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    Home Education

    The Socialization Question {Part II}

    May 12, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    I think I need to admit that the socialization question {as asked by the average person, not the academic “expert”} is asked because there are certain homeschooling families that are really odd. Sometimes these families are disliked because their community values conformity, and they just don’t fit in. In fact, I would say that conformity is often an underlying concern when the socialization question is asked. Will they fit in? Will they be liked everyone else? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Cindy recently wrote a series on the Gestapo Homeschooling Mom. I would say that the homeschoolers I’ve met that concerned me were raised by women who fall into this category. Actually, they tend to be boys raised by Gestapo Moms. They are very feminized, and I have a hard time imagining them ever separating from Mommy enough to have a healthy marriage someday.

    But please notice the cause of this: the mother. This is not caused by the methodology of homeschooling per se, and not all homeschoolers will reap the same results.

    There are other homeschoolers who are exceptionally smart, or exceptionally…um…not smart. They may not seem to fit in, but I’ve learned not to be quick about attributing that to homeschooling. They are what they are, and I’m not sure they’d “fit in” any better if they were thrown to the cliquish wolves in the public school system. And if they did muster the strength to conform, what qualities that are virtuous and noble would be gained by such an endeavor?

    I have two basic points here. The first is that boys {or girls!} raised by the

    Your children might not exactly fit in with the other children on the block, but that is precisely the point.
    –RC Sproul, Jr.

    Gestapo Moms will have their issues regardless of the method of their schooling. The second is that conformity is not a virtue.

    Our culture values conformity more than ever before. This even reveals itself in our architecture, which has become quite formulaic. When one travelled the country even as recently as the 1980s, one could observe distinct personalities in different geographic areas, even within a single state. Today, strip malls with virtually identical archetectural styles fill every formerly vacant lot. For good or ill, every town looks the same. Couple that with the fact that digitized media means that a kid in Alaska can be entertained in the exact same manner as a kid in Florida, and we end up with cookie-cutter kids.

    The homeschool families will stick out and make the families drowning in the culture

    And do not be conformed to this world…
    –Romans 12:2a

    uncomfortable by virtue of their lack of conformity. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, to my mind, this is a very positive thing to the extent that their conformity is to Christ and His commands rather than culture.

    There is a cultural tendency to dismiss homeschoolers as weird. And the experts-at-large encourage this overgeneralization. Tomorrow, I think I will write a bit about “experts,” specifically their expertise at the logical fallacy of equivocation. But I think that today it is important to note that there are a number of elements that go into the making of a homeschooling culture, and there is a lot of diversity out there. And my own past habits of judging them as “odd” were actually using the world’s standards rather than God’s.

     

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    5 Comments

  • Reply whimsy May 15, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    I agree completely! Public school can only be considered the “answer” to “weird” or socially inept people if every person that comes out of the PS system is socially “acceptable”. I think we all know that’s not the case. There were certainly several odd ducks in my school! People are what they are. As a society, we need to learn to deal with it.

  • Reply Brandy May 12, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    Kimbrah,

    Thank you for linking me up! 🙂 You are always so encouraging…I look forward to some visits from your readers and checking out what they have to say, both here at Afterthoughts and at Felicitas as well.

  • Reply Kimbrah May 12, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    I think this is an excellent series and I look forward to reading the next installment. I have linked to your posts from my blog because I think this is a really important issue and I agree with ALL of your thoughts on this. Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Brandy May 12, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    COD,
    Welcome to Afterthoughts. 🙂

    I like your point, and that, too, fits with my own observations. I mean, the especially “weird” (I hate using that word, because it sounds so negative, and I don’t really believe that a person’s oddities are always negative) homeschoolers I’ve known were kids I knew when I was young, back in the 80s and 90s. And back then, homeschooling was even more countercultural than it is now.

    I had to laugh. The family dog is definitely less dangerous than the hostilities faced at school when you are “weird!”

    By the way, everyone, Carmon has posted some interesting opinions about homeschooling on her blog today. Check it out!

  • Reply COD May 12, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    Something else the “experts” always fail to explore is whether homeschooling makes kids weird, or do weird kids tend to become HSer’s?

    I would go with the latter. HSing is by definition a counterculture activity, so it stands to reason that many of the kids that thrive doing it are the kids that would have been considered weird at school too.

    The difference is that the family dog probably won’t beat your kid up in the hallway for being weird.

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