And What About Socialization?

This is a must read column no matter how you are educating your children.

Jay Mathews – School Boundaries, Money and Race –

Grice is my guest columnist today. This is a big risk for me since it is clear she is a much better writer, and much braver about getting to the heart of the issue — how much our school boundaries depend on the skin color and the size of the paychecks of the families involved. Nonetheless, this is a must read:

Some of you may be wondering, “so what’s the homeschooling connection on this?” Well, what is the first issue anyone brings up when discussing homeschooling–what about socialization? We are often accused of isolating our children and denying them the opportunity to mix with people of different backgrounds. And how many people who live in the wealthier, white, Union Grove community discussed in the column would be quick to join in such accusations? See my point now?

I will admit that homeschoolers aren’t as ethnically diverse as I would like. African American homeschoolers are still a rarity around here but then again, they only make up 13% of the population. And it is changing.

What I will argue is that my son is much more likely to meet someone from a significantly different background than his cousin who is in his public school. I went to one of his middle school football games and his team was essentially all white and the opposing team was a majority Hispanic with a scattering of whites and African Americans. Both schools were in the same district. And San Antonio is over 60% Hispanic. Figure that. There are plenty of Hispanic homeschoolers around.

We are also much more likely to interact with people outside our income bracket. If our car breaks down, we take it to the shop and maybe even get a rental if necessary. For a lot of the homeschoolers we interact with, a broken down car means we wouldn’t be interacting for a couple of paychecks. Even in schools that have some diversity in income levels, students somehow manage to be segregated in classes by income. So while you may go to school with the “poor” people, you aren’t taking Algebra with them.

Yes, there are plenty of homeschoolers that associate only with others that share their same religious beliefs. But they are a much smaller number than you think. As an Odyssey of the Mind coach for the past few years, we have had team members who believe that the earth is only 6000 years old (or something like that) but it never really came up during team meetings. The same is true of the fencing class my son takes as well as the German class. Probably a lot like kids who attend public schools.

Basically, my point is before you accuse homeschoolers of not socializing, take a closer look in the mirror.

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