Cooperative Homeschooling

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Cooperative Homeschooling

  • Enrique

    I have 2, soon-to-be 3, children. My oldest, age 4, is homeschooled. We are thinking to move her to a cooperative homeschool environment due to her social skills. Any experiences on how this environment affected your children?

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    • Daniel Davis

      I have no children but I was homeschooled K through 12. I wasn’t involved in any cooperative homeschool program. My mother was my teacher and the living room was my classroom. It was very hard as a child to live without friends. I was also the only boy out of five girls. There was nobody to play typical boy stuff with. I had virtually no social skills. My parents tried to remedy this with different strategies. One they put me in Boy Scouts, which was great. I got to see other kids my age once a week, and once a month I got to go camping. They also let me play youth league soccer which was again great. Sure I was the weird kid with no social skills but I didn’t care one bit about that. When I got to high school level I begged to be put in public school so I could have friends. My parents refused and so I graduated from Davis Academy; the highest in my class. At the age of 16, I started college full time. This is also when I started to better develop my social skills. I soon figured out that many people have different personalities and opinions. Before college I thought most people were the same you see; all I knew about society was what my mother had told me. To this day I am very introverted. I have developed socially pretty well now but it was incredibly hard when I started college. I didn’t understand why people were different. On a more positive note, I was usually one of the smarter students in class. I know how to study. I don’t regret my education now. It is part of who I am and has made me an individual. To answer your question though; if this cooperative homeschool program has a curriculum you agree with then I would say it is better than lonely home schooling. My childhood was miserable at times due to lack of social interaction. I would have given anything for a friend. If you don’t like the cooperative homeschool curriculum then make sure your children have the opportunity to make friends and play with those friends several times a week. It is a very important part of their development. I’m sorry for the long comment but I hope this helps you make your decision.

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        Peaceful Person – Please Delete Account

        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Daniel,</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>You found the homeschooling life too lonely and intellectually constricting, whereas, I found the school environment to be exactly that and in addition, intensely boring, degrading, and soul-crushing–by the time I graduated high school (early), I had completely lost my sense of self. My husband, seven years younger, had a similar experience.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>He and I are both introverts by nature and being in school did not change our fundamental natures. What it did do was cause us both to become socially withdrawn more frequently and for the wrong reasons.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>I began homeschooling my eldest daughter in 1988 after observing steep declines her overall happiness and her interest in learning after she attended a year of kindergarten.</p>
        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”></p>
        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>While she was in school, she was highly social and well-liked. In fact, she received an award for “most courteous” student. When I would pick her up at the end of the day, however, she would pick fights with her younger sister (which she had never done before), easily break into tears, and exhibit other signs of emotional exhaustion.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Another influence on my decision was listening to the children who carpooled with us (in second and third grades) already talking about how they “hated” this teacher or that subject. I remembered from my own experience how my love of learning morphed into a hatred of constantly being restricted and subjected to the faults and deficiencies of teachers and other students.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>When I decided to take my daughter out of school, I did not even know there was a homeschooling movement. All that I knew was that she had previously been very happy and and intensely interested in learning and that she was becoming less and less so the more she attended school. I had seen an ad for the Calvert School (a correspondence school) in Smithsonian Magazine and I sent away for materials. From there, I learned about the movement and Growing Without Schooling, John Holt’s publication. What a wonderful discovery that was.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>After we began homeschooling and later unschooling my daughters both grew into well-adjusted, accomplished individuals. They were active in the community through volunteer work. My eldest began volunteering at our local library at age 9; she went into the interview with the library director by herself!</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>My girls made friends of all ages . . . adults in community activities, parents of friends, other homeschoolers, other children in dance class, people at the horseback riding school, etc. And they had their extended family and cousins. It was a wonderful life for all three of us.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Because of a divorce, they both had to enter school, grades 5 and 8. Though they were not doing exactly the same work in some areas as their peers, they quickly caught up where they needed to and excelled in most areas; they were already far advanced in many respects.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>I would say the main problem they had with adjusting to the social environment of school was the attitude of the teachers who singled them out for extra scrutiny and even for scorn.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>After attending public school for grades 5, 6, 7, and 8, my younger daughter, who had made many friends in school, begged to return home for high school. She cherished the freedom being at home afforded. Her father was willing by that point to allow her. She excelled and graduated from community college concurrently with “graduating” high school. She entered another local college as a junior and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics by age 19.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>My older daughter on the other hand attended an elite private high school (which I would  say was a bad influence in many respects); she obtained a Bachelor’s degree but blew a scholarship she’d received and had to earn her way through. Now she is a skilled and well-payed manager for a recruiting firm.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>My teenaged son has never attended school. We did not use or enforce a rigid curriculum. He is happy, socially skilled, and accomplished academically. He has been a volunteer counselor for summer nature camps and part of a champion robotics team, among other activities.</p>
        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”></p>
        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>The most negative factors in his life have been the attitudes of his schooled family, friends, and neighbors who have tended to scrutinize his academic performance and personality with an eye toward finding fault, something they seldom do with those who are “schooled.”Despite this, he has favorably impressed them all by this point.</p>
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        <p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>I think adult homeschoolers can tend to feel “less than” simply because of this scrutiny, which sometimes borders on cruel. As children living lives outside of school become more and more the norm, adult homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike will begin to realize that not every personality quirk or academic difficulty is attributable to not having been schooled.</p>
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        John Taylor Gatto, an award winning school teacher with thirty years in public schools might cast a different light: on your own experiences: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/ His Underground History of American Education is a tour de force. Another favorite author who prefers to call what homeschoolers do “Life Learning” is Wendy Preisnitz: http://www.wendypriesnitz.com/

        At one point in my life, the general negativity towards homeschoolers was so predominant that I almost decided it was a bad idea. Then I realized that the only thing I thought was bad about it was the way that others were trying to make me feel . . . there was nothing wrong with my daughters or me.

        Our life together living and learning was wonderful. I am so glad that I did not give way to that social pressure. After my son was born, because I saw what was really causing my anxiety about home education. Thus, I put those thoughts aside and kept my son at home and in the community (never in school) all these years.

        I believe he is more accomplished, more intellectual, happier, and freer–than he might have been if subjected to schooling. I think he would agree.

        I’ve known many homeschooling families over the years. In most cases, the children are living up to their potential and happy. Of course, not every homeschooling situation is ideal, that is true, but I will venture to guess that most are better than school and that many, many are far better.

        I challenge you to closely examine the lives of many schooled children. I think you will find that a far greater percentage than homeschooled  children “live lives of quiet desperation.”

        By simply being active in your community with your children (in any way that feels comfortable for you) and living and enjoying life and learning together, you can’t go too far wrong . . . I really believe that.

        Daniel, at the moment, you view your experiences in a rather negative light. But I’ve found that young adults (schooled or homeschooled) often experience a period of regret for “what might have been.” It’s a part of growing up and becoming aware of the wider world and our own limitations. Perhaps as you grow older and more experienced you might view you childhood with greater fondness. I know that I understood my parents better once I became a parent myself.

        Gretchen
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        Daniel Davis

        Yes Gretchen, perhaps I should make something clear. I am very happy my parents kept me out of public school. When I was a teenager it is true I wanted to be put in public school but that was because I wanted to be around other teenagers. As far as my parents are concerned I do not resent them. People try to do their best and they make mistakes, I understand that. I grew up in a very rural area. There was no community. I think my education is very good but it could have been better. My posts may seem pessimistic and I am sorry for that. I am simply trying to help homeschooling parents avoid some of the mistakes I think my parents made in my home school experience. Do not mistake what I am saying as a search for pity. I think home schooling is great if it is done properly. That is what I am trying to help others achieve. If they avoid the common mistakes I have mentioned, I predict that their children will enjoy the home school way of life much much more, and will watch them develop into happy, healthy, intelligent adults

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        Peaceful Person – Please Delete Account

        Daniel, Thanks for the clarification. I can tell you are a very caring person. I think it’s wonderful that you wish to help parents avoid pitfalls. On the other hand, I must point out that what may have been a pitfall for you could be a blessing for a different child: the isolation that can (though not necessarily) result from living in a rural area, for example, means having time free from constant distractions that allows for intense focus and deep study–for some children, this could be the greatest blessing of their lives. When I was seven years old, I missed the school bus deliberately so I could stay at home and play outside by myself or spend lots of time reading—things I was not allowed to do in school. My school was considered excellent with high academic standards. I was an A student. I was miserable there but intensely happy in the natural world around our home. No one knew about nor could I articulate my misery; I could only try to convey it through my actions. My mother did not have a car and we lived in the country, so my ploy worked for about a week until she called a taxi from town to take me to school. I do not blame my parents for causing me distress; they did the best they knew how at the time. I knew they loved me. I agree that parents should do their best to support each child’s interests and needs insofar as possible. But seldom will any homeschooling environment be perfect. Even more seldom will any school environment be perfect, simply because it will not be tailored at all to meet individual interests and potential. Regarding skills, two of my children taught themselves to read and the eldest one would have if I’d left her alone; my job was simply to spend time reading good books aloud to them and answering their questions. Early on, they taught themselves math by asking questions and asking for problems. Later, anything they needed or wanted to learn, they knew how to go about learning it. It’s so easy to learn when we are willing and have the desire to know. It’s so hard to learn when we are forced to attend to things that do not hold our interest. That is not to say parents should not offer guidance; of course, they should. Do some homeschoolers end up lacking certain skills considered essential? Of course they do. But what is the percentage when compared with schooled children who end up lacking these same skills and more? I have been a volunteer for years with an adult literacy program. Why is an adult literacy program necessary? Because so many individuals go through twelve years of schooling without really learning how to read or do mathematics or even learning how to learn. They manage to get a diploma but still don’t know what they are doing. And then there are those who don’t manage to get the diploma but have still spent all those years in school–for them, it’s even worse. I’ve found that the school environment is highly efficient at destroying the most important ingredient for learning–desire, which leads to self-generated motivation, which leads to self-discipline and accomplishment! In my view, the mistake many homeschooling parents and adult homeschoolers make is swallowing the long-discredited idea that there is some perfect curriculum, ordained from on-high, that every individual should strive to follow. Here’s a good resource for beginning to think about that: http://www.johnholtgws.com/growing-without-schooling-issue-archive/ Rigidity undermines the beauty of living outside of school, the sheer liberty of it. Ask yourself this: Who says? Are there experts and academics who have much to offer some parents and children? Of course. But are their particular recommendations regarding exactly what to learn and when that are right for every child? Of course not. The most important thing a child can learn is that he can learn just about anything given sufficient effort and diligence and that he has the power to make it happen. Period. Daniel, the fact that you learned “science and history over again really fast” proves my point. That sort of challenge really isn’t harmful; rather, it leads to growth; it’s a valuable experience. I think there is a lot of propaganda saying otherwise, however, put forth by those who wish us to believe it’s harmful, which just isn’t the case…. difficult, yes; harmful, no. Your insightful and intelligent comments are deeply appreciated. Gretchen

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        Enrique

        Wow! Thank you so much, Gretchen, for the links and the inspiration you have provided. Both your testimony and experience just reinforce my conviction that homeschooled children can turn out to be the greatest adults in our society. What an amazing accomplishment to obtain a bachelor’s, in mathematics to that, at age 19, and have your other children fully involved in your community as successful adults. Your experience is exactly what I envision with my children.

        I see all these kids graduating high school at age 18 and not knowing what they want to do with their lives. Wasting time with, what they call nowadays, friends, doing drugs, getting into gangs, letting their lives just go by without taking a mere notice. It’s appalling to say the least; it saddens me to see so much potential go to waste because parents are “too busy” to be part of their children’s lives.

        I will definitely conduct further research about cooperative homeschooling and if we can keep our daughter in the home full-time then we will.

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        Matt Van Wormer

        Just wanted to say, as a father who has seen 2 daughters raised through homeschooling, that I love this post Gretchen.

        I found homeschooling to be a truly organic rich process where all of us learned so much together in a dynamic environment.

        Here’s to our evolution, may we never be the same.

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        Peaceful Person – Please Delete Account

        Thanks, Enrique, for starting this discussion and for your comments. And you are welcome for the links. The most important point is feeling free to choose the best way of life for parents and children based on experiences, research, observations, and circumstances–which might turn out to include a daily coop or even school–though I, personally, would be exceedingly wary of this and certain the child chooses to go because he or she enjoys it a lot and is not merely trying to “fit in.” Many people in our area form cooperatives that meet at a church, library conference room, or someone’s home only once a week and for special occasions, such as potluck suppers. Parents and children take turns sharing knowledge and skills or they just have fun together. The best educational and social activity sources for us have been Yahoo Groups created for homeschoolers living in a particular region, through which participants in the area post info. re. events, classes, and activities. The activities don’t have to be formally structured…often they’re just children and parents meeting to go for a hike or take in a movie or work on art projects or play board games. Other activities we’ve participated in have been king-of-the-hill, rugby (too rough for me–but fun one time–and my son was too young then), and baseball. My husband and son have good friends in Indiana whom they got to know through one of these groups when we lived there; they met once a week at a local pizza parlor that had an extra room in the back; it was free as long as they bought some pizza, which was not a hardship! During baseball season they went to the local park during the day and played together, adults and children. Sometimes they just enjoyed the park. Yahoo Groups are also great for sharing other information and having discussions in your local community on homeschooling related topics. A few weeks ago, I posted the link to the Libertarian Homeschooler’s facebook page, which prompted some interesting responses. If there isn’t a group in your area, they’re easy to create. To get the word out about it, send the info. to homeschooling organizations and publications that offer resource lists, such as Unschooling.com at their previous site. I’m sure there are other and perhaps better ways of creating a list-serve group than Yahoo but this is the one I’m familiar with. Gretchen P.S. To all, I’m sorry for the sloppy appearance of one of my other posts. I hope this one is better.

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      Daniel Davis

      Also, on a side note, if you want to teach your children religious doctrine that is your choice. I highly recommend familiarizing your children with some sort of religious background anyway. If you are a religious person than this will only seem natural. If you are not religious however, entertain this thought for a moment. Your child will need to know what the religious people are talking about when they come across it, so educate them. That being said, I do not recommend using a religious curriculum. Many people home-school their child for just this reason. It is a mistake and a big one. Regardless what you believe, a understanding of secular science and history is necessary for an individual to thrive in our society. Don’t have your children grow up to be ignorant of basic scientific and historical fact. My parents used a christian curriculum all throughout my homeschooling experience. When I went to college I had to learn science and history over again really fast. This was difficult and made my initial college experience more confusing than it should have been. Luckily, I am pretty good at learning, most home-schoolers are.

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        B.K. Marcus

        Daniel, you have a lot to teach homeschooling parents. You are also the first I’ve encountered to advocate the setup we have on Sundays: Benjamin does Bible studies for his cultural literacy. Neither of his parents is an ardent believer. We just want him to know this part of his tradition.

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        Daniel Davis

        I think this is a good practice. My parents had me do a separate course for Bible class plus the christian curriculum. The christian curriculum was a mistake because I had to learn science and history twice which was confusing. It wasn’t all wrong mind you. Christian science teaches many things the same as secular science. However, the parts about evolution and dinosaurs were particularly insulting. Evolution was mentioned in just one paragraph which simply said that some scientists think we came from monkeys. It included a picture of an orangutan. When covering dinosaurs the christian science books said they were destroyed in the great flood and also referenced the book of Job, the part where Behemoth and Leviathan are mentioned. This is injustice because every kid deserves the chance to learn about dinosaurs; they are awesome. The separate bible lesson course was good though. I can’t tell you how many times I was kicked out of Sunday school class for correcting the teacher. How was I supposed to know it was disrespectful, I had no social skills. My point is that I am glad to know the Bible and the stories that are in it. It is a very interesting book.

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      Audra Flammang

      Daniel- thank you very much for sharing your experiences. It is really very helpful to hear from a homeschooled adult. It’s a great reminder not to let our views and our children’s  experiences to become myopic and stagnated.

      Enrique, keep in mind, children learn social skills in a variety of settings- family, the grocery store, church, etc. I really try to take my kids places and encourage them to interact with people of all ages (of course, peer-to-peer is important, but so is being able to speak to people of all ages and background) even little things like asking a librarian for help with a book, or visiting with an older person at church ar a social event- these are all social skill builders.

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      Daniel Davis

      I value my education greatly, it is priceless to say the least. I don’t want to come off as a person with regrets because I have none. I love my life and the person I have become, eccentricities included. I do believe my educational experience could have been better. This why I share my experiences, I think many parents make the same mistakes mine did. With homeschooling there are a few basic rules parents should follow. 1. Kids need friends and a social life. This doesn’t mean they have to be extroverted, just make sure they are able to be around other kids on a regular basis. 2. Stay on top of your child’s studies. I cannot stress this enough, I have seen way too many home-schooled children that can barely read or write because their parents do not enforce school work. Stay on top of it and before you know it your child will probably end up years ahead of public school children. 3. Do not replace secular studies with religious versions of them. If you want to teach your child religious studies by all means do that. Make it a separate course from the others though. Teaching something such as christian science instead of secular science will handicap your child when they go off to college. 4. Do not yell and scream at your child (or hit) for making mistakes and goofing off. This makes school a negative experience instead of a positive one. Rewarding good behavior has been proven to be a much better motivator in the long run.

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        B.K. Marcus

        Daniel, as I mentioned in an earlier comment, you have a LOT to teach us homeschooling parents!

        I hope you will seriously consider starting a Liberty.me publishing site on what mistakes homeschoolers should avoid.

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        Daniel Davis

        I am more than pleased to help. A publishing site is an interesting thought. At this time I am nearing the end of a strenuous (and fascist) nursing program. My time is limited for now but maybe in the near future a publishing site will happen. Homeschooling can be a wonderful experience and I would love to help others make it just that for their child.

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      B.K. Marcus

      Enrique, can you say more about what a “cooperative homeschool environment” is?

      7yo Benjamin is very sociable. We do lessons with him in the mornings (mostly his mom) and group activities in the afternoons (mostly me). This seems to work well. In addition, we have something in Charlottesville called the Community Homeschool Enrichment Center, which offers group classes all day every Friday. Some people sign up for 3 classes; we tend to do only one at a time to keep our afternoons free. It’s a good mix.

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        Audra Flammang

        CHEC looks fantastic. Wish we had something similar in our area. And I agree, the insights of a grown homeschooler are invaluable and I hope Daniel will publish more about it.

         

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      Audra Flammang

      I also meant to mention that I’ve had very good luck with Homeschool Facebook groups. I’m in two that are very active. All members can create and attend events. Some are educational, some are social, and many are both. It’s helped connect both me and my children, and has also given us opportunities we might not have had otherwise. We dissected a deer heart last month! one of our groups has regular, set times weekly for just socializing.

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      Daniel Davis

      Yeah you guys have a huge advantage because of the internet. An internet connection is like having your own personal Aristotle.

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      Enrique

      That was a lot of wisdom, Daniel. Thank you for all the insight; I deem it important to collaborate with others who homeschool or were homeschooled. We will implement a religious program, mostly due to her mom’s desire. Personally, I am an agnostic and claim that the knowledge of a god is only reachable upon one’s death, but there is another thread for that discussion.

      Marcus, to answer your question, I call cooperative homeschooling to what which you do with Benjamin. Right now, my daughter has been strictly instructed at home, and home only. She has a few friends that she has play dates with, but nothing academic. We want to move to her a place where she can learn and interact with other children her age in a classroom environment, and other adults as well.

      We will be moving to Hampton Roads this summer and I’ve found several families that bring their kids together for academic instruction.

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        Daniel Davis

        If you are going to use a religious curriculum I recommend Abeka for Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. My parents used a different program for science and history and I don’t remember why. Abeka was very good. I was able to pick up reading pretty early using them. This was in the early 90s mind you. Their quality may have decreased as time has gone by. I am sure a Google search will help you find out if this is the case.

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      Matt Van Wormer

      Hi Enrique,

      I scanned the thread to get an idea where this conversation is going and whether I might be able to add something or not. I have 2 daughters that were home schooled, 1 until High School and the other until 5th grade. The one that left homeschooling at High School decided that’s what she wanted to do and the 5th grader was such a huge pain in the butt, we thought we would share the joy with others.

      My wife worked with them on a day to day basis and I came in as the great arbitrater, when necessary. We had curriculum ideas a couple times but were more interested in their learning interest. They found other groups to join and our local Home School Community was fairly robust as well.

      Speaking socially, I’d say you need to first check what you’re comparing yourself against. What statistic are you using to determine that kids are being well socialized in a school setting? Yes that’s the number 1 thing we had to answer to. If those kids are so well socialized why is the use of Ritalin going up. How’s the use of anti depressants going? How many kids are “going postal” these days.

      Yes my kids say in a setting of 30-50 kids all the same age, they feel awkward. Is that an abnormal response? I have met many homeschooled kids and they may be slightly awkward in prison type settings (many people forced to be together in orchestrated environments) but they absolutely shine, when given a group of people of different ages, including adults. There is a quality about them that is far beyond the basic “socialized” kids coming out of our schools. I did force them to say hi to people when they came to the house or when they met them. I expected them to look them in the eyes and be available.

      We did make extra effort to be social ourselves, my wife and I. So our kids were thrown into all sorts of settings and circumstances. My kids are 17 and 20. You would find them to be some of the most engaging people to be around. They can easily communicate to anyone of any age. They don’t spend much time around things that don’t interest them. They’re not used to having force used on them.

      Anywho, just a couple ideas I hadn’t read yet. Good luck in the endeavor. I learned more in that process than possibly, they did.

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        Daniel Davis

        I agree there is a difference between being social and being institutionalized.

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        Enrique

        That’s great input, Matt. I cannot speak of being homeschooled. Unfortunately, my parents, as much as I love them, did not have the “time” so I was thrown in the public school system. You speak of socialization in public schools and tie it to an important point about drugs being forced upon children with “deficiencies”. But these deficiencies are nothing but part of the system. Even our health system has become so regimented that if a child does not fall within the norm, they are considered autistic, ADD, or ADHD. And the spectrum for these are so large that any child could fall under it; all you gotta do is find the one thing they do not do that the rest does.

        Social children should be able to interact with people of all ages. That is one reason why I was thinking to expose my older daughter to other people, for that may help improve on the social skills she already has. I’m still researching other ways to help her become the person she wants to be. It’d be a great shame that my intentions do not meet her desires.

         

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        Matt Van Wormer

        I don’t know if this will help or not Enrique, in that each of us can be quite a bit different from each other, with different needs and wants. I preface this because again, I’m going to go in a different direction.

        I have helped raise two young women who are now 20 and 17. Looking back now I can say that I’m pretty sure I could have screwed them up (and at times, wasn’t the father I wanted to be) but I’m not sure how much my social planning for their development worked as I had it in mind. My kids are 100% responsible for their lives and always have been. My younger daughter has been more prone to drama and creating obstacles for herself. She tries to blame others for these moments of weakness, at times. though not always. This is something she’s here to solve and though I’m one of her resources in its resolution, she is responsible for it changing.

        I think the things my wife and I did that were most helpful in helping grow a healthy happy family were quite simple. My wife was adamant about having full sit down meals, candles and all, at least 4 nights a week. That might have been the single biggest and most important thing we did. Lastly we did our best to create a safe place for them to be whatever they wished to be, as long as it didn’t infringe on others. We did that using Richard Mayberry’s  2 common law concepts: 1. Do all you have agreed to do (contract law) and 2. Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

        My kids have not become what I wanted and thought of them becoming. They have become what they wanted. They are amazing people with shortcomings and amazing gifts – like the rest of us.

        Your kids are very lucky to be able to grow up with you. It’s the hardest and most gratifying thing I have ever done and continue to do. I’m glad to hear of another father who agonizes and cares so deeply.

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        Peaceful Person – Please Delete Account

        Matt, Excellent points. I really appreciate this line: “They’re not used to having force used on them.” As you explain, it’s possible to raise knowledgeable, skilled, moral, kind, and polite children without the use of force. Of course, force, with respect to children, does not include reasonable restraint from harm, such as keeping them from running in front of a moving car. This category of force also does not include appropriate urging, such as asking your children to look others in the eye as part of a greeting. Even though you said you forced them, I am guessing you meant you expected, prompted, encouraged, or urged–all natural and healthy parental prerogatives when used wisely. Gretchen

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        Matt Van Wormer

        <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #444444; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>Gretchen, remind me never to debate you. I would also bet you’re a very good editor. I could have used a better word than force, especially around a group like this that is somewhat sensitive to its use. This question you ask is really at the heart of liberty mindedness, for me. To answer your question, I’ll need to go just a bit to a corollary topic of force. 1<sup>st</sup>, yes nice catch, I meant this definition of force: (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/force) “4. power to influence, affect, or control; efficacious power: the force of circumstances; a force for law and order.” Not the 1<sup>st</sup> definition which is: “physical power or strength possessed by a living being: He used all his force in opening the window.” </span></p>
        <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #444444; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>When my 20 year old daughter was 18, she had a boyfriend who the first 3-4 times coming to the house would not make eye contact and might grunt, if he even did that. I made it clear that he would need to look at myself, or my wife and, at the very least, say hi. She said that was too much for him (she had a much different idea of a low expectation bar than I did). I said he wasn’t welcome at the house until he was capable of such a challenging act. She made herself quite scarce for about a month and then he developed the necessary skill.</span></p>
        <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #444444; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>I am not a physicist but I’m a big believer in the law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I had a healing practice for 10 years and saw this play out every single time. So, yes, I’m careful with the use of force but am aware that there are many ways to exert it. </span></p>
         
        <p class=”MsoNormal”><span style=”font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; color: #444444; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;”>Lastly, I was a little confused with your closing sentence, “, I am guessing you meant you expected, prompted, encouraged, or urged–all natural and healthy parental prerogatives when used wisely.” When dealing with my kids I don’t exert “parental perogatives”. I’m not even sure what those are. I treat my kids as fairly as I’m capable and hope they will forgive my humanness and forge their future built on their hopes and dreams, not mine. </span></p>

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      Angela Bertalot

      I started attending a weekly homeschool group when my oldest had just turned 4, before we had even decided that we were going to homeschool. So he and his younger siblings have been participating at a very early age – learning to interact with kids of all ages. Three of my four are very sociable and find it easy to join in while one does not wish to – but that is her personality, not from a lack of opportunity.  Our group is non-sectarian so we have a mix of religious and non religious folks.  We keep religion out of it because we believe religion (or lack thereof) is a personal journey… I really like the dynamic of our group because it is not limited to people that think just one way about any particular thing…

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        Daniel Davis

        Any group that promotes individuality sounds like a very good group indeed.

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