I was surprised at the passionate responses that the homeschooler piece triggered.
The homeschool supporters seemed especially incensed that I brought up what I perceive as a common belief about homeschooled students: Homeschoolers don’t develop the sort of social skills that they could more easily pick up if they attended traditional schools. Now let me emphasize that I didn’t say that I personally believe that homeschool kids lack social skills. I was just the messenger.
I can understand the parents’ passion and who wouldn’t be impressed by their commitment to their children’s education.
I don’t think, however, that there is one right way to educate a child. The private high school that my daughter attended — it provided a brutally hard academic environment that required obscene amounts of efforts — would have been a terrible choice for my son. My son’s charter high school would have been a bad fit for my daughter, who would have taken advantage of the freedom. Ultimately, they both did quite well in two extremely different types of schools.
I think what’s terribly important in educating a child — in whatever setting — is having involved and committed parents. Obviously, many homeschool parents have shown that commitment.
For those wondering what it takes to raise successful children, I wrote a post for my CBSMoneyWatch college blog recently that I think might be relevant to this issue. Here it is: 6 Ways to Raise a Smart Kid.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and an eBook, Shrinking the Cost of College: 152 Ways to Cut the Price of a Bachelor’s Degree. She writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch and US News & World Report.