>Homeschooling as a Form of Child Abuse

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I have been asked by several people to share my opinions on homeschooling. Well, what can I say about this atrocious practice that cripples children socially and intellectually in order to serve the needs of fanatically religious, racist, or socially unadapted parents? When I first heard about this practice, I couldn’t believe that a civilized country would allow such a huge percentage of children to be deprived of the benefits of secondary education. A free, all-inclusive system of compulsory primary and secondary education is one of the most crucial inventions of the Enlightenment. The enlightened thinkers of the 18th century see a human being as a work in progress, as a project of self-betterment and acquisition of knowledge. In order to be good citizens and full-fledged human beings, we need to engage in a constant process of getting educated.
Homeschooling parents, however, couldn’t care less about their children’s well-being and whether these kids will be able to inscribe themselves into a society inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment*. All they want is to cannibalize their children’s existences in order to conceal from themselves their own grievous incapacity to participate in everything our society has to offer. Such parents are lost in the stream of changes that accompanies our transition to modernity. They are confused by and terrified of everything that’s going on around them and wish to make their children feel as miserable, confused and unadapted as they do.
Parents who homeschool can be subdivided into three groups** which can, of course, overlap:
  1. Religious fanatics who don’t want their children to be “contaminated” by the secular beliefs of their classmates and teachers. Obviously, these people have no faith in their own religion if they think that it’s so easy to tempt their kids away from it. If you need to lock yourself up at home to avoid temptation, you must find said temptation to be extremely attractive.
  2. Racists who hate the idea of desegregation. These folks (I don’t really want to call them “people” because racism, in my opinion, makes one less than human) only homeschool because their racism drives them in everything they do. Who cares if their children grow up to me maladjusted, unintelligent, intellectually challenged little racists? As long as there are no black or brown people around them, the racists have achieved their goal.
  3. Bored housewives who need to justify their lack of occupation. It’s really paradoxical that the process of educating children should often be entrusted to people who failed most signally in terms of academic achievement and socialization. Taking into account that housewives are also the group that suffers the most from depression, we have a sad picture of kids being taught by somebody who is perennially depressed, is not developing intellectually (reading Nora Roberts doesn’t count as intellectual development) and has failed to achieve anything professionally or socially.
Homeschooled children are disadvantaged in a variety of ways. They are robbed of academic success because all they are taught to do is answer the inane questions of standardized tests like trained little monkeys. All such tests achieve is stunting intellectual development. Proponents of homeschooling tout the homeschooled kids’ capacity to succeed on these standardized tests as one of the advantages of homeschooling. Their lack of intelligence prevents them from realizing that this skill is just as valuable as knowing how to jump through hoops. Which I’m sure their miserable children also know how to do really well. Deprived of a chance to learn how to take initiative, these kids are nothing but little, brainwashed parent-pleasers.
Students who attend school can counterbalance the stupefying effects of standardized tests with the help of everything else that is available to them at school (discussions with classmates and teachers, listening and responding to the opinions of others, development of critical skills). None of this is within the reach of a child locked up at home with a religious fanatic, a racist or an unfulfilled housewife. I’m sure nobody will argue that representatives of these groups end up being the most authoritarian parents you can imagine. Their poor children get no opportunities to learn to form opinions of their own, let alone express them.
Of course, children don’t go to school only to acquire knowledge. School prepares us for the workplace and helps us build our social identities. There is a plethora of daily situations, conflicts, issues among students and teachers, students and administrators, students of different age groups, etc. that a regular student has to negotiate and resolve on a daily basis. These social skills are crucial to one’s success in the workplace. You can’t stick a person into college at 18 and expect them to catch up in terms of social skills that normal children acquire over 12 formative years of their lives. Being in school differs from any other interactions that can be offered to homeschooled children in that it is structured, it involves discipline, responsibility, dealing with authority, a schedule.
Parents who homeschool for racist, fanatical or selfish reasons that I listed here are incapable of seeing their children as separate human beings. Their kids are nothing but objects who are expected to serve the parents’ egotistical needs. As a result, homeschooled children are crippled intellectually and socially. If this isn’t abusive, then I don’t know what is.
* If you don’t know why the US is the most successful of all enlightened projects, then I’m guessing you were homeschooled by an ignorant parent.
** Of course, there are also cases of disabled children who live in areas with no access to schools for children with disabilities. These are legitimate cases of homeschooling that are caused by an obvious lack of other options. Ideally, we will see our schools, universities and workplaces become more accessible to people with disabilities but, unfortunately, it will take a lot of time to see that happening.

359 comments on “>Homeschooling as a Form of Child Abuse

  1. >Agreed, except I would add that I know kids who have been homeschooled simply because they had to be taken out of school. One boy went to secondary school and was bullied horribly there-plus it wasn't a great school, academically. The other schools in the area are similar or worse, so he was homeschooled for a few years. Now taking his GCSEs, he goes to a tutor group to help him there. He is a very well adjusted boy, and I would argue that in cases like that homeschooling can be beneficial. Obviously this is anecdotal evidence, but it's a case for the benefits of homeschooling, for what it's worth.

  2. >"The enlightened thinkers of the 18th century see a human being as a work in progress, as a project of self-betterment and acquisition of knowledge."I love this statement so much. Its so true, thank you for this.However you realise that with this your setting your self up to receive some very angry comments of the tired and predictable "I was home schooled and it never did me and harm" variety?2020

  3. >At least, the first two comments in the thread are intelligent and well-informed, so that's good. :-)I'm very well-aware that there will be angry comments and loud repudiations of me on other blogs. What can I do? I seem doomed to that no matter what I say. :-) Sometimes it feels like even if I just blog about the weather, it will still make some people angry.

  4. >Oh, dear. You had me until you generalized all housewives as folks who have "failed to achieve anything professionally or socially." I agree that school is not merely a place to acquire knowledge; it is where we learn to get along with people who are different, including Aspies like yourself and my own handsome son, whom I tend as his at-home parent.Now, as a well-read, snobbily educated, and politically active housewife, of course I will object to your portrayal of housewives as socially inept depressives. I object to those who assume that my Aspie child is a robotic savant, incapable of being hurt when told he's retarded. In my feminist work, I spend most of my political action dispelling the myth of the so-called mommy wars. I understand that in previous posts you've put forth a (to put it mildly) negative view of women who "choose" unpaid caregiving work. Many women I know felt hamstrung by high daycare fees, inflexible work schedules and and the cold hard facts of pay inequity and felt that work opted-out of them, not the other way around. To pit working moms against caregiving moms is to avoid an honest conversation about entrenched inequality. In my feminist action, I'm trying to complete the revolution that began in the second wave with women entering paid work–I feel that MEN should be entering unpaid care work. The job of caring for children will be valued and remunerated once men start doing it in large numbers. Feminist waves come and go, but children are still being born and they still require someone to care for them. But back to the homeschool thing! I agree with you. Public schooling should be mandatory for each and every kid. I was furious when the Obamas put their girls in private school. It is utter hypocrisy to expound upon the value of strong public education….then, forgive the phrase, opt-out of it. And homeschooling is just nuts. Nuts.

  5. >This reads like a rant from someone who doesn't actually know anything about homeschooling–only has an opinion about it, which is based on…something. I can't tell what. Not homeschooling demographics, not homeschoolers' test results, not even anecdotal evidence. Nothing evident here but pure, uninformed bias. Aside from an avenue for venting, it serves no purpose other than to make the author look ignorant. The most laughable is that if one substitutes "school" for "homeschool" in this piece, it would then be fairly true.Don't worry about my homeschooled kids being properly socialized. At least once a week I corner them in the bathroom, beat them up and steal their lunch money. (That was a joke.)

  6. >The post deserves no comment aside from the notation that it is purely the negative opinion of someone who knows nothing about homeschooling. "Homeschooling is just a bad idea because I say it's a bad idea!" Ohhhhkaaaaay.

  7. >In a similar line of reasoning, how can anybody say that pedophilia is wrong if they have never had sex with a child? Those idiots, how dare they condemn it when they have had no experience with it?

  8. >I guess you will count this as your first angry response. But I'm not angry with you. I feel sorry for you.You said, "The enlightened thinkers of the 18th century see a human being as a work in progress, as a project of self-betterment and acquisition of knowledge. In order to be good citizens and full-fledged human beings, we need to engage in a constant process of getting educated"I could not agree more, which is exactly why I chose to homeschool my three children. You see, in our current school system, our children are learning that learning is no fun. It is drudgery to be endured before real life begins. By the time those children are released from compulsory schooling, the last thing they want to do is continue learning, because they have such a warped idea of what learning is.Oh, and BTW, I worked while I was homeschooling, I'm not a racist, and I'm agnostic. None of your quaint little categories apply to me. And as for my kids, they are all adults now and view the world as an adventure to be had and see a world of things to explore and learn about. As for the rest of your diatribe, it is full of so many laughable assumptions, it is hard to know where to begin with them. My kids are not extensions of me; they are very much individual human beings and were from day one. They were only cataloged and classified as something else for the few years they were in public school, where they were lumped together with many others and called the same. We were not cooped up at home all day with no social interaction. My kids learned science by exploring the world with their friends in tow. They learned to write so they could communicate with those friends over great distances. They learned to socialize with people of many different ages and socio-economic statuses. I am constantly amazed by how self-assured they are when meeting new people – they have none of the timidity I learned in school.Ah, and standardized tests – it is not the homeschooling community who pushes these tests. We do tend to gloat about how well our kids do on them, but that is because our kids do well on them without studying for them. We don't actually care much for or about them. We take them as a hoop to jump through to continue homeschooling because various states require it. Unlike the schools, we don't consider them a measure of academic performance at all.I recommend you broaden your horizons a tad. Get out into the world and meet a variety of homeschoolers, and learn a little more about us before you try to write about us again.

  9. >Part 1I guess you will count this as an angry response. But I'm not angry with you. I feel sorry for you.You said, "The enlightened thinkers of the 18th century see a human being as a work in progress, as a project of self-betterment and acquisition of knowledge. In order to be good citizens and full-fledged human beings, we need to engage in a constant process of getting educated"I could not agree more, which is exactly why I chose to homeschool my three children. You see, in our current school system, our children are learning that learning is no fun. It is drudgery to be endured before real life begins. By the time those children are released from compulsory schooling, the last thing they want to do is continue learning, because they have such a warped idea of what learning is.Oh, and BTW, I worked while I was homeschooling, I'm not a racist, and I'm agnostic. None of your quaint little categories apply to me. And as for my kids, they are all adults now and view the world as an adventure to be had and see a world of things to explore and learn about.

  10. >Part 2As for the rest of your diatribe, it is full of so many laughable assumptions, it is hard to know where to begin with them. My kids are not extensions of me; they are very much individual human beings and were from day one. They were only cataloged and classified as something else for the few years they were in public school, where they were lumped together with many others and called the same. We were not cooped up at home all day with no social interaction. My kids learned science by exploring the world with their friends in tow. They learned to write so they could communicate with those friends over great distances. They learned to socialize with people of many different ages and socio-economic statuses. I am constantly amazed by how self-assured they are when meeting new people – they have none of the timidity I learned in school.Ah, and standardized tests – it is not the homeschooling community who pushes these tests. We do tend to gloat about how well our kids do on them, but that is because our kids do well on them without studying for them. We don't actually care much for or about them. We take them as a hoop to jump through to continue homeschooling because various states require it. Unlike the schools, we don't consider them a measure of academic performance at all.I recommend you broaden your horizons a tad. Get out into the world and meet a variety of homeschoolers, and learn a little more about us before you try to write about us again.

  11. >It will be very nice if people make an effort not to post the same comment five times in a row. It's such a drag to moderate them. Just give the comment a second to go through moderation, and it will appear.Also, sometimes I sleep, or use the bathroom, etc. and can't moderate the comments for a while. So you'll have to wait.I promise, though, that everybody's comments will appear eventually, as soon as I get to my BlackBerry.

  12. >I posted the second time with my comments split in two because the first time your lovely system generated an error message telling me my post was too large. Apparently, that was just an editorial comment from the system and not an indication that it didn't go through the first time.Feel free to delete the dups and query your provider as to why the message gets generate if the post is going to post anyway.

  13. >Ummmm . . . two things.1. How can we be aggressive if we are all SAHM suffering from depression and a crippling inability to leave our houses?2. When you complain about a phenomenon demonstrated directly above your complaint, and the person attempts to explain, criticizing them for the explanation by claiming you weren't talking about them makes you look foolish and petty. Probably not the image you want to project.

  14. >Depressed, self-castrated people cannot be aggressive?? Since when?As to the rest, let's stop guessing at what image I do or do not want to "project", whatever I mean, ok? That's tiresome and meaningless.

  15. >Of topic question from a foreigner — Is heavy bullying in American schools real or is it just a stereotype?I went to school in India and was a shy and socially inept child. However, I was never bullied. Not even once. The teachers too care of that. Why isn't it the same in America?

  16. >This is one of the most hilarious pieces of non-fiction I have read in a long time. It is so easy to let the words flow when you don't have to do any research to back up your statements. I thoroughly enjoyed this satire on homeschooling! I, as a homeschooler, am very comfortable with my decision so this article does nothing but affirm this. I am going off to enjoy some fun time with my homeschooled children. You see, we are 3000 miles away from home now. I can do this because we homeschool. We have not missed a day of academics during this trip. Both through our books AND our experiences. I am not looking forward to getting back home with my "unsocialized" children because I will need to get back to gymnastics, scouts, soccer, piano lessons, music, art, Spanish, fieldtrips and a variety of other things my children choose to do inside the "bubble" I trap them in. I will make sure to teach my children to have compassion for those who are not as fortunate as they are because their parents are too selfish to homeschool them and don't have the desire to make their well-being their TOP priority!

    • I don’t see Mathematics on the list of skills you are passing on to your children. Have you already made the decision for them that they won’t want a career in A STEM field?

  17. >Clarissa – Thank you! My husband and children are having their weekly night out together, and the house was quiet without their laughter. This blogpost was, as my 6.5yo daughter would gleefully declare, "Hil-AIR-ious!".On a more serious note, I'm asking you to prove what you've written with actual anecdotal or empirical evidence. Also, because I'm not sure you have any actual understanding of what a life lived without school can be, I offer you my blog, The Unfettered Life, which is like a glimpse into our busy, untidy, inquisitive, rampantly joyous life out there in that real world the schoolkids their ages won't get to exist in for many years, yet. There are many links leading from there to the blogs of other homeschoolers, so you can explore multiple families' homeschool experiences.www.memismommy.blogspot.com

    • @Shan

      The problem with home schooling is that some people end up thinking you can prove things with anecdotal evidence.

  18. >It's kind of really rude to try to promote one's own blog in this way without being asked to, but what can you expect from unsocialized, self-centered housewives who have no idea how to interact with people?I've never had a bunch of people pushing their own blogs so unashamedly in any other thread.

    • Oh god. I must have just done that a second ago too. I didn’t mean it that way. I really only meant that my friend directed me to your blog because she loves your blog and I’m suddenly getting negative attention and she said you handled it well. Didn’t mean to commit the above offense, please forgive!

      • “Oh god. I must have just done that a second ago too. I didn’t mean it that way. I really only meant that my friend directed me to your blog because she loves your blog and I’m suddenly getting negative attention and she said you handled it well. Didn’t mean to commit the above offense, please forgive!”

        – You didn’t do anything wrong! It’s the mean, horrible people I was getting frustrated with on this thread, not you. You are welcome to comment and leave any number of links at any point.

  19. >You sound scared by the idea you don't have the slightest idea what completely unfounded venom filled rhetoric you just spewed. No one is driving people to their blog, they are offering you a glimpse into their world. They're nicer than I am. You don't deserve the rather kind ways homeschooling parents are trying to pull your head out of the orifice it is so pleasured at being stuck in.

  20. >The last comment is facetious, right? I mean, real people don't write like this, do they? At least, not while sober. :-) :-) Come on, friend, do some more of that. It's just too good. :-) :-) :-)

  21. >What a hateful, ignorant, generalizing and juvenile post! It appears that you, in fact, are the one lacking socialization, as you do not seem to know any real home schoolers, or to have made an effort to get out in the real world, where you would certainly meet some. Because that is where home schoolers are to be found – out in the real world.I won't condescend to correct all of the erroneous and ridiculous statements you have made. However, I find that this post discredits the entirety of your blog, as you seem quite ready to spew forth a tirade of ignorance without distinguishing between subjects on which you are actually an authority and those which you have never experienced in your life.- Mary, home school mother of 2 well-adjusted, intelligent, well-read, tolerant, social and adventurous children.

    • @Mary, mother of 2, You don’t mention mathematics in the skill set you believe you have given your children.

      This is a typical home schooler omission and when they claim to have taught mathematics it is generally arithmetic being taught.

  22. >Ok, Mary, do you also believe that I need to be personally acquainted with many pedophiles, for example, to know that pedophilia is wrong? Do I need to hang out with cannibals to condemn cannibalism?Please try to think for a moment because your argument is too inane to be taken seriously.

    • You consider Homeschooling to be in the same catagory as pedophilia and cannibalism??? And you think your critics should not be taken seriously?

      Wow… Just wow…

      • “You consider Homeschooling to be in the same catagory as pedophilia and cannibalism???”

        – No, I don’t. The only person who said anything of the kind on this blog is you. You are also the only person who uses the non-existent word “catagory.” Judging by the poor spelling and low reasoning skills, you must be a homeschooler.

  23. >The last comment was truth. Plain and simple. Why not check out their blogs after they kindly invited you instead of throwing the equivalent of temper tantrum? I am quite sober, thanks. I just find your opinings to be comparatively worthy of watching a trainwreck. It is what it is, friend. ;-)

  24. >"I just find your opinings to be comparatively worthy of watching a trainwreck" is really priceless. Good job! Would you be willing to share where you learned to write like this? I'm very curious!Of course, I'm not going to waste my valuable time on reading unintelligent, unpopular blogs filled with ramblings of semi-literate hysterical housewives. They are leaving samples of their writing right here, and it's very unappealing.

  25. >I realize that I run the risk of being labelled a depressive/lazy/high-strung/antisocial housewife (without you actually knowing anything about who or what I am) but I must encourage you to broaden your social sphere. Attacking groups of people you know nothing about might be easy, but getting to know people whose perspectives differ from yours might be enlightening. I have a feeling that your irrational anger belies a fear of the unknown.

  26. >Probably more than the uniformed opinion you have shared regarding home schooling, I am more offended by your claim of Asperger's Syndrome. As the parent of three children (out of 8) on the spectrum ranging from mild to severe, I get so offended by those using the dx de jour to excuse their rude, narrow minded behavior. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you weren't dxed until adulthood, and likely by someone who (guess what?) "specializes" in dxing adults with Asperger's. It just gripes me the way everyone has Asperger's these days when I have been battling in the trenches with real autism for the past 20+ years. Sorry, but I give little credence to anything you choose to complain about, much less something you obviously know nothing about. The fact that you would compare that to knowing something about pedophilia to know it's bad is the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard…

  27. >And now they have started speaking a language of their own. . .I have no idea what "dxing" means in your world, but I'm pretty sure I never engaged in it.I also wonder where people found any mention of Asperger's in this post. Are you seeing little green creatures too? Or hearing their voices?This is proving to be even more hilarious than I expected. :-) :-)

  28. >lulz Sounds like jealousy to me. Who's going to want to have kids with someone who looks like a mentally retarded toad, much less have them mentally scarred by staying at home with you ?

  29. >Homeschooling parents care more about their children's well-being than whether their kids will be able to inscribe themselves into a society inspired by the ideals of factory managers. All they want is to give their children a broader existence and opportunities to participate in everything life has to offer. Such parents are not lost in the stream of changes that accompanies our transition to modernity. They understand everything that's going on around them and hope their children never feel as miserable, confused and inadequate as children force fed public system ideals.Public schooled children are disadvantaged in a variety of ways. They are robbed of academic success because all they are taught to do is answer the inane questions of standardized tests like trained little monkeys. All such tests achieve is stunting intellectual development. Proponents of homeschooling tout the homeschooled kids' capacity to succeed on these standardized tests as one of the advantages of homeschooling. They realize that this skill is just as valuable as knowing how to jump through hoops. Which is why their children aren't as miserable as public schooled children who are forced to believe these tests are indicators of anything significant. Deprived of a chance to learn how to take initiative, many public schooled kids are nothing but little, brainwashed sheep ready to inadequately fill their spot on the production line.Students who attend public school can't counterbalance the stupefying effects of standardized tests with the help of everything else that is available to homeschooled students (discussions with other children and adults, listening and responding to the opinions of others, development of critical skills). None of this is within the reach of a child locked up in a room with a religious fanatic, a racist or an unfulfilled school teacher.Of course, children don't go to school only to acquire knowledge. School does not necessarily prepare kids for the workplace but it may help them build their social identities. There is a plethora of daily situations, conflicts, issues among students and teachers, students and administrators, etc. that a regular student has to negotiate and resolve on a daily basis. These social skills are not necessarily crucial to one's success in the workplace. When a homeschooled person goes into college at 18 you can expect them to have at least the same, but usually better, social skills that public schooled children acquire over 12 formative years of their lives. Being in school differs from any other interactions that can be offered to homeschooled children in that it is stressful, dangerous, emotionally damaging, draining and boring.~dj

  30. >Hello, trainwreck watcher here.Although I did not post the comment regarding Aspergers Syndrome, nor do I know what prompted it, you may have been 'dx'd' and not even known it. Imagine that. @@In the western world of medicine, the term, 'DX' or 'dx' refers to the word, 'diagnoses'. So, perhaps you have never seen a doctor to be 'dx'd' by or you did and just never realized it. As to how I learned to write as I do, well, it wasn't something I was taught, per se. It was something that came about by learning to read extremely early in life and having parents that filled my world with anything I wanted to delve into. If you thought I was going to say "school", well, Clarissa, that would have been more unfounded assumptiveness on your part. Tsk, tsk. You are epically failing your own teaching theory (it's weak enough as it is, so I'll leave that one alone), not only for yourself, but the readers who apparently think your words have value. It's actually rather sad, but to be expected if the majority of your learning moments were while attending classes in a cumpulsory school. Thinking outside of the box seems to be where you would like to consider yourself, you're just not there yet. Hopefully you get there before you effect the lives of any children.

  31. >Sweetie, you might want to quit while you are behind. Dx, Dxed and Dxing are very common internet abbreviations in both the Homeschooling and the Aspie community. If you aren't familiar with them, it is just another indication that nothing exists for you outside your own little world. (Dx, BTW means "diagnose" and just in case, BTW mean "by the way")And the Aspergers has entered the conversation because at the top of your blog, in the headers, it is a category. Perhaps you have forgotten what you put there? That has led those of us with Aspie kids to go see what you have to say about that too. I for one was not impressed. You seem not to understand that there are as many ways to describe Aspergers as there are people with it. Just because YOU have a specific symptom, doesn't mean every other Aspie has that symptom. But that is a conversation for a different post's comment stream I suppose.

  32. >Bridget: if you want to discuss my posts on autism, please do me the favor of reading them before you pontificate. In every one of those posts I emphasize that everybody manifests differently, so your rants are redundant here. Or do you have a habit of commenting on the existence of posts, not their content?Your hatred of autistics is self-evident in that you see autism as a disease that is diagnosed and that has "symptoms." How horrible to have any child educated by a person this ignorant.

  33. >I'm saddened religious fanatics and racists are not stepping forward to defend their clearly tenable positions on homeschooling….I kid! I kid!Romantic thinkers thought a human is a work of progress….until he gets hit by a car and dies. Life is a really subjective affair is the point of that line of thought.So what if the homeschooled kid didn't learn to socialize, maybe he'll choose jobs that don't require socialization. Maybe he'll learn to socialize. You picked up Spanish in about 2 years and presumably you know it better than people who've been speaking it since childhood.Personally I think homeschooling should be reserved for more introverted kids who get bored at school a lot and prefer to spend hours alone; they're going to spend many hours each day alone as adults anyway, no point in coercing an impossible personality change. But homeschooling a kid you know to be a definite social butterfly; that's up there with waterboarding. If you wouldn't force your left-handed kid to use his right hand, why force a social kid to not be social? I know people don't like to hear this. Some kids, homeschooling or not, still going to mess up their life. Some kids, despite the worst circumstances they face, still going to end up on top. I've seen enough parents put so much effort into the child raising only to end up with average kids who end up being average adults. Silly me thinking extra effort would create extraordinary adults. Nope, just another taxpayer, welcome to the club buddy. I think to myself, there must be other more important factors to how a person turns out in the end than their childhood upbringing.Tiger Woods was raised to be a great golfer. But we all know how that story ended. George W. …oh god let's not even go there.

  34. >Oh, Fairykarma, you have it so backwards. Kids in school are stuck in a desk being told to hush up and listen for many hours of the day with little opportunity to socialize. Homeschooled kids, on the other hand, are out in the world doing stuff, talking to people, socializing with each other and with the adults in their world. And Clarissa, like it or not, Aspergers is currently a diagnosable syndrome outlined in the DSM. I love the way you have attributed a whole set of beliefs to me simply because I acknowledge reality. And you claim that in every post about Aspergers you point out how we are all different – odd then, that in the one about not liking to go to the doctor, you attribute that trait to ALL aspies. I'm not dxed, my son is and I outscore him on all the assessment tests ( I just have great coping skills) neither of us has any particular problems with going to the doctor. Good thing too, in my case since I've had everything from broken bones to open heart surgery for an aneurysm.

  35. >I have found that some homeschooled students are extremely well educated when they get to college, but some are woefully lacking in some things. I suspect that the mean level of achievement is about the same as for students educated in public schools, but the variance is larger; that is too say, the best are likely better and the worst are likely worse than the traditionally schooled. I have encountered homeschooled students over the years who were brilliant and creative and extraordinarily knowledgeable. I have also encountered some who were everything you describe here. Since those at the bottom of the distribution probably never get admitted to college, neither you nor I is likely ever to encounter them. I can only shudder at what their educational situation must be. On a more personal level, I am familiar with at least two homeschooling families in which in which both parents are well educated and made the decision to homeschool precisely to prevent their children from having to do such things as the mindless "projects" about which you have complained elsewhere in your blog, as well as to prevent bullying because their children are "different," since they have a black mother and a white father. So, in sum, I think you paint with too broad a brush here. All the points you make are valid to some extent, but the three categories you list are not exhaustive.

  36. >OK, getting weird now. I don't go to college. I have five degrees, inlcuding a PhD from Yale, so being a student is kind of behind me. I teach at a university. A real university. Where I will be teaching my three real classes tomorrow. Feel free to explore the blog and learn all about my 20+ years of experience as a pedagogue.The award was given to me by someone else. That's how it usually is with awards.

  37. >I have a question for the parents of homeschooled children (not sure if it is the same parent who keeps responding or if it is a bunch of different ones). What do you mean by saying that your kids are out in the real world, exploring? Do you mean that they get to travel more or go for more walks? Museums? What are you actually referring to?Thanks!

  38. >I really can't come down on either side of this issue. I don't know enough about home schooling, well, just what's in the press about the religious fanatics. I went to public schools and found it to be a crushingly mind numbing and soul killing experience. It would have been better if I'd been given a stack of books and told to read them by the time I reached seventeen. I learned to read at 3 years old by imitating my mother. She always read a lot and read to me. When I went into the first grade, my mom went to college.I wasn't social in school. I'm still not, in fact, I've always been uncomfortable in crowds. My classes always had 35 students, sometimes even more more. Fortunately my reading skills have stood me in good stead. If you can read well, you can teach yourself anything.From about the fifth grade on I consoled myself with the knowledge that, even though I had no power, as a child, to improve my circumstances, I would one day go to college, like my mom. I also was lucky enough to have parents who could afford and valued music, dance, and art lessons. Also, my mom was very enthusiastic about college and talked about what she was learning every day.When I finally got into college, I had to take a year of remedial math before I was able to take calculus. I started taking science classes because I didn't have much science to speak of in public school. I ended up getting a degree in chemistry. I turned out OK, but some of my classmates had very little success professionally. It may or may not be the fault of public schools. Who can tell? I just know that if I had a child, I would move to Canada. They don't have this debate over evolution and intelligent design. Most every developed country is more enlightened then the US. We have become a real backwater in terms of the ignorance level of the average citizen.Sorry about the ramble.

  39. >" What do you mean by saying that your kids are out in the real world, exploring? "-Yeah, I know, how weird is that? This must be part of that weird language these people have developed to communicate with the like-minded individuals. Like the dxing thing, or whatever. sehkmet: thank you for contributing such a thought-out and interesting response. I almost started to lose my faith in humanity here before my regular readers appeared in the thread. :-)

  40. >Bridget C.,My mom bugs me a lot, even well into early adulthood. Chances are I'll be 40 and still purposefully single and she'll be trying to hook me up with all kinds of girls when I just want to have fun. Were I a kid, I would not need THAT kind of person hanging around me all the time trying to mold my thoughts no matter where she took me. I would instead prefer to make friends at school whereby we would agree to meet after school to play video games, exchange Pokemon cards, ride bikes, shoplift (yea, I said it, I shoplifted with my friends a lot and I'm proud to have done something illegal), skateboard in school halls after hours, swimming naked in the river, and so much more. God, I hate to say it, but I miss those silly high school, middle school crushes. Sure beats spending time with women now where my employment and my character is being scrutinized with each "date". I miss that feeling of being a fresh-faced newbie finally having a girl hold my hand, hug me, and kiss me. God, that first kiss knocked me out for a week. I also miss the social drama. I miss that time when I spent the whole summer weight lifting, improving my physique and my running so that I could feel what those varsity jocks felt like all the time. Do you really want your kid to miss all that and enter the drudgery of adulthood right away without having had time to goof off with zero consequences?Did you not have any fun in your childhood? Don't you want your kid to be asked out to a dance by a cute girl/boy?Homeschooling is for kids with a very huge inner life. Please don't assassinate your child's personality if they're social butterflies. Socializing is a bit more complex than a few adults who arrange playdates and fieldtrips for their homeschooled kids.

  41. >fairykarma: you said it perfectly. I'll be surprised if anybody has much to add after that. "The drudgery of adulthood" is just hitting it on the head. So true.

  42. >I'll give it a try but someone with more experience may be able to word this better:"Our kids are out in the real world exploring" means they get hands on experience and socialize with people of various ages and backgrounds. It can mean traveling more for many. It is easier to plan a trip (or take one) when you don't have to worry about school schedules/truancy issues. They have the ability to be out during the hours their "peers" are in school, which is when things like museums, zoos and other businesses are open. Not that public school children can't do this but it would be on the weekend or during fieldtrips. With 6 or more extra hours in their day, homeschoolers have more opportunities, availability and flexibility to be out in the real world. The real world being "not sitting at a desk for 6 or more hours". Of course homeschoolers are in their houses much of the time, but no more than children out of school for the summer are "stuck" at home.Clarrisa… please try to be a little less mean. There are many groups of people who have their own lingo. aka "language these people have developed to communicate with the like-minded individuals." It was a bit unecessary to put "weird" in front of it.

  43. >`~I have a question for the parents of homeschooled children (not sure if it is the same parent who keeps responding or if it is a bunch of different ones). What do you mean by saying that your kids are out in the real world, exploring? Do you mean that they get to travel more or go for more walks? Museums? What are you actually referring to?Thanks!~~Some of where we've been……To the Atlantic Ocean, to tour the Mayflower II, to a llama farm, apple picking, camping with other unschoolers, a regional unschooling conference, a Renaissance Festival, a hot air balloon launch, fire station open houses, Adirondack Wildlife Museum, to the Y,hiking and biking and to assorted playgrounds with assorted friends, libraries, and post offices and parks and grocery stores and on tours of restaurant kitchens, and to Parelli horsemanship classes and swimming and family's homes and friends' houses and to haunted houses and pet stores and an airplane museum and homeschool co-op meetings and malls and hardware stores and auto garages,on a floating barge on the Erie Canal, our credit union, a Japanese restaurant, a dance in a neighboring state hosted by a 10yo, and on the Unschool Bus…I'm pretty sure there are things I am forgetting…..these are drawn from the reports we file with our local school system, and occurred between May and November of 2010. Our children are Jeremiah, age 9.25, and Annalise, age 6.5. What I mean by out in the world is that we go together to all those places that are part of our lives, and that we, as their parents, make special efforts to also include a liberal variety of adventures to spark passion and the connections that form learning.Annalise, in particular, is very social. I often find it amusing the way adults working at various establishments react when she greets them with a cheery "Hi! How are you?" it seems surprising to see a socially open child, perhaps?Thank you for your respectful effort to learn more. It's refreshing to see that there are those with minds willing to consider that other ways of being may also be valid.

  44. >So are you suggesting that peple whose children are in school do not visit such places? If not, then you must surely recognize that your comment is is completely meaningless within the discussion that is taking place. I've never seen such a bunch of people who are completely incapable of hearing anybody other but themselves in any other discussions. I can imagine what the poor kids go through with sucha selfcentered mommy.

  45. >Clarissa said, "-Yeah, I know, how weird is that? This must be a part of that weird language these people have developed…" What is weird about "out in the real world exploring"? All those words are real words in the dictionary, none are made up, all have valid meanings in the English language.fairykarma: all of those things you describe as enjoying and missing all happened *outside* of school. Homeschool children play video games, exchange Pokemon cards, ride bikes, have dates, skateboard, and lift weights, among many other social activities. They actually get *more* time to meet with their friends and do these things, because they are not wasting time riding the bus, waiting in line, or something else not really pertaining to education.Lack of social interaction is the biggest myth of homeschooling. It is massive in its misunderstanding. Our family is so busy with social items, we are hardly ever home. Not only do we have the major part of the "school day" after lessons are finished to get together for playing, clubs, rollerskating, bowling and such, our kids don't have hours of homework "after school hours" to take up their evenings, so our families can get together for more socializing.Both of my children are very social and my husband and I make sure they get as much as they want. Sometimes, when I'm working, that is very difficult to schedule, but we always manage, somehow.There are homeschoolers who have a parent well employed enough that the other can afford to stay home and nurture their children – sometimes, that is a dad and sometimes it is the mom. Some families have the ability to work from home and can both participate in their children's lives and education. Some families have both parents working. There are homeschoolers of every color, race, social status, income bracket and religious (or not) affiliation. It really isn't possible to honestly categorize them into 3 subsets.Honestly, I laughed through most of this post, because it is so far from the truth as to be a parody, and my children and husband (whom I read it to) laughed, too – for the most part. My 12 year old was somewhat offended, between the laughter.People suggested (on Facebook, where this was shared amongst some of my friends and where I first saw it) that people not come here and "feed the troll", but I respond for those folks reading who really might believe this silliness and buy into the myth of homeschoolers not being socialized. Oddly enough, we get this question most often when we are out in the social world, shopping, attending a party, visiting friends and family, etc. Thanks, Clarissa, for the laughs, today!

  46. >Clarissa, you keep asking if you need to know a pedophile to know that pedophilia is wrong. If you stated publicly that pedophilia involved bananas, chain link fencing and pictures of Robert Redford and then said it was wrong, then yes, people would be responding that you haven't any idea what pedophilia is and that maybe you might want to know before you share an opinion on it.

  47. >Actually, pedophilia may extremely easily involve all three of these things. So I fail to see the point. My kids play video games, so it means they are socialized is a very scary thing to hear. That's the problem with these housewives, they infantilize themselves intellectually to the point where an adult conversation is not possible with them. I could have never argued as convincingly against homeschooling as you people have done with your comments. These comments can be used in textbooks demonstrating why homeschooling cannot possibly cause anything but harm. This is very sad.

  48. >And yet *more* chuckles in my day! Clarissa, your dedication to deliberate ignorance is vastly amusing! It would be terrifying if you were a scientist, however…

  49. >Instead of saying the same boring thing over and over , you could make a tiny little effort and find out who I am. A little hint: it's the most noticeable thing on the homepage. Right at the top of the right-hand panel.

  50. >RE: homeschooler's socialization skills:I fail to recall which blog I read this but it has stuck in my mind.Paraphrasing: "When asked the question, "But what about their socialization skills?", we answer " Please, tell us what part of a traditionally schooled child's socialization skills would you like our children to emulate?"I have three daughters, one who went to public school her entire life, who is quite successful in both her personal and professional life- an executive in a medical software company.Two who were both public schooled part of their life and homeschooled – one starting at age 11 and one starting at age 15. The younger we homeschooled because she was TOO social and that was becoming her focus in life. She started community college classes at age 15 – why take algebra twice when once will do? – and worked a part-time job during the hours her peers could not- therefore she usually had Fridays and Saturdays free! She had many friends who thought her parents were super cool to allow her to homeschool.She is quite successful as well- a management analyst at a major bank and married with one child. Will she homeschool? She says no for now- but that may change once she sees what goes on in "real" school.We started hsing our other daughter because she was told she could not read a certain book because it was "banned" and was reprimanded whenshe questioned the policy. Her creativity and "out of the box" thinking wasn't appreciated in public school. She wasn't anti-social- she just didn't like a lot of people. She was quiet and a "thinker." She is homeschooling my two grandchildren and is a stay at home mom. My grandson started talking in sentences at 10 months and reading at 3 years. He is 7 and reads on a 10th grade level and is both social and quiet. My granddaughter is 5 and quite the social butterfly despite being "stuck at home" all day while her mother reads Nora Roberts and eats bonbons.I guess by your standards, she would be a "failure" because she chooses to walk a different path than you. While she is criticized by many, they choose HER to be their child's role model while they go off to work every day.So, Clarissa, sweetie, it takes many different people to make up this world. How sad you want everyone to be like you. How sad for your students to have to deal with your judgmental attitude every day.

  51. >RE: homeschooler's socialization skills:I fail to recall which blog I read this but it has stuck in my mind for quite.Paraphrasing:"When asked the question, "But what about their socialization skills?", we answer " Please, tell us what part of a traditionally schooled child's socialization skills would you like our children to emulate?"BTW, I have three daughters, one who went to public school her entire life, who is quite successful in both her personal and professional life- an executive in a medical software company.Two who were homeschooled – one starting at age 11 and one starting at age 15. The younger we homeschooled because she was TOO social and that was becoming her focus in life. She started community college classes at age 15 – why take algebra twice when once will do? – and worked a part-time job during the hours her peers could not- therefore she usually had Fridays and Saturdays free! She had many friends who thought her parents were super cool to allow her to homeschool.She is quite successful as well- a management analyst at a major bank and married with one child. Will she homeschool? She says no for now- but that may change once she sees what goes on in "real" school.My other daughter started hsing because she was told she could not read a certain book because it was "banned" and was reprimanded whenshe questioned the policy. She wasn't anti-social- she just didn't like a lot of people. She was quiet and a "thinker."She is homeschooling my two grandchildren and is a stay at home mom. My grandson started talking in sentences at 10 months and reading at 3 years. He is 7 and reads on a 10th grade level and is both social and quiet. My granddaughter is 5 and quite the social butterfly despite being "stuck at home" all day while her mother reads Nora Roberts and eats bonbons.I guess by your standards, she would be a "failure" because she chooses to walk a different path than you. While she is criticized by many, they choose HER to be their child's role model while they go off to work every day.So, Clarissa, sweetie, it takes many different people to make up this world. How sad you want everyone to be like you. How sad for your students to have to deal with your judgmental attitude every day.January 18, 2011 2:56 AM

  52. >RE: homeschooler's socialization skills:I fail to recall which blog I read this but it has stuck in my mind for quite.Paraphrasing:"When asked the question, "But what about their socialization skills?", we answer " Please, tell us what part of a traditionally schooled child's socialization skills would you like our children to emulate?"January 18, 2011 2:56 AM

  53. >BTW, I have three daughters, one who went to public school her entire life, who is quite successful in both her personal and professional life- an executive in a medical software company.Two who were homeschooled – one starting at age 11 and one starting at age 15. The younger we homeschooled because she was TOO social and that was becoming her focus in life. She started community college classes at age 15 – why take algebra twice when once will do? – and worked a part-time job during the hours her peers could not- therefore she usually had Fridays and Saturdays free! She had many friends who thought her parents were super cool to allow her to homeschool.She is quite successful as well- a management analyst at a major bank and married with one child. Will she homeschool? She says no for now- but that may change once she sees what goes on in "real" school.My other daughter started hsing because she was told she could not read a certain book because it was "banned" and was reprimanded whenshe questioned the policy. She wasn't anti-social- she just didn't like a lot of people. She was quiet and a "thinker."She is homeschooling my two grandchildren and is a stay at home mom. My grandson started talking in sentences at 10 months and reading at 3 years. He is 7 and reads on a 10th grade level and is both social and quiet. My granddaughter is 5 and quite the social butterfly despite being "stuck at home" all day while her mother reads Nora Roberts and eats bonbons.I guess by your standards, she would be a "failure" because she chooses to walk a different path than you. While she is criticized by many, they choose HER to be their child's role model while they go off to work every day.So, Clarissa, sweetie, it takes many different people to make up this world. How sad you want everyone to be like you. How sad for your students to have to deal with your judgmental attitude every day.

  54. >Ok, what is this, a schizophrenic episode?People, can you please pay attention??? I asked you already within this same thread to stop posting the same comments five times in a row. It takes time to moderate them. PLEASE stop filling my mailbox with the same thing repeated endless numbers of times. The world will not end if people get to read your inane statements a little later.How can such people teach anything to anybody when they fail to read and process a simple request? This is unfathomable to me. Are they all brain-dead or what? Once again, for my especially gifted commenters: DO NOT POST THE SAME COMMENT MORE THAN ONCE. PLEASE. You are being VERY RUDE.Who is willing to bet that this won't work and they will keep doing it?

  55. >Homeschoolers say they prevent their kids from going to school because they don't want them to be bullied. By anybidy other than their loving parents who, as we can see here, are great at bullying.I'm sure that anti-semitic insults are not far behind here.Come on, people, show us what you can do.

  56. >I'm not a professional educator with turf to protect or the parent of a school-aged child, so I don't have a dog in this hunt. I have to say, though, that the view that "parents who homeschool can be subdivided into three groups" — religious fanatics, racists, and bored housewives strikes me as narrow-minded and highly prejudiced.No doubt there are cons as well as pros associated with homeschooling. From everything I'm reading (motivated by this post), I find that the cons are mostly manageable, and the pros are quite strong. As far as results are concerned, homeschooled kids score better on standardized tests, perform better at university level, and succeed at higher rates professionally. I'm not adding links; all you have to do is type a few words into Google and you get article after article that substantiate this.

  57. >Hi Clarissa – just wanted to say…this is what makes the world an interesting place…Freedom of Speech is a great thing! We all have the right to our opinions…Thanks for making everyone think with your post! If we were all thinking alike, no one would ever get anything done.

  58. >The homeschoolers' incapacity to hear anybody but themselves is terrifying.Gr8cook: you obviously have read neither the post you are responding to nor the comments. Not even the most recent ones. All you are interested in is dumping your prefabricated speech without even doing me the courtesy to read the original post whih pointedly puts the cases of disabled children into a special category. Can't you read??? You are extremely rude. As are your fellow homeschoolers.I will now repeat this for the 3rd time and maybe now some of you, gifted homeschoolers, will hear me:PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH THE SAME COMMENT SEVERAL TIMES IN A ROW. You are being extremely rude. You are crowding my mailbox for no reason with endless and repetitive diatribes. Everybody else is fine with waiting for a little bit before their comment gets published. You can do that too.And PLEASE make the enormous effort of reading what you are responding to.My heart goes out to the children of parents who are so verbose and incapable of hearing anybody else.

  59. >Really? I wonder how you'd feel when you offer people a free platform to express their Medieval views and they can't even make the effort to follow a simple request. Of course, I'm annoyed when I have to encounter the same lengthy diatribe from a person who has no idea what is even being discussed posted an endless number of times.Do you especially enjoy people addressing insanely long, boring speeches to you 5 times in a row? Would you like me to do that on your blog? And ask my friends to do the same? Then we'd see how much you like wasting your time on moderating the same kind of boring comment.

  60. >I find it slightly terrifying that someone who is so narrow-minded is teaching *anybody*. How do you treat the homeschooled kids you end up teaching? My 7 year old finds it interesting that you would post something (as a professor, especially) that you've done absolutely no research for whatsoever.

  61. >How would I know which students were homeschooled? Would you care to venture a guess as to the provenance of this kind of data?You can tell your kid that I have read a lot of stuff online written by victims of homeschooling. It's really tragic stuff that comes from people who were robbed of normal childhood experiences by selfish parents. These stories can easily be located through a simple Google search.

  62. >"How would I know which students were homeschooled?"Good point. You wouldn't. Which means, then, that homeschooling couldn't possibly cripple children socially and intellectually ~ or you'd be able to tell right away which of your students were "robbed of academic success", wouldn't you?

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