You’re absolutely right. Homeschoolers are nerds. They don’t have social skills. They wear weird clothing. Their only friends are their siblings. You nailed it.
But wait! Is it possible that other kids demonstrate such qualities too? Could it be that choice of education has little to do with a child’s personality? Research says yes.
Socialization is a big concern from teachers, parents, and other adults. Gathercole identifies different kinds of socialization that are beneficial in different ways. Homeschool students are foregoing the “school socialization” which involves primarily teacher-student and student-student relationships; one is of power and dominance and another of peer-to-peer interaction with children in roughly the same age range. Instead, homeschool students opt for community-based socialization, which allows kids to interact with people in all settings, of all ages, and all backgrounds, mirroring the real world rather than creating an artificial one.
One area where you may be right: academics. They are nerds; homeschool students perform 30- 37 percentile points higher on standardized tests than traditional school students. They also read at or above grade level. And they are more likely to do well in college and graduate. Yes, total nerds.
Looking at thousands of homeschool students who went on to college, Cogan found that they actually handle the transition better than other students. They are more independent, more responsible, and are more likely to reach out to professors and classmates for help.
And the sibling thing? Serena and Venus Williams were homeschooled so they could pursue their tennis career and they seem to be quite close. Because of this early jump on their career, they just won Wimbledon 2012. Not bad. They also seem to have more friends than just each other. Most people, homeschooled or otherwise, are the same.
Speaking of the Williams sisters, you know who else was homeschooled?
- Whoopi Goldberg (comedienne, actress, political activity, and author)
- Louisa May Alcott (novelist and abolitionist)
- Alexander Graham Bell (invented the telephone and founded National Geographic Society)
- Orvill and Wilbur Wright (invented the airplane and made the first controlled and sustained human flight)
- Winston Churchill (Prime Minister during the Second World War, Nobel Prize winner)
- Ansel Adams (photographer and environmentalist)
- Sandra Day O’Connor (first female Supreme Court justice and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom)
- Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady to FDR, civil rights advocate)
- Andrew Carnegie (steel industrialist, philanthropist)
Education doesn’t make the person; it’s what you do with it. These homeschoolers and many others are leaving their mark on the world. In science, business, education, literature, the arts, government, sports, and entertainment.
So yeah, you could say they’re all nutter butters. But they’re also doing big things that matter. Like it or not, homeschoolers are making the world better.
Deal with it. (On the topic of changing the world, Will Smith is homeschooling his kids too.)
Are you a homeschooler? Tell us why in the comments section!
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Filed Under: UM Blog
About the Author: Christa Johnson is focused on helping new parents get started with homeschooling. She writes about homeschooling strategies and successes, including the latest research in the field. She is the founder of No Agenda Homeschool, which provides practical tools to start homeschooling with confidence.
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