Homeschoolers are a diverse lot. Some homeschool for religious reasons, but many homeschool for a wide variety of other reasons. The amount and type of social interaction homeschooled children receive also varies, as does the academic quality of the schooling they receive. In addition, some homeschool families are only involved in co-ops or field trip groups with others who share their same religious beliefs while other homeschool parents expose their children to a wider variety of ideas and influences, and some homeschool families use formal curricula and workbooks while others “unschool” and focus on hands-on learning. Most homeschooled children are well cared for while some are abused. Perhaps the first thing to be said about homeschooling is that there is no “typical” homeschooler.
When I blog about homeschooling, I’m often talking specifically about what I call the “Christian homeschool movement,” i.e. those homeschool parents who homeschool in order to ensure that their children will hold specific religious beliefs and in the hope that their offspring will change America’s future direction. These parents use religious textbooks and generally limit their interaction to other like-minded families. Some educate well while others don’t, but all tend to see homeschooling as a divinely-mandated requirement rather than simply one educational option among many. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school as part of this movement.
My experience being homeschooled was mixed. On the one hand, homeschooling served me well in the academic department and sent me off to college ready to succeed academically. On the other hand, being only around like-minded families and individuals left me unready for college socially and I experienced a fair amount of culture shock that to some extent still affects me to this day. My experience, I think, is in some sense illustrative of the diversity of homeschooling. After all, there are some homeschoolers who don’t get the first-rate academic education I got, and other homeschoolers who are exposed to a greater variety of people, friends, and viewpoints and thus don’t experience the same socialization problems that I did.
I am now grown and have children of my own. While they are not yet school age—one is in preschool and the other a baby—I have decided that I will not homeschool them. There are several reasons for this: I want to have a career rather than staying at home with my children; I want my children to have a variety of different teachers and influences in their lives; and I personally have come to see involvement in my local schools as part of my civic responsibility. That said, I believe in educational freedom and am aware that every family and child has different needs. My decision to send my children to public school is not meant as a condemnation of homeschooling; indeed, I would not completely rule homeschooling out if for some reason our local schools don’t work out for one or both of my children.
An Overview of My Experience:
Homeschooling, Academics, and Me
Homeschooling, Socialization, and Me
Homeschooling under the Influence
Homeschool Regulations and Children’s Rights
Once Upon a Time, I Was Homeschooled
Posts on Socialization:
“But What About Socialization?”
I’m Still Scared of Public Schools
The Results of Homeschool Mis-Socialization
Homeschooling, the Family, and Agents of Socialization
Homeschooling and the Parent-Child Socialization Divide
Posts Related to Quiverfull/Patriarchy:
Homeschooling and Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull
The Problem with Homeschooling
Homeschooling and Indoctrination
A Double Legacy: Conform and Be Different
Homeschooling: An Educational Option or an Identity?
Posts Related to HSLDA:
HSLDA, the CPS, and Fear: Quick kids, hide!
Who Are HSLDA’s Clients? Not the Children!
On Fundamental Rights, HSLDA, and Homeschooling
Why HSLDA Is Wrong about Romeike v. Holder
HSLDA: Man Who Kept Children in Cages a “Hero”
I’ve Had Enough: My Reply to HSLDA’s Response
HSLDA: Why We Fear the Child Snatchers
My Series on HSLDA and Child Abuse:
HSLDA and Child Abuse: An Introduction
HSLDA’s Fight against Child Abuse Reporting
HSLDA’s Stonewalling of Child Abuse Investigations
HSLDA’s Defense of Child Abuse
HSLDA and the Deregulation of Homeschooling
My Series on Abuse and Neglect:
Why Homeschooling Is Attractive to Abusive Parents
When Abusive Parents Homeschool
Homeschooling To Avoid the Truancy Officer
Posts on the Need for Regulation:
Who Are HSLDA’s Clients? Not the Children!
Checks and Balances—Except for Homeschooling?
Why I Don’t Trust the Homeschool Community to Self-Police
Not Everyone Can Homeschool Successfully, on Love, Learning, Liberty
Barely Literate? How Christian Fundamentalist Homeschooling Hurts Kids, on Alternet
My Neighbors Don’t Go To School, on Wide Open Ground
Homeschool Cover-Up of Dropout Problem, on Becoming Worldly
How To Escape from Bad Homeschooling, on Becoming Worldly
Want To Help Mistreated Homeschool Kids? Here’s How. on Becoming Worldly
Homeschool Regulations and Children’s Rights, by Heatherjanes
The Socialization Question:
What I Wish My Mother Had Told Her Homeschooled Kids, on Wide Open Ground
Homeschool Socialization, by Sophelia
The Social Isolation of Homeschooling, on Past Tense, Present Progressive
Homeschoolers Respond to Socialization Question, on Wide Open Ground
Homeschoolers Have Culture Shock Too! on Wide Open Ground
Contrasting The Good and the Bad:
Potential Drawbacks to Homeschooling, on Wide Open Ground
The Positive Side of My Homeschool Years, on Wide Open Ground
Homeschooling: The Good, on The Phoenix and the Olive Branch
Homeschooling: The Bad, on The Phoenix and the Olive Branch
Homeschooling: The Ugly, on The Phoenix and the Olive Branch
Homeschooling as a “Movement”:
Straight Talk about QueerPHC, by Ryan Stollar
On Choosing Public School:
I Was Homeschooled, But I Don’t Think I’m Going to Homeschool My Children, on Permission to Live
Homeschool to Public School, on Becoming Worldly
Responding to Criticism of Criticism:
12 Reasons Why My Homeschool Story Doesn’t Matter, on Becoming Worldly
Resources on Homeschooling
Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement, by Mitchell Stevens
Homeschool: An American History, by Milton Gaither
Write These Laws on Your Children: Inside the World of Conservative Christian Homeschooling, by Robert Kunzman
Homeschoolers Anonymous – this website features the stories and thoughts of young adults who grew up in the quiverfull/courtship/generation Joshua conservative Christian homeschool milieu.
International Center for Home Education Research – this organization “exists to provide expert information and analysis regarding homeschooling research and to facilitate networking among researchers studying home-based learning.”
Homeschool Research Notes – a website run by key scholar of homeschooling, Milton Gaither, which specializes in discussing new research on homeschooling.
Homeschooling Research & Scholarship – a website run by a key scholar of homeschooling, Robert Kunzman, with facts and a comprehensive research bibliography.
Why Homeschooling Should Be Regulated, by Rob Reich, Stanford University
Homeschooling and Religious Fundamentalism, by Robert Kunzman, Indiana University
National Center for Education Statistics’ 2003 Issue Brief on Homeschooling
National Center for Education Statistics’ 2007 Issue Brief on Homeschooling