Overcoming homeschool anxiety


Image courtesy Rage Comics. 

There are many who have complained about the quality of America’s public education system.

My parents are part of that group, which factored into their decision to homeschool me.

From first grade all the way through 12th, I never once set foot in a public or private school. Instead, all my education came from my mother in my own home.

I do honestly believe that I received a higher quality of education at home then I would have received in a public or private school.

Despite all the academic advantages my education provided, I still have some problems with the concept of homeschooling, mainly the lack of an adequate environment in which to develop and learn proper social skills and behavior.

I consider myself to be an extrovert. I love being around people as much as possible.

However, being homeschooled meant I was not interacting with a group of my peers in my age group on a daily basis, and therefore was unable to develop basic social skills and understanding of proper expected social behavior.

In addition to being homeschooled, I also used to live in a rural area about 20 miles out of Fargo. This meant the only time I ever got to spend time with people my age was at church or a church event.

It does makes me chuckle now to think of some people today whose worst nightmare would be going without a phone for an entire day, whereas in my childhood I would often go an entire week without seeing or contacting my friends in any way. Not out of punishment, but simply because I did not possess a cell phone or access to the Internet.

Once I got to high school, I went to Trollwood Performing Arts School, which was a summer program for high school students that offered training in various fields of performing arts. This is the place that helped me developed the social skills I lacked when I was younger, but may have been extremely helpful for me today.

Being homeschooled stunted my social development, and even though I did eventually learn these skills through extracurricular activities, I personally would have preferred public school.

I would consider myself to have very good people skills now, although there are still some problems that I have because of my limited social interaction as a child.

Those who are close friends with me know, despite my love of socialization and being around people, I still have many faults that can occasionally make it difficult for me to form new relationships.

For example, I don’t know when to stop talking. This has been a consistent fault of mine for years, which I recognize and have been working on, but is still a challenge today. Since I had very little opportunity to speak with people when I was younger. When I did eventually get the opportunity I would continue talking nonstop at top speed so I could get out all the information I wanted to share.

Obviously it is not that extreme today, but I do have the tendency to ‘go overboard’ sometimes and leave a negative first impression.

There are some that might consider my social development argument irrelevant as I did eventually develop good social skills.

However, I only ended up developing these skills because I made it a priority and worked really hard to improve myself in these areas. As I previously mentioned, I still have difficulty today socializing today with my age group despite all the improvements I have made.

Others who are homeschooled might not make as much of an effort. They may start to think that academia is more important than social skills. This is demonstrably false. Academic success will not guarantee professional success if you never learned good social skills as well.

There are some valid reasons and legitimate benefits to homeschooling your child, but I would not recommend it as the negative impact it can have on their social development vastly outweighs the educational advantage they will receive.

Michael Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].