Addressing the homeschool socialization myth: students will have anti-American ideas

In recent articles [1] [2] [3], I have explored the inevitable question that homeschoolers are bound to be asked by the curious, the skeptical and the antagonistic.

If your children are homeschooled, how will they get socialization skills?

Often there is an assumption behind the question which I am bringing to light, along with information to dispel the myth. 

Assumption:

Since school is an American institution, it must be un-American to reject it.  Perhaps there is some anti-social or anti-American thinking involved for families who don’t participate in institutional schools.

The first education law in this country  was The first Massachusetts School Law of 1642 which empowered the Selectmen of the colony to assess the reading and writing skills of children, and held parents and masters responsible for ensuring that their charges learned to read and write.

Five years later, the colony passed The Massachusetts School Law of 1647, commonly known asYe Oulde Deluder Satan Law [4]. The premise was that every person should be able to read the Scriptures to stand against the wiles of the devel, so the colony of Massachusetts mandated schools to be established in each town that reached 50 families. 

Nevertheless, the norm in Massachusetts for the next 200 years was not public schools, but varying degrees of children taught at home by their parents, by a tutor, or by a hand-picked mentor who instructed less than a dozen students.  This had been the standard practice of most societies for the previous 5000 years [5].  The litearacy rate during the American colonial and early national years was nearly 100 percent. [6]

Public schooling was hailed in the United States partly as a means to educate the poor beginning in the early 1800’s as immigrants flooded into the country.  The rich were tutored at home and the middle class had private schools and apprenticeships. [7]  The other push for mandatory education was based in a means of social engineering–creating a society in which all members had a standardized, one-size fits all body of knowledge. [8]

Despite efforts for nearly 100 years to make public education mandatory, it was not until the early 1900’s that all states had enacted and enforced such legislation. [9]  There have only been a few decades over the centuries of American history in which home education has not been a major factor in the culture.

Extensive lists of prominent, well-respected, highly accomplished Americans reveal many of our founding fathers and influential citizens in all occupations who received their education outside of the public school system.  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin lead the list of greatest American patriots who were homeschooled. [10]

Recent studies of adults who were formerly homeschooled indicate that patriotism and political awareness and involvement rank high among home educators.  With a 96% voting rate, and higher than average involvement in civic and community affairs[11], these citizens have a strong investment in the principles and values of America’s heritage.

One might conclude that home education actually brings us back to the core of Americanism and fosters a deep love for this country and desire to serve her best interests.

More resources.

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