Dear Dr. Phil:
I was homeschooled from the second grade through all of high school, and it messed me up for a long time. I believe that homeschooling can have devastating effects on children. parents have no idea how missing out on the public and private school experience can cause psychological and sociological damage. There is something about high school that validates you and gives you your rite of passage into the real world.
I am now 26 years old, and I constantly hear stories from friends about proms, football games, cheerleading squads and more. I always feel like an outcast because I can never relate. Homeschooling has made me feel socially retarded because I lived in a completely different world from anyone else.
Even to this day, I think about going to college, but I still need to overcome my fear of stepping into a classroom. I want parents to think about the consequences of such a choice, and not make such a rash decision. And I wish they would listen to people like me who have been through it and hate it.
"What did you miss most, in looking back?" Dr. Phil asks Nicole.
"What I missed most was just the opportunity to learn with other kids," she replies. "Also, the ability to negotiate with other people."
"What do you think these guys are missing?" Dr. Phil inquires.
Nicole laughs. "I don't even know where to start. I do think that they're missing a very wide social aspect. I do believe that they're mssing the abiltiy to choose on their own who their friends are."
Dr. Phil turns to Rick with the California Department of Education, who promotes the traditional school system. "There's a lot of choice now within the public education system. There are charter schools, there are magnet schools," he explains. "There's a way for parents to find out what's best for their child, and do it within the public school system."
"Whether it's homeschool, traditional school, or unschool, you have to select the form of education that best suits your children," Dr. Phil advises. "The research seems to indicate that up to the middle school level, there seems to be no disadvantage to homeschooling your children. But once they hit that point where they become very socially aware and socially sensitized, then some children like [Nicole] can have an experience where they feel like they've actually missed something, despite the parent's efforts to socialize them through activities in the community."