This is the last bit of book not yet posted on the site.
I think you’ll find that most people you encounter, even close family members, will reject home education without giving it a second’s thought. If they begin to even sniff some of the reasons why you may find school to be bad, they’ll become hostile and defensive. This is because, in all likelihood, they know the truth about school in their hearts. They know it’s boring and painful for children, but they know no other way. They, like you, were indoctrinated in its system and they may have indefensibly have sent or are sending their children to school.
Also, they may not know much about home education. When most people hear “homeschooling” they may imagine Quakers making quilts or fundamentalist Christians trying to dispel evolution. This reputation may be well earned from the early homeschoolers, although it wouldn’t surprise me if the liberal/conservative media likes to relish in this perception. They, like the Government, political parties and industry, want to protect the institution of school and keep the citizenry compliant and conformed.
Here are objections you’ll hear as you air out your home education decision process to family, friends, and neighbors.
Yea, it is. They probably won’t actually say this out loud, but you’ll get the impression that they think home education is strange. And it is, the state of nature today is for all kids to go to school, at least 97 percent of them.
“How will they learn and pass the tests, get their grades, advance class grades, get their homework done etc.?”
I get this one pretty often, especially when some other dad I meet is surprised that I don’t send my children to school. People are so entrapped in the traditional schooling mindset that they have trouble imagining life without being graded or taking tests. They can’t see how pointless, if not stressful, these external motivations and measures are.
“What if they don’t learn something critical?”
Again, people are so entrapped into the school mentality that they fail to assess whether the arbitrary, one-size-fits-all knowledge taught at school is either useful or interesting. They’ll even chuckle in a different context if they are asked whether they use (or remember) the calculus or state capitals they learned in school.
Or they may also have a hard time imaging learning something without the lecture-teacher-blackboard method, even though almost everything useful or interesting that they have learned happened outside of school in a self-directed fashion of learning.
“How will they be socialized? How will they make friends?”
This is one of the more persistent and annoying questions because nobody really even knows what they mean by “socialized.” I think they are more concerned that you will raise weirdoes who can’t function in polite society. It’s preposterous on its face, and yet homeschoolers have to dance around this question in creative ways.
I personally like to attack school when thinking about this. You can refer to the bit in the third chapter of The Complete Case earlier in this book.
“How will they get into college?”
This might be the most legitimate, or at least reasonable sounding, objection I hear. Colleges do have transcript and GPA type requirements.
Homeschoolers can get these things and other times have to use more creative demonstrations to get into college. Many it turns out start college well before the age of 18, which can be impressive. Recently, a big article came out about how homeschooling helped a girl get into Harvard. (This sounds good on its face, but getting into Harvard is considered the greatest achievement of schooling. For a homeschooler to achieve it may be antithetical. It’s like winning the Super Bowl when you were trying to win the Tour De France.)
Perhaps the more relevant response is “what of college?” If the homeschooling family didn’t care for learning in a school environment, they may not appreciate the college schooling environment, and its crippling expense, either.
“Oh, I could never do that.”
What they mean is that they would never want to homeschool their children. And it’s mostly because they couldn’t bear being around their kids so much. It may even imply that they don’t really like their kids that much.
The refutation to each one is basically the same: children thrive and learn better outside of school and they need to be free. Use your research, as you will understand the nature of school and education probably a hundred times better than the vast majority of people.
How to explain home education to your friends and family without being attacked, spit upon or punched in the face
As said earlier, people can become very defensive when they feel their institution of school – the one they attended or the one they sent their children to – is under attack. Even if nothing bad is said about public school, your rejection of the idea demonstrates an attack.
Here are some things that don’t fly well with the uninitiated status quo types:
- “School is the greatest waste of time ever invented by humanity.”
- “School is just a grubby daycare for poor people.”
- “My kid doesn’t have to raise his hand every time he wants to piss.”
- “School is just an obedience factory.”
- “Nobody likes going to school, so we don’t go.”
- “We don’t delegate raising our kids to the government.”
- “We actually care about our kids’ education.”
Here’s some ways to tell people about home education that are a little more disarming and less provocative:
- “We’re trying it out to see if it works for us.”
- “Our situation makes it a good option for us.”
- “We have specific learning needs for our children.”
- “This was an interesting alternative we thought we’d explore.”
In the end, you don’t need to convince other people about your decisions. If you are genuinely looking for discussion and external points of view, just be mindful the huge amount of indoctrination, bias and preconceived notions that most people cannot help having.
I’ve been listening to your podcasts and wondered if you’ve come across Roslyn Ross and her ideas about raising children. I don’t have kids, so it’s easy for me to think she’s the best…but I do think she’s amazing. She’s at http://roslynross.blogspot.com and on Youtube. Check it out.
And thanks for the great podcasts and blog!