Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Couple of Days Old, But the Carnival of Homeschooling Is Up

The 113th Carnival of Homeschooling is up over at The Daily Planet. I neglected to post about it when it came out, so here it is now. My post about Noah Webster's Blue-Backed Speller is featured.

The post I found most interesting this time around is here. It presents some very well-reasoned arguments about how homeschooling affects socialization. There's a good debate in the comments, as well--lots of people commented, and the argument remained civil (and very informative).

One of the questions that comes up a lot when homeschooling parents think about socialization--and which is touched on in this post--involves defining what is normal. When people are socialized differently, they wind up with different priorities, different experiences, different vocabulary, different worldviews. If you pick up one person who was socialized in Group A and plunk that person down into the middle of Group B where they were all socialized differently, that person may well have a hard time fitting in. But the same would be true if one picked up someone from Group B and plunked him down in the middle of Group A. Just because someone doesn't fit in doesn't mean that he or she was socialized wrong; it just means he or she was socialized differently. Just because someone is in a minority doesn't mean that person is abnormal--and just because someone is in the majority doesn't mean that person is right.

The big questions are, How do we want our kids to turn out? and How to we get them to turn out that way? And there are many homeschoolers out there who chose their path precisely because they felt a need to swim against the cultural tide, for whatever reason. Yes, it's conceivable that their kids may have trouble fitting in; but that is often because they were raised with a different worldview than their age-peers, which was exactly the point.

Another point that was brought up in this post is the fact that many parents choose to homeschool only after discovering that the kids aren't fitting in to the schools anyway, to the point that the social demands of the school setting are interfering with the academic experience. This is often true of those who are naturally introverted, or who are "nerds", or those who are just naturally eccentric. Many kids on the Autism spectrum are homeschooled for precisely this reason--between the bustle and activity of a typical classroom (that many find confusing and overstimulating), and the fact that they are frequent targets of bullies, many make much better progress in home settings than in traditional classrooms.

Anyway, all of these points and many more are made--and debated--at the post I linked to above. Check it out.

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