Equally, I became more and more aware that eight hours of school a day merely results in four hours of homework at night -- at least, it did in the private girls' school where I was a teacher. What an empty life for a child of 11 -- just school, school, and then when they got home, more school.
Again, I saw the value in cutting out the middle bit -- that is, the eight hours at school -- and just doing the homework bit, leaving my children an extra eight hours to bond together, to connect with me, to meet up with friends, and sometimes, to be quite alone and do nothing, if that's what they wanted.
BUT, people new to homeschooling, or thinking about homeschooling, or criticizing homeschooling, always want to bring up the "socialization" card, as though schools are the only place -- or, what's more, the BEST place -- for children to learn to get along with people.
|Is this the ideal way to make relationships???|
In fact, I would argue that they are actually the WORST places to learn to get along with people. Why?
- For one thing, if you fall out with a friend at school, you can just get another one. Homeschoolers have to cherish their friendships, and work through issues. They may not have hundreds to choose from, but they have a few that they bond with over many years of a quality relationship.
- For another, you are stuck in a room of 25 or 30 or 35 or more kids exactly your own age, give or take a few months. Real life doesn't work like that. My best friends range in age from 30 to 50. My kids' best fiends are several years apart from them in both directions, too. In fact, my gregarious 9-year-old sometimes does the "rounds" with the elderly ladies in our neighbourhood. Sure, she's after extra cookies or sweets or a chance to pet the dogs, but she is connecting and relating to the elderly ladies at the same time. Just two weeks ago, we were at the Bunyan Museum in Bedford, and she begged me to use her pocket money for buying a souvenir thimble for one of her lady friends, because she has a relationship with that lady and knows she enjoys collecting them.
- A third point, and this is my own observation, is that schools tend to only tear families apart -- younger siblings daren't play with older ones, and everyone has a passel of their own friends who make no room for taggers-along. Siblings rarely have anything in common with each other, and are lucky to come together in a sort of tag-team moment in the kitchen over cookies and milk before running off to this and that and the other activity of an evening. We still have the afternoon activities, but the rest of the day, the kids are learning, playing, and living together, and gathering vital information and putting into practice about how to get along.
- Finally, so much research out there points to how socially adept homeschooled kids are, and these studies cite the fact that they interact so much with adults in their day-to-day life, instead of school-based children who mainly get peer behaviour as their role models. In the Bible, this would equate to Proverbs 13:20 -- "Walk with the wise, and you will become wise: for a companion of fools suffers harm." I'd rather my kids grew in wisdom, frankly.
|Quality over quantity when it comes to homeschooling relationships.|
Doesn't this picture below represent the way that adults socialize???
|Business lunches, book clubs, weekend warriors -- |
the way adults work and play sure look a lot like a homeschooler's day!