Sir: As a devoted homeschooler, I am grieved and offended every time another parent asks me how my son Theobald will learn the social skills vital to a successful adult life. Why do they suppose that homeschooling must be a form of child neglect? Any responsible homeschooler understands the importance of the social aspect of schooling, and I for one will not let my son grow up without the formative experiences every schoolchild ought to have. I steal his lunch from him every day. I often beat him for no reason. I ridicule his choice of clothes and do not neglect to laugh at his funny name. I hire attractive neighbor girls (for a small hourly fee) to sneer at him and reject his advances—pre-emptively if he has not made any. I accuse him of crimes he has not committed; I hold him responsible for faults he cannot avoid. I establish arbitrary rules that I will not reveal to him, and I punish him for violating them. When he exhibits physical changes normal in a growing boy, I make him believe he is a freak of nature. I ask my detractors, is this not an education every bit the equal of what Theobald could get in the finest public school in the country? Let me hear no more questions about my boy’s social adjustment! I can assure you all that he is not missing anything by staying home from school. —Sincerely, Willibald Peach, Ormsby.


  1. Martin the Mess says:

    The problem is, in your scheme, all those essential socializing horrors (with the notable exception of the sneering neighbor girls) are being inflicted upon him by his parents rather than his peers or outside educators. For a proper mental development, a child needs caring parents who shelter him from such ills, not inflict them upon him directly. A workable definition for “teacher” could be “someone paid by parents to inflict all the horrors the parents can not or dare not inflict on their children directly”.

    Besides, such a busy schedule of abuse and neglect as you describe cannot possibly leave enough hours in the day for all the horrors a parent is the only one qualified to inflict upon a child. The establishment of impossible standards of academic and athletic achievement, the insistence upon success in both whatever fields the parent succeeded in (so as to carry on a tradition) and whatever fields the parents failed in (so as to allow them to vicariously overcome their own insurmountable obstacles), the criticism of whatever friends they do manage to make and the embarrassment of the children in front of friends and foes alike, are all essential duties of all parents everywhere, and ones that cannot and should not be farmed out to outside contractors.

  2. kyp says:

    I found, in my own homeschool years, that the best system was to have two of more siblings homeschooled in the same household. This freed up parents to teach, humiliate, and give unsolicited and awkward advice while allowing healthy competition and cruel pranks to be exchanged between students. I’m sure my sisters will attest that the belittling, mockery, and abuse they suffered was comparable to the best offered by public education.

  3. Anyone who thinks the schools do a magnificent job of socializing children need only peek inside the prison walls–or read the comments section of any online news article.

  4. Texan99 says:

    Oh, you thought “socializing” meant teaching them to behave well?

  5. I agree with Ms. Bittner! If Mr. Willibald Peach truly wishes young Theobald to be correctly socialized, the lad must also experience the horrors of prison life, even as far as the injustice of incarceration for a capital crime he did not commit and being locked up on death row.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  6. Bob d says:

    It’s not the teasing and bullying that home schooled kids might miss it’s also the life long friendships that might be harder to make. I made some great friends in school even a friend that was from a devout Catholic family. He was a great witness and would not join in when we wanted to do some bad stuff. He wouldn’t join in when we stole Christmas light bulbs. When I pilfered some beer from my job he would not drink it. That got my attention and those actions on his part always stuck in my mind and helped change my behavior. His prayer book was on the table when I visited him at college. You just saw that his faith was real and as I grew in my own faith, his example was important. I thank God for his witness and friendship.

  7. Bob d says:

    I should have added I’m not against Home Schooling. I think it’s a very hard decision. What should a parent do when raising a child in this crazy culture that we now endure. Also not every school district is the same.

  1. […] A Letter to the Editor.  in which a homeschooling dad explains how he makes sure his son is properly socialized after the fashion of the schools. […]

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