Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Sign From Above

I continually pray for God's guidance and reassurance while I begin these preschool years homeschooling my children.  He has answered my prayers with countless signs- a bulletin announcement when I was feeling down, a road sign when I asked for something bigger, and many small signs when I'm doubting.

Today is no exception.  I opened the browser and saw an article on the front page of the Catholic Exchange website (which happens to be the home page of this computer I am using).  God loves to smack me in the face.  Homeschoolers' Success Silences the Critics is an article that is an excerpt from from Stories for the Homeschool Heart by Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas.

Last night I was praying about homeschool again.  I am confident with our decision to homeschool, but getting our family onboard is the obstacle.  It seems people are afraid of socialization.  This artcle gave a great example as to why socialization in homeschool is not going to be a problem.
The first thing most want to know is: What about socialization? I point to a study conducted at the University of Florida by Larry Edward Shyers, Ph.D., who published his thesis, Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students, in 1992. Observing through a one-way mirror, researchers rated children on various markers of positive and social behaviors. The researchers did not know which children were homeschooled. On maturity and socialization skills, the homeschooled children scored in the 84th percentile.  The demographically matched sample of public-school children only scored in the 27th percentile.
After analyzing the data, Smedley concluded: “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service, and adulthood, with an eye on eternity.”
Other studies have shown similar results.
This information always impresses my audience. “Think about it,” I say. “In a classroom of 25 students and one adult, who are students modeling themselves after most? And which kids exhibit the greatest influence — the loud-mouthed bullies or the quiet, well behaved ‘A’ students? We all know it’s too often the loudmouths.”  
I think time will tell.  I just have to let our children show any critics that they are getting proper socialization and are turning out fine. 

I will continue to pray daily about homeschooling.  He will help me stay confident and strong in my decision.  He will also show me if homeschool is no longer the best option.  I trust in Him and in his ability to take care of my family.  As this article states, "If you’re a Catholic parent discerning a possible call to homeschool your kids, remember: Homeschooling begins and ends with prayer."

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