Thursday, May 17, 2007

Homeschooling....but what about?

I have been asked some questions in regard to homeschooling and I am going take a stab at answering them. Let me preface this by saying that I have shared many of these concerns and while the answers are clear to me now, it has not always been so. I am only going to do one question at a time because I am begging for time right now while our house is on the market. I am also begging for grace, forgiveness, and patience because nothing makes you call out to God like listing your your your house.....leaving your house for hours at a time....eating in your car....and then.....and THEN....finding out that the YAYHOO'S potential buyers didn't show up. Lord, help me find them forgive them.

O.K......first question-

1.) What about socialization?
So many other experienced homeschoolers have written well-thought out articles that articulate the necessary means for adequate socialization and how to accomplish this through homeschooling. I could give you a laundry list of social interactions in which my children will participate so that you could be certain that this aspect of their education would not fall short. But truthfully none will mimic that of the public school peer group. I am agreeing with the naysayer. Rather than try to reassure you that my children will be successfully socialized, I will instead shock you with this little tidbit...

It isn't on the top of my list.

I know. I know. I have heard all about the "poor homeschool children" who come to VBS, AWANAs, or Sunday School and how they are "just starvin' for attention" and how they have a "terrible time" adjusting to transition and change. I've seen the homeschool kids at Target during the school day in their rain boots, swimsuit, and fireman's hat and shook my head in bewilderment. "For goodness sakes woman, how is your child going to survive in the *real world* when you aren't teaching them how to dress properly???"

All the while, I could hear the voice of God through his Word saying the same thing to me. (Ephesians 6:10- The Whole Armor of God)

But mine were dressed just fine....on the outside

I have heard it all before because I have been in the nitty gritty of those conversations. Here's the deal. For every *one* homeschooled socially deficient kid there are two-dozen public schooled biblically deficient kids. Basically what I'm saying is that if my kids have some issues socially, but they are grounded *biblically* then I can say with some semblance of peace that I have done what I was called to do.


What if it were they other way around? Let's say I have raised social champions. Popular, well-liked, efficient time managers, who know when to raise their hands and how to work on a group project, etc. etc...... BUT they were not biblically grounded....then what? It just made sense (thank you God) that with his Word as their instruction there was no task too daunting to overcome....even a lack of social graces. Insert the biblical teaching of humility coupled with years of nurturing, God-honoring relationships and I have an assurance that He will provide for their all areas.

Scripture does not address their "social" well-being but it does address the importance of raising them according to the bible and that accountability falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents.

Still, I have some level of concern for things that are not addressed bibically...they just don't come first when I am making parenting decisions. That doesn't mean they aren't important. Orthodontia is important for goodness sakes and it isn't mentioned in the scriptures (except for Exodus and the whole "tooth for a tooth" business).

I have lofty goals of making sure that my children are productive social human beings....I just prefer to say God-fearing productive social human beings and I feel like homeschooling is the best means to achieve that end result.

Please read Kim's (Lifesong) post here. She has several wonderful links at that post that are worth reading as well.



Kelly said...

I love that you address the issue without making excuses or justifying what you are doing. Yay for you- you are being obedient to God and His desire for our children, not the world's desire for popularity!! I get SO tired of Christians trying to fit the world's mold rather than God's... you are an encouragement that there are still Christians who see the bigger picture:-)
(Even though we don't homeschool it has always been near to my heart- and I always wonder at the whole socialization argument anyway. I think children in general are lacking in important social skills, and think those at home with Christian counsel will shine, not lack!)

Kim said...

Ahem...I have seen way more socially challenged children in the schools than from homeschool families...most homeschool children I have met are on the quiet side(except for my Abigail) but they can have an adult conversation and seem to be socially adjusted.

As my husband says, there are children who struggle socially in all forms of educ. They are going to be that way no matter where they go to school.


Leslie said...

Children are socialized wherever they are. They learn social skills from those with whom they spend the most time. I would much rather my children learn how to socialize from their father and myself than from their rude peers. Living in a home with six people will teach you all kinds of social skills: patience, thinking of others first, not interrupting a conversation, picking up after yourself, etc. They're called manners, people! Not social skills. If, however, I think it imperative that my children learn how to gossip and slander and please men and achieve attention through an ungodly behavior "skill set", then by all means I will enroll them in public school. Why in the world do people believe that "school" is where people learn to interact well with others?!!

Tiffany said...

Wow sister preach it!!! You have opened my eyes to so much through this process that you and Chris have gone through to make this decision!!! I can't wait to keep up with the progress and see how it all goes!!! It makes me WANT to so bad...hopefully one day soon!!! I'm so proud to call you friend and sister in Christ...your children are precious to me, and I know they will learn so much more from being with you daily!

Love you girl,


kittyhox said...

Great post. I so appreciate your perspective.

I don't know whether we'll homeschool or not (our son is only one, so I have a few years to decide), but that last thing I would worry about, with homeschooling, is socialization. There are ample outlets and opportunities for socialization, outside a classroom setting.

Most homeschoolers I've encountered are delightful, interesting, engaging, and mature in their ability to interact with adults.

I once knew one family of very odd homeschoolers. Had they gone to public school, they would have been very odd public schoolers. Only they would have been ostracized for their oddness.


Anonymous said...

Praise God for the truth! What type of "social" skills does God require our children and ourselves to have? I believe the definition is perfectly explained in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Who could ever fault a child for exhibiting these behaviors that are certainly not part of the public school curriculum. God bless all those dear hearts that are still in public school to see past the social rudeness and acceptance of sin and to look upward toward real peace and joy.
Thank you for your post.

ukrainiac said...

Is a roomful of people all the same age, living in the same geographical area "real life?" After 12 years in such an environment, what a rude awakening to see that life isn't like that at all!

We brought our children home for schooling after they had completed 4th and 2nd grades. (Twin daughters in 4th, son in 2nd) Our reason was NOT because we had a problem with their school, but because we wanted to be more involved with what they learned ... and, specifically, interactions with others. If they picked up bad habits, we wanted to know that it was something that WE were doing and therefore could help correct, rather than blaming it on the school, the bus, classmates, etc.

Our children were in a Christian school, memorizing Scripture, learning biblical truth. BUT, the issues in the curriculum did not always coincide with the real issues we were having at home. We needed to be able to address real struggles -- that also would require scripture memory -- and not add that work to an already overfull schedule. Being at home gave us the freedom to take as much time as needed with heart issues. Not concerned with exactly what time school started, or ended. For us, it worked best. For some dear friends, public worked well. And, private schools as well.

Praying for all those families making these huge decisions concerning their own children. May God grant wisdom and grace not only to the parents, but to those "judges" who may not have the whole picture!

(I have only recently discovered your blog ... I enjoy your thoughtful posts.)