View Full Version : Trying to find an answer to a ridiculous question

12-26-2010, 12:52 PM
Okay, I've been on a bit of a homeschool Googling kick today, and I've run across what strikes me as a completely dumb assertion that I'd like to find empirical evidence about but have so far been unsuccessful. I've seen it written that because homeschooled children aren't "socialized" enough :rolleyes: that they're more prone to antisocial behavior later in life -- implying that they're more likely to be sociopaths and engage in criminal behavior.

Right. Right. I know what you're thinking. Same as I am. I'd like to see if there's any sort of real study out there that compares the percentage of homeschooled vs. public schooled children in correctional systems. I'm willing to bet that the proportion is way in homeschooling's favor, but I'd just like to have the evidence to back that up, if it exists.

I'm starting to get the itch to put my video editing knowledge to work and make some sort of secular homeschooling documentary. The world needs one.

12-26-2010, 01:22 PM
I've never seen it. In fact, the reason I think it continues to be the ongoing argument is that there isn't a study backing it up. The anti-homeschool crowd has lost the academic argument so the socialization thing is the only thing left, IMO.

12-26-2010, 02:46 PM
Yeah, you're right, but on the facts they're losing that argument, too.

I just couldn't believe the craziness of this baseless assertion and wanted some way to refute it should it ever come up. It all started when I watched an old episode of Politically Incorrect on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyLLajUdjPE)where they spoke about Andrea Yates. Bill Maher and three of the guests (all actors) ganged up on the guy from the Young America Foundation who was trying to make some good points. Now, there's not a whole lot I'm going to agree with a representative from the YAF about (I tend to be fairly liberal socially), but I found Maher's comments about people "withdrawing" from society, and using Yates and the Branch Davidians as the sole examples of homeschooling products to be pretty narrow-minded. There was the whole "they're not socialized" argument writ large, with NOTHING to back any of it up. Maybe the assertion in the segment about homeschoolers being sociopaths wasn't exactly explicit, but it was certainly there. Or am I imagining it? You can watch and be the judge.

12-26-2010, 04:14 PM
Try looking at Milton Gaither's old blog - Homeschool Research Notes. It's currently inactive because he's doing some other project, but he's the author of a big history of homeschooling and his whole thing was about looking at real research in homeschooling. It was an extremely academic blog. I feel like if there is such a study, then he'll have reviewed it or mentioned it somewhere - or cited it in his book.

12-26-2010, 05:08 PM
I prefer not to google anything on homeschooling unless I'm looking up curriculum. All of the myths and sometimes outright lies about homeschooling really get under my skin and I cannot stand that a few bad examples of homeschoolers set the stage for the rest of us who are not "crazy." However, anytime I do read or discover a positive review of anything to do with homeschooling, you bet I pass it on as quickly as I can :)

I had a very interesting conversation with one of my sister's friends (16 year old boy who has been in public school his whole life.) He asked me if I was trying to ruin my children's lives by homeschooling them. I asked him what he meant by "ruin" and he said that my children were doomed to grow up to be anti-social and "weird." I asked him what he meant by "weird" and he told me that my children would be weird if they didn't try drugs, get bullied or make friends in real life. I asked him to define "real life" for me and he said: public school.

I guess I would like to see some research on homeschoolers vs. public schoolers in prisons and jails. I know my children will never be there but I bet the young man I talked to will know someone from his "real life" who is!

12-26-2010, 06:04 PM
"Real life" = public school? What a sad case of brainwashing that is, when homeschoolers are the ones who can actually escape the confines of a traditional classroom and go out and experience that real world that lies beyond those confining school walls. I defy anybody to prove to me that bullying can in any way be positive. Saying it "builds character" is just ex post facto rationalization of trauma to try to soften the awfulness of it all. You certainly don't feel like your character's being built in the moment. (And I say that as someone who was bullied only minimally.)

Thanks for the tip on the Gaither blog. I'll check into it.

12-28-2010, 03:59 PM
Sadly, the world is full of baseless "truths". I bet, if one were to check the prior schooling of the inmates in any given prison, they would most likely all have been through the public school system for the duration of their schooling. Not that public schooling creates criminals, but that notion is about as true as saying that homeschooling causes criminals or anti-social behavior.

That said, I will have to confess, that most of the homeschoolers I have met are slightly off socially when compared to mainstream people. However, this is not a bad thing, nor are they off in a negative way. But to be frank, most people who are completely mainstream have been almost subconsciously brainwashed to behave in certain acceptable ways. They tend to follow the trends of the day as expressed in television and radio and commercials with little original thought coming through. I guess you could say that a lot of self-awareness is lacking. Or maybe it is something else. Whatever it is, there are unwritten ways that society expects its citizens to conduct themselves and those who are less like everyone else tend to stand out like sore thumbs, even if they are living with integrity and beauty. Being that homeschoolers tend to be very individualistic, they are going to be noticed as not fitting in or getting with the program. Honestly, though, I'm not so sure that is a bad thing. There are a lot of expected behaviors and attitudes in our society that I want no part of, so if I am a little bit off and happen to be a homeschooler, well then, I'll take that just fine, thank you very much. :)

12-28-2010, 07:45 PM
Good points, Deanna, and I'll say that I have seen some HS kids who are like that. But there's sort of a chicken-and-egg conundrum there, because it could be -- as it is in our case in the case of the family friends who homeschooled before us -- that the reason these kids aren't in PS is because they have those personality quirks to begin with, and the PS environment wasn't conducive to their learning styles/behavioral traits/special needs/etc. It's not necessarily that HS brought out those traits or even magnified them, and I'd be willing to bet that they'd act like that no matter what the environment. That's certainly the case with Hurricane -- he talked people's ears off about extreme weather while in PS and now that he's homeschooled. He's still the kid who doesn't pick up on others' non-verbal cues. Etc. etc. I'd be willing to say that our experience and reasoning for homeschooling aren't far off from many or even most others' reasons, particularly us secular folk. We know we have quirky kids, and we know that the mix of them and public-schooled children isn't terribly positive; hence, if we're willing and able, we homeschool so that they can focus on learning and not all the other bull-dookey that goes along with the PS experience. If that makes sense.

I do find myself sometimes longing for a kid who wants to go out and throw a baseball instead of categorize the tropical storms of the years 2000-2010. But at the same time, the other part of me says that you know what? He's probably going to be seen someday as an "extreme weather expert," whether on television or in academe. And I'll trade tossing a ball around for that any day.

12-28-2010, 11:55 PM
I tell people all the time, "We homeschool because they are that way, they are not that way because we homeschool."

12-29-2010, 12:03 AM
I tell people all the time, "We homeschool because they are that way, they are not that way because we homeschool."
Good answer.

12-29-2010, 09:00 AM
AWESOME answer. May I steal it? :)

12-29-2010, 09:40 AM
Hey, Mark, reading of your son's interest in weather made me think he might be interested in David Philips (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Phillips_%28climatologist%29), Environment Canada's senior climatologist. He's on the radio and TV news all the time discussing weather and climate and is very entertaining to listen to. I suppose you could say he's a bit of a weather celebrity up here.

12-29-2010, 10:40 AM
The Gifted Homeschooler had several links on socialization and the homeschooler.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1317439 (If you download the paper, socialization is address in Section 3 part B with numerous citations to other studies)



12-29-2010, 11:40 AM
this may be what you are looking for...


12-29-2010, 11:44 AM

these may help too.

12-29-2010, 11:54 AM
Wow, thanks for all the links. I'll check them out this evening when I have more time to concentrate. David, big thanks for anything weather-related. Hurricane is a Wikipedia addict (at 8, go figure), so I always like to encourage him to go to other sites for info. I love the idea of "weather celebrities." Hurricane has a T-shirt that says "Jim Cantore Fan Club President," although he claims not to want to be on TV when he's older. He wants to be the guy flying into storms, doing "real work." :)

12-29-2010, 01:28 PM
Mark, you have excellent points, as do all the others. When I was talking about homeschool kids being a bit off, I don't mean in any bad way at all. I mean that they tend to be more conscientious, more polite (though not always the case), more inclined to think outside the box and so on, while their PS peers are more concerned with the latest ghetto slang and wearing the right clothes to fit in. I wouldn't trade homeschooled kids in all their glorious quirkiness (or their parents, either) for a bazillion dollars! The way I see it is that there is a strong trend in PS for the students to just be run of the mill, which is a trait that homeschoolers usually don't share--thank goodness! I LOVE the fact that your son would rather make charts and graphs of weather patterns than throw a baseball, although if he joined you in a game of catch, that would be terrific, too! In the future, kids like yours, who have actually LEARNED many things, will be the ones that help the rest of us in our feeble, old age. :)

12-29-2010, 03:27 PM
Absolutely. I didn't mean for it to come across that I was knocking your position (if that's what happened), because you're right. I completely see what you're saying. Public school is tailored to turning out 9-to-5 cubicle workers who have an overemphasis on numbers and figures as measuring someone's or something's worth, ones that don't tend to ask "why?" Certainly not all are like that, but if you only do what's asked of you, where's the originality going to come from?

There was a 6th-grade teacher when I was in school (I never had him) who gave Cs if you only did the work he assigned, even if you answered everything correctly. His reasoning was that what you did by doing that was the minimum, "average" requirement. Only students who went above and beyond (with advisement from him as to what might be appropriate) got any higher grades. There's no way a teacher could get away with that nowadays, and I don't know that it changed many kids' work ethics, but there's something to be said for that line of thinking. My way of incorporating it is to remind my kids of our motto: "Be exceptional, not average." It usually comes up during a case of the I-don't-wannas. :)

12-29-2010, 06:04 PM
You didn't knock me at all. I was just worried that I had unintentionally knocked the quirky homeschoolers out there--and I sure didn't mean to do that! :) Your philosophy of being exceptional, not average is terrific, but I have to confess to having plenty of I-don't-wannas of my own! ;)

12-29-2010, 11:05 PM
Yeah, we all have those. The trick as a parent is not to let your kids see you having them!