Archive for January, 2011

Chapter 3 of The Well-Adjusted Child, The Social Benefits of Homeschooling: What is Good Socialization, Anyway?

Gathercole begins by stating that there is no argument on whether socialization is important or not, but that the there is an argument on the way to socialize children. Her beginning argument states that human beings are born social, that we are naturally a social species. She continues by saying the intricacies of social skills and constructs are taught in the home by one’s parents and siblings, so additional time spent with family can be only helpful to a growing child. Gathercole has more accounts from actual children in this chapter than in previous ones and she uses them to point out that homeschool children actually have more time to socialize than conventionally schooled children as they go through their school work more quickly and have no homework.  Gathercole points out that schools are artificial models of adult life where as homeschooled children are immersed in community and family based existences out in the “real world” constantly.

While I don’t believe that schools are completely artificial, it is strange that we are supposed to be taught democracy and the beauty of it, the importance of it, and we are supposed to be taught pride in our country’s accomplishments in civil rights all in a system where we are not  under a democracy and where when we enter the premises of this system we actually lose those rights that we learn about in history class every odd day.

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Chapter 2 of The Well-Adjusted Child, The Social Benefits of Homeschooling: What do Homeschoolers Do??

This chapter focuses on the every-day lives of homeschoolers and the vast opportunities that they have. The author, Rachel Gathercole, points out reasons that people would believe homeschoolers to be inactive and socially deprived (who are they to play with or do while all the other children are off at school, obviously getting all the socialization they need?) Gathercole refutes such ideas with personal experiences of her own children playing with friend from homeschool groups, dance classes, music classes, scouts groups, and generally not being at “home” for most of the day. She adds accounts from other homeschooling parents that she has interviewed for the book and lists activities that homeschoolers are able to participate in. She eventually reaches the conclusion that homeschooling children are with other children just as much as other conventionally schooled children and are out of the home even more.
I believe that Gathercole’s points are just, considering especially the amount of sources she uses. Cahtercole makes a point near the end of the chapter that people believe normal school is seen as the most fit because most people, having grown up with it themselves, see it as one with childhood. Riding the bus, going to dances, having a locker, voting for class president, having a class that you graduate with, are all seen by the majority as part of childhood and growing up. They are therefore seen as the way childhood should go, the stepping-stones that need to be hopped in order to have lived your childhood. Gathercole points out that some of these stepping-stones are still experienced by homeschooled children and more importantly that childhood doesn’t need to be one with elementary school, middle school, or high school norms.