Having been home schooled, I maintain that the "lack of socialization" objection commonly proffered by persons involved in the present public education system is a myth. The demeanor of home-schooled children is most certainly different than the demeanor of children schooled in any type of large-class setting, but it is an interesting assumption that the demeanor of the former is inferior to the latter. Frankly, this assumption seems rather prejudiced to me.
A large group of children gravitates toward the lowest common denominator, not only morally but mentally. This is true of adults as well, and is a seemingly inescapable characteristic of human nature. I find that home-schooled students have a much more highly developed conscience and much higher standards than their peers who are subjected to classroom education. When exposed to a large group of their peers (speaking in terms of age, at least), home-schooled students are markedly more perceptive of the stupidity and immorality taking place in the group. Since they know better, they do not take part. It seems to me that this need not be interpreted as a lack of social skills. Indeed, it might even be indicative of some semblance of taste. Home-schooled students generally have much more advanced verbal skills at a much earlier age because for the most part they speak to adults, as opposed to their peers. Moreover, they find it easier to take their place in society because, through long experience, they are very comfortable with interacting with people of disparate age from themselves. Indeed, it is at this point when the home-schooled student gives every indication of having much more fully developed social skills than the classroom educated student. To put it succinctly, those who spend their youth associating with idiots, tend to act like, well, idiots.
Please understand, I do not think that children should necessarily be raised as hermits. My position is merely that un-supervised, un-structured socialization is far more detrimental than a paucity of socialization. Structured socialization, on the other hand, such as that which is experienced in church and family activities is highly beneficial to children. For millennia the Bible has taught that the family is the basic social unit of society, and for millennia, civilizations have been built on this concept. Civilizations have crumbled as they have begun to reject this idea. The concept of classroom education is relatively novel in the history of mankind, and really has no authoritative, or even empirical, basis. In fact, the empirical evidence seems to argue largely against its effectiveness. Classroom education is blind to the individuality of each child. It cruelly forces all children into the same mold with the expectation that their individual traits will emerge in shining luster. In reality, these are crushed. Instead of a loving parent, the child's training is entrusted to a functionary who has at best a mild interest in the welfare of the child, and more often a blatant disregard for anything beyond quitting time. Loving parents are above all others best equipped for educating their children in that their knowledge of their child is so much more intimate, and in that their life’s experience is so much more relevant to their child’s unique strengths and weaknesses than that of some stranger. Moreover, thanks to both biological and spiritual factors, parents’ motivation to do the best for their child is many-fold greater than that of even a well-intentioned stranger.
One objection that I often hear from parents considering home-schooling is that their own education is deficient. This objection is specious from two points of view. First of all, one need only examine the aggregate academic acumen of America’s grade school teachers to realize that there are very few parents less qualified to teach their children than most teachers. Secondly, the goal of primary education is not really to fill a head with lots of facts and figures. It is not even to teach complex mathematical or scientific processes. Rather, it is to teach the child to learn. The process of learning is a complex thing involving mental attitude, mental discipline, and a certain amount of technique. All home-schooling parents have to do is teach their children to learn. If you can read, think, and have the discipline to stick to the task, you can learn any subject. A child that can learn can acquire not only the facts and figures, but also the mathematical and scientific processes. My mother took no higher math other than Algebra, and forgot that long ago, yet I learned Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus under her tutelage. The same was true of Chemistry, Physics, and Latin. By the time those courses came along in high school, all she had to do was hand me the books. I planned and graded my own lessons — honestly — and was responsible for finishing the coursework on time. She corrected the tests with the aid of a teacher’s manual. The reason this worked is that both of my parents engrained in me, almost from my first recollection, a hunger to learn, and the discipline to achieve my goals. I am so thankful that they did this for me. I believe that it has given me a tremendous advantage in life.
Of course, learning cannot occur in a moral vacuum. I believe that a moral framework is absolutely essential to learning. Morality is nothing other than a ground for what we should and should not do. Learning is not always pleasant, and without an authoritative reason for its practice will fall into disuse. Without a moral mandate, a command, or demand, to learn is toothless at best. Moreover, to have any binding power, such a moral mandate must be religious in nature, for if morality does not proceed from a higher than human Reason, then it may just as well be scoffed by human reason as proceed from it. Therefore, religious education is the first order of education, and must be the basis of any successful home-schooling effort.
Obviously, being home schooled, I am prejudiced in favor of home schooling. Thanks to being home schooled, I have the education and mental acuity to recognize that fact.
If you love your children, home school them. Don't let some thoughtless amateur botch the job.
Reality: An important truth test