“How could youth better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living?”- Henry David Thoreau
“Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
One of the most common criticisms of homeschooling, and especially road schooling, is the concern surrounding socialization. Every homeschooling family knows this is unfounded, yet mainstream society just can’t fathom how a child who is not in school can be socialized and is obsessed with the idea. It seems homeschoolers and roadschoolers have something in common with mainstream society.
We also wonder about socialization. We wonder how a child that is in a classroom 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week can be socialized. We wonder how spending the majority of your life with the same people, of the same age, the same maturity, the same educational level and skill level can be called socialization.
We hear all the same stories of kids who are bullied by their peers and sometimes by their teachers and we wonder if that’s the socialization mainstream society is speaking of? We watch the news and hear the horror stories of the goings on in public schools; issues of compromised safety, of schools with metal detectors, rampant drug problems, promiscuity, weapons, theft, gangs, etc. Is this more of the socialization we are accused of not providing our children?
I think I speak for all homeschoolers when I say you can own that socialization. I mean seriously. I’m willing to concede that to you. 🙂 But if that is acceptable socialization for the masses, then what is with the controversy over schooling your children at home? If we can send our kids to schools with all the above issues and not bat an eye, why am I constantly on the defense because my children learn at home, with me and Dan and their siblings?
Is it that they wake up, shower and get dressed without a big rush? Or perhaps it’s that they eat a healthy balanced breakfast. Or maybe because they don’t have broken hearts at 12 because they are missing out on all that middle school dating drama? Or that on any given day you might see Grady teaching Kady Algebra or Dally helping Emmy with her letters? Or that we learn by doing? Maybe it’s that in addition to our focus on the three R’s I encourage my kids to follow their passions? And even though these passions come and go, they have one thing in common … they are about them specifically and they are always educational, because everything is educational!
Maybe the controversy is as simple as the fact that we aren’t as trusted to educate our children as society believes the government is. Anyone reading this should let that sink in. We, as a society, quite possibly, believe the government is more trustworthy, more diligent and more qualified to teach our children. Is this the same government that has squandered our children’s future with an insurmountable debt? The same government whose Department of Education willingly admits their students are worlds behind other first world countries in academia?
Let me ask you a question. Who cares more about our children? Who cares more about their future? Who cares more whether they actually learn valuable lessons or whether they simply perform well on tests? The answer is obvious to me … parents. Parents care more about their own children than anyone could ever imagine. But yet, the anti-homeschool lobby has wheels. It has ears in the highest echelons of the Judicial Branch.
And here’s where I’m going to lose half of you, the “world building”, “social justice”, “it takes a village”, “Whatever Makes You Happy” crowd wants your children. Homeschoolers are a recruitment nightmare. It’s a fact. We are typically driven by a higher power, but even when not, because I know a few atheist homeschoolers, we are at least free-thinkers. The vast majoirity of homeschool parents (and children) don’t believe something simply because it was on Fox News or MSNBC. We dig deep for the real truth and while we may come up with completely different conclusions on what that truth is – no-one can tell us what to think or do.
If you don’t trust a parent to educate their own children, what does that say about our society as a whole? I’ll take a gander and say it says we are lazy, we are short-sighted and we are a throw-away society.
Let’s take a step back real quick. According to most social scientists, socialization essentially represents the whole process of learning throughout life and is a central influence on the behaviour, beliefs, and actions of adults as well as of children. It’s not found solely in school, it’s found in every aspect of life. So it stands to reason that homeschooled children who are spending their days doing a wide variety of activities in a wide variety of places with a wide variety of people are equally as socialized and even perhaps more socialized than kids who are in a controlled environment day after day.
I look at our experiences as a homeschooling family over the past 4 years and I’m amazed at the transformation that’s taken place in our family. I then look at the past 19 months spent as a roadschooling family and I cannot believe what I see. First, Geography, as a science, is a no-brainer! Second, they can read a map! Third, they can calculate mileage and gas and can tell you how much a trip will cost! Those are some serious life skills!
But they are also learning about themselves!! They are not only pursuing their passions in learning (and actually learning what those passions are) but they are becoming more worldly, more … socialized. And so are we. Our horizons have changed. No longer do we cross the paths of the same people day after day, no longer do we attend the same church with the same parishioners, wave hi to the same neighbors. Today, we traverse the country meeting people from all different walks of life. They’ve met older people, younger people, and kids their own age. We’ve met black people, white people, tall people, short people, atheists and religious alike. We’ve met cocky people and humble people. People with hoardes of money and people without. Do you get what I’m saying? We have friends in almost every state, some are like us, most are not. And the fun part is that we meet new people in the wildest of places.
Take the Tiemeyer family (http://allthisandheaven.blogspot.com). We met their oldest daughter, Dani, in line for … confession!! No lie! We had walked to confession because our RV was dead and we had no vehicle…that was the worst part of it all … no ride, no transportation, literally STRANDED. But Dani, a beautiful 20-something year old product of 12+ years of homeschooling, came over and introduced herself and after talking for a bit asked if we’d like to join her family for pizza and cookies after mass. How’s that for socialized?
It was Elly’s birthday so we declined, but she and her mom came back after mass to drive us home!! I’m serious! This wonderfully kind, beautiful family came back to pick us, a family they had just met, up after mass. We made plans to meet up with their entire family the next day and, get this, they picked us up (again!) for what turned out to be an epic day of full on contact football and hell raising at the park! The entire family was so fun, so kind, so real, so much like us that we had an instant connection!
I could write a book on the incredible people experiences we have had! It’s remarkable! But I’ll spare you that here in this forum. All you have to do is imagine what experiences you would have living on the road for 19 months. The people, the places, and the experiences we’ve had in the last year have greatly outnumbered those I’ve had in my 30+ years of life!
Imagine the knowledge and the education you would get in just everyday living. Ranging from Engine Trouble to oceanography, from history to kayak production. Life in and of itself is an education. I know people who don’t even teach their children, they simply live and let their children learn, and some of these kids are the smartest people I’ve met in ages, because they’ve learned to love learning. Isn’t that what we all want? Just for our kids to love learning?
We have one very special rule in our home … you have to learn something every single day. No day should ever pass without imparting some knowledge. Dan and I live this too. I suspect most of us do. Our roadschooling philosophy is to ignite the love of learning in our kids as well as teaching them how to learn. One of our favorite teachers once said that the basis of all education is learning how to learn.
Our wish for all is that you have a productive, fun, authentic and meaningful 2014!! Much love from the KelloggShow family!! Do you have a favorite “education” quote? Share it with us in the comments below!! Here are some of ours …
“Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.” – Earl Stevens
“Birds don’t go to flight school.” ~ Linda Dobson (my fav)
“College isn’t the place to go for ideas.” – Helen Keller
“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats
“In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: forget about it. Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it. One day, you will glance up at your collection of Japanese literature, or trip over the solar oven you built, and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself.” – Grace Llewellyn
“Skill to do comes of doing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know.” – Leo Tolstoy