Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Home School is Cool

This fall Christopher returned to public school.  I will be the first to tell you that I think that the faculty, staff and administrators we are dealing with are phenomenal.  They really are!  I am grateful for thier genuine care and concern and their talents and professionalism.  Even the bus driver is Heaven-sent! 

All that said, I will always be a fan of home schooling.  I know that it isn’t for everyone but in Christopher’s situation it was a God-send.

Recently we had a retired educator in our home.  They made no bones about how delighted they were to hear that Christopher is back in public school.  OK.  I’m delighted, too.  It was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.  What bothered me is that they went on to say that they had some home schooled students in their (high school level) classes and that those “home schooled students were socially retarded.”  They further mused, “They didn’t know how to not be the center of attention.” 

There were a couple of things that bugged me about these statements.  Beyond the use of the R-word, there is the fact that when push-comes-to-shove, the best most educators can do to discredit home schooling is to harp on home schooled kids’ social skills. 

It is a proven fact that home schooled kids do much, much better on average academically than their public school peers. [1] [2] 

Socially, home schooled kids are DIFFERENT, often BETTER and certainly not “retarded".  Home schooled kids may have no idea how to raise their hand to talk, or “line up with a buddy”.  They may not understand the ins and out of demerits, attendance policies and dress codes.  I would venture, however, that most home schooled kids are well-behaved, polite and articulate.  They are used to interacting with adults (ironically, they grow up to BE adults, interacting with other ADULTS!).  As for “being the center of attention”… that seems somewhat subjective.  I can see how it could be annoying for a teacher in a classroom with 25 students.  I’ll give them that, although I haven’t seen that among the home educated children that I know.

In my mind, it all comes down to one thing:  Does the education prepare the kids to go out into the world and be responsible, contributing members of society?  This should be the goal of public, private and home educators.  In my estimation, most home school parents do a fabulous job of meeting that goal.

Thankfully, the educators we are dealing with now are aware of the value of Christopher’s home schooling.  They know that we’re on the same team!

If you’re a public or private educator: Thank you for your service and dedication.  If you’re a home school parent: Rock on!