Here’s another great article I stumbled across recently: http://www.parent24.com/School_7-12/development_behaviour/5-home-school-myths-busted-20090423
It’s called “5 home school myths busted” and it deals with some of the most commonly raised objections to home school that home school families face.
The number one objection we hear is the “no social interaction” issue. I’ve commented on this before, so I’ll just say that the girls are very social, and more confident than they’ve been since starting “school” 7-odd years ago. My theory is that in any school structure, each child is encouraged to discover where she fits into the group. She quickly needs to identify what she brings to the party, and what people will like/dislike. Often this identification is done for the child by the peer group, and from what I can tell, it sticks. So a bright child with a love of technology becomes the “geek”, in extreme cases even socially outcast. And while sporty kids can be popular, sometimes they’re labelled “dumb jock” and never seem to get a chance to prove otherwise.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer that we make our perceptions of ourselves and our lives. We decide a lot of who we turn out to be, and how we respond to others. But that notwithstanding, for a small child to stand up to a large group of people whose opinions he or she values can be asking a lot. Eventually what the group says becomes truth for that person.
In other words, your entire identity is determined by a bunch of 5-year-olds who’re still learning the basics of toilet etiquette.
On the other hand, here at home my children are free to explore who they are. They can experiment safely with a range of life experiences, and decide what they like and what they don’t. So my “girly girl” can climb trees and be a tom boy and see what that’s like. My tomboy scientist can kick a soccer ball around and decide if that works for her. No one is saying “you can’t” or “it’s not really you” or “what are you trying to prove?”. As a result, they’re developing a strong sense of self that is independent of the views and judgments of others.
Obviously this doesn’t happen in a vaccuum. DH and I have ongoing input, sharing our thoughts and opinions as honestly and lovingly as years of training (and therapy :)) allow. The difference is that we have their best interests at heart, and no one on earth could possible care about them as much as we can. This unconditional love (as unconditional as a finite human can manage) goes a long way towards giving them the space and courage to work out who they want to be without fear.
And the result: the girls are more relaxed, more confident and, interestingly, more thoughtful and polite than ever before. They’ve always been a delight (an answer to very specific prayer there), and now this is true even more than ever.
What a blessing.