Home Schooling Equals Social Retardation?

By: Craig - February 08, 2006

Recently, a member of my wife’s family took their son out of school in order to home school. Their reasons were perfectly valid…they were in a district in Utah that was so stressed that their son’s needs were not being met. He has medically documented needs, but the teacher was so stretched that she could not see to them. As my sister-in-law was signing the documents, the teacher said, “I can’t help but think this was all my fault.” She was right and yet there are other factors as well. Utah ranks the lowest of all states in per pupil spending: $4,331.00 compared to the national average of $6,835.00.[1] The national teacher/pupil ratio average is 15.9, but Utah’s is 22.4.[2] Finally, the average teacher pay in Utah is $38,268.00, while the national average is $45,771.00.[3] Especially given the concentration of church members in Utah, I think I can safely say shame on Utah for its failures in something that the church has emphasized as important for all its members.

Now I am not just out to proclaim the weaknesses of the education system in Utah. There are weaknesses nationwide. To be fair, Utah performs well in terms of benchmark achievements and SAT/ACT scoring. But I have to wonder whether these successes are cultural manifestations rather than outcomes of Utah’s education system. In the specific case of my nephew, however, the Utah system failed him. Perhaps many other parents feel the same. Home schooling is on the rise. Between the years of 1999 and 2003 there was a jump of 22.5% in the number of home schooled children.[4] Statistics seem to bear out that home schooling is preferable to traditional schools. Home schooled students score an average of 57% higher than traditional students on standardized exams.[5]

There are many reasons to home school. In my nephew’s case, the schools were not able to adequately meet his needs. 13.7% of all home schooled students are schooled at home for the same reason. Additionally, 16.5% of home schooled students are schooled at home because the parents felt that the schools were not adequately instructing the children academically. I can appreciate and respect these motives.

My big concerns are with the 61% of parents who home school their children because they don’t like the environment of the schools or so that they can provide religious or moral education.[6] I have known many children who were home schooled, and invariably they were strange—socially maladjusted. Granted these are anecdotal observations that I can not back up with statistics. However, my observations seem to bear out that home schooled kids are socially retarded. I have heard the excuses: they take part in extra curricular activities; they go to schools for physical education; there are home schooled groups for social interaction. But these excuses ring hollowly against my cynically hardened, university professor’s worldview.

Parents cannot protect their children from the world indefinitely. At some point, the children must enter society and function. The parents who are so controlling that they feel they can keep their children in a protective shell indefinitely are doing a disservice to those children who emerge like a defenseless chick, unable to cope with the difficulty which is real life. Over time in a traditional school system, children learn to cope with the ugliness which is inevitable in society. Gradually, they develop the skills to handle those difficulties. In a traditional school environment, children strengthen their ability to endure and vanquish temptation in the same way they strengthen their physical muscles. Often, home schooled children emerge from their parent’s protection with atrophied defenses and retarded social skills. Which students are really the better educated?


  1. Well Craig, I tend to agree. While I wouldn’t say that the home-schooled kids I have know were invariably socially mal-adjusted, I think I would say 90% of them have been. But prepare to be blasted, amigo. Bad-mouthing home school has proven to be a risky enterprise in the ‘nacle.

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/8/2006 @ 3:33 pm

  2. I can’t help but agree with some of your observations. I have been closely acquainted with at least two kids who were home schooled for much of their lives, and they were both “socially retarded”. They did not fit in all that well, but were much more book smart than the rest of us. One was 2 years younger than me and graduated high school 2 years before me.

    On the other side of the coin, If at any point I feel that the needs of my children are not being met, or if I feel that my kids are not being treated fairly at school, I will probably give my kids the option of being home schooled if they want. I personally hated school and if I had been given the option, I would have taken it.

    Comment by Ian M. Cook — 2/8/2006 @ 3:36 pm

  3. I think schools create an artificial social environment. The things that are important socially in school, particularly in high school, are irrelevent outside of it.

    I come from a family of introverts with retarded social skills and school did not help me at all.

    I knew a woman once who homeschooled her kids, and they would do all kinds of cool stuff–including volunteer work at local hospitals. I would think stuff like that would give kids better life skills than getting beat up for having a weird haircut.

    But I do agree that home schooled kids in general seem way too sheltered, and often seem socially weird. But I also think social skills are overrated. Ha.

    Comment by Susan M — 2/8/2006 @ 3:54 pm

  4. Often, home schooled children emerge from their parent’s protection with atrophied defenses and retarded social skills.

    Amen, amen, and amen.

    Comment by Christian Y. Cardall — 2/8/2006 @ 4:15 pm

  5. I was homeschooled off and on through elementary and middle school, and so were my siblings. When we went to school, we were a grade or two (or sometimes three) ahead of the other kids our age.

    I was not really sheltered from the real world. I suppose my parents thought I was, but they let me have nearly unlimited access to other children, the library, and the internet (in the pre-Java days, when it was just white text on a black background and there wasn’t the danger there is now). They did lay down the line when I wanted to read anti-mormon literature, but I had exposure to nearly everything else, and, surprisingly enough, I had it earlier than my peers. (As a side note, I do not recommend telling children that they can’t read anti-mormon literature, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.) What I was sheltered from was daily contact with my peers in non-play situations. I never quite caught onto the particulars of childhood social mores because I wasn’t spending all day with other kids beginning at the age of five. I was fighting, socially, to keep up with kids my own age.

    There is a difference between “life skills” and “social skills.” Homeschool kids tend to have great life skills. They get along beautifully in adult settings, with adults- the “real world,” if you will. They do, however, tend to be different than their peers. I’ve heard homeschool moms say “but my daughter has so many friends from church, and they’re always doing things together! Of course she’s fine socially!” I was always the ringleader in my church friendship circles, but I was also always the outsider in school and (to a lesser extent) neighborhood circles. Church circles are defined by age groups. When I was with kids my age, I was smart, I was socially competent, and I could get what we wanted from the adults, so I got to be the leader. When I was with kids at school, I was at the their level mentally, but not socially. The neighborhood groups tended to be a mix of school groups and church groups, so I was fine there most of the time, but had my moments feeling awkward or left out.

    When I got into high school, it didn’t matter so much. The age groups were mixed anyway, and I was mature enough to be socially competent in the “geeky” and “artistic” (read: “different” but not tormented) crowds. But when I was barely 17, I started going to the University, and age mattered again. The professors noticed my acne and treated me accordingly, and I never felt at home with the students. It didn’t help that I was taking classes where most of the students had already been in school for years, and were in their mid-twenties. I’m starting to overcome that now, but it hasn’t been comfortable.

    I’m not sure whether I’d choose to be homeschooled, if I could go back and do it over again. In some ways it has been really good. I’ll graduate at a very young age, and I’ll have “that many more years in my real life” (as my mother puts it). Then again, I wonder how my life would be different if one of those years had been added to my childhood instead.

    Comment by Ariel — 2/8/2006 @ 4:30 pm

  6. If we want to talk anecdotes, I know plenty of products of the public-school system who are “socially retarded”. I am doubtful that one type of system contributes more to social retardation.

    I have to agree with, Susan M. Given the structure of the public school system, I fail to see how it is a realistic social ecosystem. I interacted socially with other children more outside of school than I ever did during school. That being said, where in life, outside of public school, will individuals ever find themselves interacting solely with people whop are all the same age?

    Actually, if you think home schooling negatively affects a child’s ability to interact socially, you apparently have yet to meet my children. Their extroversion is certainly not inherited from either parent.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 4:38 pm

  7. Hmmm, at first glance this seems like a rather tired bone to be chewing on… generalizations, logical fallacies, all leading to admittedly statistically unsubstantiable conclusions.

    I need some clarification here, so that I may determine if my personal experience is relevant to this discussion.

    What criteria define “social retardation”?

    Is your circle of “strange” people truly absent those who attended public schools?

    You state that you appreciate and understand the motive to homeschool because a child’s need (academic or otherwise) was not being met, correct? Why dismiss the respondents [footnote 6] who cite it as applicable to their situation but do not rank it as the most important reason they currently homeschool?

    Comment by Téa — 2/8/2006 @ 4:52 pm

  8. The definition of social retardation is a completely subjective classification which each of us must define for themselves.

    As for myself, social retardation is the lack of social skills that make it much more difficult to interact with peers and those outside of a in-group class. This retardation is not a permanent situation but similar to those that do not learn the fundamentals of math at the same time as peers. While the later learning of math is certainly feasable, it is much more likely that the child will be frustrated and percieve math to be difficult in the future.

    As for introversion/extroversion, my personal feeling is that a child can be extroverted and socially inept at the same time.

    As for the assertion that I am making a scientific observation, I have stated plainly that it is my own perception and has not been tested.

    It is further my intent to promote discourse on topics which people have strong feelings that both sides may be explored and a greater understanding accomplished.

    Tea, you are right that I did not discuss the those who cited it as a reason but did not go on to account for those who did not cite it as their primary reason. I cited the source so that I would not have to dissect the data in the body of the post.

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 5:17 pm

  9. Geoff J.

    I appreciate the warning about being blasted. I am ready. Sadly, as we have seen with the reaction to the Danish cartoon, there are those who will react with abuse when someone disagrees with their opinion. I stand for those who assert their freedom to post!

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 5:19 pm

  10. My anecdotal evidence is like the poster’s.

    I am not wholly against home-schooling, but the only reason that I would do it, is if my kids’ academic needs were not met. I appreciate the statistics showing the reasons why people homeschool. They are very telling.

    Additionally, while I don’t doubt many home-schooling parents are very qualified to do so, I have also witnessed MANY who weren’t and my problem is that there is no qualification. There were three home-schooled kids in my 8-9 year old promary class that had serious trouble reading the simplest paragraph. And this was not due to any learning disability whatsoever.

    I am thankful I live where I do, where education is a priority in the local communtiy and I can trust that my kids will be taught well.

    Comment by Tim J. — 2/8/2006 @ 5:21 pm

  11. I hope that there are people here that can read sarcasm and playful banter into a response!

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 5:21 pm

  12. On second thought on the subject, I was not homeschooled, and I am a social retard. I often attribute it to the fact that I am not interested in the same things as others in my area are…

    Comment by Ian M. Cook — 2/8/2006 @ 5:35 pm

  13. My best friend in high school was homeschooled. Completely normal guy (though he didn’t start homeschool until jr. high, Maybe elementary public school is the most important.) He’s married to someone that was homeschooled and she’s completely normal as well. Betchya can’t guess if they’re going to homeschool their kids…

    On the other hand, another of our friends was socially retarded… but his case can be attributed entirely to his family upbringing.

    Will I do it? Not a chance. But that’s mostly because my wife would never consider it, I don’t really have anything against it.

    Comment by Rusty — 2/8/2006 @ 5:46 pm

  14. You did read Julie’s homeschool manifesto on T&S, right? Lots of this has been discussed there.

    Yeah, I was never going to consider homeschooling either, primarily for the “be in the world but not of the world” training it provided for me. Being an extrovert, I also really enjoyed having different teachers and friends throughout the years as my classes and subjects changed. My son is different. Preschool was a trying experience, and we are homeschooling him for kindergarten at his request. After 6 months, I’m really beginning to enjoy it, and looking forward to homeschooling as long as he wants to be homeschooled. We’ll use a free agency approach with my daughter and any others who follow as well.

    I think as homeschooling becomes more mainstream we’ll see a wider range of abilities (socially and academically) represented by homeschool graduates. I think there are gains and losses in each area, and lots parents can do to compensate for potential difficulties regardless of form of schooling.

    Comment by LisaB — 2/8/2006 @ 6:47 pm

  15. Could you enumerate some of the harms that said “social retardation” poses to children, societies?

    Is attending public school the only way to prevent/correct any “social retardation”?

    Further, is it your contention then that homeschooling will always produce this deficiency?

    Comment by Téa — 2/8/2006 @ 6:47 pm

  16. Tea,

    As for the harms of social retardation…like sin, the person misses out on opportunities, the person suffers unneeded anguish.

    Just to clarify though, I stated that my concern was for those parents who wished to keep children home because of environmental (which I am blithely interpreting as an in the world/of the world problem) or religious reasons (which also corresponds to the same assumption).

    Perhaps another anecdote would be illustrative. The superintendant of the school where my wife grew up was dismissed (he later sued and won a buch of denero) because he had kept his children home to school them. He cited the fact that he didn’t want them interacting with the other children at the school (this was in a predominantly mormon community in Southern Idaho). He had not problem with the education or programs of the school. It was a question of “protection”. I question the utility of protecting a child from normal development which interaction with peers often provides.

    I applaud those parent who sacrifice to provide an admittedly outstanding academic education to children who cannot get it in a more traditional school environment.

    If anything, the purpose of the post was to create a discussion in which such percieved difficulties could be examined. If such a difficulty exists (which I must say has not been conclusively proved), then what can be done to ameliorate the phenomenon.

    Nor do I assert that every home schooled child is socially lacking. Only that, in my observations, the ratio of socially lacking children is higher among the home schooled than the traditionally schooled. Indeed, there are many socially retarded students who have gone to traditional schools.

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 7:25 pm

  17. Being new to the Bloggernackle, it is only right to give Julie her due…Thanks Lisa B for keeping me straight!

    Her post is http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=2619#more-2619

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 7:39 pm

  18. I would note that Utah taxes itself a lot more for schools than most states.

    The problem is that Utah has a lot more young familes and children.

    So, I can live in Plano, Texas where my kids are getting some extremely good classes (did I mention you can get two years of AP physics taught by PhDs [yes, more than one] at my daughter’s senior high school?) and pay less in Taxes than you will in Utah — but there are only three kids in our neighborhood.

    You need to have a little more pity for the people in Utah with their demographics and tax issues.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — 2/8/2006 @ 7:41 pm

  19. Believe me…I pity them plenty!

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 7:44 pm

  20. “There were three home-schooled kids in my 8-9 year old promary class that had serious trouble reading the simplest paragraph.”

    At the same time, our homeschooled daughter reads better than the rest of her Primary classmates. In fact, she was reading at a grade three level last school year despite being in grade one.

    Not sure what either anecdote proves.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 7:46 pm

  21. One thing to watch out for is the post hoc fallacy. That is are kids more likely to be home schooled for reasons related to social skills (directly or indirectly) or are poor social skills due to home schooling?


    Aren’t the type of people most likely to home school because of worries about “other social teachings” from what they value also the sort who would be most likely to communicate to their kids a kind of social paranoia or at best a difficulty to relate socially to people from different “styles” of behavior? I’d think so. So there is a selection process at work.

    Consider the stereotype of the uptight Christian fundamentalist who fears the world and anything that might preach against their particular beliefs. They communicate that fear to their kids. Now whether the kids are home schooled or not, that communication in early ages will affect how they view people of other religions or other ethical choices. Likewise that fear might affect how they can socially interact affecting their social interaction skills. But that would be true whether they were home schooled or not. At worst the home schooling would simply make it less likely they could train themselves out of the habits their parents communicate to them.

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/8/2006 @ 8:33 pm

  22. Kim, my brother actually deals a lot educationally with home schooled kids in Alberta. It’s thus not quite typical given the different situations in Alberta from say the United States. But he says learning problems are pretty common, if not typical, among home schooled kids.

    It really takes a lot of skill to teach well and a lot of discipline to teach consistently. Unfortunately a lot of parents who do this aren’t able to maintain either. Clearly some parents can manage it. But for many it’s like home improvement. It’s a great idea and is often better than hiring a contractor *if* you can maintain the work.

    I’ve heard lots of stories in Alberta of people taking kids out of the schools for religious or related reasons and then simply not following through.

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/8/2006 @ 8:36 pm

  23. I’m a teacher that has taught in both public and (mainly) private schools. I’ve seen teacher-friends of mine home-school their kids on occasion, and sometimes only for a certain subject matter that they felt wasn’t being properly addressed by the children’s regular teacher. I’ve also seen kids enter the schools I’ve been at after being home schooled. For the vast majority of the time, the home schooled kids had a strong knowledge base and fit into the new school settings quite well. On the other hand, I also knew of one mom from church who home schooled her 5 children, and they were not only behaviorally out of control, but their knowledge base was far below their peers at their various age levels. They were home schooled because theire wasn’t a public school available where we were living and they didn’t want to spend the tuition for the private school (where I was teaching at the time). In other words, home-schooling is only as good as the teacher and the motivations behind the home-school choice in the first place!

    Comment by meems — 2/8/2006 @ 8:46 pm

  24. The family I’m referring to above was from Alberta.

    Comment by meems — 2/8/2006 @ 8:49 pm

  25. My mother raised three children, each spaced a half-decade or more from each other. After a total of 30 years in public school systems, she has stated categorically that if she could do it over again, she would home school all of us.

    Having been through a public school system myself, I am bound and determined to home school my kids. There are a number of factors involved, including the teaching of life skills and the meeting of individual children’s needs. My two biggest reasons are: (1) I am not willing to allow a secular bureaucracy proxy parenting rights to my children. (2) If what goes on at school is ANYone’s idea of socializing, then I fear for our children, I really do.

    I want to home school my kids BECAUSE I want them socialized — socialized with adults and adult behaviours, not the confusion, ignorance, arrogance and down-right meanness of packs of children to whom the adults in their lives are largely meaningless.

    Which kids seem better educated? I’d say it is the ones who aren’t tripped on their way to the lunchroom, whose books aren’t stolen out of their lockers and who don’t learn to fail their classes just to gain some peace from their peers.

    Comment by harpingheather — 2/8/2006 @ 8:49 pm

  26. Enter the bureaucrat (gotta love Star Wars quotes).

    While there are certainly poor teachers in the public school system, there are bureaucratic mechanisms in place to regulate and license teachers. As such, as children rotate through the school system, they are less likely to encounter consistently inadequate teachers.

    The advantage of home schooled children is, however, they don’t have to deal with unionized, indocrinated, and fad driven professionals…

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 8:53 pm

  27. I know plenty of homeschooled children as well and plenty of public schooled children. In each category you are going to find those with social problems (or other problems) and those without.

    We school at home. Our daughter is very advanced for her “grade level” and certainly not socially maladjusted. I was in the public school system growing up and I certainly didn’t find that it contributed to a good social adjustment. My interaction with children not only outside of school, but those at Church. And I grew up in an area where the Church was small. I certainly didn’t gain any valuable social skills in school when you are thrown into a situation where your main contact is a brief period at lunch and during recess. I certainly didn’t make any long term friends through school, or learn helpful skills in working with others. I did learn to avoid the bullies. Maybe that’s a social skill.However, I am still rather passive because of it (at least in person).

    Anyway, I digress. To say that “most” homeschooled children are socially “retarded” is generalising. Would it seem accurate to say that all public schooled children are robots? No. Homeschooling isn’t something new. It’s been around for ages. But to think that the government knows better how to educate my children when my daughter, who, if in the public school system would barely be learning to read right now, but who is actually reading (as Kim said) at a grade 3 level or beyond possibly, well, that’s not accurate. There are great homeschooling programs and curricula out there. The parent who is on top of things is able to find lots of support and resources. Come back to me in 10 years and I can show you a child who excels, not only socially, but academically. She is already showing great promise in both areas.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 8:58 pm

  28. What it boils down to is parents must follow their own inspiration. Blasting someone for keeping their kid in or out of school is like harassing a couple for not having more children. Meridian Magazine had some good articles a while ago explaining the various options parents have nowadays: they have to follow their own light.

    Comment by cadams — 2/8/2006 @ 8:59 pm

  29. I remember being laighed at because I wasn’t wearing the “cool” pants. This was in high school of course. Funny how I remember something like that but not really how I was taught. I remember feeling very insecure and outcast until about grade 12. Very sad.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 9:02 pm

  30. sorry that was “laughed”

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 9:14 pm

  31. Its funny that you use the phrase “social retard”, because thats the phrase I often use refering to most 18 to 20 year old public school graduates, As with all things, homeschooling can be done in the wrong way, and for the wrong reasons. I dont have statistics like you, but I have seen successful and socialy balanced homeschooled children. What we should be more concerned about, are the high number of braindead balls of mush that our public schools are producing, not all, but a good number. I can understand your views, they were mine untill I was educated on the subject. But as for social skills, my 7 year old can communicate with adults better than most high school graduates. unfortunately, school only teaches one to socialize with those of their own age group. That doesn’t help much in the real world.

    Comment by Ronnie Taylor — 2/8/2006 @ 9:15 pm

  32. Mary,

    Perhaps I misposted when I typed I have known many children who were home schooled, and invariably they were strange–socially maladjusted. That is certainly a generalization and unfounded without proper empirical backing. Again, it was an hypotheses based on non-scientific observation only, and as such, non-generalizable.

    However, non-scientific observation often drives hypothesis testing and theory building.

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 9:17 pm

  33. Ronnie,

    I never used the term social retard. I personally find that term offensive. However, socially retarded implies a slowing of growth in one facet of a probably rich and exceptional life.

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 9:20 pm

  34. Kim and Mary,

    I have no doubt that if you were responsible for the education of children in your home or out, they would emerge well adjusted and exceptional. We are continually impressed by your devotion and abilities. Sadly, not everyone is so well endowed.

    Comment by Craig — 2/8/2006 @ 9:24 pm

  35. One fallacy here that has not been pointed out is the hybrid education. That being you put the kids in school (carefully selected as to which district you move into). But then when they get off of school you take the time to tutor them. You can customize this tutoring towards the skills strengths or weaknesses, as well as provide life skills instructions (oh how I remember learning how to make dinner) or scripture study or whatever. And then there is the whole summer and breaks etc, which equal about 1/4 of the time. Plenty of time to work with your kids and shore up their education.

    As far as homeschool kids go, while I have met some very bright kids, they tend to be almost too narrowly focused. Had I not been in public school I most certainly would not have been able to experience all the things I did. While my parents are incredibly smart (doctor and teacher) and talented (mad piano, singing, scripture reading, arts appreciating, baritone horn, accordion, guitor history skillz), there are some things they couldn’t do. This includes, performing in school plays, engaging in debate, gaining a liberal political mindset (my parents are conservatives, staunch, but not rabid, but just not that into it), publish a magazine, etc. Could those things be accomplished through homeschooling? yes, but my parents probably wouldn’t have. Regular schooling allows a child some choice of experiences. Even if Homeschoolers allow their child a choice, their choices are naturally limited by the parents own experiences, mindset and ability. Its like ordering a meal. A HS takes them to a Mexican restaurant and lets them choose, but Barbecue, Veal Piccata and Spaghetti etc, just aren’t on the menu. They may like the huevos rancheros, but would have been happier with the peking duck. PUblic school, is more like the restaurants at a vegas casinos. Sure, they are not allways the best quality, some are horrible, but can be really good. And their is a wide variety of choice (every casino has its mexican, its american, its asian, its buffet etc). You pick the best you can afford, give the choice. A tortured analogy I am sure, but I think it illustrates the point.

    Comment by jay s — 2/8/2006 @ 9:28 pm

  36. Ronnie, great to hear you have a smart 7 year old. Lets see what she is like when she turns 18!

    Comment by jay s — 2/8/2006 @ 9:29 pm

  37. Also, perhaps a better analogy for homeschooling is cooking at home (rather than the mexican restaurant). You can theoretically cook anything, and give them a taste of everything but will generally cook what you know, are comfortable with, and like. Also we all should know well enough that not everybody can cook everything. (Best example, the polynesian sister who made the best pork dishes , but about killed us with the enchildadas!).

    Comment by jay s — 2/8/2006 @ 9:32 pm

  38. Jay s,
    I never said HE is smart,I said he has good social skills, better than most 18 year olds I have met. I guess its all up to the amount of time and love we give to our chidren. God has given us 18 years to train our children, seems like a cruel joke if we can’t have a say in the outcome.

    Comment by Ronnie Taylor — 2/8/2006 @ 9:59 pm

  39. But he is also very smart

    Comment by Ronnie Taylor — 2/8/2006 @ 10:04 pm

  40. Well, I wouldn’t say we have a lot of abilities and we try to be devoted certainly, thank you. I think many homeschooled children do very well. I have seen it.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 10:18 pm

  41. What?!? No one has brought up these quotes:

    “I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another….Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 18:357)

    “We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can…” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.19)

    “We do not want outside folks to teach our children, do we? I think no. We do not want them to teach us how to get to heaven, do we? If we did, it would be of no use, for they do not know the way. Well, then, we do not want them to tamper with the minds of our little ones. You will see the day that Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are today in regard to religious matters. You mark my words, and write them down, and see if they do not come to pass. We are not dependent upon them, but we are upon the Lord.” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 21:100)

    “If the doctrines of these three men [Charles Darwin (evolution), Karl Marx (communism-socialism), Maynard Keynes (liberalism/socialist economics)] were to become the basic philosophy of our way of life, we as a people would fail as has no other generation before us since the days of Noah.” (Ezra Taft Benson, MIA Conference, June 1966)

    I’ve got many, many more if you want them.

    PS. How can it be a “shame” that Utah spends (or rather steals) 1/2 of that per child than does Washington D.C. (and many other places) and yet outscores them? More money is not the answer.

    Comment by ed — 2/8/2006 @ 10:24 pm

  42. I want to home school my kids BECAUSE I want them socialized — socialized with adults and adult behaviours, not the confusion, ignorance, arrogance and down-right meanness of packs of children to whom the adults in their lives are largely meaningless.

    A lot of people have been arguing that what some call “high school behavior” is actually unique to school. Might I suggest that this isn’t true? Rather it is a pretty normal aspect of humanity. If many of us manage through our particular jobs to avoid that kind of society it isn’t because it isn’t there. It’s just a fact of our jobs. But should we really limit our children to be unaware of that aspect of life?

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/8/2006 @ 10:31 pm

  43. I must have been lucky then. Of the eleven places I’ve worked since graduating from high school, none of them have had coworkers who were mean. Ignorant, sure, but no mean ones.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/8/2006 @ 10:55 pm

  44. Clark you made the point I was going to make.

    Do you think cliques, peer pressure, ugly rumors, rudeness, crudeness, etc., etc., end with High School? I encounter them on a daily basis from adults at my place of work. I would rather have my teenager learn how to deal with these things early on in their lives, than to be assaulted by them all at once later in their life.

    Comment by Tim J. — 2/8/2006 @ 10:55 pm

  45. Hmm, the Christmas before she started Kindergarten, my (now) six year old was reading at a second grade level (my sister in law was visiting, assessed her, and then confronted us on how we needed to do better. She teaches special needs children and sometimes loses perspective). I guess that is a positive note for the public schools re In fact, she was reading at a grade three level last school year despite being in grade one.

    I guess my biggest problem is that the four home schooled kids I’ve known in my current ward all seem to have serious holes in the math they’ve learned, though I think they are all doing ok socially.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — 2/8/2006 @ 11:27 pm

  46. Ed, class size correlates fairly well with success in school. To reduce class size requires more teachers. More teachers requires more money.

    It’s hardly the only factor. I think part of the reason Utah schools do so well is social. Mormons by and large value education and tend to read to their kids more than is typical. Presumably with more teachers we could do even better with our kids.

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/8/2006 @ 11:36 pm

  47. Kim, not knowing the kinds of jobs you’ve worked I can’t say. I will say I suspect you have merely been lucky.

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/8/2006 @ 11:36 pm

  48. I would rather have my teenager learn about these things early on in their lives, than to be assaulted by it all at once later in their life.

    (A) I am under no illusions that they will be completely free of cliques just because they don’t attend public school. Anyone who didn’t have cliques in their ward was either exceeding lucky or is practicing selective memory.

    (B) Speaking as a child who was targeted, belittled, demeaned and assaulted to the point where even now I wonder if it wasn’t some kind of coordinated attack by Satan to hobble me — and curse him, it worked — I would rather they never experienced anything like that at all but if they must then I’d rather it be when they are older, more mature and experienced. It hurts at any age but young teens are at their most vulnerable. Whatever doesn’t kill you may make you stronger but that doesn’t mean you have to push your children into the lions’ den.

    Comment by harpingheather — 2/9/2006 @ 12:19 am

  49. In Indianapolis, we have a saying: “Sending your children to Indianapolis Publis Schools is tantamount to child abuse.”

    Comment by Bookslinger — 2/9/2006 @ 1:21 am

  50. My wife and I attended grad school at the U of U, where we taught many undergrads. It may be anecdotal, but we found the LDS kids to be very socially retarded compared with college students in other parts of the country.

    Yeah, we homeschool.

    Comment by Daryl Cobranchi — 2/9/2006 @ 5:34 am

  51. Like harpingheather said, no need to throw them in the Lion’s Den. Having lived through the demeaning, cruel school age, it didn’t teach me how to “deal” with it, but how to avoid it. Children need to have the resources to handle it before they can learn how to manage it.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 7:37 am

  52. I can respect the feelings of parent who want to “protect” their children. But doesn’t that equate with “throwing them in the deep end”. Certainly some will learn to swim…but invariably some will drown.

    I have been in positions to see many “protected” children who, when released from their seclusion, entered into a mormon rumspringa complete with experimentation, testing and despair because they had not developed the skills to handle all of that freedom at the same time.

    I can raise your Brigham Young quotes with a Jospeh Smith, “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.”

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 8:17 am

  53. Well, I can’t say that parents are necessarily “protecting” children (I am certainly not doing that. I know our daughter would do just as well in the public school system). I think, knowing my children, I am better equipped to teach them what they need to know and so far that has certainly proved to be the case. However, the key in homeschooling isn’t to be the primary “educator”, it is to teach them to learn. My experience in public school certainly didn’t do that. Honestly I have known a very large number of homeschooled children, and truly, the problems are few and far between. The main thing you might notice is they don’t have the same overwhelming need to be “in with the cool kids”. They aren’t intimidated by not having the most up to date clothes. And they interact with a LOT of peopl of all ages on a regular basis. Homeschooling doesn’t automatically mean secluding your children from the world. Few homeschoolers do that.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 9:23 am

  54. We experimented with home-schooling with our oldest child when it was time for her to enter kindergarten. We enjoyed teaching her and watching her mind grow but we quit after six months. What turned us off the program was the interaction with other home-schooling parents we’d meet at the semi-weekly get-togethers. Our personal assessment of the parents were that they themselves were, on average, either socially or academically inept. We tried five or six different groups unsuccessfully looking for a group of “normal” parents. Now granted, each group had one or two exceptional parental units (who typically lead their respective group) but the remaining group members severely dragged down the “average.” Ultimately we decided that that the apple does not fall far from the tree and we’d rather our children socialize with a wider range of personality types.

    Our compromise has been to stay actively involved in our childrens’ educations while sending them to traditional schools. My wife volunteers a few hours per week in each of our childrens’ classrooms which allows her to assess instructors’ classroom competence and keep abreast of the classroom curriculum. I meet with instructors once or twice per month and they send me assignment lists on a weekly basis. By staying actively involved we are able to identify instances, quite quickly, where inappropriate material is being taught and where the academic needs of our children are not being met. We are then able to work with the teachers and the school administration to take corrective action, and becuase we stay actively involved we have credibility and our concerns are actively addressed. For example, our two oldest children are in 1st and 3rd grade and both happen to be pretty good at math. My wife noticed that both children tended to finish their math work well before any of their class-mates. In addition, my first-grader was doing the third-graders math homework assignments for her so she could go out an play with friends. We pointed this out to the teachers and principal. Now, the first-grader goes to the fourth-grade classroom for math and the third-grader goes to the fifth grade enrichment class for math.

    My experience with homeshooling parents is that they lack the skill sets required for successful active collaboration with school administrations– a skill set vital to successful careers in later life.

    Comment by paul mortensen — 2/9/2006 @ 9:59 am

  55. Paul

    All parents, or just the ones you met? Well, ok, you said “your experience”. However, being a homeschooling parent, I certainly don’t lack the skills for successful active collaboration with school administrations. Interestingly, we are with a homeshcool board where I have to work with them on a regular basis. All homeschooling families in Alberta are required to do this as well. Actually, almost anywhere you go, since it is rare to find a situation where you are not supposed to register with a local school board or work with them in some capacity.

    The thing is, many of the “anti homeschool” bent seem to paint all homeschoolers with the same brush. I certainly try not to do that with all public school families. You will find extremes in all cases. You will also find dedicated and studious parents and children who are successful in their academic and social endeavours.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 10:11 am

  56. I don’t know Craig. Like you said, it’s all annectdotal. Any politician can dig up a good annecdote, but they rarely signify anything universal.

    I also don’t see why having your lunch money taken and receiving wedgies makes you more prepared for the world.

    And who says that social interaction makes you more ready for the world anyway?

    Besides, being shoved in a classroom with twenty kids exactly the same age as you is a pretty perverted idea of “socialization.” It doesn’t correspond to any of the realities real people live in.

    At work, you’ll have to deal with all kinds of people, of all different ages. Same with church, same with voluteering, same everywhere. Except in school.

    Just because it’s been done this way ever since the 1950s doesn’t mean our education paradigm isn’t profoundly disfunctional.

    Really, I think that half the objections from the anti-homeschool people are because it hasn’t been done this way for a long time. Kind of like the old bucket of crabs analogy: No one can get out, because all their peers keep pulling them back in.

    Comment by Seth R. — 2/9/2006 @ 11:18 am

  57. Seth,

    I am not asserting that the education system in the US (or Canada) is not broken. Indeed, I have definate problems with education in the US.

    I would hypothesize that interaction (even forced interaction) with a broad group of people–by definition people who carry different points of view/attributes–would increase the likelihood that children in this situation would learn to function in different environments with different types of people. Are there difficulties? Absolutely. Sadly, I was seriously victimized by bullies while a child in school. Did those difficulties contribute to who and what I am today? Again, for good or bad, absolutely. While presenting a cynical facade in this post, I am a deeply compassionate and sensitive person precisely because of those experiences. I respect many disparate viewpoints because I gained respect through interaction for the people that held them.

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 11:34 am

  58. Lots of my thoughts on homeschooling (as they were a year or so ago) can be found in this T&S thread.

    Some other thoughts:

    There are no good scientific studies on homeschoolers that mean anything. The ones that exist have been produced by teachers’ unions and homeschooling associations, with predictable conclusions. Also, the recent explosion in the growth of homeschooling has rendered any study more than a few years old hopelessly out of date.

    Similarly, the character of the general homeschooling population has changed significantly in the past few years, so that anecdotal evidence of any kind based on observations more than a few years ago are likely to be less representative than they once were. Examples of the stereotypes still abound, to be sure, but they are no longer the overwhelming majority of cases, if indeed they ever were.

    Clark’s comment #21 is right on. I would add to his observation that there are many homeschoolers whose parents pull them out of the public schools precisely because they lack the social skills to thrive in such an environment.

    Daryl in #50 is right on. You could take most of the arguments that Craig makes in the initial post and substitute “BYU” for homeschooling and it might not be too far off.

    Finally, “socially maladjusted” is a term that only makes sense in the context of some society. As the number of homeschoolers grows, behaviors and attitudes associated with them are likely to become less foreign and alienating to the society at large. (My wife worried when we decided not to circumcise our sons that they wouldn’t look like the other boys in the locker room; I told her that for their generation, and certainly for the next, it’s the circumcised boys that will look “different”).

    For the record I’m a homeschooling parent (or perhaps more accurately put, am married to a homeschooling parent).

    Comment by Bryce I — 2/9/2006 @ 12:03 pm

  59. Bryce, there’s a fair bit more variety at BYU than I think you acknowledge. Don’t forget that there are two major colleges in the valley then plenty of people just working and more minor educational facilities. For instance in one of my apartments the guys across the hall often had big beer bashes and parties with all the expected after effects.

    The other difference with BYU is that you get kids from all over the country and even the world. While I think there is a distinct lack of variety at BYU that is beneficial, it doesn’t really affect the social issues.

    The valuable social issues I see kids learning in regular schools are things related to peer pressure, conflict and the like. In the more controlled home school environment I’m just not sure how kids can get exposed to that sort of thing and learn how to deal with it.

    Others mention that homeschooled kids aren’t as worried about clothes and the like. On one level that’s good. But on an other level one has to ask why they aren’t and whether they’ve learned how to deal with those sorts of pressures in life. If they aren’t going to be significantly interacting with the wide culture as a whole that’s one thing. If, as some have suggested, they already lack the skills to deal with this environment that’s something else again. But by and large I think learning how to deal with these oh so human failings is important. If only to understand those who are in these situations.

    Comment by Clark Goble — 2/9/2006 @ 12:52 pm

  60. Clark, I don’t really want to belabor what was kind of a throwaway point, but I went to school at BYU, and as much as I love the place, it’s about as homogenous as a coed campus can get. For me, that was a good thing — I wanted that kind of environment, and it was one reason why I chose to go there (of course, as a Japanese American Democrat from New York, I wasn’t much like the rest of the crowd, superficially).

    Think about peer pressure and conflict. What are the two major concerns of American college students (other than school?) Sex and alcohol. Sure, you can probably find subcultures at BYU where sex and alcohol are important, but you have to seek them out. There’s more peer pressure to go to church on Sunday (not to mention institutional rules) than there is to hit the bars.

    Besides, who cares about peer pressure except for teenagers anyway? When was the last time you had a lesson on peer pressure in Gospel Doctrine or Priesthood/RS? I can’t remember the last time I heard the words in one of my classes, except in the context of how to deal with your teenaged children. Why? Because as adults, we have much more power to choose the peer groups we find ourselves in. It’s far more important to be able to recognize and chooose a good group of peers than it is to be able to withstand the pressures of an artificially constructed peer group.

    I don’t disagree that it’s important to be able to deal with the things you suggest, but I do disagree that it’s the proper function of a public school system to provide that instruction. If it is, the schools are doing an abysmally bad job of it. Almost all of the socially maladjusted kids I know went to public school.

    Comment by Bryce I — 2/9/2006 @ 1:29 pm

  61. In my anecdotal experience, most home-schoolers have been intelligent, articulate, and socially well-adjusted. The one universal flaw that I have anecdotally found is an inability to assume that similarly intelligent, articulate, and socially well-adjusted people may, very well, disagree with them on some issue. The home-schooling environment provides a person with many important things, but it doesn’t often provide a person with people who fundamentally disagree with your family on issues (of import or otherwise). There are ways to get around this though (most involve getting your kid out of the house) and you, as a parent, seeking friendship with people of different walks.

    For the record, I am a homeschooling parent (or am at least the support staff of a homeschooling parent).

    Comment by John C. — 2/9/2006 @ 2:33 pm

  62. I can’t believe the ignorance of some of the comments here. Homeschooling can be done very well, and there are plenty of people who are doing it. There is no need for homeschooled kids to lack social interaction. Homeschoolers can still have band/orchestra groups, athletic and other group activities while conducting academic studies one-on-one. The Seattle area, for one, has very strong homeschooling resources. Listen to this NPR special on the subject:


    I haven’t been homeschooled nor can I convince my wife to do it, but I think that the evidence is very different from the stereotype.


    Comment by Carl Youngblood — 2/9/2006 @ 3:39 pm

  63. Carl,

    While there may be many different points discussed in this post, I would hope to avoid personal affronts…you decry ignorance and yet you laud “evidence” which is no more compelling or empiracle than that which is used to pursuade the opposing viewpoint. Please! you may dissagree, but I personally have devoted my career to eliminating ignorance.

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 3:51 pm

  64. Craig, Craig, Craig… The fact that you happen to be a hardened, cynical professor automatically makes your point of view suspect. There is a built-in bias against those who are not, in your view, professional educators. I suspect the socialization angle to be your own rationalization for the prejudices you voice.

    </facetious overtone>

    Now to point: Mrs. Woody and I agreed from the beginning of our relationship that our children would be homeschooled. Our reasons were many and complex. One significant factor in our decision, however, was Mrs. Woody’s eight years as (we blush to admit) a professional educator. Her experiences dealing with educational bureaucracies were enough to convince her that no child of hers would ever set foot in a public school if she could help it.

    As we began this journey, we tended to wax evangelical about it. This is common with many new homeschoolers (and more than a few veterans, I suppose), but we have since relaxed our proselyting. In fact, we rarely talk about homeschooling with those who don’t already know us. Interestingly, when someone finds out that we do, in fact, school at home they tend to register surprise. Our girls seem so… so… normal to them. How can that be? Aren’t they supposed to be socially backward creatures?

    It is this “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that seems to have the greatest success in convincing those who know us that – in our case, at least – homeschooling seems to work. Having already witnessed our kidlings interact with others, and noting that they both are reading well above their artificial grade levels is their greatest selling point.

    We do not, nor will we ever, advocate homeschool for everyone. Not everyone has the chops to pull it off. Mrs. Woody is incredible, and her dedication to the Woodyettes is immutable. My children continue to flourish.

    End of discussion.

    Comment by Woody — 2/9/2006 @ 4:11 pm

  65. Well said Woody!

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 4:14 pm

  66. Please! you may dissagree, but I personally have devoted my career to eliminating ignorance.

    Professor, heal thyself.

    Comment by Daryl Cobranchi — 2/9/2006 @ 4:28 pm

  67. [blushes]

    Why, thankee!

    Comment by Woody — 2/9/2006 @ 4:29 pm

  68. I’d like to hear anyone try to come up with even a couple prophetic statements that seem to support public school over homeschool. I don’t think “teach them correct principles…” comes even close.

    Comment by LisaB — 2/9/2006 @ 5:18 pm

  69. What time to go on a business trip! I don’t know why I thought there would be less substance than there is in the comments. Some good stuff in there.

    I have flirted with the idea of home schooling as we had some friends that pulled it off quite well. That said, even though I have a graduate degree, I feel less equiped than what I would want to be to tutor my children. I could do the basics, but I don’t know that I have the confidence to do it.

    For me, highschool was all about the sociality and the extracurricular. I scored very well on the standardized tests and got good grades in the AP classes with only minor effort. It was track, wrestling and music that I learned from. I also appreciate, though it wasn’t fun at all, learning how to navigate the interpersonal drama. I moved to Missouri from Seattle at fourteen and didn’t fit it. That learning curve is now invaluable to me.

    So for as inefficent as it is, I suppose that I appreciate my experience and lack the belief that I could do my children better.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/9/2006 @ 5:21 pm

  70. Great comment Woody! And I completely agree :)

    Plus we get to do so many FUN things!!!

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 6:20 pm

  71. I’d like to hear anyone try to come up with even a couple prophetic statements that seem to support public school over homeschool.

    Yeah, we’re not going to find any, but think about this. How many GA’s were homeschooled as children and how many homeschooled their own children that you are aware of? I doubt we could find out, but I doubt that very many of them did.

    Comment by Tim J. — 2/9/2006 @ 7:29 pm

  72. Yes, but at the Homeschool conference at BYU each year there are GA’s who speak on homeschooling and vocalise their support for it.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 8:27 pm

  73. sorry, i was wrong it isn’t always at BYU, this is who they had last year http://www.ldshea.org/pages/2005_Conference/2005_Conference_Information.htm

    year before:
    i know GAs have spoken at some in the past, but I can’t find the evidence, I will ask and find out who and when.

    Well Barbara B Smith WAS a GA.

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 8:55 pm

  74. Just a quick response to LisaB and Tim J.:

    The brethren tend not to make “official” statements one way or the other, probably for a number of reasons. First of all, there’s the responsibility that Latter-day Saints have to be actively involved in our communities. Public school does lend itself to that involvement, although there are ways to be thusly engaged as homeschoolers as well. It’s all part of building up Zion whereever we happen to live.

    Secondly, whether or not any of the current crop of GA’s were homeschooled, there are homeschool advocates among the families of GA’s. Most notably, Reed Benson (Ezra Taft’s son) did his doctoral dissertation on homeschooling, and has long been a very vocal advocate for the homeschool movement. That earlier Saints were either homeschooled or privately schooled is well documented elsewhere.

    There have also been speeches (not talks!) given by various leaders over the decades that indicate an approval of (if not exhortation to) homeschool. If pressed, I will try to find references, although the National LDS Homeschool Association may already have such references.

    As with all things in our private lives, however, the brethren all agree on one thing that was mentioned in an earlier comment: one does not make these decisions lightly, and should engage the assistance of the Holy Spirit as part of that process. (So what else is new? ;->)

    Did I say “quick?” Oy. My bad.

    Comment by Woody — 2/9/2006 @ 9:09 pm

  75. I’m not doubting that they approve of homeschooling–that is beside the point. The question was, Do they prefer homeschooling to public schooling?

    I don’t think we’ll find any evidence of this one way or the other. Like you said, Woody, an “official” statement when there is no need for one.

    Comment by Tim J. — 2/9/2006 @ 9:17 pm

  76. Tim,

    Short (really!) answer:


    Comment by Woody — 2/9/2006 @ 9:30 pm

  77. I haven’t gotten into this discussion because it consists of the same tired old cliches and poor logic that we’ve seen time and again. But since #41 brings in something new, I’d like to address it.

    Applying these quotations to today is grossly inappropriate. This counsel was given at a time when other Christian denominations sent missionaries to Utah to set up schools. Their goal was to convert children out of the LDS Church. No wonder BY and JT spoke against sending kids to those schools!

    Today, the church is officially neutral on the topic of school choice and it really irritates me when homeschooling advocates trot these out to misrepresent the position of the Church.

    [In case anyone here doesn’t know, I homeschool.]

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/9/2006 @ 9:40 pm

  78. I can raise your Brigham Young quotes with a Jospeh Smith, “Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.”

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 8:17 am

    “Govern ourselves” means no outside (i.e society) structure. Craig, are you implying that we shouldn’t have a formal government structure forcing our children to go to school? 😎

    Comment by ed — 2/9/2006 @ 10:11 pm

  79. # 41 is a gem!

    I must, respectfully, disagree with Brother Benson, however. Being a social scientist, I do not try to apply Darwin in any of the classes I teach (except for the occasional tongue in cheek reference to Social Darwinism). I do include both Marx and Keynes in many of my classes. They contributed much to the theories of economics and politics and the world is better for their contributions.

    This, perhaps, is a great example of the dangers of “protectionist” isolation of our children. Brother Benson would filter the information taught to our children. The result, perhaps, is a child indoctrinated rather than educated.

    I must again state that I am not against all home schooling. As we have seen with Kim and Mary as well as Woody and many others, they have succeeded in the homeschooling endeavor. It may be my cynicism raising its ugly head again, but I doubt all those engaged in teaching their own children in the home are as qualified or equipt to provide the education we are discussing.

    The result, then, is children who have been failed by those who should have had their best interests at heart.

    Comment by Craig — 2/9/2006 @ 10:22 pm

  80. Craig

    “The result, then, is children who have been failed by those who should have had their best interests at heart.”

    Yes, but that can apply to public schooled children too.

    Really, there isn’t any “better” answer for anyone. We each have stewardship over our children and I wouldn’t say that anyone is wrong for public schooling their children if they feel so inspired. Many feel so inspired to homeschool their children. And it all comes out in the wash. ONe thing I do find interesting is that schools like BYU welcome homeschooled students with open arms (one of which is my almost 16 year old cousin who was homeschooled and is now at BYU).

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/9/2006 @ 11:32 pm

  81. Re: 33

    Craig, how do you differentiate calling someone a “social retard” from calling an entire group of people “socially retarded”? Why is the former offensive but not the latter?

    (If you’re not “equipt” [sic 79] to answer this, it’s okay. I’m sure you can read some good sarcasm and friendly banter into it [11])

    Comment by Téa — 2/10/2006 @ 2:06 am

  82. Tea,

    Mea Culpa! I must admit to a sad addiction to spell check and without it I am Lost!

    “retard” is a term used in the past as a negative label to those who, through no fault of their own, were mentally or physically handicapped.

    I also retracted my sweeping generalization of all homeschooled children, and modified it with many. I believe that is the difference.

    I once again must state that in the interests of pluralism–the free exchange of ideas that all may be educated–I feel that home schooling is the right choice in many circumstances. Indeed, my first paragraph documented one of those cases.

    The difficulty arises when parents home school in order to control the environment or “protect” their children (read control). In those cases I would contend that such home school instructors are less likely to introduct opposing viewpoints; less likely to introduce “different” people and ideas; and more likely to retard the social growth of their children

    Comment by Craig — 2/10/2006 @ 8:48 am

  83. You know, I’m kind of curious.

    What exactly is the benefit of being “socialized” as compared to the alternative? Assuming that public school is the best place to socialize your children, why assume that this is a good thing?

    Comment by Seth R. — 2/10/2006 @ 10:38 am

  84. What makes you think that a homeschooler is any more socially retarded because they haven’t been “in the system” that a public schooled kid who has? Have you spoken with a typical 8th grader lately? My anecdotal experiences with public school kids involve zero eye contact, inability to say three words without interjecting “like” in between, and in general not being able to come up with a adequate conversation that fits the situation. Haven’t you ever seen a “weird” public schooler? I know I went to school with plenty of them. The difference is NOT in where they spend their day, but what standards their parents set. When my kids were in public school they were not allowed to say “like” or “um” every two words, give shrugs for answers, or act inappropriately for a given situation. Bottom line: if the kid has idiots for parents, then they will probably turn out skewed no matter where they spend their day. IT has nothing to do with homeschool vs. public vs. private school. It’s the parents.

    Comment by andi — 2/10/2006 @ 11:42 am

  85. Re #82

    Gloriosum est iniurias oblivisci! I appreciate you making this your locus poenitentiae.
    [eh, I’m no Julie, so the grammar’s probably off =) ]

    Anyway, I do understand the term “retard” has negative connotations. I still do not understand how using saying someone suffers from “social retardation” is less likely to cause pain than calling someone a “social retard”.

    Could I say you were suffering from arrogance as opposed to calling you arrogant? Could I say you were lacking in non-jerkiness rather than calling you a jerk?

    (the above of course are merely examples–my first thoughts dealt with a term that’s often applied to ‘brassy’ women but wasn’t as likely to make the comment policy)

    You say you’ve changed your mind from “invariably” to “many”. Would you care to put an addendum in the post explaining that? Could you concede that your post hoc thinking [alluded to in my #7, explained by Clark’s #21] may account for others enough to change that to “some” or perhaps “Home Schooling Equals Social Retardation for Children of Paranoid Parents and/or Hermits”?

    Comment by Téa — 2/10/2006 @ 1:19 pm

  86. Craig, I can still think your logic (and conclusions based thereupon) is off but I realized I oughtn’t take it upon myself to drag you to my version of an ab absurdo clobbering.

    I hope my last comment comes off with just the right amount of raised eyebrows and scary smiles and this one with an ammount of contrition equal to any pains from the blow.

    Blog on, man, blog on.

    Comment by Téa — 2/10/2006 @ 1:40 pm

  87. You asked “Which child is better educated?”

    What is the definition of a well edcuated child. We throw around terms with the assumption that there is an agreed upon standard of “well educated”. There isn’t that is why you can consider one child socially awkward and another think him well adjusted. Before we can think about HOW we edcuate the question of WHY we educate must be answered. What is a well educated child an Why do I want to educate my children. Putting the how question before the why question is an exercise in futility.

    You may be interested in this post I wrote.


    Comment by Spunky — 2/10/2006 @ 4:51 pm

  88. I look at the beginning of this thread, and ask myself, “What child ever did _not_ have “special needs”?

    Public school is designed to accomodate herds, not humans. For the most part, public schooling on the contemporary scale is one of the most cruel, brutal, and bizarre dehumanizing inventions imaginable. Home schooling certainly seems an attractive alternative for those who cannot afford decent private schools.

    The biggest obstacle for primary education alternatives is that public education is a jealously guarded government monopoly. No surprise there. It is one of the biggest plums in the goverment pie.

    As such, the government has every reason to oppose any measure that would divert their huge flow of dollars. There is a strong vested interest in painting home-schoolers as rebellious social misfits, and characterizing any who neglect to imprison their children in public schools as dangerous enemies of the State.

    Thus people like John Singer and the children at Waco are murdered by official representatives of the government.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — 2/10/2006 @ 7:04 pm

  89. While not condoning the deaths of the Singers or of those involved at Waco…

    It is my understanding that the children at Waco were put in danger by the “parents” who chose to follow a cult leader who broke the law and abused those same children. Similarly, Mr. Singer chose to break the law which in turn placed him and the rest of his family in danger.

    I think it is a mischaracterization to state that the government is engaged in “characterizing any who neglect to imprison their children in public schools as dangerous enemies of the State”. This is not consistent with facts.

    Comment by Craig — 2/10/2006 @ 8:08 pm

  90. Wow!
    What comments. All of you are certain you are right and for you, you may be. Might I just interject a thought? In a local highschool (not in Utah), some of the most outstanding kids were LDS. They drew others to their circle. There were not a few who investigated the gospel. There were some who were enlightened by associating with good kids. So those of you who have those well adjusted, bright, grounded children and choose to withhold them from the society of the real world, are you hiding your light under a bushel? Is there an opportunity missed to edify others? Is the possibility of contamination too great? I liked the idea of being involved in your children’s school, of doing what you can to making education where you are better.

    Comment by jns — 2/10/2006 @ 9:00 pm

  91. “So those of you who have those well adjusted, bright, grounded children and choose to withhold them from the society of the real world, are you hiding your light under a bushel?”

    My [homschooled] children have multiple large circles of non-LDS friends. I hope that they will be light to them.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/10/2006 @ 9:05 pm

  92. Mmmm….we don’t withhold our children form the society of the world. They are involved in LOTS of activities and are involved with lots of people.

    Why do some anti homeschoolers get the idea that homeschoolers hole themselves up without any outside contact? Most don’t. Actually homeschoolers have a greater opportunity to interact with people of various ages and walks of life.

    Our daughter is a great little missionary. A little girl her age who lived a couple of doors down, with whoh she has made friends was the recipient of Sinéad’s testimony on a regular basis. She invited her to Church and is planning on giving her a Book of Mormon. As well, when she opened her first bank account she told the bank teller about tithing. Is that hiding her light under a bushel?

    Comment by Mary Siever — 2/10/2006 @ 10:17 pm

  93. Important note: Correlation does not imply causation.

    “The parents who are so controlling that they feel they can keep their children in a protective shell indefinitely”

    That’s the key there. The parents who are like this and choose to homeschool crank out maladjusted kids. Balanced, intelligent, capable, and healthy parents also choose to homeschool–for various reasons. I, myself, have known some amazing homeschool families, and am on the verge of possibly becoming a homeschooler myself, due to some difficulties that one of my children is having in public school.

    Alas, there are some weirdos, and they give the whole outfit a bad rap, but, like I said, correlation does not imply causation. Freaky parents who homeschool for freaky reasons are gonna turn out freaky kids. Heck, regardless of where they’re schooled, parents like that are gonna crank out freaky kids.

    Competent, caring, attentive, and aware parents who homeschool in appropriate ways, can turn out amazing, exceptional, well-socialized, properly adjusted, and academically acheived kids.

    Yes, there are many freaks who choose to home school. Yes, these freaks have malsocialized freaky kids. It’s not the homeschooling that freakifies the kids. It’s the freaky parents.

    I think I’ve gone in circles on this enough. You get my point.

    Comment by Naiah Earhart — 2/10/2006 @ 11:15 pm

  94. freakifies…I love it!

    Comment by Craig — 2/10/2006 @ 11:16 pm

  95. We aim to please.

    Comment by Naiah Earhart — 2/11/2006 @ 12:53 am

  96. Just my two cents about comment #50…

    When I was a professor at the “other Utah Valley school” (UVSC) recently, I didn’t notice any difference between the social skills of LDS students and the social skills of non-LDS students. Nor of home-schooled students (when I knew of them) and public-schooled students. Just since we’re using anecdotal evidence…

    Comment by Keryn — 2/11/2006 @ 1:13 am

  97. My son-in-law was homeschooled and he definitely has problems negotiating the world in any kind of assertive, effective way. He’s better than his siblings.

    His three brothers have no friends, and the schooling they receive from their mother is far less than adequate.

    I know others who do a wonderful job, but this is definitely a breeding ground for huge problems in their adult life.

    Comment by annegb — 2/11/2006 @ 10:19 am

  98. Craig:

    Utah ranks the lowest of all states in per pupil spending: $4,331.00 compared to the national average of $6,835.00.[1] The national teacher/pupil ratio average is 15.9, but Utah’s is 22.4.[2] Finally, the average teacher pay in Utah is $38,268.00, while the national average is $45,771.00.[3] Especially given the concentration of church members in Utah, I think I can safely say shame on Utah for its failures in something that the church has emphasized as important for all its members.

    Dollars spent is no proper metric for the quality of education. It is well known that beyond some minimum standard, there is little correlation between expenditures and performance. Indeed, some of the worst-performing education systems are the most costly.

    The idea that higher education investment gives ever higher returns is one of the most unfortunate false notions perpetuated by bureaucrats who measure their _own_ success by the size of their bloated budgets. What we need to see is what we are getting for the money.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — 2/11/2006 @ 11:11 am

  99. I don’t know Julie.

    Are those who send their kids to public school, where they will learn to shut up in class, “hiding your light under a bushel?”

    I don’t see the light-bushel analogy as particularly relevant. Homeschooling your kids, isn’t hiding the light for the same reason that my refusal to post all our family details on the internet isn’t “hiding the light” either.

    Being a light to others doesn’t require immersing my children in the dumpster.

    Comment by Seth R. — 2/11/2006 @ 11:49 am

  100. Jim,

    That is why I included teacher/student ratio and reacher salaries in my discussion as well. Most agree that teacher/student ratio is a much better predictor and dollars spend does have an impact on that. Teacher salary is also correlated to dollars spent.

    Comment by Craig — 2/11/2006 @ 12:03 pm

  101. As a rather new homeschooler who plans to continue homeschooling, I just wanted to let Paul M (#54) and John C (#55?) know that I appreciate their comments about the importance of teaching our children the ability to collaborate effectively with authority figures and to see different view points besides their own and my own. Good constructive criticisms which I’ll keep in mind going forward w/ homeschooling.

    RE: that evil “theory of evolution” he he–we’ve already begun to study evolution as part of Natural Science, and my son is just 6. But he really digs it! (Yes, and he has already asked the obvious questions: How then are we different than other animals? Why are we called children of God and not them if God created us all? and Are there cat and bird and dinosaur “Heavenly Parents” too?)

    RE: HSed GA progeny–Some of Pres. Benson’s homeschooled grandkids were in my home stake. The rumor was that they flipped out when they went to BYU since they’d been so sheltered. I don’t know if there was anything to the rumor, or if it was simply based on the same type of stereotyping one usually hears in these types of discussions.

    Stephen M (#45) How do you know there are holes in the math of many of the homeschooled kids in your ward? You handing out quizes between YW and Sunday School? :-)

    To all contributors who believe homeschooling is detrimental, I am wondering what would be most reassuring to you coming from an extended family member who decided to homeschool. If they acknowledge the potential problems with homeschooling and share how they plan to deal with those potential problems, would that help? Would regular “progress reports” or other sharing of events, etc. help? Would it help to know more about the legal requirements for homeschoolers in your individual state or country and how the family was fulfilling those requirements?

    Of course I’m asking because while I have some extended family members who also homeschool, I have others who have various concerns about homeschooling–including who has believe homeschooling is tantamount to child abuse. Is there any way to reassure people who are this adamnantly opposed to homeschooling?

    Comment by LisaB — 2/11/2006 @ 12:18 pm

  102. sorry, should be “including those who believe…”

    Comment by LisaB — 2/11/2006 @ 12:21 pm

  103. Seth, you are misreading me. My point was directed to #90, who suggested that homeschoolers were ‘hiding’ their kids (some are; I’m not).

    My point was simply that we interact with ‘the world’–the many other homeschoolers that we associate with. And we have many, many missionary opportunities in the process. I would assume the situation is similar for schooled kids and their families.

    “Is there any way to reassure people who are this adamnantly opposed to homeschooling?”

    LisaB, my experience 4 years into this is that you just have to wait them out–when they see that your kids are normal, they’ll relent.

    Comment by Julie in Austin — 2/11/2006 @ 12:40 pm

  104. Lisa B,

    I really appreciate your post and approach. That is the type of interaction I was hoping for in this post.

    Comment by Craig — 2/11/2006 @ 1:51 pm

  105. We’re watching the olympics and Bode MIller is the new face of homeschooling to us.

    Comment by Johnna — 2/11/2006 @ 7:32 pm

  106. When I was a professor at the “other Utah Valley school” (UVSC) recently, I didn’t notice any difference between the social skills of LDS students and the social skills of non-LDS students. Nor of home-schooled students (when I knew of them) and public-schooled students. Just since we’re using anecdotal evidence…

    OK, I’ll amend that then to Utahn undergrads are socially retarded relative to the rest of the country. Happy now?

    My point was that Craig’s glass house was in danger of being pummeled.

    Comment by Daryl Cobranchi — 2/13/2006 @ 6:32 am

  107. Daryl,

    No to embark on personal attacks, but everyone here is expressing beliefs, not throwing stones. Be sure that your eye is clear of motes as well my friend.

    Comment by Craig — 2/13/2006 @ 8:07 am

  108. Holy cow! It took me three days just to read through all the responses to the post. Craig, you should have known that just by addressing the topic of home-schooling in a somewhat critical manner, you would invite wrath. It reminds me of the circumcision post a few months back…

    In general, those who choose to do something outside the “norm,” whatever it may be, are often perceived by those within the “norm” as strange. Those remaining may even feel threatened, as if those leaving are condemning the system to which they belong. Those that leave, then, become defensive as those within the “norm” raise criticisms of their choices. Next, both sides search for data (which for the most part is anecdotal and crappy) that supports their cause and pokes holes in the opposition. In the end, it amounts to a bunch of “I knew this weird kid who was home-schooled…” and “I had my lunch money stolen in public school…”

    *NEWS FLASH* There are plenty of socially retarded (socially disadvantaged, socially awkward, socially delayed—for the PC crowd) children/young adults who were home schooled that will have difficulties functioning in higher education and life. Likewise, there is an army traumatized scholastic failures produced from the traditional school system who are now worshiping Satan because they learned about Darwin.

    Quite frankly, I don’t know the statistics, if there are any, pertaining to home-schooling success compared with traditional schooling, and I am not about to take the time do dig them up. I don’t care. It annoys me, however, that good, smart LDS people resort to the infamous “GA” argument. I don’t care how many general authorities home school. Don’t care what Brigham Young thought about schooling in the 19th century. Don’t care what President Benson’s grandchildren did for an education. Guess what, geniuses. Those are all imperfect men who have no more inspiration on what is best for your children’s educational needs than does Tarzan. As parents, it is your stewardship and responsibility to decide how to best meet their educational, social and physical needs. If you are unsure how to accomplish this, do the work until you are. Are some parents able to meet all these needs by home schooling? Yes. Do some children require an environment outside the home to thrive? Yes. Are some parents and children so messed up that it doesn’t matter where they go to school? Most assuredly, yes.

    Kudos to those of you like Woody who have approached this with common sense, wisdom and a sense of humor.

    Comment by Chris S. — 2/13/2006 @ 4:39 pm

  109. Gee. I have common sense! Wait’ll I tell Mrs. Woody…

    Comment by Woody — 2/14/2006 @ 12:46 am

  110. We have raised two kids into adulthood and have three more at home. My two older kids were homeschooled 2 out of the 6 elementary years. They were very successful in High School and very socially adept. (especially when my daughter slapped a boy for being too forward). She is happily married in the temple and my oldest son is on his way to Portugal on his mission.

    We are currently homeschooling one of my sons through the second half of this 5th grade year because his teacher would not meet his needs at school. It wasn’t that she couldn’t but she flat out refused to adapt any of her teaching to help him one on one. Heck she refused to grade any of his papers herself because she always has the kids grade each others papers. When he wasn’t having any access to help in learning, we took him out for the second half of the school year. He is active in eleven year old scouts and church. Our other two children are in public school and doing alright.

    I accept responsibility for my children’s education. If you are leaving it up to the government, you child will be behind 90 percent of the developed world.

    Homeschooling can be a tool to increase socially appropriate behavior in our children. Much of what they learn at school is only acceptable in the gutter.

    Comment by markf — 2/14/2006 @ 5:42 pm

  111. I still think there’s a difference. Some families do quite well with home schooling, I think those families, the children of those families, would do equally well in public schools because they are healthy families.

    My son-in-law’s family is not one of those. I haven’t seen much real schooling going on and the kids have no socialization. They are almost cultish. I feel very sorry for those boys.

    Comment by annegb — 2/16/2006 @ 9:43 am

  112. Chris, I am not so sure I would go so far as to say that wrath was invoked in this thread. It’s actually a pretty tame thread.

    Comment by Kim Siever — 2/17/2006 @ 2:01 pm

  113. Just a comment about the “social retarded” homeschooler bit.


    People often homeschooler extremely bright kids who would be bored stiff in public schools. Lots of these kids can be a bit odd anyway due to “being in their heads” alot and can tend to have focused(or narrow if you wish) interests. If they had gone to school, they could have learned to “dumb it down” to be accepted and lost some of their uniqueness as a result, or they could have not learned this and been teased unmercifully and been isolated.

    People often homeschool special needs kids, who due to a physical, mental or unspecified oddity, might have been bully bait in school.

    A certain percentage of odd people homeschool and they tend to produce odd kids. I imagine these kids were odd before they were school age and would be odd if they ended up in school anyway.

    Although I can prove this in no way, my thoughts are that there are a greater portion of introverted kids homeschooling, simply because a lot of the extremely extroverted ones probably really wish to go to school and many of their parents comply. Now these introverted kids were probably introverted from birth on before they ever were school age and thus homeschooling did not make them introverted.

    And a final comment: There are all kinds of the above in any public school environment, but for some reason, no one automatically assumes that public school MADE them that way. People like to put on their magnifying glasses for some reason when they looked at a homeschooled kid to scrutinize their every move for “normalcy”. ——

    Comment by carolyn smith — 2/25/2006 @ 3:57 pm

  114. Very good point. I had a kid in Al-Ateen a few years back, who is now home schooled and I think it’s better for him, for various reasons. I think he’s a successful kid.

    I agree with your last paragraph, to a point. I can’t say from statistics, only from my own experience and again I have to say there is a cultish quality to the families I’ve known who home school. JUST the families I’ve known personally. I’ve heard lots of good things about kids I haven’t personally observed.

    As I think about it, I think my kids would have been way worse off being home schooled. I think any of their oddities, whatever, would have been magnified. I think public school was a good filter for our dysfunction, and things would have been worse. Which is a really sad commentary on my parenting skills. But also relevant.

    Comment by annegb — 2/26/2006 @ 2:26 am

  115. Yes, I can agree with the cultish aspect to some homeschooling families. I have witnessed that myself. There are some homeschoolers who don’t associate with other homeschoolers outside their own church, and certainly not with any public schoolers! We had some refuse to attend a science fair as spectators simply because it was on public school property, which I thought was ludicrous. Obviously, there are many good things that go on in schools that are educational and interesting. I don’t think we need to throw out the good with the bad.
    However, it seems to me that homeschoolers are becoming more mainstream, with families that seem to blend in without screaming “we’re homeschooling!”. To me, its a private decision that is made on many variables unique to a family. I will tell people I am homeschooling, if asked, but otherwise don’t mention it. It works for us right now, but I also know that if my situation were different,(I had to go back to work etc or my child needed more peer interaction) my kids would have to be in a public school environment, and I think that would work as well. The key is to be involved with the educational process and good parents will do that no matter where their kids go to school.–Carolyn

    Comment by carolyn smith — 2/27/2006 @ 12:28 pm

  116. Another thought: What is it exactly that defines ‘socially retarded?’ If my young daughter, who currently plays very well with a variety of kids, has difficulty in the future ‘relating’ to some public school kids because she doesn’t care for Brittney Spears or some other pop group and is clueless about the ‘in’ place to buy clothes, whose socialization problem is that, exactly?

    Comment by carolyn smith — 3/1/2006 @ 9:32 am

  117. Has it occurred to the author of this article that maybe some of the homeschoolers were naturally quiet and shy? And is that really that bad of a trait? Just because people aren’t social butterfiles doesn’t mean they are ‘socially retarded’ or in any other way strange! God didn’t make everyone a talker!

    Anyway, I think it’s bull that school teaches social skills. If anything, it can negatively influence them with all the teasing and bullying kids have to go through. When I was growing up I went through that… I still have self-esteem issues even at 25 I have to consciously attack. Does putting my kid, (who even at 2 appears to already have a knack with people by the way), through that really make him any stronger? I went to a private, Christian school and still got bullied and teased. But as far as anything else, that was the only ‘real-world’ experience I got… like most homeschoolers, I was also protected from hard-core temptations which kids don’t need to be exposed to anyway! So, even in a school environment kids can be overly sheltered from those types of things, and I consider that to be good!

    For those who are that adament against homeschooling, please tell me this… is highschool TRULY representative of the real world? Do adults go around bullying each other and establishing people’s worth based on their status in a clique? And even if you do get a in a job like that, don’t you as an adult have a choice to find something better? Don’t adults who are ‘nerds’ in the real world end up achieving more because brains matter more than brawn? The list can go on and on! What is real is definitely A LOT better than what exists in a school environment. And I don’t think kids need to go through all that to be able to survive in the REAL WORLD!

    Comment by Kristina — 3/4/2006 @ 5:30 pm

  118. #

    Clark you made the point I was going to make.

    Do you think cliques, peer pressure, ugly rumors, rudeness, crudeness, etc., etc., end with High School? I encounter them on a daily basis from adults at my place of work. I would rather have my teenager learn how to deal with these things early on in their lives, than to be assaulted by them all at once later in their life.

    As an adult you do not have to tolerate putting up with nonsense. If people are treating you bad on a job, you can find another one. Or, you can seek other alternatives to not have to deal with that period such a starting a business or working at home. The latter is exactly the path I have chosen as an adult because I am not satisfied with Corporate America.

    Anyway, my main point is that when you’re grown you have the ability to discern that things aren’t doom and gloom. You are also strong enough to not internalize it the same way a kid does.

    Comment by Kristina — 3/4/2006 @ 5:56 pm

  119. I haven’t been in a public school since the third grade. I am unschooled, not homeschooled, so my parents don’t teach me and I don’t follow a curriculum. Apparently I’m academically above college level in most areas, excluding math and one or two others, and socially I’ve always been a weird kid and a die-hard introvert.

    What school taught me was that I’m a worthless piece of bird s**t who will never be able to do anything unless I march in lockstep with everyone else. What being unschooled has taught me is that I’m born the way I’m meant to be and I should embrace it. I don’t have any social problems whatsoever. Five years of torment at the hands of the NYC public schools did nothing positive for me. It was only after I was removed from the classroom that I found out that I narrowly escaped being savagely unsocialized. I was more the type to hide under the table and cry -I did that a lot- so I was more of an observer than a doer, but what I saw the kids doing was swearing, stealing, shoving in line, being nasty to each other just because they only knew how to do that. Out of school, with the other kids, we’re just more relaxed. There’s a group of kids -dominantly girls- who are really in to the latest fads and try to find cliques, but the rest of us just sort of hang around like any other group of 14-17 year olds would.

    I can cope with insults. I ignore them. I’ve never cared about who’s friends with who and that Brian broke up with Karen and OHMYGOD black sneakers from Payless aren’t the cutting edge of fashion. If someone doesn’t like me, tough. I’m withdrawn in social situations because I, like my father -who attended public schools his entire life- dislike them. They make me nervous. I can handle them skillfully according to outside sources, but the pirhanaesque mindset my schooled peers has disturbs me.

    I’ve seen public school kids come in to homeschooling. The first thing they do is try to establish a group and find out who’s cool and who’s not and look for this whole depth of idiot drama that doesn’t exist because we have enough control over other aspects of our lives, and the respect of our peers and parents.

    A lot of that drama comes up because teenagers don’t appreciate being talked down to in a building that they’re locked inside with no choice of whether they go or not or what they do. Thus they create a nasty social ladder to prove they can do something.

    Comment by Azathoth — 4/16/2006 @ 11:49 am

  120. What is socialization? Being raised by your peers…instead of your family…? Gaining insight to life in an institution that forbids the Creator of life to be an essential part of learning? Give me an involved parent and solid family structure that isnt pushing their child to keep up with all of the ‘other’ kids on the block…in some ‘retentive’ attempt to deem them ‘socially’ accepted…right down to the clothes they wear and the toys they carry with them on the bus…and Id say you have a pretty solid foundation on true individuality…which is what I THOUGHT education was supposed to ‘feed’..but sadly in an effort to keep everything ‘fair’…the schools are beginning to stamp out stressed out kids who individualize themselves by their ‘cliques’. Just sit outside of your local middleschool/highschool and watch the goths, the sluts, (for lack of a better word by the way they dress)..the ‘geeks’ *(or are they the ones using the school for what it is there for?)…as the doors open and release the ‘true’ suppressed who cannot seem to express their frustration by any other way except the age old ‘dress code breakout’…for the anger they feel at having to spend the most impressionable years of their lives being nurtured for the most part by their fellow classmates. Most yearn for a close family relationship…or even a ‘FAMILY’ that isnt broken by divorce. So why continue to harass and poke fun at the ones who actually break this nauseaus pattern of what seems to be almost communist in nature? Who are the social retards now? Most of our country’s early leaders in some capacity were homeschooled. School isnt just a building. The building is there for a convenience for the working parents. From day care through highschool…how many hours does the average family spend together? How then, can you figure that these students are somehow ‘better’ adjusted? Adjusted to what? Not being there for their own kids someday? Do they know how to make it in a world outside of a huge group of their peers? Do they know that once you get ‘out’ into the ‘real’ world you wont be able to wear your ghoulish garb to work anymore? And if you want to dress like a hooker…you could get raped!
    How are they at handling a household? Can they do it ‘for real’ or just in their health text?
    In other words: success isnt measured by whether or not you are being carried along by society’s ‘accepted’ form of education…but rather…how well you can respond to your own family FIRST…AND THEN THE ‘VILLAGE’.

    Comment by T. Miller — 5/9/2006 @ 8:28 pm

  121. I didn’t fully read all the comments in this thread so forgive me if I am repeating someone else’s comments.

    ‘Socially retarded?”, you mean like the +80% of kids at school who aren’t part of one of the ‘cool groups’, who take up unhealthy activities to ‘fit in’, who are extremely shy…. Or how about the ‘Utah Mormons’ that went to public school and didn’t realize that their is a ‘real world’ outside of the state that didn’t celebrate pioneer day. True there are extremes (I knew a missionary who never wore shorts when younger becuase his parents were prepareing him for garments, yet he went to public school).

    Socialization is a myth. That is, socialization occurs (for good or bad) no matter where the formal learning environment occurs. Additionally, to state that we stengthen our children to ‘just say no’ by allowing them to be tempted is just plain idiotic. You don’t strengthen the desire to quit smoking by giving them opportunities to smoke (and thus opportunities to say no). Instead you go someplace with similar values and avoid locations that encourage smoking so that, hopefully, a resolve is built up so that if one is placed in such a situation one can say no. Temptation is not a disease that once fought, provides a vacination to future temptation. Nor do you strengthen the ability to resist temptation by placing oneself in situations where temptation can occur. Instead you go to church, hang out with a crowd that has similar beliefs, etc. You stengthen muscle through repition, bad repition develops bad habits that actually can hurt the body (and muscle) while good repition can build good muscle.

    I don’t know if your comment about your cyncial professor view means you are a professor (or not) but if it does, I am dissapointed in the low level of thought or analysis given to your comments. I agree that there are some people who should not homeschool their children, and possibly some of those parents fall into the ‘protecting from world’ point of view. But to suggest that socialization as a reason to keep kids in school, please present a better argument.


    Comment by Alexander — 5/18/2006 @ 4:31 pm

  122. I would just like to add:

    Weirdness in home schooled kids is not due to the home schooling, it is due to their parents. My wife and I home school, and occasionally she attends seminars on home schooling and oh the stories she tells me when she returns from one. Most of the people who choose to home school their kids are just plain weird,e.g. not allowing them to ever watch T.V. and things of that nature.

    Just because many home schooled kids tend to be weird, doesn’t necessarily indict home schooling.

    Comment by Jared E. — 5/21/2006 @ 3:09 pm

  123. It’s been awhile since anything was posted on this topic and I could be beating a dead horse, but I am constantly harrassed by members of the church with the thinking that homeschooling = socially retarded children and children inept at dealing with the “real world.”

    There are socially inept people that homeschool. There are socially inept people in public schools! There are people that can’t handle the real world that homeschool and there are people that can’t handle the real world that have been publicly schooled!!!

    Walk a mile in my shoes! I had my children in public school for 7 years. Talk about an education! Rude children, rude teachers, no family life, no parental say in the teaching and socialization of my children. My children belonged to the school system, not to me.

    We have been homeschooling for the past 6 years. Now I have a different life that I would not trade for anything. Are there deficiencies? Yes. It is not the perfect world. But freedom to learn, freedom to think for ourselves, freedom to teach my children manners and respect have become priceless.

    When I think I have good, upstanding, well socialized children, I base it on behavior I see here at home, as well in the community. I always have people at church as well as in the community comment on how much they love my children – their ability to express themselves, their respectful behavior, their maturity.

    Put them back into the public school system so they can be like the other teenagers in the ward, i.e., rude, disrespectful, lacking self-motivation, expecting a song and dance routine at every activity and lesson? Hmmm. Don’t think so.

    It’s very easy to type into a keyboard our many judgements on the world. Easy to find fault and pick apart what we perceive as “not normal.”

    It takes time and effort to know the hearts of those around us. It take a high road to love instead of judge.

    Comment by Kathy W — 6/5/2006 @ 1:55 pm

  124. Anecdotal story number 8,423…(all of which don’t mean a thing–that’s why they’re anecdotal and not written in an education or psychology textbook somewhere, but what the heck as long as we’re slamming the socially retarded homeschooling kids…) OK, people…I’ll try to use small words in case you were schooled in our glorious public school system.One more post for you to consider. I’ve homeschooled for 8 years. I have 4 well-adjusted, well-socialized, sports-playing, music-learning, happy, highly intelligent kids. The other day on the soccer field a man informed me that he thought all homeschooled kids were “weird.” To which I replied, “all?” To which he replied, “every single one I’ve ever met has been weird.” I then asked, “how many have you met?” He replied, “four, in the same family.” So, I guess my response is this, I’ve known literally hundreds of public schooled kids. I don’t go around calling them “socially retarded” although, a good percentage of them no doubt are. Most people are basing their whole “open-minded” view on a handful of people they have had limited contact with. If you applied this same standard to any other minority, no doubt you would be seen as a racist and hate monger. Ready for the truth? It’s called jealousy, ignorance, and envy. My kids make your kid’s scores look stupid. My kid takes your kid’s spot in college. My kid is well-adjusted, socially confident, and is given more opportunity to succeed in life. You have to figure out how you can make my kid look bad. Hmmm…it can’t be morals, not test scores, personality, creativity, national contests, sports…oh, I know! They’re Socially Retarded! Yeah, that’s it…

    Comment by Kendra — 6/22/2006 @ 12:46 am

  125. I’m not totally on board with homeschooling either. But are you so sure homeschooling and social retardation have a cause-and-effect relationship? Maybe some kids are being home-schooled because they were socially retarded and therefore couldn’t function properly in a group environment.

    All I know is that I was not homeschooled and I’m still socially retarded.

    Comment by Anna — 12/28/2006 @ 4:04 pm

  126. There is anecdotal evidence to support and to blast homeschooling.

    The big problem is this:

    Until you have read Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey and Kozol, until you have some classroom experience and proof that you’re not a bible thumping retard….

    You are likely not qualified to teach.

    Comment by Housewife — 1/16/2007 @ 2:43 pm

  127. Housewife,
    All personal attacks regarding someone’s relationship to the bible aside, what on earth does classroom experience have to do with home-schooling. I won’t be homeschooling my kids, but I do realize that those who have decided to homeschool have done so because they want a different dynamic than what teachers face in a classroom, at least 20-25 always changing kids that you never really know, however much you may care about them. Most educational theorists never imagine the possibility of teaching 7 or fewer students, with all of whom you have a very personal, intimate, loving relationship of parent to child. Would it be good to have some idea of how to assemble a curriculum, how to design authentic assessment, or how to create concrete learning outcomes? Yes. But to throw out a list of theorists and pre-concieved notions of home-schoolers couched in the language of personal attack and insensitivity to religious belief and disability is merely pretentious and says nothing about the real qualifications of homeschoolers.
    Sorry, ornery tonight.

    Comment by Steve H — 1/22/2007 @ 2:47 am

  128. Craig,

    I have to say, I agree with you. School is much more the world than the basement of a home. I don’t know why, but when kids are around other kids their age and other people outside of the home, they learn how to interact with them. I know many parents talk about how they love homeschooling, but I would like to hear some views from the children who have been homeschooled. I don’t care if parents talk about how they socialize their children and how they think their children are getting along. I want to know what the children think. Not now, but when they are adults. Has anyone that has been homeschooled considered homeschooling their own children? Isn’t it somewhat prideful to believe that a parent can offer a child the same social education as society?

    Comment by Henrietta — 3/12/2007 @ 7:58 pm

  129. I would agree that there is a higher concentration of “socially retarded” homeschoolers. I believe this is so because of the high concentration of social deviants that are in the public system who prey on them. There have been many socially retarded individuals in our country’s history (Einstein to name just one. I won’t continue that list out of kindness because the list of revolutionary thinkers who were homeschooled is a long one.)
    Is there a study out there that compares the percentage of public schooled children who end up in jail to the percentage of homeschooled children who end up in jail? Many public schools are considered “Miniprisons” for a reason. I will take my chances and hang out with the socially retarded. They will eventually catch up while there really isn’t much home for the socially deviant.

    Comment by Lisa Cox — 6/27/2007 @ 6:39 am

  130. They’re adolescents. Good grief, they’re all socially retarded in one way or another.

    Comment by kate — 1/23/2008 @ 5:00 pm

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