A big parental attraction regarding educational choice is the opportunity to “tailor-make” learning to fit individual personalities, temperaments, and academic formulas of individual students: to address their dreams and needs. Another big parental concern is how to address socialization and communication skills in homes and micro-campus settings, while the general public and conventional classroom teachers express fears that home-educated and micro-campus children are deprived of adequate socialization and communication skills. However, close observation offsets those fears.
Children assigned to secular and sectarian classrooms based on age usually demonstrate limited socialization and communication skills, especially when children are enrolled at campuses in which playground and classroom communication activities facilitate yelling, shoulder shrugs, and mono-syllable responses. Moreover, most classroom participation that requires appropriate student verbal interaction among peers is exercised by a relatively small percentage of students – the aggressive, intelligent, and overt children; shy and introverted students usually sit quietly, withholding verbal expression for fear of ridicule and/or teasing. Thus, they usually advance through school without learning how to communicate in complete sentences and polite conversation. Children confined to classrooms based on age often develop communication and socialization skills at or below the level of their peers. Thus, they advance through school without the ability to communicate effectively with adults and prospective employers. Conversely, most home-educated children of multiple-age families learn to communicate effectively with peers and adults, because they are usually required to respond with direct eye contact and complete sentences, rather than mere shoulder shrugs and mono-syllable mumbles.
Most home-schooled children can usually “run communication and socialization circles” around age-based peers who attend lock-step classrooms year after year. Home educated students usually are very comfortable talking with adults. Even though some are naturally hesitant to talk with strangers, once they feel safe with older people, most home-educated students can carry on a relatively intelligent conversation with poise and confidence. My observations are not intended to convey that all students confined to classrooms do not express themselves appropriately. I am stating that critics of home-educated children are way “off base” when assuming that those children are deprived of appropriate communication and socialization skills.
For more information on School Choice programs, check out our articles on School Choice.
Dr. Johnson has served as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and board member in public and private education. He has also served on state curriculum and assessment panels, and written more than two dozen books on education and family issues. His educational achievements have gained national and international recognition. Questions or comments are welcome at [email protected].
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