Why the U.S. Education Secretary is Wrong on Homeschooling

Annie Holmquist | September 22, 2016 | 1,653

Why the U.S. Education Secretary is Wrong on Homeschooling

At a recent breakfast for reporters, U.S. Secretary of Education John King was asked for his opinion on homeschooling.

The Secretary’s most worrisome concern about the movement? A lack of socialization. Education Week reports:

“[King] worries that homeschoolers may not get the kind of interaction with other adults or much experience with their peers, ‘unless their parents are very intentional about it.’”

To help allay the Secretary’s fears about socialization, I might suggest a meeting with a young friend of mine, whom I’ll call Jason.

A homeschool senior, Jason just started doing his generals at a local community college.

But being ahead of the pack academically hasn’t necessarily stunted Jason’s social life. He’s already compiled a diverse set of friends at school: a Muslim, a Black Lives Matter advocate, and a Communist.  

Jason isn’t afraid to go against popular opinion either. In his government class, the teacher purposely spliced a video together to make one of the presidential candidates look bad and the other good. After most of the class got up and offered the same opinion on the video and the candidates, Jason stood up and began to point out the bias present in the video. His teacher’s response? “You are 100 percent correct,” after which she began to scold the class for their inability to cut through the jargon and perceive the truth.

Jason’s willingness to challenge conventional wisdom seems to have also led to a bit of a teaching career, particularly in regards to the electoral college. When his class decried the system, Jason offered a more comprehensive view of the system and pointed out some of its benefits. He’ll be following this lesson up by giving a scheduled presentation on the subject to his class in the near future.

Of course, my young friend may simply be an anomaly, or one of the few homeschool students whose “parents were very intentional” about socialization.

But data suggests that’s not the case. In fact, studies have shown that homeschoolers actually score above their public school peers on social skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, and self-control, and are better adjusted psychologically in college than those who did not have the homeschool experience.

Is it time we put to rest the idea that homeschoolers are social outcasts?

Image Credit: Mitch and Bonnie Lewandowski bit.ly/1eBd9Ks



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