Tag Archives: peer pressure

Home Education and Social Skills

The hot topic of developing social skills and being home educated is an area of concern for those opposed to home education. Some critics say that parents are trying to shelter their children. They argue that a home school environment is limiting to a child’s social interaction and detrimental to their growth and development. There are some studies that have proved this wrong.

Having social skills can be defined as skills used to interact and communicate with others, to assist the status one has in the social structure and other motivations. Social rules and relations are made, communicated, exchanged and changed in verbal and non-verbal ways. This aids in creating the social complexity useful in identifying outsiders and intelligent breeding partners. Developing this process is called socialisation.

It is said that socialisation is one of the advantages of attending state/other types of school – that this is THE place for children to pick up social skills that help him/her survive.  The ONLY place (how narrow minded can you get!). The truth of the matter is, that at school children can only interact with their peers. When a child is placed in to a competitive environment, i.e. a public/private school they often lack the confidence to hold conversation. They display hardly any genuine interest in topics of conversation and don’t know how to interact with people of various age groups, let alone their elders. They are taught to fear their elders and listen and obey. There is a punishment and reward system and often the child’s true nature is quashed.

At home the social environment is a lot more natural. A child’s life begins by imitating their parents. Therefore children will pick up the qualities they see in them. At home there are constant positive reinforcements. Thus, a home-educated child is better equipped with the tools needed to get by in the world. Children who are home taught are more aware of the purpose and implications of what they are learning. Much more intelligent questions will be asked and more accurate observations will be made.

At home children are protected from the often detrimental influences of their peers. Of course if kids love school great, but lots of children feel abandoned when they are left at school. They may be embarrassed or ignored at a ‘normal’ school, being at home strengthens their self-esteem and sense of security. Home-schooled children often turn out to be better balanced and well rounded as they progress into adulthood. If you are worried about your child socialising with other children, there are support groups and other families you can get in touch with who home school. Check the ‘net out for local home school groups in your area. Education Otherwise is a good place to look for groups in your area in the UK. Not sure if yahoo groups still exist since Facebook got so big, but thats where I first found the sometimes elusive home educators I’d only ever heard about but never met 10 years ago. And then i found a group on Facebook and it kinda snowballed from there. Some groups are closed on Facebook though – you have to be invited in if you are known to someone within the group and if you home educate or are intending to. Your child can also be enrolled in youth clubs, brownies, guides, playgroups, swimming lessons, tennis, badminton etc. These are great places to make new friends with similar interests.


Benefits of Home Schooling

* Children are taught by their parents who know (and of course love) them the best.
* There is a lot more time to spend together as a family.
* More time to pursue subjects that aren’t taught in public schools.
* Children are able to learn at their own pace, as much time as needed can be spent on a given subject.
* Children will be able to focus and concentrate better without disruptive classmates.
* More outdoors time which is healthier than being in a classroom for most of the  day.
* A sense of responsibility and values is instilled as children (hopefully 🙂 )help out with running the day to day household such as washing up, drying up, laundry, cooking, tidying and helping out with younger siblings
* Life skills are learned in a natural way as more time is spent with adults
* Family bonds are  deepened
* There is more time for non-academic pursuits such as art, astronomy or music, and things like reading, drawing and watching movies, which Inky loves to do,
* Children will feel more responsible as they help design their own education.
* Rather than always ask their teacher for help and who generally doesn’t have much time for much one on one, children will be able to seek alternative assistance from various other sources and ask their parents for help.
* Rather than working for external satisfaction (as in teachers) they can work for internal satisfaction. This helps build them in to confident and happy beings.
* Children will learn to judge the quality of their own work, rather than their teacher doing it for them. They aren’t just trying to satisfy the teacher.
* As there is no risk of being embarrassed in front of fellow classmates or being criticized by the teacher, children will be more outspoken and creative.
* There will be less peer pressure to grow up quickly.
* There will be an immediate response to a child’s work rather than them having to anxiously wait for a teacher to mark it to find out where they went ‘wrong’.
* There is no need for testing, grading or strict deadlines (until its time for those GCSEs!)
* What the children gain in knowledge and understanding is the reward for studying in a happy environment, rather than constantly seeking a teachers approval.
* The child’s energy is channelled into what they want to learn rather than what they HAVE to learn. * Children will have friends based on common interests and choice rather than being placed in the same age groups. There is more time for ‘socialising’ contrary to what lots of people think.  Lots of play dates, birthday party’s and sleepovers that often turn in to 2-3 day sleepovers …
* There are more opportunities for field trips, especially when kids are at school and everywhere is quiet, waiting to be explored. A lot of places now have special home educator rates. I shall be compiling a list in the future – watch this space!
* Going abroad at off peak times is another great perk! We love taking full advantage
* Morality and love will be more valued than money and status.
* Rather than waiting to grow up to explore their passions children can start right now
* Children are offered a more complete, rounded and adaptable education.
* They are free to be themselves and never have to change to ‘fit in’,  or hide who they really are.