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Friday, March 19, 2010

Home Schooling & Social Interactions – The Debate

I came across an article I wanted to share, A Critical Look at the Influence of Social Interactions in Educational Setting, by Julie Darleen, which concerns the differences and the similarities of home schooling vs. traditional schooling.

One debate I've heard over and over about home schooling has to do with why home schooling is bad for children because it doesn't allow for social interaction. Just before I read this article, my son and daughter-in-law had taken their boys to the local Borders book store for "Story Time" (their daughter was at a school function).

During that event I met a couple with a baby who told me that they planned on home schooling their son and that socialization was very important for his development. So any time they had a chance to bring him to a local event, they did.

I couldn't help but think of all the debates I'd heard over the years about how children who were home schooled missed this one very important aspect of growth and development. I wondered why the parents didn't attend social events or create events with other home-schooled children. After listening to the couple at Borders I wondered why it was even a problem.

The way schools are today, with discipline and other problems, it's a wonder more parents aren't turning to home schooling. And with the "no child left behind" program, I have to wonder if maybe we are "dumbing down" our curriculum to attend to the least intelligent in the group, thereby making the more intelligent students suffer from boredom.

Two of my grandchildren just turned 5 years old. Both of them have parents who teach them at home. They will attend traditional kindergartens in the fall of 2010, but both of them might be over-prepared for a typical school setting. Both of them recognize and can write the letters of the alphabet. They know the sounds the letters make and they are already adding and subtracting numbers. Some of the children entering kindergarten don't even know how to recite their ABCs.

One great source that has helped my grandchildren in their educational progress is tlsbooks (a website I highly recommend for children through 5th grade) and another great source is their parents who sit down with them to teach them skills that are important for their development.

Just today I came across the article linked above, and I realized that socialization doesn't have to be an issue for people who want to home school their children. Having met many people who were home schooled and who are intelligent social beings, I believe educational development depends not only on the intelligence of the child, but also on who is teaching him or her.

My opinion, based on years of observation, is that children who learn from teachers who make learning interesting and fun are apt to be more successful than children who learn from boring instructors. But even the most intelligent child will suffer if he or she is not challenged educationally. And it doesn't matter if those teachers come from a traditional educational facility or from a home school environment.

I wonder what is going to happen in the traditional school environment when more children who started out superior intellectually fall through the cracks because they weren't challenged enough to succeed.

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