Tuesday, 27 February, 2001

Socialization of Home Schooled Children

The last two days, NPR's "All Things Considered" has run segments about the recent increase in home schooling.  Today's segment was about socialization of home schooled children.  The common perception of home schooled children is that they're shy, or weird, and have a hard time making friends or getting along with other children.  A college woman commented that people are surprised when they hear that she was home schooled.  "What did you do for friends?" they often ask.  As the NPR segment points out, "home schooling" is something of a misnomer.  It's really home-based schooling.  Home schooled children often get to go more places and meet more different people than public school children.

I get much the same response from people when they learn that I went to military school for five years.  I don't get the "what did you do for friends" line.  The one I get is "What did you do for fun?", as if it's impossible to have fun at a military school.  True, school was considered serious business, and we were expected to act with a certain amount of restraint in public.  But the school does have all the "normal" high school sports, plus things that most schools don't have including paintball, physical fitness team, a climbing wall, rifle team, and many other activities.  No, we didn't have cars and we couldn't leave the school during the week, and we couldn't go out drinking on the weekends.  I learned something much more important:  I learned how to enjoy myself no matter what I'm doing. I learned how to make my own fun, which is one of the most valuable skills any person can have.