25 April 2014

A 27 Year-Old Homeschooling Dad Schools A Public School Teacher

One of the most popular and widely read posts I've ever written here was this one on the subject of homeschooling. Despite the fact homeschooling has now gone mainstream and its successes are beyond debate, there is still a lot of ignorance about the movement, as well as the great diversity of methods. Today, someone shared a post by a young homeschooling father which repeated many of the arguments I made in the post I referenced above. What I love about Matt Walsh's defense of homeschooling is his biting sarcasm in response to someone who criticized him, but did so with an embarrassing amount of ignorance. It was the response the critic deserved. The title of the post is: Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling. Here's a couple of choice excerpts from Walsh's blog post:
You say that homeschooled kids aren’t properly socialized.
I give you this: with the exception of about 14 thousand other times, this is the first time I’ve ever heard this argument.

It’s an argument that seems to march on, even after its been disproven, discredited, deconstructed, and decapitated. I just promised to stop tossing around studies, so I won’t link to an article (here) that cites at least two different studies proving your assertion to be a myth.
The "socialization" argument against homeschooling is, without a doubt, the oldest and least credible of all. The truth is the exact opposite. 

And this:
‘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.
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?
I would recommend reading the complete post here.


Anonymous said...

There are other things to be afraid of, besides socialization. A mother may fear that she won't cover all the topics. Or fear that she can't adequately teach all the subjects. Or that she will become exhausted. Or that she won't be able to motivate the children after a certain age.

To cover all the topics, get a GED prep book to serve as a checklist. Don't worry about sequence where you don't have to.

To cover a subject adequately, study that subject until it becomes interesting to you, no matter how long it takes. Then it will be interesting to the children.

Teachers are exhausted every day. Twenty minutes a day one-on-one with a child will outweigh being in school all day.

Even if the child doesn't seem interested, keep talking because you have a captive audience. They will absorb it, even if they don't respond.

Give 3 examples of everything - no more than 5. This can even include math, for a stubborn child. Not doing homework doesn't prevent you from going to the next lesson. Do a year of lessons this way, and then if you have time go back and do the homework.

Don't do anything unless it makes sense. If you have to learn it, study it until it DOES make sense.

A homeschooled college student recently told me she had to hire 4students to tutor her, and had private sessions with 2 teachers, in order to make an A in chemistry. After class, all the other students line up to talk to her about which websites to go to, and which UTube sites to go to for help. She whized through statistics using a calculator, which the teacher didn't know how to do.

This is pathetic.

Not to mention the homeschooled kids bullying the GED teachers to call the publishers every week with mistakes in the book, and having to teach the GED classes themselves.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

We could give anecdotal examples, pro and con, all day long. But the statistics and numbers tell the story, overall. Homeschooling is a monumental success, a grassroots phenomenon, and a textbook example of how liberty trumps statism.

Thanks for the comment.

ropelight said...

Here's my anecdotal 2 cents:

At my age I don't usually encounter young children, however that recently changed when the daughter of an old friend of over 50 years brought her children with her while she monitored her father's recovery and slow rehabilitation from a heart valve replacement operation.

During her 4 week stay I met her 7 year old daughter almost daily, a delightful child animated with the joy of life, a little shy at first but soon openly curious about everything, endlessly imaginative, full of questions, energetic, polite, respectful, and startlingly intelligent.

What first struck me were her language skills which approached the equal of those of someone at least twice her age. At only 7 she could hold up her end of a conversation.

Intrigued, knowing she was homeschooled, and mindful of the socialization issue, I watched carefully how she interacted with adults, other children both older and younger, doctors, nurses and other hospital authority figures, friends of her grandfather, and her mother's sister. The behavior I saw indicated a near seamless integration into the world beyond her extended family, and a level of personal comfort doing so well in advance of what might be expected from a child her age.

Now, one sparrow doesn't make a Springtime, but if her example is typical of homeschooling we need more of it, a lot more.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


"The behavior I saw indicated a near seamless integration into the world beyond her extended family, and a level of personal comfort doing so well in advance of what might be expected from a child her age."

Yes, that is quite typical among homeschooled children. There's a whole study that could be done on that and the method used to teach many of the Founders and their maturing much sooner than most children today. Speaking of language skills and understanding, here's something my 7 year-old homeschooled granddaughter said this week:

"Mom, a boy called me psycho today."

Mom:"That wasn't very nice.."

"No, Mom. Psycho is short for psychopath. I know I'm kind of like crazy sometimes, but at least I've never killed anyone. Seriously!"