Although this is rarely voiced, I think it is a concern that many parents have when considering the choice to home educate.
It’s often perpetuated through the sharing of myths by those who are ignorant of home schooling, and perhaps even rather afraid of it.
The mainstream choice of schooling works really well for most families. But if problems arise and parents want to consider home schooling, this concern shouldn’t stop you. I know many grown up home schooled young adults who are involved in college, work or Uni, none of whom are so different from others that it’s apparent they didn’t go to school. All of whom integrated into a mainstream way of doing things with success.
And maybe we should be clearer about that term; different.
The main concern is probably about whether they ‘fit in’.
The idea of fitting in is important to most people. Some people like to stand out. Others don’t. This is partly to do with our personalities and partly our background. We all know that if you stand out too much others sometimes make fun of it, that’s an unpleasant side of human nature unfortunately. But this can happen whether you home educate or not.
Home educating does not make it worse simply because taking children out of mainstream schooling is not taking them out of mainstream everything; children still integrate in all other aspects of mainstream life, mainstream friends, mainstream activities and social events. And it is an unfounded myth that home educated children are isolated from other children.
All of the home educated youngsters I know interact in a variety of ways with the activities other children do like Cubs, Brownies, dance, music, sports, groups, lessons and classes which take place after school and at weekends that all mainstream families do. It’s only the school bit they don’t do. They build friends and find a community suited to them, as we all do, even those of us who are too old for school!
And contrary to another misconception that children who don’t go to mainstream school are at a disadvantage when integrating into that mainstream life later on, the opposite is more likely to be true. And is a ‘difference’ that can become an advantage.
Since home educated children have spent their time learning with a greater proportion of adults and have broader life experiences than those at school, they tend to have increased social skills, personal skills, are articulate and easy when interacting with adults, who might interviewing them for example, all which gives them an edge on their school peers some of whom lack that experience.
So far from making them too different to fit in, home educating seems to give children an advantage and invaluable life skills with which to tackle their future.