from having one.

Anonymous Anonymous January 09, 2013 7:38 AM  

You hit the nail on the head, Vox. Why should an individual who has been taught to think for himself have any interest in conforming to the mindless social patterns of the office or the assembly line? I believe that what others often describe as "social awkwardness" in homeschoolers is actually nothing of the sort - it's the conventionally schooled kids (as you call them) who are socially awkward, not the other way around. There is nothing healthy about following the herd without thinking, trying desperately to "fit in," or going along with the way things are simply because, well, that's the way things are. I think many homeschooling families would benefit by seeking out apprenticeships or mentoring for their children, especially boys, as they begin to mature. I'd say age 12 would be a good time to start for most kids.

BTW, I really meant to add a comment to your last post as well, but I was in a rush and didn't have the chance. I'll post it here, as I think it's more likely to get read as this is the more recent post. Someone mentioned John Taylor Gatto, and I just wanted to say that I can't recommend the man's work enough. While ostensibly about education, his writing touches on so much more. Without ever having met the man, I can honestly say he's the best teacher I've ever had, and that he changed my life for the better. His book, "The Underground History of American Education," is available for FREE on his website. I'd also like to recommend his wonderful essay "What Really Matters," which you can find easily with Google. Cheers.

Anonymous Anonymous January 09, 2013 7:40 AM  

I forgot to add that I think homeschool kids would make natural business leaders and entrepreneurs, which is why I recommended apprenticeships/mentoring for them. Thanks.

Anonymous Anonymous January 09, 2013 7:46 AM  

Vox, quote< The fact that the homeschooled child is likely to automatically receive less socio-sexual education than the crude mindless one received by the conventionally schooled child does not mean that he is necessarily uneducable in the subject. >end quote

I think this needs to be elaborated upon.

Some examples and methods might be useful as well.

farmer Tom

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 7:55 AM  

"akin to the strangeness of the mammal when viewed from the perspective of the dinosaur."

The technique of homeschooling may have a significant bearing, but it's also to do with temperament I should think.

For instance (as I wrote on the previous homeschool thread) I went to somewhat of an unpleasant, slow-witted, fight-happy, meat-grinder elementary school. Later on, I was fortunate to test into an elite private high school on a scholarship, and then on to Prestigious University, same deal.

All of my odd behavior patterns which resulted in me getting my ass kicked constantly at Meat Grinder Elementary, had the surprising result of getting me laid like crazy at Elite High School and Prestigious University.

Selecting the right terrarium matters to the chameleon, I suppose. Or like Cameron Diaz says in Bad Teacher, "Choose your window."



Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 8:00 AM  

"Now, obviously I explained that his behavior was unacceptable after the practice and likely to lead to a lack of playing time. But the fact that I had to explain this to him, when he had been playing soccer for years, was indicative of what can either be seen as a feature or a bug. That is to say, he simply does not appear to feel any peer pressure."

We have had literally.. this exact same experience with our two oldest boys... it first showed up in Sunday School. The other kids would be gathering up around a table... and Jeb would just continue to play or read whatever book he had at the time. Purely oblivious to the group dynamic.

Same thing with Eli.

I have seen a counter example though... My friends have a 12 year old boy that has been home schooled his whole life... and in any kind of group environment he assimilates with a vengeance. He becomes the teacher or coaches apex follower. When others don't pay 100% attention it confuses and infuriates him. His sister on the other hand... who is about to turn 16 is more like my kids.

As always... there are probably lots of factors at play.. and the out come is almost certainly not predictable. That is to say... its an art... not a science.

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 8:09 AM  

"All of my odd behavior patterns which resulted in me getting my ass kicked constantly at Meat Grinder Elementary, had the surprising result of getting me laid like crazy at Elite High School and Prestigious University."

You realize... as a parent... my kid "getting laid like crazy" is not what I am raising him for. Right?

There are enormously important lessons to be taught... one of which is...

Don't swim in the public pool.

Anonymous TLM January 09, 2013 8:09 AM  


Good grief, who cares what other adults think about how polite, mature (aka boring), and well-adjusted your HS kid is. What matters to the kid is how well they are received amongst their peers, where do they fit into the group dynamic. A failure to learn how to navigate and/or promote oneself within a peer group is an important part of building one's character & personality. Not all, but almost every HS kid I've observed is just off a bit. Slightly weird, but normal enough to function in society. Home school all you want, but denying what's obviously observable to those of us that aren't skewed by your parental love is classic snow-flaking.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 8:22 AM  

"You realize... as a parent... my kid "getting laid like crazy" is not what I am raising him for. Right?"

Of course. But it isn't why I drew the illustration.

"There are enormously important lessons to be taught... one of which is...
Don't swim in the public pool."

Who said anything about the public pool? It's the opposite of my point. The pool at Top End Country Club, on the other hand, has rather a very nice temperature... and some other attractive features as well. But still, if you warn your kids away from country-club pools, too, I can't say I'd blame you, you'd almost certainly be right, albeit for different reasons. It's just that, while you're on the subject of teaching lessons, you may as well be precise about them. Your kids I promise you will notice the difference, and then they'll wonder why you weren't being straight.


Anonymous VD January 09, 2013 8:23 AM  

Good grief, who cares what other adults think about how polite, mature (aka boring), and well-adjusted your HS kid is. What matters to the kid is how well they are received amongst their peers, where do they fit into the group dynamic.

You don't appear to understand the objective. A failure to adapt perfectly to the herd dynamic is not a fundamental problem. We're not the least bit interested in raising our children to be better, more successful sheep.

We're raising them to be wolves.

Blogger Michael January 09, 2013 8:32 AM  

Every time I get among "the public" and mention that we homeschool, the first thing someone says involves the word "socialization".

It's nothing more than a political meme, strawman, red herring, boogey man, etc. all wrapped up into one.

Pure hokum.

I know *lots* of homeschooled kids. They all play team sports, participate in 4H, attend church regularly with lots of other families, go on field trips with lots of other families, etc ... if anything they are *excessively* socialized.

Vox, repeating the whole SOCIALIZATION!!! thing is just playing into one of the left's devices, don't fall for it.

Are there really people who think that Public Schools are the only place to get socialized? Is there anyone who would be so foolish as to think it is the *best* place?

Blogger James Dixon January 09, 2013 8:33 AM  

> Not all, but almost every HS kid I've observed is just off a bit.

Has it ever occurred to you that "just off a bit" may be a desirable characteristic? If you want your kid to be "just like everyone else", then I feel sorry for both you and them.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 8:33 AM  

Given your loner nature it's impossible to say if homeschooling had an effect on him in this instance.

As the number of homeschoolers rise and enter adulthood I'm hoping there will be more studies to comparing the three groups: public, private, and homeschooled.

Anonymous Shutterbug January 09, 2013 8:42 AM  

"We're not raising our kids to be sheep. We're raising them to be wolves."

I'm stealing that, and using it the next time the "socialization" argument comes up. The person making that arguement will wet himself. LOL!!

Anonymous Paul Sacramento January 09, 2013 8:48 AM  

Conforming to society and being able to function in it are not the same thing.
I think that if a homeschooling parents notices an issue with how their child(ren) function in a group, then it should be addressed.
Perhaps the child needs more socializing, or perhaps needs to better understand social dynamics better, that's all.
There are socially awkward kids in public, private and homeschool "systems" and then there are those that thrive.
It's a combination of nature and nurture I think.
Again, parents just need to be attentive and if they see an issue, deal with it correctly, that's all.

Blogger A January 09, 2013 8:52 AM  

The core group of friends I grew up with all went to the same church. They were all home schooled, the exception being myself. Each of them was very intelligent, which was probably why I preferred their company to anyone I met in public school (save one genius, but he was older than me). These kids never showed any of the signs of awkwardness that I usually hear about, unless you want to think of girls behaving in old school ways (i.e. very feminine; they cooked, baked, played piano, sang, always wore dresses, and were very submissive) as awkward. Each of the boys had good mechanic skills, construction skills, computer skills, proficient in math and science, and were aware of P.G. Wodehouse long before I ever knew who he was. Even the movies and t.v. shows they watched were more adult intellectually, the kind of things my parents watched.

I guess that I could conclude, from my own experience growing up alongside home schoolers, that they were very good people, there was nothing awkward or different about them socially, you could tell they were happy, we always had great parties together playing games, paintball, cards, video games (N64 Goldeneye the game of choice), all sans drugs and alcohol. I remember feeling like I was some sort of genius when I was at public school, but had to work on myself to keep up with the home schooled kids, heck, they were even genuinely surprised I knew as much as I did being a public school kid. Each of them have gone on to have families, work hard and are successful. One is doing well as a construction worker (probably a foreman by now), two are mechanics, one is a farrier (tends horse's hooves), one a manager at a company. And I'm unemployed with an education degree (HA!).

Anonymous Tad January 09, 2013 9:00 AM  

@Vox Day

It sounds like you have a perfectly adjusted son with just enough of an independent streak and just enough self confidence to take him as far as he decides he wants to go.

Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families? Particularly the religion?

Blogger A January 09, 2013 9:03 AM  

I should also mention, how many of you from pubic school ever heard your teacher yell, "You're not here to socialize, get to work!"

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 9:03 AM  

"Particularly the religion?"

do we really need to start this?

Blogger Tiny Tim January 09, 2013 9:04 AM  

Oh yeah, the public school kids are so outgoing???

When I see them out and about they have a blank stare. When talked to, they are like the submissive dog who can't look the leader in the eye. When given a task, the first thing is to see how they can get out of it. They also stay transfixed to any device that emits colored light and sounds.

I want an effeminate, goth, skinny jeans wearing son as my own. I would gladly trade in my rugged, handsome, 100% male, firearms shooting, bow hunting fourteen year old son. That is my dream......

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 9:05 AM  

"But still, if you warn your kids away from country-club pools, too, I can't say I'd blame you, you'd almost certainly be right, albeit for different reasons."

The sluts at the country club are no more desirable than the sluts at the public pool.

Swim in private... exclusive pools... all by yourself.

Blogger Tiny Tim January 09, 2013 9:08 AM  

Oh, and don't forget trading in my two beautiful daughters who have 100% of their self respect in tact. They can also shoot multiple calibers as well.....

Give me a couple of those poor, misguided, sluttily dressed ten year olds for my classy daughters.....

Anonymous Dot connector January 09, 2013 9:08 AM  

"It's nothing more than a political meme, strawman, red herring, boogey man, etc. all wrapped up into one.

Pure hokum."

Very true makes you wonder how kids got along without 'socialization' in the times before public schools. It's just the usual leftist programming based in ignorance that causes adults to spew such nonsense when public schools are based on the Prussian-Industrial model and Neo-Marxism. So obviously leftists would be for such models no matter how disastrous or inefficient. Leftists suck.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 9:16 AM  

Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families?

This has been my question too. In my personal experience this is the demographic who homeschools and they are already the cream of the crop behavioraly and academically.

Anonymous Shawn January 09, 2013 9:21 AM  

"What is natural or normal about spending 8-10 hours per day in a small grey cubicle, living like a rat in a cage and shuffling virtual papers while attempting to avoid conflict with various unproductive individuals of varying degrees of medication and reflexive hostility?"

Ouch, that hits a little too close to home. Dealing with this today. And you never can quite tell who people are on, but it's obvious that they are.

Anonymous . January 09, 2013 9:23 AM  

"Particularly the religion?"

do we really need to start this?


You ask the troll why he trolls?

Gee, it's like he wants to start something...

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 9:28 AM  

"The sluts at the country club are no more desirable than the sluts at the public pool."

Says the vegetarian to the smokehouse-owner. If you knew what you were talking about, you'd know that the 'sluts' at the country club aren't sluts at all. Well naturally, there are sluts and rogues everywhere one goes, in every corner of this green earth, but it's not what I was discussing. But now this is veering quite off course: and I don't mean OT, I mean that you don't seem to care to grasp what I was actually discussing. Not that it makes a difference: more matter for a May morning. Calloo callay.

"Swim in private... exclusive pools... all by yourself."

Oh I can assure you I didn't swim by myself. But again, it's all quite moot: I'm now a cranky middle-aged man who hasn't done such things in YEARS. Again, I salute your commitment to raising your children right (I wouldn't recommend that anybody walk in my rather peculiar footsteps), it's just that, it wasn't what I was talking about when I drew the illustration.

The only reason I'm salvoing back is because it's fun, not because it's important.

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 9:35 AM  

"Oh I can assure you I didn't swim by myself."

Yeah... I actually did.. at least in terms of dating. I married quite young... 24 or so.. limited my serious dating to only hot blonde virgins. Found the right one pretty young... and kept her.

Blogger Jim, January 09, 2013 9:37 AM  

"Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families? Particularly the religion?"

You mean, the smart parents dedicated to preserving their childrens' innocence? And it is not a phenomenon at all, if you are paying any sort of attention. Our HomeSchool group, of which my wife is the president, has plenty of non-Christians, and the fact that homeschooling means that one parent is not working, means we have made financial sacrifices to insure that if our kids are going to be screwed up in life, it will at least be our fault. If we send them to the public schools, the odds that they will be screwed up (or worse) are much higher. It is about taking personal responsibility for your offspring, and about at least trying to raise them with a Christian identity.

Screw all the homeschool haters--seriously keep your kids in the public prisons where they learn very little of value other than how to keep up Profiles on their Facebook,where only appearances matter.

I can tell two things about a person who sends their kids to public school: 1. You care more about money than your kids education/knowledge and 2. You are comfortable having relative strangers teach them about morality . I have these discussion constantly with parents at my company, and though they may try to squirm their way out of explicitly admitting these two things, they know that my observations are very close to the truth.

Anonymous Porky? January 09, 2013 9:47 AM  

Tad you have no class.

Anonymous Sure January 09, 2013 9:49 AM  

I can tell two things about a person who sends their kids to public school: 1. You care more about money than your kids education/knowledge and 2. You are comfortable having relative strangers teach them about morality .

Sure. But these days, a lot of people are afraid to have mom quit her job, because if dad then got laid off, it would be baaaad.

Blogger Jim, January 09, 2013 9:56 AM  

Then Dad teaches the kids..not too difficult

Anonymous stg58/Animal Mother January 09, 2013 9:58 AM  

Vox is right. Wolves. Alpha wolves. I named my two sons after alpha wolves. They have a lot to live up to.

I am raising them to be better than myself in every way possible.

Anonymous Daniel January 09, 2013 10:00 AM  

When asked if I'm not concerned about the lack of socialization in homeschooling, I simply let the questioner know that I am not a socialist, and therefore, am in favor of such deficiency.

I asked a group of five lifelong public educators (nearly 200 years exp. total, mostly administrative) how they would define "socialization," thinking they would say something like "getting along with others, understanding how best to benefit their community, working as part of a team, etc."

But the first response was something like:

Socialization is getting everyone to understand that everyone else in the group is owed an equal share and they need to cooperate and so that someday they will understand that the needs of society should guide their actions and that society will eventually model that design.

And they all agreed that this (the original comment, not my paraphrase, of course) was an extremely insightful way to put it.

Socialization, at least in the minds of those public education leaders, has nothing to do with making sure the socially awkward pick up some tools to become more adept at interpersonal relations.

Anonymous Sure January 09, 2013 10:01 AM  

Then Dad teaches the kids..not too difficult

Uh, the "difficult" part is nobody's bringing in a paycheck. Mortgage doesn't get paid, power gets turned off, food can't be bought...

Anonymous Josh January 09, 2013 10:10 AM  

There are two kinds of parents:

Parents who homeschool

And

Parents who hate their children

Anonymous stg58/Animal Mother January 09, 2013 10:10 AM  

Vox is right. Wolves. Alpha wolves. I named my two sons after alpha wolves. They have a lot to live up to.

I am raising them to be better than myself in every way possible.

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 10:13 AM  

"Uh, the "difficult" part is nobody's bringing in a paycheck. Mortgage doesn't get paid, power gets turned off, food can't be bought..."

You may have noticed.. women do far better in the workforce than men do these days.. as it is almost entirely molded to suit their socialite get-along-at-all-cost mentality.

Send her to work... stay home and teach the kids and tend to the farm... and the gunsmithing...

Blogger Kentucky Packrat January 09, 2013 10:14 AM  

Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families? Particularly the religion?

Two of the co-ops we belong to are Christian and require statements that members are Christians as well. I know several people who have crossed their fingers and joined anyway. They are mostly white, because the co-ops both started in single churches (and expanded out), and the churches were white.

Little Miss attends a third co-op that is non-religious and multi-ethnic, and still very successful. The biggest trouble we had was that they didn't want to do Girl Scouts, and one of the alternatives they wanted to consider was Wiccan, which would have gotten them ejected from their current host (the church they're in right now doesn't mind a secular group, but their tolerance doesn't go THAT far, nor should it).

Go Google about blacks homeschooling. It's becoming a growing trend. Middle class black parents are seeing the "keep stupid" peer pressure in public schools, and are reacting as they should: get away from it.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 09, 2013 10:15 AM  


You may have noticed.. women do far better in the workforce than men do these days.. as it is almost entirely molded to suit their socialite get-along-at-all-cost mentality.


I think that is only true in general in the make-work workforce that is paid for with our taxes.

In industries where really productive stuff is required it is not so.

Blogger Positive Dennis January 09, 2013 10:18 AM  

I agree 100%. This is why we homeschool our daughter. I see the negative effects of socialization in her older brothers. I take her to Awana and Dance weekly.

Anonymous robwbright January 09, 2013 10:19 AM  

"I have observed the phenomenon on numerous occasions myself. For example, at my eldest son's first soccer practice with a new team, all of the other players sat down and listened to the coach when he started addressing them. My son continued to stand, bouncing a ball, and was observably paying no attention to the coach."

That's hardly unique to home schoolers. The U10 team I coached last fall had a couple public schooled children who were incapable of actually listening to the coaches. Of course, in many cases it's an issue of lack of respect for authority as a result of bad parenting, etc...

Anonymous AmyJ January 09, 2013 10:19 AM  

Was at dinner with some teacher friends the other night. Their newest complaint about their jobs is the kids are no longer allowed to talk during lunch. Aides (not teachers) revoke recess for anyone who talks until their teacher literally comes to rescue them.

It's amazing that the major argument against homeschooling is that children don't get the necessary socialization (like they're dogs?), considering they aren't allowed to speak to their peers for bulk of the time they're around them.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 10:22 AM  

Finally some demographics

Homeschool families aren’t making economic sacrifices as can be seen (unless you argue the parent staying at home is enacting opportunity cost by working part time) as one parent has a high paying job so the income level remains the same as the average family.

As I also expected the kids come from homes with intact two parent families who are predominantly religious. One interesting thing is that they tend to have larger families.

On average kids with similar demographics will have superior academic scores, but how much more effective is homeschooling the kids who will already do better is the question which remains.

Anonymous VD January 09, 2013 10:23 AM  

That's hardly unique to home schoolers. The U10 team I coached last fall had a couple public schooled children who were incapable of actually listening to the coaches.

Totally different phenomenon. The kids who were "incapable" of listening know perfectly well that they are supposed to do so. They are reacting to the stimulus, they're just reacting negatively. It never occurs to the indepedent kid that he's supposed to be doing anything other than what he is doing. He's not reacting at all.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 10:24 AM  

I think my link was screwy. Here it is again.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 10:25 AM  

http://www.hslda.org/docs/study/ray2009/2009_Ray_StudyFINAL.pdf

Blogger Ancona January 09, 2013 10:26 AM  

Vox, I have read your blog now for quite some time, finding an appetizing variety of commentary and discussion on an amazing array of subjects. Until now, I have never been compelled to comment, however that changed with this particular subject. My own daughter is quasi home schooled, attending regular classroom settings around once or twice per week, dependent upon semester and subject[s]. Initially, I felt she was a bit withdrawn and perhaps too focused at times. When I say "too focused", I mean that she would nearly obsess over her school work and ignore social contact. When I instituted limits on computer time and encouraged her to spend more time with friends and participation in more social activities, the trend reversed itself.

The part about home schooled children being higher achievers is quite accurate, as my kid has a 4.0 GPA, while not really trying too hard. Modern academia has changed radically since my own school days back in the sixties and seventies, moving stealthily from a creative thinking process coupled with rote memory study for some of the more mundane things such as spelling and basic math, to a system of indoctrination.

Those who choose to home school may well be advised to include socialization with their academic pursuits to insure their children become more adept at interaction in the world they will eventually participate as adults.

Anonymous Porky? January 09, 2013 10:29 AM  

Raise your hand if you were forced to sing "Che Che Ku-le" in elementary school.

Anonymous Susan January 09, 2013 10:32 AM  

VD, it sounds like your son has a pretty good understanding of MPAI. Personally, I found that the hard part of rearing kids was helping my two to understand and navigate the social dynamics of society, and that not all authority is bad. I taught my two that questioning authority is ok in some instances and that they have a right to self protection.

Hardscrabble and farmer Tom have it right. Raise adults that you will like and enjoy spending time with when they get there. Nothing is worse than disliking your own adult children. I have seen it occur in my own social situation. Very sad.

OpenID philwynk January 09, 2013 10:35 AM  

The same training that gets called "socialization" when somebody wants to slam home schooling, gets called "peer dependency" when we're talking about drugs, sex, or video games. There is nothing positive about it.

The truth is that kids need to learn social skills from adults, whose skills are already developed, and not from peers, who are as ignorant and reactive as they are. Home schooled kids generally spend enough time with peers and have no trouble getting along; but unlike their public-schooled counterparts, they also get lots of personal, adult supervision and exposure to adult interaction, so they see what their behavior is supposed to look like. This is a benefit of home schooling, not a weakness.

Anonymous Joe J January 09, 2013 10:41 AM  


Perhaps this is the non-socialization they speak of.


http://notalwaysright.com/you-just-got-schooled-part-3/26299

Anonymous Tad January 09, 2013 10:42 AM  

@Jim

I can tell two things about a person who sends their kids to public school: 1. You care more about money than your kids education/knowledge and 2. You are comfortable having relative strangers teach them about morality .

It turns out you actually CAN'T tell this about the folks that don't homeschool. You can think it. You can assume it. But you can't know it. Let's at least get that part right.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 10:57 AM  

It turns out you actually CAN'T tell this about the folks that don't homeschool. You can think it. You can assume it. But you can't know it. Let's at least get that part right.

I’m agreeing with Tad on two things now? (The first being his choice in whiskey.)

The demographics actually support just the opposite conclusion which is that homeschool families give up nothing economically as the primary wage earner is way above norm.

As for morality this is where the schools fail even more than in academics. One of the three main purposes is public schools is to instill ethics and to teach kids to be good citizens (NOT drones!).

The schools are a moral mess thanks to the rejection of classic Western values and most certainly they don’t teach kids to be good citizens in which they think of themselves as the actual government, which they are in a republic, rather than subjects to the government.

I’ll take kids who are taught and know Aristotle’s ethics and are good citizens over kids who do better in academics any day.

OpenID philwynk January 09, 2013 11:02 AM  

Jim wrote:

I can tell two things about a person who sends their kids to public school: 1. You care more about money than your kids education/knowledge and 2. You are comfortable having relative strangers teach them about morality .

Being a bit rough, aren't we? Sorry, it's just not that simple.

Third alternative: You have marital problems or financial problems, and cannot avoid the public school system.

Nothing exposes the weaknesses in a marriage like an attempt to home school. I know this from personal experience.

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 11:08 AM  

"I think that is only true in general in the make-work workforce that is paid for with our taxes.

In industries where really productive stuff is required it is not so."

Wrong. Its true anywhere there is a HR department.

Anonymous Sure January 09, 2013 11:08 AM  

@ philwynk,

Tell us more!

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 11:09 AM  

"It turns out you actually CAN'T tell this about the folks that don't homeschool. You can think it. You can assume it. But you can't know it. Let's at least get that part right."

Sadly Tad is right about this. Many parents are such automatons they literally give the matter no thought what-so-ever.

Blogger SammyBoy January 09, 2013 11:11 AM  

Watching a good number of our church's families homeschool their kids over the last 20 years, and watching those kids grow into adults, there has only been one family in which about their kids grew into social dweebs. But I ascribe that primarily to the fact that those kids' parents were dweebs, too. Every other homeschooled child I've closely watched over the last 20 years has gone on to be wildly successful socially, scholastically, personally, and career-wise.

Blogger Jim, January 09, 2013 11:16 AM  

Josh:
"There are two kinds of parents:

Parents who homeschool

And

Parents who hate their children"


Amen.

And to "Sure" about Dad teaching kids if he gets laid-off, between the two of you, you can each work part-time until Dad can find another full time job. You can work nights, weekends, etc, and if you are inclined to be Ok with accepting unemployment benefits, then your kids are not going to starve. If you care enough about your kids' growth and security, then you don't mind making sacrifices.

And as Nate mentions, let her work full time, and you lead studies during the daytime instead of her. As I said above, it is not too difficult, but if you are going to talk yourself out of it with one reason or excuse or another, than see Josh's comment above.

Blogger Jim, January 09, 2013 11:20 AM  

"Third alternative: You have marital problems or financial problems, and cannot avoid the public school system.

Nothing exposes the weaknesses in a marriage like an attempt to home school. I know this from personal experience."

Or we can make excuses all day long and feel sorry for ourselves because life didn't turn out to be a fairy tale with a happily ever after--there, now you have a fourth alternative.

Blogger RobertT January 09, 2013 11:27 AM  

Good post. My granddaughter was homeschooled until her Sophomore year, then she transferred to a local high school. I noticed some of the awkwardness in her grade school years, but now that she's in high school she's absolutely immune to peer pressure and has a dominant, charismatic personality. Whether homeschooling had anything to do with that, I have no idea. But she basically dominates her entire social group. She's not a little angel and is basically hell on wheels, but everybody loves her - Even her teachers as they threaten to kick her out of school.

Anonymous bbtp January 09, 2013 11:31 AM  

My wife and I have been homeschooling our oldest boy for about 2 1/2 years and we'll never go back. Here's why:

1) Tailored curriculum. The freedom to move at the child's true pace has been incredibly liberating. My son has the ability to work 5 or 6 grades ahead of level on some subjects, so he does. In others, he's 2 or 3 grade ahead. No school, public, private, whatever, could accomodate him, and when he was in school, he wasn't doing very well; they thought he was slow-to-average. But now, people are visibly shocked to hear him read (he reads at an adult level per official tests) and he can square 4-digit numbers in his head. School was squandering his potential, and no wonder -- his teachers weren't even aware of it.

2) No make-work. My son works hard when he's working and doesn't need to pretend to work to fill the rest of the day. Very few people are capable of 8 hours of focused academic work, and he's no exception, but rather than waste his time fiddling around at his desk cutting paper triangles or something, he does productive non-academic things, like...

3) Lots of sports. He's the fittest kid I know -- gymnastics 8 hours/week, swimming lessons 2x/week, goes to the park at least 1 hour/day. He eats like a horse but has visible abs and built-up muscles in his shoulders and back. He isn't the most naturally coordinated kid, but after a few years of this regime, he looks like Jim Thorpe around other kids his age.

4) Family relationships. My wife and I were gritting our teeth when our next child was on the way because we expected our oldest to feel the usual displacement, jealousy etc. and to display some degree of regression. But to the contrary, our oldest was immediately excited about the baby, gives us long speeches about how he loves the baby and will protect him, spends a lot of time talking to the baby and showing him toys and books, tiptoes around during nap-time -- we were floored. Our friends often remark on this too, particularly those who have children with a similar age spread and are going through painful sibling adjustments with their eldest.

5) Social relationships. My wife is better informed than I am about child development and she has taken care to set up structured situational play as a part of our "curriculum". So our son has various toy foods, a functioning play-money cash register, etc., and they play "store", "factory", "farm", "traveling", etc. every day. This helps him ground his abstract knowledge in concrete situations while rehearsing the transactions and communications undergirding adult life. So when he enters a life situation, he is usually already sensitized to what's going on, and he notices much more of the subtextual and unspoken dimensions of the situation than a kid whose daily routine is school and Angry Birds.

Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but for us, it was the right choice and indeed the only good choice. And if you don't want to homeschool your kids, that's your choice; it just means that one day my son will be their boss.

-bbtp

Anonymous SWW January 09, 2013 11:34 AM  

Anecdotally, as a father of 10 homeschooled, from about 30 to 12, I can say that I've never had one person, stranger, co-worker, friend, or family member who was initially skeptical of homeschooling, tell me that my kids were socially awkward or anything of the kind. To the contrary, I've only had positive comments about well adjusted they are, and refreshing to be around. They actually interact with adults. Two of the older ones are involved in entrepreneurial endeavors that put them in out in the community in a very public way. At one point several had played publicly in a bluegrass band for a few years. Socialization has never been a concern...

I don't consider any of my kids alphas (genetics, no doubt) by any stretch of the imagination, but they all exhibit healthy independence. One dept. head informed me that I could never work for her because I am not sufficiently "malleable". We happen to be good friends and she is no doubt correct.

Anonymous Dot connector January 09, 2013 11:35 AM  

"Socialization is getting everyone to understand that everyone else in the group is owed an equal share and they need to cooperate and so that someday they will understand that the needs of society should guide their actions and that society will eventually model that design."

No surprise there, a bunch of collectivist pablum.

Blogger JDC January 09, 2013 11:49 AM  

Quote from Tad: Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families? Particularly the religion?

I can only speak to my specific arena (mid-MI, rural communities near larger cities). I would agree with the religion part, but the socio-economic mix in our home-schooling microverse is diverse. We have physicians, farmers, unemployed... The major factor linking the parents is a belief that the child's overall education and development into adulthood will be enhanced by a home school education.

Vox - I love that story about your son (I shared it with my wife this morning). We have noticed the same things with our kids. I would rather increase the likelihood that my kids will someday, when faced with the temptation of peer pressure, react by bouncing around a ball and doing their own thing.

I continually encounter this from anti-homeschooling friends and acquaintances, "aren't you worried your kids won't fit in?" Parents place way too high a value on fitting in, rather than developing in their children tools to assess a situation and determine their participation based upon morality and logic rather than following the lemmings off the cliff.

What I am finding is that my home has become a secondary after-school program. We live next to public and private/Christian schools. Since people know my wife is a home-schooler, our home has become a unofficial after-school program. Why? Because parents want their kids to spend time with our kids - because they like what they see in our children.

I have been counting the parents who have children that are begging them to homeschool after seeing what our kids do. The number is now at 18 families.

OpenID philwynk January 09, 2013 11:51 AM  

Jim wrote:

Or we can make excuses all day long and feel sorry for ourselves because life didn't turn out to be a fairy tale with a happily ever after--there, now you have a fourth alternative.

Well, you want to judge, so judge, you will. I can't help that; it's on you, not on me. May God have more mercy on you than you have on others, His words to the contrary notwithstanding.

But I did the right thing by bringing my family's home-schooling experiment to an end when I did. What does one do when one discovers one's spouse is abusive when nobody's looking? I will say no more about that. We put the kids in as good a private school as we could afford, for as long as we could afford it. And I learned the lesson: home schooling may not be for everybody.

Blogger Nate January 09, 2013 11:54 AM  

"What does one do when one discovers one's spouse is abusive when nobody's looking? "

Generally speaking?

if I found my wife abusing my kids... I'd do whatever it took to end the behavior. Up to and including killing her.. throwing her carcass in the lake.. and finding a suitable replacement.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 12:03 PM  

"a bunch of collectivist pablum."

Close, but not quite. More specifically, it is racial-socialist pablum. Actually, it isn't even pablum [which is technically harmless], it is deliberate poison. Allow me to translate:

"getting everyone to understand that everyone else in the group is owed an equal share"

TRANSLATION: By now, children, you all have noticed that indolent negroes and invading, mooching Latinos are slow-witted, disruptive, thuggish and oversexed. So it is your solemn duty to ignore what you have observed, and act as if we all lived in Make-Believe Pretend World, where everyone is nice -- you know, the way white people are nice. Because if you don't act nice towards your parasites, then trust us, we will make sure things aren't nice for you.

"someday [everyone (except for negroes)] will understand that the needs of society should guide their actions and that society will eventually model that design"

TRANSLATION: White people have many abilities, and negroes have few abilities but many needs, especially needs for white pussy. It will be your duty for the rest of your lives to always tirelessly use your abilities to provide for the endless needs of angry, ungrateful, unappeasable negroes, and to look the other way when they assault your brothers and rape your sisters. This is simply Equity in action; or, as we like to call it, Praxis.

"society will eventually model that design"

TRANSLATION: We will slowly strip your rights from you, little by little, white people, until you have insensibly been transformed into spineless mush-like obedient servants of negroes. Then and only then will Ari and Tova finally feel secure in the country they have successfully stolen from you without your even noticing it.

Anonymous Ten41 January 09, 2013 12:08 PM  

Tad

Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families? Particularly the religion?


According to the latest Fast Facts 77 percent of homeschoolers are white. But this corresponds well to the overall white population at 78%. So, I am not sure that can be counted.

I could not find anything (quickly) that spelled out the family income levels, etc, except for mention that $25K to $75K homeschooled more than < $25K.

The Homeschool Progress Report does show that overall homeschoolers are from a religious background; 96.4%.

Blogger Jim, January 09, 2013 12:20 PM  

"Well, you want to judge, so judge, you will. I can't help that; it's on you, not on me. May God have more mercy on you than you have on others, His words to the contrary notwithstanding."

Please, I did not judge you personally, or anyone else here, and what did I say that showed a lack of mercy? If anything, it is parents that are showing no mercy on their kids by sending them to public schools. So forgive me if i care more about the anonymous kids of random internet commenters than I care about potentially ruffling their parents' feathers. I need the Lord's forgiveness for a long list of issues, and if you feel that I should add this one here to that list, well then I am grateful for your concern for my soul.




Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 12:23 PM  

"Where home schooling is concerned, aren't we talking about a phenomenon highly correlated with white, upper middle class, religious families?"

Of course we are, knucklehead. What are you insinuating... oh, let me guess, dat it be all raciss an' sheet?

Home-schoolers are white, middle class, and religious, precisely because the public schools, which they built and pay for, are populated not by the white middle class religious children whose birthright they in fact are, but instead by Juan and Pablo and Juan and Mohammed and Deshawnquatrius and Malik and Jamiquius and Juan and Mohammed and Juan and Mohammed and Latrishiquia and Mohammed and Juan; and they are taught by shrieking insane Judith and Tova, who insist on making sure all the children 'of color' understand that Becky and Bob and Susan and Nick are to blame for EVERYTHING wrong in the world, and that their religion is insane and stupid and despicable, but mysteriously every other religion is just groovy.

Home-schooling is just the beginning, dude.

"The world is an iceberg, so much is invisible!"

Anonymous Jack Amok January 09, 2013 12:39 PM  

Yeah, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and kids who's parents are lone wolves (either by choice like Vox and SB, or because no one else wants their company like SammyBoy's "social dweebs") are more likely to be lone wolves themselves.

People in the workforce today who were homeschooled were homeschooled 15 to 20 + years ago, when it was a socially awkward thing for most parents to do. So those kids (adults now) are genetically less likely to be social conformists.

But as the decline of the public school system becomes worse and harder to ignore, it becomes more socially acceptable to homeschool and the "social conformity" level of the average homeschooling parent is increasing. So we should see a change in the social conformity of the products of homeschooling in the next few years.

One other change in homeschool demographics that's happened over the last 20 years is that the least functional spectrum kids used to be homeschooled at a high rate because they were kicked out of classrooms for being disruptive. But today they're give extensive special treatment in public schools, so they are flowing back in.

Anonymous Tad January 09, 2013 12:39 PM  

@JartStar

The schools are a moral mess thanks to the rejection of classic Western values

Which classic western values have been rejected?

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 12:50 PM  

Which classic western values have been rejected?

Aristotelian ethics and even Plato's.

Anonymous TLM January 09, 2013 12:50 PM  

VD- A failure to adapt perfectly to the herd dynamic is not a fundamental problem. We're not the least bit interested in raising our children to be better, more successful sheep.

We're raising them to be wolves......

Spoken like a defensive chick taking my very rational observation and turning it on its head into some extreme example to marginalize my comment. Wolves? Doubtful, the HS boys just don't have "it". "It" being what a boy experiences and learns from competing with his peers and outsiders on a daily basis, without the bubble that many HS'ers live in from an educational, sports, social, and other aspects of life that mold him into a "man". That's why they always come off as just a bit strange and rarely, if ever, as a leader. I'm sure all the HS advocates believe their raising the next Tim Tebow, but that ain't likely. And even he comes off a bit strange, and it's not his Christianity that does it.

There's more snowflakes in this thread than a blizzard. And before the next HS sock puppet makes a comment, I too despise public schooling and would never send my kids there.

Anonymous Daniel January 09, 2013 12:56 PM  

TLM - what? you make no sense.

Anonymous Shut Up Tad January 09, 2013 1:05 PM  

Which classic western values have been rejected?

LOL, Tad is too ignorant to be in this conversation!

Anonymous VD January 09, 2013 1:08 PM  

Spoken like a defensive chick taking my very rational observation and turning it on its head into some extreme example to marginalize my comment.

Nice try, gamma boy. I said nothing whatsoever about you other than your obvious failure to understand the objective of many homeschooling parents. You are the one who has attempted to make it personal and your entire tone has been passive-aggressive from the start.

In other words, when you talk about someone speaking "like a defensive chick", you are clearly projecting. After 11 years of publicly attacking the public school system, I am not the least bit defensive about homeschooling, nor do I give the smallest possible damn if homeschoolers are actualy somewhat handicapped in finding an appropriate place in the socio-sexual hierarchy among their peers.

Anonymous bw January 09, 2013 1:12 PM  

"That erroneous assumption is to the effort that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence....Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else."

- H.L Mencken, The American Mercury, April 1924

Anonymous TLM January 09, 2013 1:26 PM  

After 11 years of publicly attacking the public school system, I am not the least bit defensive about homeschooling, nor do I give the smallest possible damn if homeschoolers are actualy somewhat handicapped in finding an appropriate place in the socio-sexual hierarchy among their peers....

It certainly doesn't appear that way.

Anonymous Shaddap January 09, 2013 1:45 PM  

HS boys just don't have "it". "It" being what a boy experiences and learns from competing with his peers and outsiders on a daily basis, without the bubble that many HS'ers live in from an educational, sports, social, and other aspects of life that mold him into a "man".

Hey ignoramus, public edu-lags are not the only place for kids to interact with their peers (if that is a good thing) or to get involved in the sports and social aspects of life.

Extracurricular art, music and sports are MORE healthy for social development than their equivalents within the public edu-lags. Indeed, they are highly beneficial EVEN if you insist on punishing your kid by sending him to public school. Such activities get the kid out of the clique-ridden, bullying environment of the school, and allow them to focus on the activity itself rather than their popularity and status within the clique (or lack thereof).

Anonymous ThirdMonkey January 09, 2013 2:47 PM  

"In a study measuring communication, daily living skills, socialization, and maturity, homeschoolers outscored public school kids on every level."

Homeschool Domination

In observing my children in situations in which there is one adult and several of his same-age peers (i.e. Sunday School, organized sports), I've noticed that my children interact well with other children until the group starts acting "silly". My eldest son is infamous for what we now call his "MPAI look". I even have one hilarious instance on video. Last night, after basketball practice, he initiated a converation with his coach because he had recognized him as from our fall soccer league. My little girl will have a conversation with just about anyone and never met anyone who wasn't her friend. I guess my kids are odd in that they haven't yet learned that you're not supposed to interact with people who aren't the same age, especially adults.

Anonymous Tad January 09, 2013 2:48 PM  

@JartStar

Aristotelian ethics and even Plato's.

Are you talking about the study of ethics proper? Or are you saying that schools no longer address the issue of virtue?

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 09, 2013 2:49 PM  

"HS boys just don't have "it". "It" being what a boy experiences and learns from competing with his peers and outsiders on a daily basis"

Well for one thing, roughly 50% of the home-school population is going to be female, and thus has a need for a rather different sort of "it". So throw half your analysis out the window prima facie.

The rest is anecdotal. For instance, I wasn't home-schooled, but I hated my formal grade-school environment so much that I essentially withdrew from it, for all practical considerations, and figured out ways to live around it. At school, I most certainly did NOT have "it." But I lived at the local library on the side, and in the off-hours played a lot of pretty rough street hockey.

Maybe in some theoretical future space-time you could take a quick once-over at the gallery of voluptuous red-headed beauties licking my hockey scars and decide whether you thought I had "it" or not. They were all quite reasonable girls: I'm fairly sure they'd abide by your judgement.



Anonymous Signe January 09, 2013 2:52 PM  

So now wives also need to not only be able to pull a family-supporting salary, but should do it along with all the other duties of a wife--while nine months pregnant?

I admit: I can't do that, any of it. I guess I should stay single.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 2:57 PM  

Are you talking about the study of ethics proper? Or are you saying that schools no longer address the issue of virtue?

Yes. Only to the degree it keeps kids behaved in class.

Blogger BoysMom January 09, 2013 2:58 PM  

TLM, where are these mysterious age-peers that are academic competitors? Please! Find an adult or three, because the public schooled kid just can't keep up. He wastes all his time in school rather than actually learning things, and then when my (elementary aged) boys want to talk about genetic engineering or space flight, he just can't. Maybe there are some home schoolers who compete on a level with their public schooled peers, but all my kids are going to learn is how to wipe the floor with them. I suppose that has a certain value all its own, but not the one you're thinking of.
Sports is of middling value--here it gives good insight into the public schools. My kids like playing but sports are structured very much like the schools. This is a local failure, not an indictment of all sports programs. Music, on the other hand, our music teachers (guitar and piano) are still boggling after a year of teaching my sons, but they're both capable, Godly men, and are good influences on the boys as well as good teachers.

Anonymous Loki of Asgard January 09, 2013 3:09 PM  

Signe, if you are commenting, it means that you are not in bed. You are too ill to reason clearly. I forbid you to return until you have recovered; do not continue to tempt me to enforce it directly.

And pick up your damned phone. If you cannot speak, at least you can answer a text message.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 3:13 PM  

I’ll add that the schools don’t really address virtue in the Classical sense of the word, but they do try to control behaviors. I don’t think this is some secret communist educators’ plot, but rather confusion from the culture spilling into the public schools.

Anonymous Tad January 09, 2013 3:29 PM  

@JartStar

I’ll add that the schools don’t really address virtue in the Classical sense of the word, but they do try to control behaviors. I don’t think this is some secret communist educators’ plot, but rather confusion from the culture spilling into the public schools.

I'm not sure schools don't teach ethics. That said, I agree with you that actually teaching ethics proper would be a very good thing. Not sure under what curriculum it would show up though. What I do know is that it would be fabulous to have a set part of the curriculum that exposes students to a variety of expressions of ethics from Aristotle/Plato to Christian to Far East, etc, etc. They'd get philosophy, history, ethics all rolled into one and they would also be exposed to classic texts.

Anonymous Samson January 09, 2013 3:44 PM  

Other commenters have echoed my thoughts: God strike me dead if I ever raise children who "fit in" with modern society. In point of fact, I think it's quite possible that there is something "off" about the typical homeschooled kid, but let me tie that in with another example: Mormons. In my experience, there is also generally something "off" about Mormons - but I admire them and their subculture nonetheless.

Regarding this idea that homeschooling families don't sacrifice anything financially because the father typically earns an above-average income: I frankly *do* regard the wife's lack of employment as a significant "opportunity cost". I'm not complaining or suggesting these families are somehow put-upon in any major way, but there certainly is an economic sacrifice in being "merely" average when you could be jet-setting - or saving for the kids' tuition, or whatever.

Anonymous JartStar January 09, 2013 4:05 PM  

Not sure under what curriculum it would show up though.

The Four Cardinal/Classic virtues would be the place to start as all major religions wouldn’t have a problem with them, have contributed to them, and if people wanted a secular segment tie it in with, Positive Psychology. More than just exposure I’d be fine with the schools telling students to act out the virtues in their daily lives and that these are the foundational ideals of our nation and the basis of good citizenship. Only the fringe would possibly object to teaching kids to be virtuous by these standards.

Anonymous rubbermallet January 09, 2013 5:26 PM  

we were told by good friends that it was our societal duty to inject our good children into the public school system. If we pull all the smart well behaved children how will the other students ever see how they are supposed to be.

yeeeeaahhh. i'm going to jeopardize my children's educational and societal well being because a bunch of other mouthbreathing nitwits don't know how to raise their children? I'm supposed to send my child down the path that leads to mediocrity and cookie cutter learning for the greater good?

sorry, i'll let you be the leader of that movement. the public school system churns out hundreds and thousands of "in the way" people every year.

give a child a solid education, teach them to communicate properly, and show them how to respect others and the "socialization" aspect will come. teach them about the "in the way" people and soon they will learn how to live amongst them in a way that the "sheep/wolf" illustration works perfectly.

Anonymous TLM January 09, 2013 5:43 PM  

BoysMom-TLM, where are these mysterious age-peers that are academic competitors? Please! Find an adult or three, because the public schooled kid just can't keep up. He wastes all his time in school rather than actually learning things, and then when my (elementary aged) boys want to talk about genetic engineering or space flight, he just can't. Maybe there are some home schoolers who compete on a level with their public schooled peers, but all my kids are going to learn is how to wipe the floor with them.

Careful with your boasting. The private schooled kids will "wipe the floor" against the public and home-schooled kids.

Shaddap- clique-ridden, bullying environment of the school, and allow them to focus on the activity itself rather than their popularity and status within the clique (or lack thereof).

Many of the home-schooled children I encounter appear to have developed their very own clique of one, themselves.Reminds me of Allen's one man wolf pack speech in The Hangover.

Anonymous Dr. J January 09, 2013 5:57 PM  

Vox - Would you be willing to share the name of the pediatrician? A friend is looking for an expert opinion re: homeschooling for a child custody case.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 09, 2013 7:27 PM  

Seems to me that the higher observed rate of awkwardness is easily explained* by less conformist parents. When parents decide to homeschool, it requires greater nonconformity than the average parent. So it shouldn't surprise us that the AQ bell curve is shifted to the right.

Or does everyone realize this and I'm just stating the obvious?

*And explained totally, I assert from intuition. How many aspie parents had a rough K-12, and swore to do better by their kids?

P.S. Funny how "homeschool" has a squiggly red line under it. I guess we aren't supposed to believe it's a real word.

Anonymous VD January 09, 2013 7:44 PM  

It certainly doesn't appear that way.

Don't be a complete moron. The "you must be insecure about (fill-in-the-blank) because you wrote about it" was stupid the first time someone tried to whip that one out back in 2001 in response to a column.

Either I am the most insecure person on the planet or there are a surprising number of nitwits out there who don't realize that an individual's security or lack of security has fuck-all to do with what he is saying is true or not.

I mean, you have to be pretty bloody stupid not to realize that I am not defensive about homeschooling, I am downright OFFENSIVE about it.

Blogger masajemovies January 09, 2013 7:46 PM  

"What is natural or normal about spending 8-10 hours per day in a small grey cubicle, living like a rat in a cage and shuffling virtual papers while attempting to avoid conflict with various unproductive individuals of varying degrees of medication and reflexive hostility?"

Having just left after 16 years in such an environment, I can say that my growing inability to pretend to be like the sheep around me was becoming very stressful to myself and incredibly stressful to my hypergamous female director and senior director.

Never too late to start a new career. Trying to decide between independent consultant (and thereby dealing with the jungle of government regulations), starting a home business (but same issues as above), or working for a small firm.

Anonymous VD January 09, 2013 7:46 PM  

Vox - Would you be willing to share the name of the pediatrician?

No. It wouldn't do them any good. Talk to the Homeschool Defense League, they specialize in that sort of thing.

Blogger JCclimber January 09, 2013 8:37 PM  

Not a sheep.
Not the shepherd (God's role).
Not a predatory wolf that eats the sheep (who belong to the Shepherd).
Instead, raising him to be a sheepherder dog.
Under shepherds command, yet works without constant supervision.
Never mistaken for a sheep.
Doesn't destroy and kill the beloved sheep, yet will nip, bite and bark at them to ensure they are okay.
Trusted by shepherd and sheep alike to be true to his nature.

Anonymous TLM January 09, 2013 9:29 PM  

VD-Don't be a complete moron. The "you must be insecure about (fill-in-the-blank) because you wrote about it" was stupid the first time someone tried to whip that one out back in 2001 in response to a column.......

I'm bored with this, but don't lump me in with the anti-home schoolers. I've only commented on what I've experienced being around and in some cases coaching current and ex-homeschooled kids. They tend to be a little different, in a slightly awkward way. I've never uttered any anti-homeschooling propaganda.It tends to be the home school parents here and in my neck of the woods that seem to be thin-skinned about it. Done.

Anonymous Lana January 09, 2013 10:26 PM  

Eh, I think Vox was on the right track with his original comments based on my experience. The point made by the previous commenter was valid and a reasonable question. He didn't want his kids to be adult weirdos if he homeschooling them.

If he's odd, the kiddies will be odd. It's all who the parents are and what they want to accomplish. Odd can be good or bad.

There are quite a number of weird, socially awkward homeschooled adults. It has little to do with the socialization that is discussed in homeschool circles and heartily refuted to good effect here. However, most commenters blew right past that reasonable concern into "Homeschool or Die, Bitches!!". Not particularly helpful in this case.

Its simply that dorks homeschool their dorky children. Introverted, shy parents, who didn't do well, socially, in school decide to homeschool their shy, introverted children. And more power to them. I applaud them for keeping their children away from public school where they would be crushed.

Additionally, its also parents who didn't tell the kiddies something they needed to know until the parents realized they needed to know it. Easily resolved by a brief conversation.

Parents can pass on only what they have the ability to pass on.

Anonymous Dr. J January 10, 2013 9:04 AM  

OK - thanks for the link.

Blogger JaimeInTexas January 10, 2013 11:07 AM  

We have 4 children. The first two we home schooled through high school. That meant a single paycheck household. Two years ago, my wife began teaching in a Christian HS, where our two younger kids are enrolled.

One of the factors, a very strong factor, was that my paycheck has remained static for many years. It is a long story but the company gives a bonus at the end of the year, depending on how the company performed. A number of years the bonus was almost nothing. What the company provides is a great working environment, where we are treated as adults (guess what we keep in the refridge, but the boss said no to home brewing, not that she would go insane if we did, but we respect her), small number of employees and a customer with whom we have a long term contract. I traded high pay, volatile employment, for pretty much guaranteed job for 10 years.

But ... my paycheck, regardless on how much we kept cutting back, and adjustments to our life were made, was becoming less capable of sustaining our family. Hence, my wife entering the market again.

In my part of Houston there is a huge number of home schooling families. Most in the modest economic scale. A few in the upper income range. Some families of modest income managed because of inherited property.

For many years, my job required ungodly work hours. That is what it took to gain and maintain customers.

As a family and job requirements allowed, we had control over the family schedule. No school (government or private) to ask permission of or schedule to conform to. But family economic realities limited our activities in a severe way.

My wife and I feel like we failed.

Our main failure is recognizing when it was time to stop aiming for mastery of a subject into completion of tasks within time constraints. And that has been a huge challenge for my oldest child in college.

Another weakness of home schoolers, although not in our case, is that PARENTS (forgive me for the caps) put too much emphasis on flexibility. A large number of home schoolers are just too unreliable. Punctuality, showing up on an agreed time is a huge problem. And the other side of that coin is, that they do not communicate in a timely manner when plans change.

I could give specific examples but I do not want to write a book here -- a book that we are contemplating writing. Do not prejudge it based on my writing, my wife, who has graded SAT essays and taught at college level English, will edit it.

Anonymous rubbermallet January 10, 2013 3:13 PM  

when my wife looked for a homeschool group, she was initially worried that it would be hard to find one because of a lack of them. The hardest part turned out to be picking the right one because there were so many of them. we just kept finding new ones even after we had decided on one. we live in an area of 400k people.

we settled on Classical Conversations.

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