Posts Tagged ‘socialization’

It was conference week at school, and fortunately we were able to get a “two-fer” — back-to-back meetings with our 7-year-old’s second-grade teacher and our 4-year-old’s preschool teacher.

They both praised our childrens’ exemplary academic work, which is always nice to hear. But what struck me more was the focus they put on classroom behavior and interaction — and it’s one of the main reasons I think public schools are moderately more beneficial than private schools, and infinitely more beneficial than home schooling.

Don’t get me wrong, I think home schoolers have noble intentions, and they may well offer more focused individual instructions to their kids. I have no doubt some of them are outstanding teachers, and great role models to boot.

But I’m convinced they’re missing a key element of education: Socialization. In public schools, you learn how to deal with a variety of people, from different cultural, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. You’ll agree with some of them, not with others. But you’ll get a variety of experiences, and exposure to hundreds of scenarios. (Our kids go to a school of about 460 kids, the second-largest elementary school in our district.)

Public schools aren’t perfect, and the fact that they’re larger means they can’t always provide intense, individually-focused instruction to every student. That’s their weakness. But they more than make up for it, in my view, with the depth and breadth of experiences and opportunities they can offer to their students.

I just don’t think home-schoolers can match that, nor can private schools, which by their nature are less diverse. So, I suspect, we’ll be keeping our kids in public schools through their high school years.

After that? College, hopefully. If we, or anyone, can afford it by then.

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