Apologies, here's a minor rant. There's an annoying thing that pops up now and again with regard to homeschooling, and even some of my own fans/commenters have done some variation of this.
Here's my response to the annoying thing:
"Homeschooled children are not always locked in the house; they learn their social skills from adults, older youths, as opposed to equally socially inexperienced peers (want a child to act like an adult, yet you lock him away for much of his life with other children?). Homeschooled children MAY have difficulty fitting in, but it doesn't HAVE to be true at all. People forget that students at school often have trouble fitting in or looking down on others too" - me, on YouTube. Yes, I am commenting on YouTube. What the hell?
This time it was noteworthy, because the person I was replying to stated that though he escaped being social inadequate as a homeschooled child, he totally knows one or two others that did not.
It baffles me that homeschooled kids say this. Say, you lucky bastard, wanna go here instead? You have any idea how many kids would trade places with you in a heartbeat? It baffles me even more that it's given some sort of credence just because a homeschooled person said it. Like it's some sort of communist defector telling us the truth on the lowdown, when in reality it's just "the grass is always greener, even when it ain't."
Congratulations, you were homeschooled and were a little awkward (around whom? Dickwits in college? Workplace peers? Does this matter?). I was at a public school and everyone I know was just awesome at social interaction. We settled our differences and arguments flawlessly and diplomatically, and every time me and my fellow students spoke, it was just the picture of politeness and harmony! Nobody was socially awkward, everyone got along fine!
Oh, wait, I'm totally talking out of my ass. And I had a knife drawn on me. Three times. Well, one was actually a screwdriver. Enjoy.
It reminds me of that scene in House of Carters (yes, I watched some of that, don't ask why) where Aaron Carter whines that he never had a prom. Big fucking deal, man! Instead, you got millions of dollars and slept with Paris Hilton! Okay, I know you had your own troubles, bro, but if you think school or a prom would've magically solved them I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for ya.
Homeschooling parents often DO take their kids out, enroll them in clubs of various kinds, and so on so forth. It's very sad that so many people believe school is such an integral part of a child's life that if you take them out of it, they've got nothing to do but sit in a musty, dark old room with the curtains pulled over, reading from dusty tomes learning obscure history to appease their parents. They go to the park, visit neighbors, join sports clubs... As I said, their emotional intelligence is going to benefit from this, and from interacting with adults and older (and younger) children. A child is more likely to learn and live if you give them the freedom to do that by releasing them from the ball and chain of a rigid school life.
The other perennial favorite is talking about bullies. There's so much bullshit floating around about bullies that I have a 15,000 word "journal" I was going to post about it but never worked up the heart.
Long story short: you don't get prepared to deal with bullies in school. You learn to deal with them out in the park, or in the local baseball club. Being bullied in school is less likely to be a "valuable life lesson about standing up for yourself" and more likely to result in your academic results plummeting, depression and worse.
Do not reply with an anecdote about how you kicked some "bully's" ass and everything was fine from then on. Everyone always does that! They fail to realize how incredibly irrelevant their anecdote is: for every one student who can tell a tale like that, fifty have tales of their entire education being ruined by the stress of bullying. It's the worst possible place to be bullied, and schools often have no idea how to handle it (if they do anything) when a student is being harassed. There is no positive benefit or silver lining to being bullied in school. Zero. It is not an argument in favor of mass-schooling. Leave it, forever.
I'm no conspiracy nut, I understand that many progressive educators are trying to free their students from the unquestionably stifling atmosphere of school - the big problem with discussing this is the ignorant folk, rarely teachers themselves, who claim there's nothing wrong with the way we school children today. There is, many teachers are aware of it and how it murders children's creativity. However they rarely go far enough, trying to operate within the same framework with the same notions of "education" that poisoned the mass-schooling model from its inception.
It's going to take something "drastic." But as a word, "drastic" has negative connotations. When it comes to this, I don't know if anything can be too "drastic."
One final thing to address, this was actually said to me by a not-very-intelligent younger Australian only a few months ago and it still annoys me to this day.
"Homeschooled kids can't get into university."
Oh, holy shit, do people actually believe this? It's hilarious, because the kid is a high-school student and this just illustrates the problem. You'd think someone immersed in the education system for twelve or more years would understand it better, but he doesn't even have a clue that universities accept candidates through tests that are designed to test logic and language skills, and have courses and support available to help students adapt to university life.
Not only is university over-rated, but it's piss-easy to get into. The HARDEST possible way to get into university here in Australia is through your secondary school results. It takes five years in a place filled with distractions and trials, slogging through mostly useless and irrelevant curriculum fluff, before you can fight for a place in university.
Meanwhile, I stuck my high school results in a shredder, then got into university completely on the basis that I'm not a fucking moron. When I got in, I found university was a completely different situation to high school; the way universities are run here, is how we need to run our high schools.
But I'm having a lot of difficulty performing at university. Know why? Get ready, this is one of the most personal things I'll ever admit on my journal here:
Burnt out by high-school, and an innate disgust of busywork that I just can't shake. Oh, and school-like institutions (such as universities) make me anxious due to seven long years of extremely negative experiences.
What happened to me isn't guaranteed to happen to everyone who goes into the public school system, though many would argue that almost NO child escapes it unharmed. Likewise, a responsible parent that is homeschooling for the right reasons will not neglect the social and emotional growth of their children. It's pretty easy: just leave the door open.
If you're homeschooled, you're one lucky person. If you're socially awkward, that may just be who you are, since it doesn't matter if you're homeschooled or not (most socially retarded people I know are school-leavers; least are the people with less time spent in school). If you want to know how to deal with bullies, welcome to the club, so does everyone - go to a boxing gym.
I don't think I'll have the last words this time. I'll let the homeschooled kids/parents take it from here. From several YouTube videos:
"I always find it funny that people ask homeschoolers about how their kids have a "social life" but people never ask if people who work from home have a "social life" its really just the same!"
"I think homeschooling is wonderful, I have been home schooled for 10 years, As for the social aspect, I actually have more time for doing "social" activities than my public schooled friends do. I think that the public school environment can get in the way of your actual education."
"As for poor social skills, home schooled kids tend to be the MOST sociable, because they tend to be exposed to all age groups, i.e. people of all types of intelligence and wisdom. By doing so, their mental development far exceeds anyone in public school (i.e. kids who socialize with kids only)."
"Amen to that. We just find friends in other places. I actually do a lot of things socially. And I'm homeschooled! *GASP*"