I don't think I've ever heard a more ignorant argument against homeschooling in my life. By that reasoning, one could say we need more Christians working at strip clubs and abortion mills. After all, those places could use a little salt and light as well.
On his blog, Matt Walsh addressed two terrible arguments against homeschooling presented in an email from a reader. The first was similar to our friend's: "If we don't help the system, the system will not work."
Is this really a priority for parents? When my wife and I make a decision for our family, should we stop first and ask, "wait, but will this help the system?"The second argument was just as ridiculous as the first: "It's most important for kids to learn the academic fundamentals, but learning proper socialization is very important as well. Public school gives young people the chance to become well adjusted adults."
Would you REALLY put the welfare of 'the system' over that of your own children?
I'd hope that you wouldn't, and I'd hope that this line of logic is unique to you, but I know that it isn't. I've heard it before. I've heard it so often, in fact, that I'm starting to think I'm the strange one for having absolutely no desire to make my children martyrs for some bureaucratic machine.
You know what my kids need me to be? A parent. Their dad. Not a cog in the system, not a member of the community, not a loyal townsperson in the village, not a 'team player.'
Sure, I'll tell them not to litter and I'll make sure they play nice with the other kids in the neighborhood, but when it comes to making choices about something as serious as their education, I don't frankly care how our decision effects the community. Does that make me callous? I don't know. I think it just makes me a man with priorities.
Would the school system be helped if my family 'participated' in it? Maybe, and I'm sure the circus would be helped if you went on stage and stuck your head in a lion's mouth. But you won't sacrifice your scalp to the Ringling Brothers, and I won't sacrifice my kids' brains to public school. I guess we're even.
Anyone with an interest in homeschooling, either for or against, will want to read the entire post.
'Socialization' — in the public school context — means that your child will simply absorb behavioral cues from her peers. She learns to socialize by aping her friends, who are themselves only copying other girls. She learns to repress the parts of her that don't fit in, and put on an exterior designed to help her fade into the collective. I'm not theorizing here, this IS the social process in public school.
It's also competitive; your social status depends on your ability to cut your peers down, until your can easily step on them and elevate yourself.
Expressing your ideas, showing vulnerability, communicating your deepest thoughts and feelings — these are all fervently discouraged. Kids are tasked with expressing not their own thoughts, but sufficiently imitating the thoughts and views of the peer collective. Children who can't keep up, or who have no desire to keep up, will either have to be the most self-assured human beings on the planet (which is unlikely, since they haven't been given the tools to develop that self-assurance), or they'll become bitter, self-conscious, and depressed.
There is nothing positive about any of this. Nobody is better for it. Nobody benefits. The psychological damage can be lasting, maybe even permanent. Again, this is not my theory. This is just the way it works. How could you be so oblivious, Dan?
Now, homeschool socialization is different. Here, a child learns his social skills from his parents. He is oriented by adults, not other children. He matures, and grows, and is provided a safe environment to, as the phrase goes, be himself. Despite common perception, I don't think most homeschool kids are locked in a tower like Rapunzel, and forbidden from human contact. They have friends, they play sports, they emerge into society and interact with people.
The only difference is how they learn to interact. The public school kid learns to interact based on how his peers carry on in the hallways and at the lunch table, whereas the homeschool kids learns to interact based on the guidance of his parents.
Who has a better foundation for becoming a well adjusted adult?