As young adults, we are quickly approaching the time to consider the best way to educate our children. At the University of Dallas, a large portion of students were homeschooled for either all or part of their elementary and high school education.
Prior to starting college at UD, I did not know many people my age who were homeschooled. When I started meeting peers who were, my eyes were opened to the many benefits, and to the many drawbacks, of homeschool education.
There are three main reasons why I do not plan on homeschooling my future children.
First, homeschooling children leads to a lack of peer-to-peer socialization.
Social interaction is vital in a child’s development, especially during the formative years of elementary and middle school. In the classroom, children learn how to make friends and interact with children that they do not get along with easily.
Senior English major Rose Safranek explained that her parents chose to homeschool her and her siblings from kindergarten through 12th grade because “by exercising more control over our public interactions, we kids could receive more excellent academics.”
While it is important that parents filter who their children spend time with, children should also be able to have a say in who their friends are, regardless of their parents’ opinions. Part of growing up is learning what people can be good friends and people who might not. Children have to learn how to make these choices for themselves without their parents constantly monitoring them.
The second reason that I would not homeschool my children is because it can lead to a lack of exposure to the “real world,” which can blindside them.
Junior education major Erin Quinn explained that she felt very innocent when she started high school after being homeschooled for elementary and middle school.
“A lot of people would not necessarily make fun of me, but in a joking manner be like ‘oh you don’t know this,’” Quinn said. “I’d say something inappropriate on accident because I’d just be repeating something someone said and then people would laugh.”
There are things, good or bad, that children are exposed to and learn about when they are surrounded by peers of the same age. Safranek said, “I have certainly observed other homeschoolers who had been extremely sheltered, struggle socially beyond high school.”
When children are too sheltered growing up, they suffer consequences in social settings.
Garrett Ball, a freshman business major homeschooled for elementary, middle and high school, echoes Safranek’s sentiments, explaining that he sees the benefit of a non-homeschooled education because those who are not homeschooled learn social lessons that are not as readily available for homeschoolers.
A strong, traditional education in a classroom of peers offers a structure that is hard to replicate in a homeschool setting. Quinn explained that when she started private high school she struggled initially because she was used to having ample time to do her schoolwork.
“I was not used to just doing an in-class essay right then; we didn’t do that when I was homeschooled.” The stricter timeline and harsher demands of traditional high school was something that she had to grow accustomed to.
Quinn also added that she was not ready for the rigor of AP classes.
“That kind of stuck with me throughout most of my high school experience. I wasn’t given the nourishment to prepare for AP classes.” Academically, it is important for children to be prepared for the difficulty of high school and college classes.
Though the values that lead many to adopt homeschooling practices, like an admirable faith, undying commitment to classical education and a firm confidence in the value of the traditional family, are worth celebrating and preserving, they do not necessitate that we isolate ourselves from our society.
Rather, we ought to take these values and bring them to our society in a more active way by creating schools that seek to teach these essential values in a setting that fully prepares its students to bring them to the rest of society.
While homeschooling may be the right option for some children, I believe that the traditional school environment is most beneficial, both academically and socially, for developing children.