I was at a baptism party for a friend's baby daughter, recently, and met a couple of young girls who let it slip that they were being homeschooled by their Mom. They were somewhat surprised by my exuberant reaction, because, according to both of them, it is more common that they would see signs of disdain upon an adult learning of this fact.
"What are the reasons?" I asked. Well, it's the same-old, same-old cliches that seem to appear, judging by the explanations of the two girls. That is, people think that home-schooled kids cannot be "properly socialized." Now this is quite amusing because it's just so wantonly incorrect. Besides, it's an answer that reveals lazy naivete and mere repetition of a popular aphorism. After all, what else could someone so ignorant of the facts have to say about homeschooling?
These ignoramuses just repeat the blather of the shameful media and they recite the garble of the State: homeschooled kids don't have friends, they can't learn normal social skills, and they are just plain weird. It's the typical cop-out response to justify an adult's selfishness, passivity, and or general inclination toward irresponsibility. After all, if one is dumping their kids in the midst of the four walls of the State, and for free, they don't want it to appear that the parents of those homeschooled children may have something over them.
Well, these parents do have something over those other folks. Homeschooling parents, of course, are some of the most solid, principled people you may ever meet. In fact, home schooling is the most unselfish act that a parent can render unto his or her children. The sacrifices that one makes to take on the responsibility to teach, train, and endow their children with requisite life skills at the expense of their own sweat and labor are revealing. It reveals a great tenacity to want to enable your children to grow up with a tailored scholastic experience outside of the realm of collective brainwashing at the hands of a despotic educational bureaucracy.
After all, it is the parents who must make all of the qualitative education decisions; no longer is picking five classes out of a 4-page catalog and signing a permission form the only parental responsibility. No longer does the parent dump the kids into an unrestrained system that promises to provide for all their future needs — from tutelage to psychological therapy to self-esteem to condom handling. It is the parent that actually acts as the fountainhead of truth and scholarship in a homeschool setting.
At this particular baptism party, the host of the party relayed to me that the mother of the two homeschooled girls was literally shocked when she heard that someone reacted favorably to her homeschool situation in the presence of her girls. Upon meeting her, and further discussion about her kids' education, she affirmed the overall contemptuous reaction to her decision to actually raise and teach her kids herself. It is shameful that the tendency toward having the Public Nipple in every aspect of our lives actually breeds contempt for those who choose to shove the nipple aside, and take on the more difficult, yet rewarding task of detachment from the Welfare State's feedbox.
On the subject of socializing, the typical home-school family does not live on 100 acres in Idaho, 30 miles from the nearest patch of civilized life, with the organic herb garden, home gun range, and paramilitary parents in camouflage pants. Homeschooled kids live in neighborhoods like most other kids do. They play with other children and their siblings just like your average public school drone. They join sports teams and they may take ballet classes. They are even more likely to participate in church-related groups. The difference is, they are not packed like lemmings into a classroom with thirty other incompatible and unequal ragamuffins, while trying to learn at a pace that is deemed "average" and sufficient for that individual child's age group.
It was the malignant philosopher John Dewey who stated that only public education could aim for and accomplish greater social competence for children, and therefore, determine a proper living environment and socialization nature as the child grows into adulthood. Let me mention that John Dewey was a diehard collectivist, and despised the notion of the individual removed from the substantial influence of the self-elected, pedagogical elite. The ennobled Dewey, as a noisemaker for the State and its educators, helped to ingrain a sense of helplessness and forbearance in succeeding generations of parents with his philosophical rubbish.
Homeschooling folks have greater objectives for their children than do most parents, and that is, to shield their children from the harmful, unwanted effects provided by outcome-based education techniques; they wish for their children to develop a sense of spirituality and a values system that is desired in the home, and can only be taught at home, by family; they desire an individualized, more classical-oriented education for their children; they wish to control the daily influences that their child receives; and they wish to make all time spent learning quality time, which cannot be the case in the never-ending, disciplinary atmosphere of the public zoo.
Some folks homeschool their children because they exalt the individuality of their offspring and they take parental responsibility seriously. This is showing the greatest respect for God's gift to them. If you don't homeschool your kids, that's your choice. However, keep your empty-headed slurs to yourself, shut your mouth, and put these folks on a pedestal, because they deserve it.
September 5, 2001
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a freelance writer and graduate student in economics, and works as a business consultant in the Midwest.
Copyright © 2001 Karen De Coster