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Homeschoolers as adults?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm seriously considering homeschooling my now 26 month old daughter when she reaches school age. I have a lot of support from immediate family, but those in my circle of friends/relations who are critical always claim that I would be depriving my child of something "important" if she is not sent to school with lots of other children. They claim outside the home schooling is important for developing social skills, and that it's not fair to her to deny her this, because she'll grow up lacking certain social skills that she'll need to function in society. I tend to think this is a crock, especially as I know studies have shown again and again that homeschooled children function far better when they reach university in terms of emotional development than their conventionally schooled peers. But I'm wondering if anyone knows of any studies on the emotional development of homeschoolers as adults, beyond university? I suspect they grow up to be relatively confident, happy, well-adjusted adults, but I am looking for research that backs up my gut, to counter the argument homeschooling detractors invariably throw out there about social skills.

Thanks!
post #2 of 21
I don't know about formal studies, but the adults that I know who were hs'ed function just fine.
One point my BIL argued as a necessary social skill, learned in PS was- get this- waiting in line.
post #3 of 21
Here's the best collection of research I've seen: A legal abstract that was published in the Widener Law Review - Evidence for Homeschooling: Constitutional Analysis in Light of Social Science Research. The authors were careful to include only objective research and analysis rather than depending on opinions and anecdotes from homeschoolers. I don't think it goes into looking at adults, but if they're doing well at younger ages, it's hard to imagine why they'd suddenly go socially berserk as adults.

But don't stop there - get all your bills paid up, clean out your refrigerator, stock up on food, and be prepared to spend a lot of time at the computer: go to this post, click on the links in it to find a whole lot more on the subject - and read the rest of the thread it's in by going to the top of it and clicking on the thread title. You can also go to the email list of the state homeschooling organization I belong to, HSC's email group, and do a Search on "Successful Adults who were homeschooled ." There were quite a few good stories posted recently when someone asked a similar question. I can tell you this - I've known of people who have decided to homeschool because of seeing/hearing some of the young adult homeschool grads on panels at homeschool conferences.

But you're kind of asking a lot - for researchers to evaluate how good assorted, scattered, adults from very different backgrounds all over the country are at social skills. One might even have to question the social skills of researchers who felt they were capable to taking on such a project.
Lillian

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Great resources. Thank you, Lillian.

I may not have phrased my question properly. I got a bit sidetracked by social skills, but I was actually thinking more in terms of mental/emotional health. I know one indicator I've read suggests at the university level, students who had been homeschooled had a far lower rate of antidepressant use. This is the sort of evidence I was hoping might have been looked at, but in an adult, rather than student, population.

Obviously, one could assume that if students who were homeschooled in the past seem to have fewer emotional/mental issues in university, it implies that this will continue into adulthood, and I feel confident making that assumption. But a lot of the people around me who are critical of homeschooling think homeschooled kids are "weird" and that even in university, they are not being challenged by the "real world" enough to expose the fallout of whatever it is they may have missed out on by not attending an outside school. And, in some ways I see their point, as for me, academic achievement/comfort within an academic environment isn't what I'm most hoping for my child to gain from homeschooling.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith View Post
Great resources. Thank you, Lillian.

I may not have phrased my question properly. I got a bit sidetracked by social skills, but I was actually thinking more in terms of mental/emotional health. I know one indicator I've read suggests at the university level, students who had been homeschooled had a far lower rate of antidepressant use. This is the sort of evidence I was hoping might have been looked at, but in an adult, rather than student, population.
It's hard to imagine how that kind of data would come into the hands of a researcher, though. It would have to be noted in people's medical or counseling files whether they'd gone to school or homeschooled, and that's just not something that happens. I can't even imagine how anyone could say that homeschoolers have a far lower antidepressant use, even though that would be obvious to homeschoolers. The fact that they're so much freer socially and scholastically would certainly account for that much. They get to be themselves - they're not trying to fit into an ever changing set of social quirks.


Got to run! Back later - Lillian
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith View Post
I tend to think this is a crock, especially as I know studies have shown again and again that homeschooled children function far better when they reach university in terms of emotional development than their conventionally schooled peers. But I'm wondering if anyone knows of any studies on the emotional development of homeschoolers as adults, beyond university?
For one thing, people are people, and there are going to be well-adjusted people and poorly-adjusted people no matter what sort of education they had.

And yes, lots of homeschooled kids go on to university. Right now, I'm pretty chummy with several homeschooled teens, and none of them have immediate plans for college. So yeah....the studies that measured homeschooled kids at university show them to be functionally superior or whatever....but there is a whole slew of homeschoolers that aren't college bound. Plenty of them plan on just entering the work force; possibly going to community college at some point.

People homeschool for many different reasons. Homeschooling "for excellence" is just one way to do things. Lots of us just like the freedom.

My 18yo does not yet have a driver's license, has no interest in trying pot or alcohol, and spends most of his free time alone, playing video games. He has friends. They are all just as nerdy as he is. The self-proclaimed "cool" kids would find him to be socially inept. Does that mean he is? He's happy.
post #7 of 21
Schools are not designed to meet the emotional needs of children. Families are designed to meet the emotional needs of children. Human society developed without the institution of schooling, it's absurd to suggest that it's necessary for healthy development.

I don't know of any "proof" that a child can grow up without school and turn out fine, except of course, the existence of human civilization. Honestly, I think the burden of proof here should be on the school side of the debate, not the no-school side.
post #8 of 21
Okay, someone was at the door, but I wanted to address this too:
Quote:
But a lot of the people around me who are critical of homeschooling think homeschooled kids are "weird" and that even in university, they are not being challenged by the "real world" enough to expose the fallout of whatever it is they may have missed out on by not attending an outside school. And, in some ways I see their point, as for me, academic achievement/comfort within an academic environment isn't what I'm most hoping for my child to gain from homeschooling.
Academic achievement/comfort isn't really the main report I've heard about from homeschoolers in college (and my son was one of those). I think the most impressive part is the way they function socially and emotionally. As a matter of fact, when I visited my son's dorm at college, his peers were coming up to me in the hallway to tell me how much they all like him - I joked that I felt almost like a visiting celebrity, because they were so excited to meet me. And one of the most charming of them happened to be another former homeschooler! College is a lot more than studies - there's a huge amount of time that goes into being with peers from all over the country and from lots of different backgrounds and histories - not to mention the interaction with professors. What makes that any less "real world" than working in a corporation? College is a very demanding place, socially and emotionally. One of the comments my son made was that it was sad to see the way so many first year students feel the need to go crazy with all sorts of experimentation with alcohol, etc., because of finally feeling free from the boxes they'd been in. Homeschoolers we've known just haven't had that kind of compulsion - they weren't bursting out of anything, but just continuing on with their lives.

I'm sure I have a whole lot more to say about all this - will have to think on it. In the meantime, here's an article I wrote about our homeschooling experience, and if you scroll down in it, you'll come to the interview with my then grown son when he was about to apply to four year colleges (he'd already been in community college awhile) - that says a lot about the social opportunities. At this point, what he and some of his friends (not homeschoolers, but one he met at college and others he met while working at a humanistic alternative center) are talking about is eventually starting a center for troubled teens - he's gearing toward getting certification for that sort of thing - but that could easily change to something different along the way. Time will tell. There are lots of interesting stories of how homeschool grads are living their lives. Homeschooling in no way guarantees "success" or emotional health, though - that, like the same things for schooled children, has an awful lot to do with the kind of family they grow up in. There are messed up homeschool grads just as there are messed up schooled adults - I don't happen to personally know any, but it's just obvious that this has to be the case.

Lillian
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I don't know of any "proof" that a child can grow up without school and turn out fine, except of course, the existence of human civilization. Honestly, I think the burden of proof here should be on the school side of the debate, not the no-school side.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
My 18yo does not yet have a driver's license, has no interest in trying pot or alcohol, and spends most of his free time alone, playing video games. He has friends. They are all just as nerdy as he is. The self-proclaimed "cool" kids would find him to be socially inept. Does that mean he is? He's happy.
And this is so beautiful! The opportunity to just happily be whatever one wants to be without being pummeled around by the demands of an artificially structured social group's expectations and criticisms! There are plenty of nerds in this world - and many of them grew up in schools feeling inadequate because of it instead of being able to just be and grow in their own ways. If some researcher were able to evaluate the emotional stability of a group of nerds who had homeschooled vs. a group of nerds who had gone to school, what do you think he'd find? That the group who'd been in school is somehow better at coping in life than the group who hadn't? I somehow highly doubt it.

Edited to add: I hope this didn't come across as at all negative about the idea of being a nerd. I have a friend who's a professor, a researcher, and an associate dean of a college, who proudly refers to herself as a nerd. In school, the word once had a negative connotation - and I think that in itself says a lot. Probably didn't bother Bill Gates, of course - and he had a very supportive family. So much of it is about family...

Lillian

post #11 of 21
I always find it kinda funny when people say all homeschooled kids are wierd. I went to public school my whole life and let me tell you about some of those weirdos....I mean come on, like there aren't any weird people in public school. Puhlease. I agree with all the PPs.
post #12 of 21
I am an adult. I'm happily married, have a wonderful group of friends, and have been able to function in the "real" world. I dare say I have better social skills than most of my publicly educated age-peers (I'm 24)...they can't seem to get over the highschool drama mentality.

Trust me, there is nothing your child will "miss out" on....except for constant peer pressure to drink, do drugs, and have sex WAY too young. And yes, I even went to prom 3 TIMES!
post #13 of 21
I don't know any adults who were homeschooled all the way through (dh was for a year), but two of our babysitters are homeschooled and they are lovely young adults (16 and 17 years old).
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post


And this is so beautiful! The opportunity to just happily be whatever one wants to be ...
I think this nails it. There are plenty of ways that my kids stand out as "different" than other kids their age and they get along in the world just fine. My dd, at 15 didn't give it a second thought when she had a scheduling snafu at the college and had to go chat with the dean without any prep. I know many kids, years older than she, who are intimidated by titles, but she wasn't "socialized" into the system and just saw him as a person. They had a nice chat.

She's been told that she's weird for wanting to study, or completing homework in college, or always attending class. SHE can't comprehend why anyone would sign up for a class, pay money and then NOT do the work. Maybe that's weird, but so what?

Some of my kids' interests are typical for their ages, and other interests are not, to the point of being very uncool, but they don't care--they're confident, they know what they want and peer pressure really hasn't been an issue.

I would think that emotional health would be promoted by the opportunity to be true to one's self, and damaged by pressure to conform to standards that you don't value. That's not a study, just my .02
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by saphire View Post
I don't know about formal studies, but the adults that I know who were hs'ed function just fine.
One point my BIL argued as a necessary social skill, learned in PS was- get this- waiting in line.
Tell your BIL you'll just take the kids to Disney to learn to stand in line.

OP, there is nothing about school that is related to real adult life.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I agree completely that schools don't prepare people for the "real world" in any way shape or form. But I do have a number of friends who believe this very strongly, who feel that children gain certain problem solving skills at school that they would not gain if they are homeschooled. I don't agree with them. I think many schools are nothing short of poisonous to child's well being and sense of self. I don't believe university is the end all be all, and if my child(ren) had no interest in it, I would be fine with that, as long as they had the self-confidence and awareness to pursue something they do love in life. I believe homeschooling would be the best way to nurture my daughter's natural curiosity. That is my number one objective. I don't want her curiosity and interest in the world around her to be dashed out of her by the school system, or her peers. I can see why it would be unlikely that I might find studies that could demonstrate that homeschooled children grow up to be relatively more well adjusted in life. But I think it was worth asking.

Thanks to those who shared resources or personal stories. Much appreciated.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by halomancer View Post
Tell your BIL you'll just take the kids to Disney to learn to stand in line.
Oh, please do!

Here's a great thread with lots more silly ones that are quite commonly presented: Common misconceptions about homeschooling. Gems like "How will they date?," "What about the prom?," "How will they learn to deal with bullies?," "What about Bunsen burners?", "The kids are going to think learning is fun and games all the time - they need to know learning is serious," and on and on...

Quote:
OP, there is nothing about school that is related to real adult life.
True - good point - it's hard to think of anything. It's a pretty specific experience. And I think there are plenty of children for whom it works just fine - it's just that it's not necessary for everyone in any way. - Lillian

post #18 of 21
I told someone I know (casually, for over a year) today that my daughter is homeschooled. She was like "Wow. I had NO IDEA."

And I said, totally tongue in cheek, "I know. She knows how to wait her turn AND she's not a mouth-breather."

It's nobody's business if you decide to homeschool or not and I REALLY get tired of people trying to dissuade me from doing so. I swear, next time someone asks me why, I'm going to ask why they breastfed, or bottle fed, or had a planned c-section or which method of birth control they're currently using.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
I always find it kinda funny when people say all homeschooled kids are wierd. I went to public school my whole life and let me tell you about some of those weirdos....I mean come on, like there aren't any weird people in public school. Puhlease. I agree with all the PPs.
This is soooo true. And people seem to just completely forget that fact. And the same goes for college, as my college-student siblings tell me about on a regular basis.

My most vivid memories from (public) highschool relate to "poor socialization". Fights, drug use, inability to take a class seriously, obsession with sex, dating and who was taking who to the prom, obsession with weight and/or sports issues...I could go on. I went to three different public highschools in 4 years and there was no lack of social dysfunction.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalaith View Post
I agree completely that schools don't prepare people for the "real world" in any way shape or form. But I do have a number of friends who believe this very strongly, who feel that children gain certain problem solving skills at school that they would not gain if they are homeschooled. I don't agree with them.
FWIW, it's likely that no number of studies would change your friends' minds. To understand homeschooling requires a paradigm shift, the ability to imagine childhood without school, and not everyone is in a place to be able to do that.

They may come around in a few years when they observe your dd and how you homeschool, or they may never get it. You don't need their approval (even though we all like approval, when we can get it ).
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