I was the victim of homeschooling from 6th grade on. Which means I just got a taste of what it’s like to have friends and then was ripped away. Some people know this, but I haven’t really gotten into it on this site. I think I made one comment about it being illegal in my Christopia, but I didn’t delve into my opinion on the topic. So let’s do that now, shall we?
Now first, a disclaimer. My parents homeschooled me because they are religious fanatics. There might be valid reasons to homeschool a child. Perhaps they have a learning disability and don’t respond well to large classes. Maybe they are bullied in school. Though on this one, I might disagree. As much as the child hates being bullied, I think it does make them stronger. And they’ll have to learn to deal with assholes later in life, anyway.
That said, there are two reasons my parents homeschooled my siblings and I. One, is they are religious nutjobs and were worried the evil liberal education system would corrupt our souls. The other reason was that they wanted to protect us from negative things like peer pressure and gangs.
Let’s break these down. The first one is just silly. First of all, I grew up in a small hillbilly mecca. There were maybe 4 liberals in the town. The rest were gun owning, god fearing, gay shaming, hicks. Liberal education system? What are you talking about? Maybe in a city, but not in a small town. Perhaps my parents were worried I would learn facts. Like evolution, instead of myths, like creationism. They didn’t want me to learn. They wanted to indoctrinate me, and they didn’t want public school to undo the damage by teaching me HOW to think instead of WHAT to think.. The funny thing is that even after all of their attempts to make me a religious lunatic like themselves, they failed. I’m a left leaning libertarian. I’m a social liberal. I’m a militant atheist.
Next we have the gang avoidance concept. This on the face, seems like a decent idea. If you have children, you want to protect them. I get that. But again, I was living in a trailer trash town. There weren’t any gangs. There was a lot of weed and alcohol and meth. No gangs. Maybe a few people would tag a wall, but we’re not talking bloods and crips here. And to be fair, I did smoke weed a few times. I did drink alcohol. I even did meth once. So once again, my parent’s goal of isolating protection failed.
Here’s the worst part. Most pro homeschool advocates will bring up the statistic that homeschooled children get a better education and are smarter. That may be the case. It wasn’t in mine. I’m a genius DESPITE being homeschooled, not because of it. I was already smart, and after being homeschooled, I still am smart. My mom should never have been a parent. She just didn’t have the skills to be around children. So when she was forced to not only be a mom, but also be a teacher? She couldn’t handle it. Her “teaching” was “Here’s the book. Here’s the lesson plan. Here’s the answer key. Go learn. Mommy’s going to watch soaps.” Of course I cheated my way through school. You can’t give a 15 year old male the answer key and trust him to do the right thing. Are you kidding me? To be fair to me, I didn’t flat out cheat. I just learned in a bizarre fashion. I would take the question (point a) and the answer (point b) and somehow try to figure out how to get from point a to point b. Some subjects, like history, I loved. So I didn’t cheat. I didn’t need to. Math, on the other hand, fuck math. Luckily, I’m smart enough that even after getting a terrible education, I’m still a genius.
Now let’s look at the plus sides of a real school. Sure you get teachers. You know, people who are actually qualified and have been trained to pass on knowledge. You also get peers. You get to bounce ideas off of other people in the same proverbial boat as you. If you’re a male and your teacher is fucked up enough, you might even get laid.
By far, the most important thing you learn at a real school, is how to interact with people. Sure, humans are social creatures, but we don’t know how to be social instinctively. This is a learned skill. The primary age in which we learn these skills is in our teenage years. There’s a giant maze of interpersonal relationships that we must navigate. Friends, acquaintances, lovers, and enemies. We learn how to deal with these types of people in school. Then by the time we reach adulthood, we should (theoretically) be able to use these skills in our new lives.
I didn’t get this opportunity. I never learned how much shit I should be willing to take from someone before I cut ties. This led me to being walked over by people. I didn’t know how to make friends. So I don’t have many friends. I can’t get a romantic relationship to last 6 months. I can’t even imagine getting married. It’s a completely foreign concept to me.
In all fairness, this could simply be my temperament. My sister was also homeschooled. She never seemed to have problems making friends and interacting with people. All I can say is that based on my personal experiences, and experiences of a few people whose stories I have read, the predominant side effect of homeschooling is social awkwardity.
Am I smarter than most? Sure. But that’s not because I’m so smart. It’s because most are so dumb. Did homeschooling help me? No. I guess it was cool to listen to music whenever I wanted. And I could take breaks if I felt like it. It was certainly more relaxed. Was the education better? Not at all. Worse in fact, since the history books I read hadn’t been updated since the start of the Cold War. Did it make me better able to handle life? Absolutely not. It made it worse. I’ve been out of school for 10 years, and I still have a really hard time interacting with people.
That is why homeschooling should be criminalized.