School and socialising.
Prior to the Covid pandemic which shut almost all schools, relatively few parents had heard of home education. Home schooling, where lessons are provided live by Zoom or other interactive manner is quite different from Elective Home Education (EHE)
Many thousands of families are turning towards EHE. In this part of the series we hope to look at more of the reason why this is happening, however it’s worthwhile dealing with the biggest concern (whether it is genuine concern or simply criticism). And that is the “but what about socialisation?”
Home education children are not sitting in dark, damp, rooms while teaching themselves to read the works of Dickens or Shakespeare. Not that there is any reason they shouldn’t if it was in their best interests.
Considering that most children were “educated” in the basics of manners, dressing themselves, playing and interacting with other children or family, while being taught language skills and more, we should not see that five is a magic age at which professionals must take over. (Although five is the maximum age to begin education, many children go into nursery settles from two or three).
The first argument in favour of EHE socialisation is that it’s parentally directed and supervised. It is also uniquely designed in every child’s favour. There is a lack of peer pressure, and for children who have never been to school, they have probably had a head start in reading and writing and IT skills.
Children who don’t go to school are able to mix with other children who are younger or older. There is no “age” stigma attached to who their friends are. They also become much more confident in normal behaviour, whether this is seeing a neighbour walking her dog. Going to the shops with mum, or watching with their dad while he has his MOT done.
They grow up without the fear of asking questions, in case they are laughed at for “being so stupid”.
“Your toddler has a curious mind and so there is no limit to the number of questions that he may ask you in a day. Sometimes, the questions may be repeated too. However, studies have revealed that on an average a toddler can ask about 100 to 300 questions in a day.” Quote taken from https://parenting.firstcry.com/
By the time a child has been at an ordinary average school (I understand that privately funded schools may have a better pupil to teacher ratio) for a year, they will not ask anything but the most obvious questions for fear of peer pressure, or simply a teacher who says “not now Johnny, we are doing science this morning”.
School aims to make everyone the same; but it is extremely obvious that there is a high level of bullying, both physical and psychological, which makes children stay silent and their natural curiosity stops.
Reason two why home educated children have a better socialisation experience.
Home educated children are around different people all the time. They learn social skills like asking how much their shopping costs, or why are those apples more expensive than those.
Free from the fear of mockery, they will ask many questions; and they learn much sooner how to behave around adults. They tend to ask intelligent (or impossible!) questions, which means their parents are able to explain life according to their world view, which is for many home educating parent, very different from the Marxist school agenda.
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” becomes true, when the child is able to mix with other non Marxist indoctrinated children. As of 2022, there have never been more groups for young people who are not in school, to study anything from archery to ancient Greek.
There are more organised groups for those to sitting exams; but many other social skills are learned in ways schools would call “a waste of time”. EHE children have opportunities that school could never offer. Home educated children realise that their thoughts and feeling matter, and no they don’t have to study sex education if they’d rather not, nor to do PE (physical education, gym classes) in a mixed group.
The basic legal requirements are to be competent according to their abilities and to be able to fit into modern society.
Yes there are some very shy children who are home educated (I’m pretty sure it is worse for the shy children in school); and it might take time for them to make friends, but they do. We are natural sociable beings; and how would we feel if we were kept 8 hours a day with people the same age as us and having to ask publicly if they might use the bathroom?
It is great to see home educated children be able to ask a homeless person about his his problems; to see them want to bake cookies to take a new neighbour; or offer to help out a new mum. Home educated children know how deal with the real world. They are in it every day.
It has often been said to home educators “but how will they socialise in the real world, since they have never experience socialisation at school?”
The answer to which is, simply, “they are already in the real world, and they are coping”.
It is common to be asked, “but if they had a problem that they couldn’t talk to their parents about, who could they talk to?” The answer is again “They are talking all the time to adults in their lives about non problems and these adults would definitely step up to reassure the child, or to step in and talk to the parents.
We are a community who – and the reasons are diverse – exercise our legal right to educate children at home. Despite the different approaches to home education most children are very relaxed with children, adults or people with from widely varying backgrounds.