Children Raised by Their School

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One of the benefits you enjoy by homeschooling is involvement in your child's life. You do more than merely educate. When you choose to homeschool you also choose to be active, to be there. This is why homeschoolers stay engaged even if their children eventually transition to a traditional school environment.

Your involvement is one of the most powerful elements homeschooling provides. And this shift in thinking sticks, no matter what else changes in your educational situation.

Sadly, I frequently witness what happens when parents aren't involved.

These are the kids who are "raised by their school" as my best friend put it while we drove for four days. He and I had been taking about some of "our kids" and the stuff they're going through. The similarities between their experiences are frighteningly redundant.

[NB: I'm not sure if this is something unique to this one particular public school or broader. I know different cultures impact different people in vastly divergent ways. What follows are some of my initial observations.]

School Kid

  • Lack of boundaries - they do things simply because it seems like the thing to do. When something goes wrong, they place blame everywhere but their decisions. Often the issue is with some authority figure or the person with whom they have a problem.
    One young man consistently finds himself in relationships with girls who were "just" a good friend. We tell him that he keeps "falling in love" because of the amount of exclusive time he spends with them. The relationships eventually break down because all the exclusivity happened "by accident." (Jason and I had been discussing the "courtship is flawed" article.)
  • Lack of authority - growing up socialized by their peers, these kids have learned to filter all suggestions and input by their own standards. Parents are not trusted and their statements are judged by the child's own internal parameters.
    One young lady told me, "My parents gave me one rule growing up: Don't come home drunk or pregnant. That's it. I had no boundaries when I needed them. So now my mom can't tell me to do anything; she gave up that right a long time ago."
  • Lack of trust - adults can't be trusted. What little interaction they've had with their parents lacks context and so seems arbitrary and stupid.
    Another young lady has shared how random her parents' actions seem. "I never know how they're going to react to anything," she told me. I've actually had the chance to chat with her parents and they seem like pretty normal, caring people. But the huge disconnect has grown over years of "going it alone" at school and much of the rest of life.
  • Lack of assurance - they come off, initially, as very assertive. But that is only a veneer they've learned to put on to avoid being seen as weak. This is different from the general lack of confidence I've seen in kids who have a great home life but felt rejected at school. Being left out is nothing more than a socialization ill common to any community arbitrarily divided.
    Kids raised by their schools are different. They have learned the bravado of "succeeding" socially but have failed to find a conviction. Without parental figures to speak to who they are and where they're going, they're left with nothing more than their own brave face. I think Billy Coffey's Future Kevin post depicts a child who may have even given up trying to fake it anymore.

These are just my initial raw thoughts about this. Have you met kids raised by their school? Where you?

I'd love your input and insights here as this is something I've only just started to think about.

Bottom line: The benefits of homeschooling are huge! As you take the opportunity to be part of raising your child, you can help them grow and thrive through all the confusing, frustrating, painful, and difficult parts of becoming the person God has called them to be.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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  1. Hey, I thought you are on a one month long road-trip! Then this article showed up. You completely nailed it. This article addresses an issue about which I have been thinking for a long time. Specifically because of the issues you have identified in your bulleted it seems like that many very well adjusted homeschoolers find it hard to engage, socially, with many of their fellow travelers in college. There were two groups of students that were especially ill equipped to participate constructively in the social setting of college. The first being those kids you have described above who were raised by the school. The second was the "tiger-mom" kids who were raised, not so much to get an education, but to check all the right check boxes so they could assume a place in society valued by their parents, causing all kinds of social dysfunction. I guess the second category could be attributed to the parents colluding with the schools to raise the kids according to the school's values. These kids do great in school, but nobody wants to be around them.

    • I hadn't thought much about the college application of this. ...though, I see your point. Some of "my kids" are just entering university life and loathing how their classmates treat college as an extension and amplification of their high school experiences.

      Well, here's another example of a "socialization ill" where bad socialization breeds non-optimal outcomes. Interesting insights, Ken. Thanks!


      P.S. And, nope, we were only gone for a week. Lots of driving in those few days, that's for sure [smile].