Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Don't you want to hang out with your friends?"

I've been reading some forums where it's just anybody and everybody who can post. It cracks me up, but also bothers me, how many people advise teens AGAINST moving from public school to homeschooling because "Don't you want to hang out with your friends?"

Life is not about friends. The only reason friends became a major focus of school-aged kids is because they spend so much time in school. When you leave high school, life is no longer about hanging around friends all day long. Why is spending 12 years of your life focusing on friends supposed to be a good preparation for later life?

Of course, it totally ignores the possibility of homeschoolers still hanging out with friends, like they are cooped up in their homes all day long. (eyes rolling) So many people think homeschooling parents are keeping their kids away from the world, isolating them, that we're all just a bunch of hermits. bah. Ignorance is blissful for them, I guess.


~L~ said...

No kidding. Our children are so much more in the world than the children locked up in school 6-7-8 hours a day.

Montessori Mom said...

Hello! Just found your blog via the Montessori Mom website and am interested to hear more about what you are doing at home with your kids. I'm an educational policy student with an AMI Montessori diploma, so I guess you could say that one of my primary interests is in some fairly radical reformations of the educational system.

As a former middle school teacher and someone who has been fairly interested in Montessori's writings on the subject, I felt particularly compelled to respond to this post. Montessori saw adolescence as a time when peers were particularly important as students work to come to an understanding of society. So I can understand why people feel that being with peers, especially in middle and early high school years, is important.

At the same time, I feel as though many of our schools do a terrible job creating an environment where productive social learning can take place. Instead of cooperative work in small groups led by a familiar adult role model, we send kids scurrying from classroom to classroom for academic learning that lacks a great deal of connection with their interests - the workings of society / social life - with teachers who see far too many kids in a day to make any connection.

I cannot say right now what choices I will make for my son (now just under a year), but I can say that I am frustrated by the paucity of choices available. I hope that we soon see more Children's Houses and something resembling a true Montessori Erdkinder (middle school). Thanks for your post - I enjoyed pondering it.