Sheesh. You'd think, after studies have proven them wrong again and again and again, that critics would drop the tiresome "socialization" charge when it comes to homeschooling.
I happened to catch an article entitled Interest in Homeschooling Surges which reported an increase in the number of people interested in homeschooling their children in the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. This doesn't surprise me -- I'm certain there are many parents who feel concern every time they send their children off to gun-free zones each morning.
But true to form, someone couldn't stop herself from snarking on the same weary and incorrect theme about socialization. "Public private schools offer the socialization without trying so hard," said Nory Behana. Behana is a Lecturer in child and family development at San Diego State University. She said parents should think twice about homeschooling. Behana said a classroom environment provides key skills for life. "Your socialization with peers is one of the best ways you figure out how you relate to the world," said Behana. She said homeschooling can be effective as long as there is a social component.
Um, hello, how many homeschoolers are taped into a cardboard box in the basement after their school hours are over in order to keep them away from socializing in the (cough) real world? I wonder if Ms. Behana ever noticed how little publicly-schooled kids have time for real-life experiences when they're locked in a classroom with the other lab rats for seven or eight hours a day?
"Professional educators, who don't fully understand the many styles of homeschooling, often raise this issue," noted Isabel Shaw in Social Skills and Homeschooling: Myths and Facts. "They believe school is the only place children learn socialization skills... The socialization myth was born out of a misconception of what it's like to homeschool. Many educators and critics of homeschooling still believe homeschoolers hit the books at 9 a.m., work all day at their kitchen table till 3:00 p.m. or later, and spend their day isolated and alone."
Since homeschooling has a proven track record of academic superiority, this begs the question: is the sole and exclusive purpose of school "socialization"? If so, why is no one examine the quality of socialization in which children are immersed?
Apparently a staggering 92% of school superintendents "believe that home learners are emotionally unstable, deprived of proper social development and too judgmental of the world around them," according to a California study by researcher Dr. Brian Ray with the National Home Education Research Institute.
Emotionally unstable? Deprived of proper social development? Too judgmental? Oh please.
Sigh. Still an uphill battle. I'm just grateful our girls aren't involved in the "social development" experiments taking place in America's public schools.