As I’m sure has happened multiple times to other homeschoolers, recently I’ve been questioned a few times about whether I feel my children are deprived by “not having the opportunity to meet new people because they’re not in school.”
I understand that most of these comments come from people who are genuinely concerned, but I’m trying to figure out why so many onlookers think school is the only place to be exposed to new people. I don’t know about other people, but growing up, I had friends from a variety of places- not just school. Places like:
- Girl Scouts
- Dance class
- The roller skating rink
- Our neighborhood
Although the places may be a little different now, doesn’t this hold true for kids today? Even when my kids were in school, most of their friends that they actually spent non-school time with weren’t even from there. In fact, my kids meet more new people now than ever- and not just other children!
I don’t know what’s going on with society today, but it seems that despite the fact that our schools are failing and getting worse as time goes on, people are clinging harder and harder to the ideas impressed upon them by their time in a classroom.
Why? Why do we do this?
It’s almost like people realize that schools really have nothing left to give, academically, so they desperately grasp at that final straw- socialization.
If given the time to think about it, I’m sure that most people would realize the fallacy behind the whole “school is necessary to meet people” notion. Adults meet new people all the time, and- surprise!- they don’t have to be in school for that to happen.
Being homeschoolers doesn’t mean that we’re a family of hermits that only leave home for church on Sundays. If anything, we’re out more than we would be if the kids were in school because we actually have time to immerse ourselves in the community around us sans the time constraints placed on so many traditional school families by the educational establishment. We’re not hiding behind locked doors shielding ourselves from the world around us.
We’re in that world everyday. At the grocery store. Delivering cookies to the firemen. Playing with the neighborhood kids. At the library. And, yes…at church. We’re with people every single day. The only difference is that we’re not in a room full of people sitting quietly at desks. We’re living life as it’s meant to be.
And even if this weren’t the case- even if my kids had no friends at all, I’m not so sure school is the place I’d send my kids to remedy that problem. Given the breakdown in morals today, I’d find some other place for my kids to meet people, thank you.
But rest assured, homeschooling doesn’t mean that our children are deprived. If anything, our children are better off because they’re not only meeting people their own age; they’re meeting people of every age, color, ethnicity, and income bracket, engaging with them in a natural way. Isn’t that a bit more representative of real life than sitting in a classroom behind a desk all day? Being present in a room with a slew of people doesn’t necessarily amount to much if meaningful interaction is prohibited.
So to answer the question at hand, my kids are many things. They are happy. They are stimulated. They are educated. They are loved.
One thing they are not is deprived.