One of the most frequent questions parents of homeschooled children get asked is “what about socialization?” Children that are homeschooled are not kept out of society, they are just receiving their schooling in a different manner than peers their own age. Parents that homeschool usually enroll their children in activities outside of school such as dance, music and foreign languages. These parents also take their children on more field trips and offer them more educational opportunities than children in traditional schools. Children that are homeschooled often have more socialization than children in schools because they get to interact in more situations with a wide variety of people.Socialization is defined by Merriam Webster as “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status.” There is no definition that states that the only way an education can be obtained is through attending public or parochial schools. Many of our forefathers were educated either at home or by a governess. In addition, there are many famous people that were homeschooled, including Thomas Edison, LeAnn Rimes, William F. Buckley, Jr., Ansel Adams and Abraham Lincoln.The average student spends approximately 7.5 hours in school each day. Class time takes up about 6.5 hours of the school day. That leaves one hour, which is usually spent at lunch or walking in the hallways between classes. The lunch hour and walking between classes doesn’t leave much time for socialization. The solution for both sets of children is to participate in after school activities, join clubs or take lessons off campus.Why is there such negativity surrounding the socialization of homeschooled students? The answer may be simple; the public doesn’t know much about the teaching methods behind homeschooling. What we don’t understand we mistrust. The basic tenet of homeschool teaching methods is to engage in activities outside of a classroom in order to explore the world to the fullest extent. Ideas as well as individuals are valued in this environment. Educators may be quick to add that some homeschool methods don’t use tests or competitive learning. Parents of homeschoolers agree, but that doesn’t mean that their children aren’t social or competitive. Homeschooled children frequently win the National Geographic Bee and the Scripps National Spelling Bee.So what gave homeschooling such a bad rap? Prior to the 1960’s, homeschooling was one way to protect children that had learning or mental problems. Rather than institutionalize a child or let them be harassed at school, many parents simply kept their child at home. This has led to the current day notion that homeschooled children are anti-social or unable to function outside of their homes.The media as well as homeschooling groups and organizations are working hard to dispel the rumor that children who learn in this environment are anti-social. With homeschooled children winning more and more national competitions, it is only a matter of time before parents realize what a gem this form of education really is.To stay abreast of the current trends, information and resources available for homeschool parents, teachers and students subscribe to Homeschool Success News or other publications specializing in meeting the needs of homeschool families.If you need an online tutor, courseware or wish to offer your services as a paid online tutor contact Homeschool Tutor Professional at our main website referenced below. Magic Learning Systems also provides excellent products to enhance the homeschool experience for teachers and students. You may contact this provider via Homeschool Success Newsletter.Dr. J. Elisha BurkeEditor, Homeschool Success Newsletterjeb@homeschooltutorpro.com[http://hsnews.homeschooltutorpro.com]Copyright 2005 Burke Publications All Rights Reserved
I recently came across a forum post on a homeschool forum from a distraught mother conflicted about the best course of action for her child. The child had recently been diagnosed with a combination of dyslexia and graphlexia. The school district was not being helpful and or understanding of her. The school’s immediate response was that the child be held back a year and integrated into the special ed classes.To say the least, mom was horrified. I can imagine so, parents often respond to learning disabilities or other handicaps with denial or self blame. This particular mother was exploring the idea of pulling her child out of school and starting down the path of homeschool but had encountered strong negative reactions from family and friends regarding her plan. The reasoning from her loved one’s went something along the lines of, “you should let the professionals handle your child, they have the proper training and know how to deal with learning disabilities, you cannot possibly be prepared to take on such a challenge.” Keep in mind this mother was considering trying homeschooling for the remainder of the year which was only several months. Her main concern was that she would irreversibly mess her child up in this short amount of time.I feel this parent’s pain and can only imagine dealing with such an issue. I have been blessed with healthy children that could only be misdiagnosed with mild learning disabilities on a really bad day by a truly lousy doctor.I think the most important point to address here is the idea that you will not screw your children up by trying homeschooling for a short period of time. Kids are resilient and absorbent. They bounce when you drop them and they retain more information than you expect or will ever really know. Aside from that, if you are a well meaning sane parent trying to make a positive difference in your child’s life the chances are good that you will be more successful than a stranger that has a room full of other students to deal with. Even if you fall flat on your face from a teaching perspective you are still doing many other things right. And you are building a relationship with your child and showing them how to be selfless. Teaching is an evolving art and school districts routinely implement new strategies that don’t work, so in truth they aren’t really any better than an experiment gone wrong.Let’s really examine the professionalism of teachers. Finland has a competitive program for admittance into teaching programs. They also pay their teachers FACT which is nearly FACT the amount that teachers in the USA are paid. Finnish teachers are very well regarded and highly educated. They have to want to be teachers and they have to prove their dedication and value by earning the status of “Teacher”. Because of this level of professionalism Finland’s schools lead the world in nearly all subjects.Let me digress into the American school system. Teachers are barely paid a living wage in many districts and constantly live with the threat of layoff. Not to mention that in many districts a degree is not even required for teaching. Many American teachers end up in their jobs by default and the necessity for a job not by choice. Special education teachers are usually a cut above the rest and are paid for their additional training and certifications but still not nearly on the level of what accomplished Finnish teachers are paid.It pains me to come to the realization that many of the educators teaching our country’s young minds are the product of a default situation or a choice based on the necessity for a quick easy to get job. In order to be successful we need dedicated teachers that are truly passionate about the subjects that they teach.Please do not misunderstand, all of this is not to say there are not loads of good teachers out there. Teaching has been described as the most noble profession, I would like to see more well regarded, more highly compensated, and more competitive.Quite possibly the most important moral to this story is that homeschool families you not succumb to the judgement of others. Homeschoolers are commonly ridiculed, singled out and judged by people of all walks of life. We have used this to make our family stronger and find people that do support our family’s mission. There are numerous groups out there and were an estimated 2.1 million homeschoolers in the United States in 2001. Get past the ridicule and realize that you are making a choice that is beneficial for your family it shouldn’t matter what others think.I have no idea what this mother ended up doing with her child and I really can’t fully grasp her situation or her level of pain or concern but I do hope that she recognized that homeschool has the potential to be a very powerful tool in her quest to educate her child.
Homeschooling is rapidly becoming an accepted activity for survivalist these days. It embodies an excellent alternative to the public school system and provides a one on one learning environment for impressionable children. It is also a wonderful way to promote bonding between the child and the parent. One of the largest advantages of homeschooling lies in the parent’s ability to structure the student’s classes to match their abilities. If you happen to be a parent who would find homeschooling beneficial for your children read on.The very first order of business must be to conduct a review of the homeschool laws within your particular state. Some states are stricter in their education requirements than others. As an example, the state of Delaware allows the parents more latitude in selection of the student’s individual studies then most other states. Complete your homework before you even start planning on homeschooling and find out what your states entails for this type of education. One important point worthy of mention here is that although Delaware does not require any sort of record keeping other then attendance, I personally keep track of all my grandson’s activities in the event there are any questions at a later date.Always establish if this is exactly what your children want. You may have the ultimate say so in decisions such as these but if the children fancy going to a public school your task of educating them will undoubtedly be more difficult. Provide your child with your reasoning behind your chosen decision. Is it safety related, if so explain that to them. Perhaps the district where you live has experienced low yearly test scores which you deem to be unacceptable. Let them know ahead of time what you expect from them as well as the various advantages and disadvantages associated with homeschool. In turn, listen carefully to your child’s side of the issue. A homeschool environment works best if both the parent and the child want it to work.Contact your local libraries to see what activities they may have planned for homeschoolers. We are lucky here in my area as there are several libraries that center a series of activities towards the homeschooled community. The librarian at the Laurel Delaware Library goes far beyond her job requirements when planning the organizations programs. She takes extreme efforts to include activities that pertain to the homeschool student and actively promotes the activity within the community. Another local library is now providing some exceptional art instructions for homeschooled children. My grandson goes to the Georgetown Library every week.Being of a survivalist nature, I instruct my grandchild in not only academic proficiency but actual life skills. He is taught what we refer to as survival training skills. These include respect for various weapons, actual hunting and trapping and other skills which could potentially save his life in an emergency situation.One of the more fundamental needs of the homeschooled family is an active internet connection. The World Wide Web provides many learning activities for my grandson. Not only does he participate in a structured training program via the web, but there are loads of supplemental materials readily available at his fingertips on websites such as youtube. Most of these instructional videos will expand upon what he is learning in his current classroom studies. I frequently scan several homeschool groups on the net for various outside activities that can provide a benefit for him as he studies his lessons.Most people that are opposed to homeschooling children complain that the process leaves a social interaction void amongst their peers. This is simply not so. My grandson attends weekly karate classes where he has the opportunity to interact with fellow students. In addition, we attend various homeschool orientated activities which affords him the chance to meet new friends on a regular basis. By attending these activities he is able to meet new homeschool students while I in turn meet and share ideas with the various parents.Homeschooling is not easy and at times can be very frustrating however in the end it is well worth the efforts expended. You are provided an opportunity to see your child develop into a self sufficient learner after only a short period of time.Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish