A friend of mine has a two-year-old daughter that she really wants to homeschool. Unfortunately, her family and friends are far less than supportive. She recently emailed me this question that I am (with her permission) posting here slightly edited for our readership to help answer.
What are some of your rebuttals to homeschool critics? When people say: "The children will not be socially acclimated." or "Can it be a little unhealthy for children to be around their parents so much?"
What are some other ones you've heard and please give me a tactful way to respond to these...
Here is the response I sent her:
But the truth is that I haven't really had to deal with critics much, and so I was hoping our readers could help me out. What response would you have given my friend? And what other questions do the critics ask that she should be prepared to answer?
For all of civilization, up until the late 1800s, children grew up at home with their families. Take for example the pioneers, who crossed the US in covered wagons. How much time did *they* spend with their parents every day? If you read the Little House on the Prairie series, you'll find out that Laura and her sisters were hardly ever in school until they were much older. They spent all day at home with their family. It was, in fact, a rare thing before the 1800s for a child to spend long periods of time away from their families.
That ought to cover the second question. Unless they think that all of humanity had unhealthy childhoods for thousands of years....
For the first question, I might then ask if they think that these famous people who were home educated were not "socially acclimated": Laura Ingalls Wilder, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, etc. Just google for "famous homeschoolers for a MUCH longer list - public schooling is so very new that most of the famous people of history were home educated.
If they reply that yes, that was fine *then*, but public school is necessary to be "socially acclimated" now, then I would ask which parts of school are important. Then answer the specific areas that they are concerned about. For example:
Spending time with other children? They can do that at church or at homeschool group activities or at scouts or any other activities they're involved in.
Prom? There are homeschool proms.
The experience of being bullied (yes, I know people who think it's important to go to public school so that you know what it's like to be bullied)? 1) Not every child is bullied in school. 2) That's what family is for. Sibling rivalry, anyone?? 3) Are the bullies missing out in public school because *they* are never bullied?
Etc. I would also mention famous modern homeschoolers, such as the Jonas Brothers, Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye), and Tim Tebow (UF football player). Also, Will Smith and John Travolta homeschool their children.
Then I would be sure to tell them that scientists have studied the social health and success of homeschooled adults and compared them to public schooled adults. In most areas there is NO difference, and in the areas where there is a difference the homeschooled adults always scored higher.