by Beth York
There is a list. I am starting it today. A list called, "Reasons to Homeschool" is on my wall. It grows every day. I am going to share some of my list with you as the week's progress, and describe what each item means to me. I hope they can be of some inspiration to you, if you are homeschooling or still trying to make your choice.
In homeschooling circles we call it the "S" word. For so many people who choose to send their children to a separate location for their schooling, homeschooling is something that makes them a little uneasy. They are afraid that our children won't be "socialized," and therefore might be of some kind of harm to their child later in life. The other fear they have is the fear that we are somehow being judgmental of their choice to not homeschool simply by our choice to do so. That just isn't so. The vast majority of homeschoolers enjoy the freedom of choice our country offers and would stand arm in arm with you to keep your choice available as well.
But don't throw the "S" word up at us. What is "socialization," anyway? Let's look at the things we want to accomplish through this "socialization":
I'm sure your list wouldn't be identical, but I imagine it would be very similar. I can't find a one on that list that can't be accomplished at home with siblings, neighbors, and other adults. We have so many interactions throughout our homeschooling life. My daughter and son know how to behave in all kinds of situations and they didn't need to sit in a room full of their peers to learn them. They learned them from doing them. We were put into family units for a reason. It's natural to teach your child in that same environment.
Did you know that the Prussian model for school (which is what our entire school system is based upon) was designed to produce an unthinking complacent and obedient military? Perhaps not. Perhaps that is what the schools are still trying to produce - a culture where everyone believes the same things, knows all the same things, and finds all the same things to be important. I surely don't believe it is a place to instill a love of learning, a thirst for knowledge and the authority to make choices for yourself.
So many young people today don't know how to make good and healthy choices because they are given so few options for making safe bad ones. Then we expect them to make good choices when they are teens after having no practice. It is important to have choices. My children make them all day long and they learn when they have made a good choice and when they have made a poor choice. By the time their choices could lead to lots of life complications, they will have had lots of practice and will know what a good choice looks and feels like.
So much of our western culture has taken away what is natural. By the time our children are at an age when most parents send them to school, they have already taken many steps in their parenting path that lead them away from what is natural. Homeschooling is natural. God didn't want it to be hard to procreate. If He made it hard, we might not do it. It isn't supposed to be difficult to be pregnant, have a baby without medication, raise that child near to you in your bed, nursing that baby until that baby is ready to wean and teaching that child all kinds of wonders from the time they are born until they are ready to leave and make a home somewhere else.