Friday, January 1, 2010

What about socialization for homescoolers?

This post is part of FAQ Fridays. If you have a question you would like answered, you can ask it on any FAQ Friday post, or in the FAQ page.


What about socialization?


To newcomers, I plan on homeschooling my children. You can read why I am homeschooling here. This post will only address the socialization aspect of homeschooling. It will not address the budget, time management, curriculum or qualification questions you may have about homeschooling. You can ask them in the comment section and I will add them to the FAQ.

So, there are two basic camps about socialization and homeschooling.

Sports and Extracurricula Activites

Some homeschooling families want to model the public school's version of socialization. Enrolling kids into sports programs and extracurricula activities at the local school is the logical answer. This is hanging out with kids their own age doing things that they are all interested in together.


The other camp says that hanging out with kids the exact same age as you is not socialization, because in the real world and in the work force, you are interacting with people in a wide range of age levels and interests. These families lean toward community activites for socialization, where children will play with other children and learn to interact with adults.

Our Family

Our family generally belongs in the second camp. Festivals, parks, libraries, church: these are real life things that our children right now are mostly spectators of, but are becoming more involved with. This is where real socialization happens for us, where our children interact with people similar to them and with people very different. They learn to respond to differences and understand them.

What about sports and extracurriculas?

Hanging out with people who are the same age as you and do the same things as you is not a well-rounded means of social interaction, in our minds. These activites have nothing to do with our plan for socialization, but have a lot to do with our plans to have each child pursue activities they enjoy. It is more of a curriculum activity than a socialization activity.


Our Family Is His said...

We fall more into the second camp as well. We have learned, through our time with two little boys in many therapies, that socialization comes in many forms. First, they are professionally taught socialization skills. That has opened our eyes tremendously on the pure definition of that word. It's not what most people who bring it up in a "how can you homeschool" setting think it is. They mean hanging out with friends between classes or going out on Friday night. My sons can do that now, just not with any socialization skills at all. That's something that can be taught in a myriad of ways.

Choose what works for your children and family, and never let anyone tell you that you are doing it wrong. If it works for your children and family, it's the proper way.

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

I am going to disagree with you a bit on the idea that real-world activitites don't divide you up based on similarities such as age. I mean, yes, I have interacted with people of all ages and backgrounds in my professional career, and while I'm in my 30's, I have close friends who are 16 and 79. But...plenty of real-world activities break down into like-aged groups.
Sports and other activities like that are just one example. It really wouldn't be fair for the 8-year-olds to play the 17-year-olds in baseball. If your child's interests and career path lead him to the military, those in boot camp will all be of an age. In college, the vast majority of students are traditional 18-24 demographic. In a job situation, entry level workers are also traditionally of a like age.
People bond together out of similar life experiences, like a moms club or a widows group, and tend to be of like age because those experiences often occur at like times. Even in a church setting, an adult Bible study and a 7-year-old's Sunday School class may have similar goals but cannot be accomplished together in the same way because of age differences. I love to take my son to the library, but I would never take him to the book club where they are reading the new Jodi Picoult because it wouldn't be fun for anyone. Likewise, a lot of people would be wigged if a childless 50-year-old man showed up at my son's pre-school story hour and just started to play tea party with a 3-year-old girl.
I'm not at all saying it's wrong to pursue across-the-board socialization rather than just working within that one-year structure of a schoolroom. Not at all. But I think you are underestimating how much people do gravitate (by nature or by structure) toward people of their own age.

Mandy said...

what if one of your sons shows an interest in playing a sport? Maybe while at the park, they might see a baseball or soccer game and express an interest in playing. Will they be allowed to join a team then?

Anonymous said...

The word is "extra-curricular."

Emily said...

Lori, after college, it is rare to find people divided by BOTH age and interest. There will always be groups that form based on interest, but they do not again segregate by age.

Mandy, that question was answered in the post.

Anon, curriculum plural is curricula, not curricular. However, in English it can be spelled either way.

Tammy said...

I agree with you, Emily. Our kids have homeschooled their entire lives, and we have wittnessed how well they interact at many different settings with a variety of people and of all ages.

Yes, they have friends their own ages (teens; some homeschooled and some public schooled). But if we go to an event and there are no teens there, they just spend time/do fun things with any kids or young adults present.

Likewise they have an enjoyable time interacting with adults, and even the elderly. I call this better "socialized" than most kids we see.

Now that my oldest daughter has a part time job, I can really see how much of an advantage this is! Her boss/coworkers (adults between the ages of 22 and 60ish) often comment on how amazed they are that she is just 15; she works well with everyone, has made friends at work, and interacts great with the customers she serves. Her boss is hoping she will work full time when she is finished with high school. (It's a health/supplements store and some of the workers have degrees in nutrition, sports med, etc.)

This is a very valuable assett we can give our children! Your kids will thank you for it, Emily. My daughter has. :)

frugalredneck said...

My oldest is turning 19 next week. We homeschooled, and are homeschooling the other 5 children as well. I really got a peek into any ?'s I had about socialization when she went out into the world. She wanted to move out on her own at 18, and work. She is very responisible, So this was acceptable to me. She works at walmart. Everytime we go into the store, Everyone ages young to old tell us how great she is, How she is not like the other 18 year olds, She works hard, She is the one they go to. Her managers in soft lines change periodically and everyone single one of them has nothing but great things to say about her. She has been offered a management position they are preppring her for now. By not just "hanging out" with others her own age, Not being limited to only an age group, She can handle any situation with any age person. I can only go by experience, And she has exceeded any socialization expectations I had. My son who just turned 17 has worked for a year now at the same place and has had similiar results. Good luck again emily. Michelle

Angelina said...

Hi Emily,

I've been reading your blog for a while now. This is my first time commenting. I just wanted to say "Thank You" for your blog. Although we do not have all the same views, and my budget is much different than yours, you speak of many good ways to be frugal that I can implement in my life. I read daily, and use your blog and others to help keep me focused on what is truly important.

My little one is 3, and we are nearing the crossroads of what choice to make in her education. For me, public schools in my area are not an option, and tuition to private is extremely expensive. Homeschooling might end up being our decision. It will be interesting to see how you implement everything and encouraging to others.

Amber said...

As long as you make sure that your children have access to children their age so that they can form friendship bonds (which are not usually formed at festivals, libraries, etc. but can happen), I think that whatever way you socialize your children is fine.

Remember that many of these activities are not free. You will be able to get by for quite some time this way, but as they get older things are going to get more expensive. Since you plan on your yearly income being HALF of what it is now as your children get older, it is hard to imagine how things will be afforded.

That said, my parents did not have enough money to put my siblings or me into any sports and very few extra programs. I survived and still made friends, but I was also attending public school and was exposed to many different people.

Anonymous said...

Interacting with a range of differently aged kids is really not at all like interacting with a range of differently aged adults.

The difference between a 5 year old and a 10 year old is huge. The difference between a 30 year old and a 35 year old, maturity wise? Very little. The logic fails. Once you reach adulthood the expected mental/emotional maturity differences even out, so it's not at all the same thing.

as far as range of interests, kids the same age will have a wide variety of interests, yes, just like adults do. And just like a kid joining a sports team to interact with other kids with the same interest, so do adults. Adults join sports teams, book clubs, mommy groups, all to find people with the same interests.

I'm not saying your approach is a bad one, I'm just saying your logic doesn't work.

Pam said...

Good morning, Emily! Happy New Year!

"Socialization" is the absolute least of my concerns for my kids, between story hour, MOPS, and church activities, but it seems to be the biggest concern for naysayers. One of the best things about homeschooling is that it encourages the relationships within the family, the structure in which God has placed us.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to side with Merriam-Webster on the spelling of "extracurricular". You are correct that because of its Latin roots, the plural of "curriculum" is "curricula". However, "extracurricular" is a different word. Additionally, because I grew up in New England, where many people drop the Rs, I've heard it prounounced "extracurricula".

I normally leave misspellings in blogs alone (I'm not perfect either), but since this was in dispute (and related to academia), I decided to weigh in.

Jen said...

I have to agree with Amber. I agree with you in the fact that yes it is important to know how to socialize with people of all ages. However, it is also just as important that kids have the opportunity to form bonds with other children. It's not so much an age thing as an opportunity thing. Children need friends, and festivals and library time are probably not going to cut it.

Emily said...

Pam, Socialization does seem to be the greatest concern of the naysayers. One thing I wish I had touched on was the importance of family socialization. Family relationships are the most important of all and homeschooling develops them in a natural way. Close family relationships is tragically lacking in many families. We want our sons to grow up to be good husbands and fathers. That is MORE of a priority to us than them growing up to be good friends and sports team-members.

I noticed that the dictionary spelled it that way, but I also noticed that many schools omit the "r". Either is is an overly common error, or it is a word than can be spelled two ways.

sonny said...

Oh Emily, you are so mis guided. You have so much to learn about life, parenting and how to take care of your family. Neither you or Dan have the life skills to properly educate your children. Your ideas are childlike and simple. Life is not simple. You are setting your children up for a lifetime of poverty and ignorance. For their sake, send them to public school where they can have 2 decent meals a day, be around other kids and have a chance at an education.

Boggles said...

Sonny: That's silly. At my school it was deep fried/high sugar (or corn syrup)/high carb garbage.

What do children learn from other children? How to pick on those smaller and weaker, how to judge based on look and clothing?

Why should she send her children to a school where many children don't even learn to read, to be socialized as little animals?

liveoncejuicy said...

I homeschool my 16-year-old, my 17-year-old goes to a public high school, and I'm still not sure whether or not my 5-year-old will go to school. My theory has always been to let the child lead their placement. Kids even as young as five are old enough to know what works for them. As a consequence school isn't compulsory for my kids, which I believe has accounted for them being well-rounded and pretty non-rebelious as far as teenagers go.

I think socialization as most homeschooling naysayers mean it is overrated. I think a lot of school socialization boils down to cliques and trying to fit in by cutting out individuality. I'm okay with my kids missing out on that.

My son hated public school. He has high functioning autism, and the socialization part was torture for him. My daughter, who is 17, loves school. She's a pretty serious musician and she enjoys being involved with the various bands her school offers. She knows that if she chose, she could be homeschooled and still participate in band. It's her choice. At 17 she's definitely old enough to make it.

Ruby is just five. She's not old enough for kindergarden until the fall. I don't really want to send her to school, but my husband does. I think we'll give it a try. We live in a district with a fairly progressive elementary school. By the time she's done with Kindergarden we'll be moving to a much larger city with a thriving homeschool program and we've already agreed that when that happens she'll be homeschooled.

I think that a lot of parents who are really anti-homeschool/pro-public-school haven't ever really taken a deep look at schools. (Obviously not all of them...but the people who have really gotten down on me in real life about homeschooling are basically going on their own experiences as a student 20 or more years ago. Schools around here don't even have PE, art, or music in elementary school anymore, and only 10 minutes of recess out of 7 hours. It's not the same.) Try being a substitute teacher for a while. I swear, you'll never want to send your kid there. That was when I finally pulled my son out of school for good.

liveoncejuicy said...

homeschool program should have been community.

Helen said...

Hi Emily,

I don't usually pick on people for grammatical or spelling mistakes either, but:
"curriculum" (plural curricula) is a noun.
"curricular" is an adjective.

It may be a common error but no need to perpetuate it :-)

Back on topic, I think people get overly worried about socialization skills for home schooled children. If efforts are made to expose children to their own age-groups through age-appropriate activities they will probably be fine.


Satin said...

What will you do if your children have learning disabilities similar to your husband?

Dan says on his blog that his parents didn't get him the help he needed for his possible learning disabilities. Do you really want to repeat this cycle?

Kari said...


Since we're also learning at home you'll get only agreement from us! :)

We fall into both camps, it seems. The big girl does take some organized activities like gymnastics, tap, and ballet classes. We're very fortunate to receive generous cash gifts from grandparents that help finance these ventures.

Most of our socialization is less formal and definitely unstructured.

Just yesterday we had a playdate at the library. The daughter of the friend I met is only a year old. My daughters are 5 1/2 and 21 months now. Both played and interacted with the baby. I've never asked how old my friend is, but I know that at the age of 42 I'm quite a bit older than the other moms of babies I usually socialize with! ;)

I was working on my BS degree when I was 30 and had friends who were 18.

I think people who are open to socialization outside of societal norms do have friends of varied ages and experiences.

I have friends with only high school level educations (some have GEDs) and others with PhDs.

I have friends who are atheists, pagan, and Christian.

I have friends who are very career focused and others who have left their careers behind for other focuses.

I guess my point is that yes, we can *choose* to be exclusive and limit our social interactions or we can choose to live outside-the-box and see the value in all people.

I personally want my children to learn and practice in the latter. ;)

Amber said...

Emily said:

"We want our sons to grow up to be good husbands and fathers. That is MORE of a priority to us than them growing up to be good friends and sports team-members."

If they do not know how to be good friends and team-members than they will not know how to FIND a wife. If they do not socialize well then it's going to be very hard for them to interact with women and find a life partner. Children need to know how to have solid friendships so that they can grow into adults who know how to have friendships. You need to be your spouses friend as well as their partner or else it just will not work.

I hope that made sense.

btw this is the same "Amber" just a different account lol

Anonymous said...

Along the line of sports, children also have to learn such lessons as how to be a gracious loser and how to be a team player. Kids who don't learn these values end up being entitled brats who can't handle life's adversities. Sports, and the socialization that comes with them, are important to development.

Emily said...

Satin, any disability my husband may have was from perpetually poor teaching at a shoddy Christian school. Getting tested would have meant drugs, it would not have fixed the problem of further bad teaching.

Amber, that's why I sais "MORE of a priority." I can have many objectives for my children, some of which are MORE important than others. Having one over another does negate the other. I hope that makes sense. I'm glad you used your account. It's always good to put a face to a name.

Our Family Is His said...

Satin said, "What will you do if your children have learning disabilities similar to your husband?

Dan says on his blog that his parents didn't get him the help he needed for his possible learning disabilities. Do you really want to repeat this cycle?"

This makes no sense. You don't need public school to identify and address any disability, learning or otherwise.

I have TWO sons with multiple disabilities. They are being taken care of BETTER now that the public school it out of the picture. Private therapy is hands down superior to the school therapies we fought tooth and nail to get for our older son (and yes, it's often a battle frought with red tape, state minimums, IEP meetings, and advocates until you are happy with bare minimum). We get higher quality therapy for him, he's having greater success with private therapy, and he's not bringing home worse symptoms and habits.

Where in the world does it state that those with any type of special needs are better off in a public school? Often times, they are not.

Our Family Is His said...

Anonymous said: "Sports, and the socialization that comes with them, are important to development"

Do you really believe this? Do you think every successful teen and adult out there played sports? I didn't. My husband didn't. We both were asked to work for the companies we worked for. We both were given very good wages. We both were very successful in our careers. We both have many friends and a few very close friends that are more like family. We both have rich extended family lives. We both are socially active. Yes, neither of us played sports. Out of everyone I know as an adult (through husband's work, church, socially only, and through family) I would say approximately 75% of them never played a sport. But somehow they are developmentally inept? I think not. I think many naysayers have no real point to pick on, so they pick ridiculous and unimportant topics to try and talk a total stranger out of parenting their children.

Anonymous said...

Many questions...

1) How would you sustain yourself if Dan was to die or divorce you (more than half of all marriage end up in divorce so this is not such an unlikely possibility....)?

2) How do you make sure that your food is safe to eat? Cooking at high temperature (not reached by crock pot) kill bacteria. I am particularly concerned with Salmonella and botulism (in fermented food).

3)Why don't you get rid of your oven altogether so that you can use the space to store stuff?

4)Are you trying to decrease the number of stuff you own (minimalistic living)?

5) Do you have your kids vaccinated?

6) Do you have annual medical check-up for the family?

7) What does your family think of your lifestyle?

8) How do you bath children without a tub?

9) Aren't you afraid to get molds in your apartment (with all of your indoor washing and drying)?

10) Why does Dan have such poor writing skills (mine are horrible as well but I am not a native speaker...)?

11) Are you going to set money aside for the children college education?

12) What type of soil are you using in your indoor garden?

13) What kind of soap do you use to wash dishes?

AT said...

"For their sake, send them to public school where they can have 2 decent meals a day"

This made me laugh out loud. You obviously haven't read a public school cafeteria menu lately.

Blessed said...

While we are homeschooling and hope to do so for a looooong time, there are times to put kids in public school. Some kids thrive there. I hope homeschooling works for us up until high school, when we would give the kids the option of attending public school, since I remember fondly all the amazing extracurricular activities like musicals, madrigal choir, students for a better world, being a peer counselor, etc. that I could never give them within our homeschool world. BUT our local h.s. might not have those things anyway, with all the budget cuts in education here in CA! So my kids might also do what most 16 yr old homeschool kids I know do--go straight on to community college, where they can have classsroom experience and lots of outside interests, without the petty tyrannies and drama of h.s. life.

As for socialization--that continues to amaze me that almost EVERYONE who finds out we homeschool asks that question first. What, you don't care if my kid is excelling academically (she is, thank you very much), but you care very much whether or not my kid knows who Hanna Montana is? Because that is really what school socialization is--indoctrination into the masses. And honestly, the thought life and character of the masses is not good enough for my kids. When my eldest was in public kindergarden and I would help with playground supervision, I would listen to the 3rd graders playing at the nearby "big kid" playstructure, and shudder. By that age they all seem to get really mean. And materialistic.

Conversely, a good friend and I were just talking the other day about how our children have managed to stay kids--they have not yet lost their innocence and their zest for life. And they still think learning is exciting and fun! That is one thing the public school system will beat out of you really fast!

I was a public school kid, and think it was a fine experience overall--but I remember the mean kids, the lack of adult interaction, the feelings of isolation (and I was a nice kid everybody liked!), the wasted time every day, how learning was such a bore. . . just a few of the MANY reasons why I want to homeschool my kids.

Socialization is not knowing what is popular on TV or wanting the "cool" foods in your lunch or learning how to "diss" your peers or dumb down your verbal skills with 4 letter words. It is what frugalredneck and tammy have described--being confident, capable young people who are comfortable in their own skins and enjoy relating to other people of all ages, skin colors and backgrounds. Any schooling background can lead to this--but homeschooling, done well, seems like a much more logical framework for this goal.

Scottish Twins said...

We plan to homeschool, but only up until middle school. At that point our children will be given a choice as to where they would like to continue their education.

I think sometimes you can't fit your children into one particular mold. Just like public school isn't the right fit for every child, homeschooling isn't right either.

For some children, with social awkwardness to begin with, keeping them away from their peers will lead to even more problems. For others, it isn't an issue. I think kids need to learn to interact with both - children their age and people of all ages. We will be subscribing to both camps of thought.

My only worry is that you have become very set in your ways before you are even there. What is you have a child that is only interested in sports? What is God has given that gift to them and expects you to help foster it? What if you have a child who is not thriving in a homeschooling environment and needs to be interacting with other children to succeed?

You have to be flexible with some of the decisions you make in life. Although I like to think most of life is pretty black and white (when it comes to right and wrong, good and evil), I am starting to find that when it comes to parenting there is a lot more grey area. What is true for one child isn't always true for another.

Scottish Twins said...

is = if. lol

~Melissa said...

There are so many misconceptions on both sides in the thread. Again, I wonder if most people even bother to investigate things on their own of just go on a "my brother's neighbour's best friend’s mother is a public school teacher/home school teacher and their children are doing well/horrible" stories.
I can only speak as a Canadian regarding public school am I certainly am not anti homeschooling at all. The nutrition guide for our province mandates what can and cannot be served in cafeterias. As a nutrition hound I would be very comfortable having my children eat what is being served in the middle and high schools.
I don't understand the social aspect that gets picked on about homeschooling either. When I was debating on homeschooling my children and talking to friends about it the only comment anyone had was "aren’t you worried about them being socialized". It wasn't even a blip on my radar as something to be worried about. Worrisome would be having the attitude that my choice was the only way anything could possibly work for anyone.

Satin said...

Emily said...
Satin, any disability my husband may have was from perpetually poor teaching at a shoddy Christian school. Getting tested would have meant drugs, it would not have fixed the problem of further bad teaching.

So why does he continue to go to a shoddy Christian school? And how do you know he would have needed drugs? He says he has never officially been dx'd with anything so how do you know what drugs he would need or if he would need drugs?

Also, you didn't answer the question. What will you do if your children have LD's? Will you ignore it like Dan's parents did?

Guinevere said...

I was homeschooled. I tend to agree with your perspective on socialization, with one caveat: if your child's natural interests are putting them into situations where they are making real and engaging friendships, then they are being served well. Those friends don't all have to be the same age, but some do - we all have a need to have true peers, as well as older friends to learn from and younger ones to help. Kids learn something different from each group. School socialization doesn't provide that proper socialization, in my opinion, but homeschoolers also have to be sure that their child is being socialized in all those areas.

I didn't suffer from homeschooling -- I had great friendships with a diverse range of people, time and support to pursue my own interests, and also had a wonderful relationship with my parents. Since my dad died when I was in high school, I am so grateful we had that extra time together. And when I finished high school, I went to a good private school on a full scholarship, played sports (for the first time in my life) and had a rich social life. I don't understand why people freak out about home schooling - it's not that weird!

Learning to be a friend is just as important as learning to be a spouse, too. It's not always in God's will to marry and have children, but He surely didn't mean for any of us to be lonely all our lives!

thesavedquarter said...

OurFamilyIsHis - Satin didn't say that public school was necessary to address learning disabilities, but asked if they had a plan to address such issues if they came up in their kids.

Since learning disabilities are often genetic, it's a valid question, I think. My husband and mother in law are both dyslexic; I am a voracious reader and was reading on my own at 3. If my kids have dyslexia, I wouldn't know how to help them in the best possible way so that they could achieve to their potential. I don't think public school is the only option, but I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand if they had the resources to give my child something I could not.

I'm so sad to hear that Dan's parents didn't get him the help he needed, in public school or with private therapy. Perhaps that lack of treatment has meant that he is not able to live up to his full potential, as it can certainly be a hindrance in many professions to have problems with reading comprehension and writing.

Private therapy is an option, of course, and one I'd hope any family would seek out if their child needed help, but private therapy costs money. I don't see that kind of extra money in a $1,000 a month budget, or in mine.

(This is Penny Saver, switching names to add my blog link!

Our Family Is His said...

You are right, private does cost money. We are blessed with insurance or we couldn't afford any therapy. BUT, there are many ways around that. There are any pediatric therapy centers that work around a person's true budget and finances. We went to one for quite a while before we found the place we are at now. I heard, more than once, the receptionist or financial person discussing the options over the phone.

You can, often times, get therapy through the school system even if you aren't being publicly schooled. That's something many don't know about. It would, in many cases, be very basic, but better than nothing and would be the same therapy that the child would get if they were in public school for the remainder of the day.

There are many options. You have to get creative when you have children with special needs.

And last, but far from least, I am sorry if I misunderstood Satin. I thought she was using the LD's as a reason to public school. If I was wrong, please forgive me. I did not mean to come to the wrong understanding of your post.

liveoncejuicy said...


School is definitely NOT the best way to educate a child who has a LD.

My son is a perfect example. He has Asperger's Syndrome. Like many kids with AS his age, because when he was small people still thought autism meant a speech delay, he was misdiagnosed at age 6 with ADHD.

After three years on stimulants, which didn't work very well, he ended up as an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital at age 9 when the meds caused halucinations. Both my parents are teachers, and I was very young--I trusted the system. The school said he had ADHD, the pediatritian didn't he was given strong meds he didn't need.

Only it gets worse. The hosptial diagnosed him with bipolar disorder. If you think ADHD meds are bad, you should see what they give to a bipolar kid.

ESPECIALLY if the kid doesn't have bipolar, so the meds don't work. They just add and add and add...and when you're a young mother and your kid is sick, you don't argue with a huge hospital. Or at least I didn't. I was terrified. Unmedicated bipolar kids kill themselves at alarming rates.

Finally, at age 13, some wise doctor weaned my kid off the handfuls of psychotropic drugs he'd been on for a little over three years (that's six years of meds if you're counting...) And when there was no cycling, took away the bipolar dx. This was the first time since he was 6 that any doctor had seen my son unmedicated--and the very first time a mental health professional had.

So like I said...autism. No meds needed, so we're keeping that one.

Schools are designed to give the best possible education to the widest majority of kids. If you have one outside that majority, like I do, you're in for 12 or 13 years of chaos, tears, trauma and did I mention tears? The school will do whatever they can to convince you that the best thing for your child is to do whatever you have to in order to make him fit into their model.

I know you didn't say public school is necessary for LD. It did seem like you were implying it. No one will ever ever be able to convince me that any kid with LD is best served by a public school. I will never know how much damage has been done by my son's elementary school years being influenced by public schools wanting him to 'fit in.'

If any of the many children that Emily plans on having do have LDs, even if she's homeschooling the school district has to provide services. Emily will have far more control over what happens that way, too.

Emily said...

Anon, thanks for the questions. I was jsut updating my FAQ and will be sure to put those in!

Satin, I'll add that to the FAQ, too.

Scottish Twins, I wrote in this very post that if one of my children were interested in sports, they would pursue that. In my mind, that, along with dual enrollment topics, are better discussed with curriculum issues, not socialization isuues.

Cate said...

I think it's interesting that some people (note that I did not say all) seem to want to keep their children out of public school because they don't want them interacting with "mean" or "cliquey" kids. Okay, but then how do your children learn how to deal with mean or cliquey people? Because the adult world is full of both, and chances are good they'll be exposed to them sooner or later.

Emily said...

Anon with the Qs, #3 will never be it's own post. I can't get rid of my oven because it is part of the apartment. It is not mine to get rid of. I've updated the FAQ with the questions. Some of them have already been answered, so I'll be linking them to their posts.

liveoncejuicy said...


People have to deal with lots of things as adults that they are protected from as children. Respectfully, I think that until you've had a kid whose the victim of those "mean" and "cliquey" kids, it's easy to put those words in quotes.

Our Family Is His said...

Cate, who says homeschooling protects children from mean kids or cliques? The only way to do that would be to have only one child and never let him out of the house. Since our kids are homeschooled, not locked in a closet, they come in contact with children and adults of all types. You should see the very ugly adults my children have already had to deal with in their short lives. Sad.

But, to your point, kids are all around us. I don't know about you, but we have kids in the neighborhood (refer back to the "not locked in a closet" comment), kids at church, kids that are children of our friends, other homeschool children, and so on. Some people act like homeschool kids never see the light of day or any other children. Goodness no. They see many children. They just don't see them in a public school building Monday - Friday.

Just for the record, our reasons for homeschooling have nothing to do with not wanting them to interact with public schooled children or mean/cliquey children.

Nota said...

"any disability my husband may have was from perpetually poor teaching at a shoddy Christian school. Getting tested would have meant drugs, it would not have fixed the problem of further bad teaching."

This bugs me. If you're blaming poor teaching "for any disability he may have" - which means you aren't even sure whether he has one or not - then couldn't he self-educate out of it if he were motivated to do so. Poor education is not a disability. A disadvantage, yes. A disability, no. Your husband could learn to write more clearly if he chose to dedicate some time to the endeavor.

Also, a diagnosed learning disability does not automatically mean meds. My husband was diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age and has never been medicated for its treatment, as it simply wasn't necessary (and would not have fixed the problem).

I've been reluctant to write anything about your husband's blog as a comment area on his blog is available to me, should I feel the need to use it. I also don't like to criticize the way people choose to express themselves merely for punctuation or spelling - seeing as mine is not perfect. But I think a man should reach an age where blaming a poor education is recognized as a cop-out of having the self-discipline to demand better from himself. If your husband is old enough to take a wife, and commit to a household with three children in it - he's old enough to pick up an English textbook to learn better writing skills, or admit that he's too lazy or uninterested to do so.

Erin T. said...

Ok. Ds just unplugged my laptop when I had typed a lengthy comment. Anyway, basically I don't think you need to worry much about socialization, since you got to church and are involved with it, and you are planning to have a large family. I was also wondering where you bathe your kids, obviously the baby in the sink or a baby bath probably, but what about your older ones. My little ones hate the shower. And to the pp who was talking about school meals: yech!!! They are awful here, pizza, chocolate milk, fruit cocktail. That's a sample. EWWW. I am certain that Emily's kids are getting better nutrition at home.

Our Family Is His said...

Does your apartment not have a bathtub? Did I miss that? I have never seen an apartment without one. Interesting.

Our Family Is His said...

I just took a look at our local school lunch menu. Yuck is right. The average lunch has 740 calories, nearly 1400mg of sodium, they conveniently don't have the fat content, and there's at least one fried main dish on each day. Let's see, a sample week is corn dog, fish sandwich (fried) or pizza, hoagies, hamburger (pan fried), and steak fingers (fried). I won't even get into their poor excuse for veggies. Oh, why not. Let's see, I am seeing peas (hey, that's a good one, but they are probably boiled to oblivion), tator tots, mashed potatoes with gravy, peas, tator tots, mashed potatoes with gravy. Wait, for the month of Januaray, that's the veggie list for all 18 days. Wow.

Yeah, send them to public school so they can eat a healthy meal. Wonder what the average cholesterol level is for children in this nation? And I have to wonder why the government keeps harping on parents for having fat children. Look at what they are feeding them, and then budget cuts remove things such as recess and P.E.

Looking at the breakfast menu, if your kid ate there each day of the school year, it would be a miracle for them to have any energy or ability to pay attention.

Emily said...

Nota, I blamed it on poor teaching, he didn't. Also, his writing style and technique is quite eloquent, in my opinion, and his has an amazing oratory presence.

His typing and spelling ability are not a reflection of his writing ability or overall intellect, but are a reflection of his typing and spelling ability.

His strengths are history, social sciences, theology, politics, and writing (minus spelling and typing) and those are all from self-education.

Anonymous said...

Please do not home school your kids until you learn how to spell extracurricular...please.

thesavedquarter said...

Our school menu is really healthy, and I'm kind of a healthy eating zealot when it comes to my kids! On the sample menus page, it lists three meals: Farmer's market veggie pasta, with apple, and sunflower seeds; Oven-roasted herb chicken with potatoes and zucchini served with milk and dried apricots; and Beef enchiladas with grapes, apple juice, and lite popcorn. You have to log in to see more menus. I would feed any of that to my kid. It really does depend on the district. I wouldn't use food as the reason whether or not to send my kid to public school, but in our district, it's certainly not a reason to keep them home.

Simple in France said...

DH and I are both teachers, so I have maybe a different take on socialization.

Sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of what we call 'socialization' at school is actually learning to follow rules so that you can function in a group of 30-40 kids. Really. I am forced to do things a certain way because I have that many students to deal with. If the kids don't learn to function in that specific way, the whole class suffers so plenty of time is spent on 'rules' and 'socialization' that is not necessarily relevant to other life skills than sitting in a large classroom. It's not that I think you can't learn in that setting--you can. But school is not really the place I hope my children will be socialized--yipes!

As teachers, we never stop saying how we wish that people wouldn't leave us in the role of parents--a role we can never, never fill. It happens so often these days. It's actually quite sad and pathetic. I've certainly seen kids that have social issues that have never been homeschooled. I think it's really important to have a good/sane family--and good healthy relationships with brothers and sisters. Family problems are pretty much impossible to correct at school--please trust me on this.

That said, I don't think kids have to be homeschooled to be ok--I just think they have to be effectively socialized in a happy, healthy family to function in the world. There are many ways to get an education, but not so many ways to become a healthy human being.

BubbleJ said...

FAQ - Would you allow/encourage your children to get a job in their teens? I think this would fall under socialization, but probably needs its own post

- You say you want your sons to be good husbands and fathers. That is fine, but what if its not what they want? What if one is gay, or perfectly happy to live as a bachelor? What if you have a child who wants to travel the world and not settle down? What if you have a child who doesn't want to follow your beliefs and wants to choose their own path? How will these things be dealt with, as in a family as big as you're planning there is bound to be children that will fall into these catagories

Treva said...

Emily, I know you talked about sports, but I was wondering if you could expound on how you plan to find out if your children are interested? For my own child, we have received information from school and simply asked her opinion about it. There is a fee -- normally $50 or less per sport plus a bit of equipment or gear, most of which is reusable for a couple seasons at least. In the fall, she did soccer and really enjoyed it. She wants to go again in the spring season; her cleats should fit as they were a touch too big and her feet grow slowly, but there is a gear swap if we need it. Cost will be $50. In another week or 2 she'll start in with basketball; she's really excited to learn how to dribble. LOL She'll need sneakers, which she already has, and a 19 inch ball ($5 from walmart). Cost for the season is $35. By having her play we are learning her likes and dislikes, but it does cost money. (She wants back into ballet -- she's a girly girl -- but we don't have the $500 needed for a year of lessons, basic leotards, and 2 recital outfits.) Are you planning something similar? If so, how do you plan to fund it? I would think a couple of mystery gigs would suffice while you have just a couple of children involved in sports. I'm wondering more about as they get older, but are not old enough to earn the money themselves. My grandma had her children pay for their own outside activities once they were 13 and could mow lawns and babysit for neighbors. Maybe expounding on the sports area would be a good FAQ.

Great post by the way. I went to private school most of my childhood with just one year in a public school (hated it and begged my parents to put me back in private). But my own daughter goes to public school and we all love it. I really think a lot depends on the school. Anyway, when I graduated from private school and went on to a local university I was on academic probation for 1 year to make sure I was ready "to handle the unique challenges that differ greatly from the lifestyle [I was] to which I was accustomed". Yes, it really said that and I'll never forget it. It went on in detail about how I would be need to be assessed to make sure both my social life and academic life were blossoming, etc. LOL By my 3rd year I was the youngest person to hold a particular student leadership position, which was considered quite a big deal at the time. The next year they did away with that policy as long as your private school was accredited (mine was and had been for years), but, to my knowledge, they have never done away with a similar policy for homeschool graduates. Socializing students has not always been the topic of choice just for homeschool students; others have dealt with it as well.

CJ said...

Simple in France, very nicely put. I really admire that perspective.

Catherine said...

Homeschooling can be a wonderful, rewarding experience for a family. I lived around a large,strong homeschooling cluster some years ago, and did not feel that those kids were missing anything in socialization as a whole.

The one issue about homeschooled kids is that they do not have to deal with group learning, and dealing with socialization and not socializing while undergoing group learning. Homeschooled kids are accustomed to having the material directly taught to them rather than having to deal with a group lecture from which they have to extract the needed material. In the early years, that is not an issue, but I have seen some very advanced students who were not accustomed to having to listen to lessons not structured to them.

Mom is the prime teacher in most homeschooling scenarios, and the she is as good as she can be. If she has holes in her knowledge, is stressed out, over spoonfeeds, has false interpretations of facts, or any issues, this is not mitigated in future years by different teachers. A bad teacher is not so deadly when you get a new one each year. Kids do have to deal with different teachers, a sort of socialization in itself, instead of just continuing the relationship with mom in another arena.

I've done some homeschooling, and can see where there are situations when it is the best venue, but the quality of the education is limited to what the parents can provide. For the early years, it's not that much of an issue, unless the parents are not diligent and not up to the job, but as the years go by, there are socialization issues regarding student/teacher interactions, dealing with group learning/distractions that do arise.

Our Family Is His said...

"Anonymous said...
Please do not home school your kids until you learn how to spell extracurricular...please."

In all fairness, type the word extracurricula in any search engine and see what comes up. I just did that and found 3 pages full of universities (and a few high schools and private schools) that spell it extracurricula or extra-curricula and are using it in the same context.

lee said...

i homeschooled my son for grades 8-12. he played basketball for the Y and they had scholarships available for him, so there was no out-of-pocket. he often attended sporting events with his friends and their parents, again free due to tickets given out by various employers of the parents. he went speed skating twice a week. later, when he had a part-time job, he joined the speedskating team. he would sell any equipment he no longer needed and would save it to buy different equipment.i helped him ebay it.

i believe in all things, moderation.

Anonymous said...


I respectfully disagree about the group learning. We have a local "unschooling" group here that some of my friends kids participate in and they have 6 parents who rotate the education for the 10 kids invovled. The kids are often in a group setting and they are receiving a very well rounded and diverse education.

That said, I don't homeschool. But I completely see how it works for some.

Lynn Clark said...

Thanks for clarifying regarding sports activities for your children. I read the last paragraph of your post several times and found the wording awkward and ambiguous- I wasn't sure what you meant. A couple of other commenters also asked for clarification and I couldn't help that you were very snippy in your response. Apparently they also found your statement a little unclear at first.

I am also anxiously awaiting your post on making homeschool work with your limited budget. I have given serious consideration to homeschooling my children but know that my personal vision of how homeschooling would work best is not cheap- more affordable than private school, but certainly not cheap. I would not be willing to embark on a homeschooling journey unless I had enough money available to cover frequent trips to museums and science centers; overnight trips to other cities to explore their museums, sports teams, and architecture; music lessons since I myself could not teach my child piano or violin; drama and/or art classes, access to plenty of manipulatives, etc. In addition if my children desired to continue homeschooling beyond the elementary years we would also need to find money in the budget for classes at the local community college or money for private tutors for higher level mathematics, science, and foreign languages.

Lynn Clark said...

Oops. I meant to say "A couple of other commenters also asked for clarification and I couldn't help BUT NOTICE that you were very snippy in your response."

Anonymous said...

I think some posters are confusing a learning disability (dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing disorders) and a developmental disability/disorder like ADHD and autism.

Emily, most learning disabilities do not get better with pharmaceuticals but some developmental disorders do. With Dan's language and writing issues, it seems that he may have a learning disability as his written words are quite severly limited.

If you were told that an evaulation automatically would equal drugs then you were mislead by someone who has never had an evaluation through a school system or someone who is trying to use scare tactics. The only person allowed to perscribe medicine is a medical doctor--not a school social worker.

Leslie said...

I wish you luck with your approach! I have been frequently frustrated that so many kids are unavailable to play with mine, outside of scheduled activities--and how much they depend on structured rules to play, on the rare occasions they are free. I hope your boys get the chance to meet other kids, of any age, whose parents allow them the kind of unstructured socialization you and Dan are (wisely, IMO) planning on.
I also hope that you are flexible, should some of your kids turn out to have strong interests in sports or scheduled activities.

I'd also to comment on a previous comment...

I have 2 sons with ASDs, and I think it's odd that you consider Asperger's to be a learning disability. Neither of my sons has any learning disabilities. Also, while I completely respect that you know that school is not the best way to educate your child, you cannot make blanket staements about other people's children--those with LDs or otherwise.

Denise said...


My question is about when your kids are older and have friends over to the house. How will you be able to afford that? When I was growing up, my friends and I routinely played at each others' houses and then stayed for dinner. Sometimes this was planned ahead of time, but most often it was on a whim, such as when my friend's mom began making dinner and called up the stairs to ask me if I would like to stay. And even if it's not dinner, it's usually common for playdates to include some sort of snack (and etiquette certainly dictates offering guests something to eat and drink). Are you planning for this now at all?

Denise (again) said...

Emily I'm also curious about how you plan to fund these extracurricula/ur activities. Dance classes, sports teams, scouting, chess club...almost ALWAYS take money, if not for a class or club fee, then for supplies. What if your son decides he wants to play hockey? Are you prepared to pay for skates, pads, helmet, and stick, not to mention ice fees and travel fees? Even buying used, that sport alone can run into the thousands. Or will you tell him "no" because you can't afford it? Scouts is another activity that takes a lot of money, not only in gear and equipment, but in incidentals. I would love to see you address this in a future FAQ.

Anonymous said...

Teachers can't cause learning disabilities.

liveoncejuicy said...


You're right. I didn't mean to make a blanket statement. I stand by my opinion, but obviously the world is wide and everyone's mileage varies. My experience with a child with learning differences (and he does learn very differently)in public school was painfully traumatic for both of us. I'm biased, and I'm big enough to admit that.

My son does have a learning disability. He's dysgraphic. It's connected to his Asperger's, but not all kids with AS have it. He also has problems with non-verbal communication that are pretty common to kids who have AS.

My point was that my son is not able to go in and sit quietly at a desk and learn by listening to a teacher lecture. He isn't wired that way. And the vast majority of his public school years were spent with the sole purpose of trying to rewire him that way.

I'm glad public school works for your sons. I think that if my son had had language delays, or something else to point the school and that first pediatritian toward autism rather than ADHD, things would have been different. And maybe my attitude would have been different. Even if he were a few years younger, things would have been different, because the schools in Las Vegas (where we're from) are training their experts to recognise AS now where they weren't even 10 years ago.

Again, I'm sorry if I offended you or anyone else. It wasn't my intention.

Emily said...

To clarify, we are pro-sports for our kids if they are interested, but they have nothing to do with our idea of socialization.

Erin T. said...

Some previous posters are asking questions about the cost of enrolling Emily's boys in sport activities, art classes, music lessons, etc. My parents never put me in any of those activities. We couldn't afford it. Period. I don't feel i suffered for it at all, and I did start to work at 14 and could have joined cheering, sports, etc. if I wanted to. I also learned through working to work well in a team environment. I think there are much bigger issues for American kids today to deal with than whether or not the get to do activities. My oldest ds is almost 9, and we've done Little League one time ever. We paid, it was inexpensive. He loves sports but I really don't think he cared that much. Kids can get by without being involved in sports. The other conflict for me (I don't know know how Emily and Dan feel) is that I don't like to foster competitiveness. Oh, before I forget. One other thing as far as all the back and forth about Emily spelling or not spelling a word correctly: my sister in law never even finished high school and she's been homeschooling her boys for 9 and 8 years now. They are exceedingly intelligent. So I kinda think they'll be fine even if she isn't perfect. Who is? : )

Leslie said...

I sometimes have to tell my children no, because we can't afford something. That is certainly NOT peculiar to Emily's family, or homeschoolers, so I don't understand why it pertains to this post.

Anita said...

My husband and I have homeschooled our children since day one. Our daughter has dyslexia and I am working with her with a homeschool program for dylexia.

Secondly socialization is not a concern,never has been. My children attend church regularly, and we are part of a homeschool support group that have planned activities. Since my children are 16 and my son, who graduated a couple years ago turned 20, I have seen no issue with them adjusting to the "real" world as some call it.

I have homeschooling friends who's children where homeschooled all their lives who are college graduates. One has a doctor's degree, another is a public school teacher, another is a scientist, another a nurse and yet another is a chef and I could go on and on.

Yet on the negative side I've seen homeschooling failures. But if I had to compare between homeschooling failures and public school failures I would have to honestly say I've seen more public school kids fall through the cracks.

As far as sports are concern, my daughters boyfriend, who was homeschool his entire life is attending college on a golfing scholarship. I also have a friend who's daughter is attending college on a softball scholarship because she play women softball through out her high school years. So sports is not an issue. There are plenty of soft ball leagues, baseball leagues, hockey legues, hockey leagues, soccer leagues, etc, etc, etc, that allow homeschoolers to play.

One thing I didn't mention is I also have a neighbor and friend who homeschooled her very talented daughter, who was in the St.Louis Children's Choir and recently graduated with a masters in music.

Homeschooling is not about isolation, nor is it about depriving your children from social opportunities, it's about accomidating and designing an education to fit the needs of the child whether it be regilious or not.

I recommend homeschoolers to get involved in their local homeschool support system and to stay active in things of interest.

By the way my daughter desires to be a free lance photographer and she has had opportunity to work with some very good profession photographers and they have taught her so much.

Anita said...

Oh and for all your grammar was not my strong area, that's why I let my husband who is a college graduate and loves grammar to teach the subject. :D

Anita said...

And please consider the research before you assume homeschooling doesn't work...

Anonymous said...

Will you share the web address for Dan's blog? I enjoy yours and would like to read his, too.

Anonymous said...

You blog is starting to really concern me. Honey your a novice and therefore should not give out advice.

Our Family Is His said...

"Anonymous said...You blog is starting to really concern me. Honey your a novice and therefore should not give out advice."

What are your credentials?

For the poster who commented about ASD's not being an LD, we got that. I live with two children with ASD. I know it inside and out. I know more about things surrounding ASD's than our doctors do. I know these things because I research, research, research.

BUT, as most people with a child on the spectrum know, LD's often go hand-in-hand with ASD's. If you check out the pure definition of LD's, you will find ASD's fit into it perfectly.

And please do not act like ASD's are just developmental disorders/disabilities. For those that truly understand ASD's, you know it's metabolic, intestinal, and whole system issues. It's far, far, far from just a developemental disability. I wish it was ONLY a DD. That would be so much easier to deal with.

MommaHarms said...

I am finding it funny how all of these "critics" are upset at Emily for her stands on things. First, she does not claim to be giving out advice. She is simply blogging. I blog. I am not interesting and therefore no one reads me, yet because I am in my 20s should I not have the right to blog? If I had something interesting to say or put out there would that make a difference.

Second, Emily is a young mother. I think about my own mother and the mistakes she made raising us, yet me and my brother turned out just fine. All parents make mistakes. All parents do things at some point others don't agree on or that they, themselves, look back on and say "what was I thinking?" Just because Emily blogs about her life, we suddenly get the idea that we can be all up against her?

And for the record, I did voice my disagreement with the "perpetually lazy" comment earlier, so I am not an "I agree with everything" kind of gal. It's just kind of humerous to me that so many have so many hurtful things to say, yet often for no valid reason.

~Melissa said...

Anon 10:52

It's "you're" like "you are a novice....".

Denise said...


You're right, it's not an issue to specific to homeschooling. But Emily's children will miss out on a LOT of experiences due to their "choice" to remain in poverty. And perhaps I am just slightly bitter, because although I am the same age as Emily and would love to have children right now, my husband and I use birth control because we know we are not yet in a position where we can provide for our children all of the experiences we want. For instance, I sincerely hope that when my child tells me he would like to play basketball, or take piano lessons, or participate in a community play, boy scouts or summer camp, our financial status will not be a barrier. It saddens me briefly that Emily will not be in this position, but then I remember that she chooses this and sees nothing wrong with it, so I focus my energy elsewhere.

Our Family Is His said...

Why does it sadden you that she and her husband made a different choice than you did? Be happy with your choices and let others live theirs. Financial status is not the root of happiness. It has very little to do with true joy. OK, so Emily can't buy a piano. So what? She loves her children. They are giving them a strong foundation. They are pointing them to Christ. Those are the truly important things in life.

And, not to get on a very controversial subject, but many people (Christian and non-Christian) have serious objections to hormonal birth control due to their secondary functions. So wanting someone to put a medication into their body or an instrument into their body that they don't medically agree with just so others can be happy is very, very ill-advised.

Leslie said...

Our Family...I'm not clear on why you are asking me to "not act like ASDs are just developmental disorders..." What did I say that implied I am "acting like" that? I stated simply that ASDs are not LDs. I stated simply that my sons, who have ASDs, do not have LDs. I did not say anything about what other issues they DO have. I also did not say that no one with an ASD has any LDs; I did not say anything about the rate of comorbidity of LDs, digestive, metabolic, or any other issues with ASDs.

Now, in my second post, I did say "this is NOT peculiar to Emily's family, or homeschoolers, so I don't understand why it pertains to this post."
And I'll repeat that, as it applies to this weirdly defensive back and forth tangent about ASDs. I see no evidence, neither from anything Emily has posted about her family, nor from the well-scrutinized posts by her husband, that ASDs or any of their common comorbid LDs are something Emily & Dan are dealing with.

liveoncejuicy said...

My original response about my son's Asperger's Syndrome that implied that it was a LD (I always think learning difference, not disability when I type LD...) was in response to someone asking what if Emily's kids had one. I personally feel pretty strongly that school isn't the best place for a kid like my son. When he did go, it was like sending him into a battle field everyday. He has no natural shields against sensory overload. This, to me, is a learning disability/difference/whatever. It makes him learn differently from his peers.

Now that I think about it, and I know that it's not what this post is about so I'm not going to argue it or anything--but I think that ASD is a learning disability/difference. It's a language disorder (verbal or nonverbal or both.) I'm eleven years into what, admittedly, has been a horrific process (the system, not the kid)--so I freely admit I'm not super open minded on the subject.

This feels like splitting hairs. I have a feeling that Emily will cross this bridge if and when she gets to it, in the way that works best for her kids and her whole family.

Our Family Is His said...

Leslie, I was replying to anonymous at 8:24 who said, "I think some posters are confusing a learning disability (dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing disorders) and a developmental disability/disorder like ADHD and autism. "

She/he link ASDS to developmental disabilities and made it sound like that's what ASD's were. ASD's are so, so much more than developmental disabilities. I am sorry for the confusion on posters. I should have quoted.

Our Family Is His said...

Yes, it does seem odd to what-if Emily on LD's. OK, so all you parents who refuse to choose anything other than public school, what if your child fails in public school and can't handle the situation? What if, what if, what if?

Oh, I have an idea. What if we relax with the wild what ifs and realize that Emily will do what every single parent out there does and deal with anything thrown her way if and when it comes up. I didn't plan for my sons having disabilities before they appeared. Most parents don't.

Anonymous said...

liveoncejuicy--Just because school isn't a good place from your son doesn't mean it's that way for everyone with an ASD or LD. Sometimes school is the BEST place for those students. And you're right, sometimes it is a terrible place. Everyone is different, and should be treated as such. I hope that in the case of an LD or other "issue" (for lack of a better word) Emily would handle it on an individual basis of what is best for her child, instead of sticking staunchly to a generalized approach.

liveoncejuicy said...

Yes...I did acknowledge that I'm traumatized by public school and so biased. I freely admit that. I can't help how I feel, but I do understand that I might be wrong even if I can't see it.

Anonymous said...

Liveonce--Fair enough, it's always good to recognize your biases. IMO, being able to recognize your biases and knowing when you may be wrong are signs of highly intelligent human life. Unfortunately too many people are unable to admit they could EVER be wrong, and that scares me. Sorry you've had such bad experiences with public schools.

Frankly, I went to public school in one of the worst districts of my state and I turned out fine. College degree with honors, graduate school; I think I'm fairly well adjusted socially as well. But I realize that isn't everyone's experience. It makes me sad to see how many people condemn public school right off the bat. I attribute much of public schools' failures to the students and parents, not as much to the teachers and administrators. But, again, every district/school/etc is different and I'm sure there are plenty with poor teaching and administration causing problems. I just hate to see it so generalized.

And, for the record, my second paragraph was intended to be taken generally--NOT directed at you, liveoncejuicy!

Elizabeth said...

I don't understand why everyone is agaisnt proverty. If one follows the Bible you can clearly see that it is those without materialtisic items and those with very little who are the most favored by God. He tells us to take up our cross and follow him. He also states that it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven. Now I am not here to debate that, but why are people acting as though choosing to live with less is a sin, or wrong? It may be wrong for YOUR family, but not for others.
It isn't abuse or neglect or wrong to live with very little, as long as the basics are being met. Food, warm shelter, clothing, and love. While sports teams, ballet, expensive vacations, trips around the world would all be nice, they are not a must when raising a child. Who says a child must be on a basketball team if they like basketball? Just playing with neighborhood kids at a basketball court may satisfy their needs. All kids who like basketball in highschool don't make the team anyway. The majority of people who I know who grew up poor (extremely poor) are doing quite well for themselves now and are also wonderful people. You can read more on my thoughts on this at

liveoncejuicy said...

Both of my parents are school teachers, and I went to an iffy public school myself and turned out fine. But I'm in that 80 percent that the schools are designed to serve. I learn well by listening to a lecture, I don't have sensory problems. I honestly would not have had a problem sending all my kids to public school if I didn't have the experiences I did with my son.

Have you ever had something happen that opened your eyes so wide that you couldn't close them again? That's how I feel about school. I can't go back to thinking that public schools are benign (sp? don't jump on me, it's early) places, even if I know I'm biased. My older daughter does go to school, and it works well for her. She's a self-starter and able to take what works in school and leave the rest. I've homeschooled her at points in the past when school didn't work for her.

I think the key is to take away the compulsory part of education, and for each parent to do what works for their individual children.

Denise said...

REALLY? "using birth control" DOES NOT equal "hormonal birth control". Hormonal birth control is ONE OPTION but there are plenty of options out there.

The ignorance of people is appalling.

Our Family Is His said...

Very few don't have the secondary function. I won't get into the very, very few that don't as I am not sure about the rules of Emily's blog. But those that don't are normally very expensive and you pay for them privately (almost always).

It's not ignorance (I have researched this topic more than most that are on any type of BC), it's called informed decision.

Elizabeth said...

And there are many that trust in God in ALL areas of their life, which also inclueds their reproductive areas. If God provides a baby, God can provide us ways to take care of that baby. It may only apply to those that believe in God, but we are told "to lean not unto thy own understanding, but trust in the Lord with all thy heart."

Anonymous said...


I have a child with ASD disorder as well, and public school has been a great fit. He is a junior in high school now. That being said, I have a friend with an ASD non-verbal child,the same age as mine- who has a more extensive IEP- and they have had a bad experience in the same school. You have to be a watch dog that's for sure. From the very little I know about your situation, I would have pulled my child out as well. I can appreciate your bias and I think you said it best when you said each parent needs to do what's best for their individual children. We sent our three kids to public school because we have an excellent public school system, but it doesn't work for every child- and if I felt my kids weren't getting what they needed or they weren't happy we'd look at other options. The key is flexibility and being a momma bear!

Guinevere said...

Ugh, Elizabeth, you are now getting into the kind of nonsensical Christian beliefs that make Christians into stumbling blocks for the rest of the world. God didn't intend for us to take no responsibility for our own lives and choices, and taking Bible verses out of context doesn't make it so. Perhaps I should stop looking both ways when I cross the street and just trust in the Lord, as well? God provides us with modern medicine and science, not necessarily with a way to take care of a baby.

Anonymous said...

Please please please do not homeschool your children until you learn to spell and use basic elementary words like lose/loose. Okay? You are not giving your kids any benefit when you yourself are dumb as a doorknob.

Anonymous said...

Wow Denise. Why should you be bitter? It's your own choice to prioritize having a certain level of finances and certain experiences over simply having a family and enjoying it while making do with what is available.

It is not wealth or experiences that bring joy to a family and produce happy children and well-rounded adults. Those things can be nice, but they are not necessary.

Back to the OP, we would fall mostly into the second category. Although, my 6 yo started basketball this winter (through parks and rec), and I can see some "gaps" (very small ones) in his relational abilities. I think we will make an effort to have him and his younger brothers participate in organized activities with immediate peers. Not because I think organized sports will help their "real world" social skills, but with three active boys I anticipate them wanting to be part of team sports when they're older and I would like them to become familiar with the concepts and practices involved so that they're comfortable with it all when they're older.

That said, we will never drive our children into peer socialization. In our area, most people wonder why a 2-3 yo isn't "in school", assuming it isn't possible to raise a child properly if they don't start "socialization" that early. I am quite happy with the way our children are growing and developing socially. They are quite comfortable relating to their peers, relating to older kids, and adults. What homeschooling gives them will serve them well in adulthood.

Btw. this blog will only let me comment as "anonymous". My names Margaret. Nice to meet y'all. :)

Emily said...

Margaret, thank you for signing you name at the end. I like to know my commenters, so if you can just put your name at the end every time you comment, I would love you for it. (:

Our Family, you can say pretty much anything on this blog. People accuse me of beating my children and give me the advice to leave my husband, so I have no fear about what YOU might want to say.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of things. To those that mock the public schools lunch menus, I think it depends on the District where you live. Our breakfast/ lunch menu is always very nutritious with a lot of fresh, local vegetables (none of this Ronald Regean ketchup is a vegetable garbage). You can't tell me that homeschooling moms are always feeding their children nutrious, wholesome meals. It's impossible when they are breastfeeding two or three other kids at home. (joke there) Emily herself has said that she just grazes all day until Dan gets home. Regarding socialization, my experience with homeschooled children is that they cannot complete tasks in a specific time period b/c mom has always let them take all the time they want. This is a difficult transition to college and work, where tasks are expected to be completed within a certain time period. Further, many homeschooled children have difficulty completing tasks that are not interesting to them, as their homeschool curriculum has typically been cultivated around their particular interests and strengths. When they go to college or work, the instructor or boss is not going to allow them to choose what they want to do. They won't be coddled. Finally, many public schools have excellent programs for those with LD. One previous poster was correct that these programs are available to all children, and not just those enrolled in the school. I would encourage anyone who even *thinks* their child may have LD or speech issues to contact their local school and arrange for testing. It is free and you may find that there are valuable services you wish to explore.

Happily Frugal Mama said...

In our school district, lunches are HORRIBLE. That said, I pack my children's lunch (we, sadly, go to public school for now) except one day a week which the children choose.

I'm BIG on feeding chemical free food (no artificial colors, dyes, preservatives and no corn syrup). That's not going to happen in a public school cafeteria. Our menu's contain hamburgers, chicken (fried) sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken tenders, fish sticks, etc... sure, they also have a salad bar set out with fresh lettuce, veggies and fruit, but watching the kids eat (which I do on a regular basis) shows us that they usually grab a burger and chocolate milk which they gulp down in the allocated 10 minutes.

Going to school does not equal two nutritious meals a day... it might equal two meals a day for the children who don't have food (or are only getting boxed cereal and ramen noodles).

Even though my children are currently schooled outside the home (except the teenager), I'm a big fan of homeschooling. The opportunites for socialization and real life learning are HUGE. There are also a lot of free or reduced cost programs geared to homeschool families. Networking is vital and most areas have prominant homeschool groups.

I grew up in public school, with very poor parents... not frugal parents. I waited in line for public cheese (among other handouts) and didn't see a dentist for most of my childhood. My teeth happen to be fabulous (pure luck or genetics?). I'm college educated. Our families income is well above average. I beat the odds.

Emily isn't raising children to perpetuate the poverty cycle... she's raising children who will think out of the box, who will be self starters and (hopefully) self sufficient.

And when we take a good look at the way they are doing things, its not so different from how we did things in the 1950's and before. Handwashing, hang drying, cloth diapering... those were all standard prior to "modernization" or "progress". Making things simpler (ie washing machine) does not equal better. It's all in prespective.

The good news on Dan's apparent spelling issues... most churches have an administrative assistant who type up sermon notes and handle communication while the minister gets to minister.

Organizing Mommy said...

You know they have actual data on homeschoolers and socialization now? I read about it on Mrs. Parunak's blog (she's a regular reader of mine). It so nice that socialization is no longer this fuzzy, subjective comparison between advocates and non-advocates of homeschooling. And you will be pleased to know that homeschoolers are far better socialized (according to this study) than their counterparts. For many years, socialization or lack thereof seemed to be the lynchpin of homeschooling. Not any more. They are going to have to find something ELSE to pick on now, since academics AND socialization are superior. Hmmm....

Kirsten said...

You honestly think academics and socialization are superior to a public school setting? That's laughable. I'm glad that homeschooling is working out for those who write about it on this board. Homeschoolers have to build up their homeschooling experience by cutting down the public school system. For those who take it seriously and work at it diligently, I think that's great. It's interesting that the proponents of homeschooling have to say that it's always better or superior than the public school system. I totally disagree. Some "survey" on a pro-homeschooling website does not change my mind. That's called critical thinking, by the way. Anyway, I just know too many "homeschoolers" that are, in effect, "unschoolers". They homeschool because they cannot or will not abide by the public school system's attendance requirements. They dramatically yank their kids out of school because of course they can do it better without having to wake up before noon. Maybe they mean well, I don't know. Their homeschooling amounts to little more than a few worksheets off the internet and shopping trips to Target for an "economics" lessons. Then they take the month off for Thanksgiving, and never go back. To those who take homeschooling seriously, I applaud you. I think it's great and I wish you well. I do wish that your discussion of homeschooling was not peppered with criticisms of the public school system. I do think there are plenty of opportunities for "socialization" for homeschooling families if they will take advantage of it. I still stand by my previous comments that homeschoolers are disadvantaged in 1) completing tasks within a set amount of time and 2) engaging in tasks that are not of great or intrinsic interest to them since they have had a curriculum designed around them.
My best wishes to all who read this and care deeply about their children's education, whether it be homeschooling, public school or private school.

Mom said...

Emily: I am sure you are probably set on your ideas of homeschooling but if you (like me) like to know of as many options as you can, read on! Have you ever heard of public school from home or online schooling? I am probably going to sound like a commercial but I promise I will not be paid for anything I write. :)
My eldest daughter had always been in public school, until the end of 4th grade. With her regular teacher leaving for her own reasons, my daughter ended up having 8 different teachers throughout her day. This was just NOT working. I looked into homeschooling and in that search I came upon the K12 site. I really liked what I saw. Then I also saw that there was a public school option for their curriculum (that is free). My daughter would be assigned a teacher and would receive her supplies via snail mail. Even though she had a teacher, I did do most of the teaching offline with the materials at hand. I did add to some of the material if I thought it was lacking. I could go on and on about this, but I thought it was a great option to have and my daughter really liked it. I have to admit, as silly as I think it is now (sorry naysayers :)), that I was worried about the socialization part. I had her dually enrolled so that she would go to the local school for part of the day and stay home for the rest. We moved during the summer and decided to try out the local public school again because ( I know this probably sounds horrible!) we were remodeling and I didn't feel we could provide her the support that she needed at that time. If I were to go through that same program again, I would not do the duel enrollment. There are plenty of opportunities for socialization (including group) outside of the public school experience.
Even though I don't agree with you on everything (who does with everyone anyway? :) ) I have enjoyed reading your blog and will come back.

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