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Homeschooling Is a Pathway to Social Opportunity

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Homeschooling Is a Pathway to Social Opportunity

By Linda Dobson

homeschoolingHomeschooling children live, learn and meet people in the real world. Sorry; the image of sheltered children raised as delicate orchids unable to cope with a climate change outside the home is nothing more than a myth homeschooling critics find very convenient, even if difficult to defend.

“I’ve started a group that for me is a homeschooling support group, although we’re the only homeschooling family in it,” explains Karla¬† from and Idaho Air Force base. The is a preschool co-op that meets twice a week.

“I’m the only one who sees these three hours a week as an extension of what we already do at home,” says Karla of the activities for her three-year-old son Jacob. “For us it’s an opportunity to justify the big messes we like to make.”

How does the group work? “We pay for our child’s own supplies and put money into a pot for consumable materials like paper and paints. We collected donations for things like scissors, staplers, and other supplies.

“Jacob also loves attending a homeschooling group every week in the summer and a couple of times each month during the school season. He enjoys the mix of ages with all the children.”

Homeschooling In the World of Work

While Karla works to create social opportunity for Jacob, homeschooling mom Tanya’s work creates social opportunity for Ev. “I work three to five hours each week in a musical theater class and I take Ev with me. She sees the older children rehearsing, singing, getting costumes, and creating sets,” says Tanya of her job as an aide in the middle school where she worked before Ev’s birth. “The children love her and watch her, but she also sees some of the negative things. The students think she’s lucky to be homeschooling and tell her this.”

Most of the folks who participated in my informal, unscientific survey while putting together Homeschooling: The Early Years who turned to homeschooling because of problems with public schools pointed to concerns about the escalating negative socialization on America’s school playgrounds and in her classrooms.

A former homeschooling mom in Hawaii, now volunteering at her son’s school, states, “On the first day of first grade, a girl slapped him on the face and the teacher said, ‘We’ll have to work on that.’ The girl wasn’t punished and my son was upset there was no consequence for her behavior. It was agonizing to think that I had made the ‘wrong’ decision by choosing public school.

“For the next six weeks I witnessed hitting, pushing, or shoving whenever I was at school. We had a conference with the teacher, the principal, and a school board member all within the first three weeks of school. (And this is considered one of the better schools in the area!) The principal informed us they were having a much higher rate of hitting than usual, and that they started having ‘practice’ recesses so the children would understand how they were supposed to behave.”

Homeschooling and Guided Socialization

The socialization offered this child at school could be considered “arbitrary” in contrast to the “guided” socialization available through homeschooling. Arbitrary socialization occurs by gathering children according to age and placing them under group control. Children are left to fend for themselves amid attitudes and influences often detrimental.

Homeschooling’s guided socialization lets parents and children freely choose with whom the child will socialize. In this manner, the child establishes a solid ethical foundation prior to associating with those whose values may be quite contrary to his own. This foundation originates in families with strong relationship.

One Homeschooling Mom’s Story

I found while my children were in school they picked up habits that refuted our family values – name calling, celebrity envy, rudeness, disrespect – and we continually worked to restore our way of life. Since homeschooling, life is easier in that respect. A child learns what the family lives. If we thank each other for what is done for us, the child learns to do so also. If we are respectful in our manner of speaking with each other, the child learns this is the way one speaks to another.

Last week in the supermarket I got into a line with a new cashier who made several mistakes, causing a delays. As I was thinking, “Why do I always get in the slow line?” the cashier apologized to the elderly woman she was waiting on. The woman graciously told her it was a small matter and that anyone could make a mistake.

When her purchases were finally totaled, the lady had trouble counting out her money to pay and she dropped several bills on the counter. The cashier carefully picked them up for her, waited patiently while the woman counted out her dollars, and then picked the correct coins from the handful the elderly woman held out to her.

Then the cashier told her, “I’m going to stand here and wait while you get that money back into your wallet and get your purse zipped up.”

The children were with me and on the way home we talked about the patience, respect, kindness, and concern we had just witnessed. I talked about my impatient feelings and how I realized I’d been wrong.

Homeschooling is full of moments like this. We don’t use any special materials. We take it from life experiences, from things we read, from people we meet, and situations we encounter. When my son gets up to give his seat to an older man who has entered the waiting room where we sit, when my daughter suggests giving some of the vegetables we’ve grown to a neighbor, we see the fruits of our efforts.

~ Angie

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