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Homeschooling And The Socialization Issue
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If you are a homeschooling parent or a person involved in the homeschooling process, the following discussion about “socialization” should be of interest to you.  This topic is fiercely debated on the homeschooling front.  In thise article I will present the core issue in an objective manner, so that you can consider some of the pros and cons surrounding the controversy.  Whether you have strong leanings one way or the other, healthy and informed debate is a worthwhile objective.

If you survey discussions about homeschooling, socialization will usually come up as one of the top three issues.  There are two camps in the discussion, but before discussing the concerns of each group, let’s begin by defining what each group thinks the basic problem is.   In one camp there are those who are concerned that homeschooled children will not learn the necessary socialization skills required for a balanced adulthood.  In the other camp are those who believe that the homeschool environment will pose no danger to their children’s social development, and in fact may even have some advantages thereto pertaining. 

Some people considering homeschooling are concerned that the homeschool environment will result in their children not getting the social nurturing that they need.  People in this group think that homeschooled kids are always alone, have no one to interact with socially, and can not relate to other children and adults.  They worry that the homeschooled child may be worst off because he or she is not exposed to the set of rules established by the school system, or by teachers for typical classrooms.  They think that socialization can only happen around other children who are not siblings.  And, many in this group believe that because their socialization was acquired in a public school, then that is the only place in which it is possible.  To be fair, while there have been spectacular socialization failures in the traditional school setting involving intimidation, bullying or worse, most of us have come through the system unscathed and with no permanent damage.

The other group have a more relaxed attitude about how their homeschooled child will fare socially.  They are amonng the homeschool parents who do not have to ask how their kid’s day went, because they already know.  Along the same lines, they do not have to be concerned about threats or bullying, one of the acknowledged “downsides” of public school socialization, because these things are less likely to occur in the homeschool setting.  Homeschool parents tend to be more proactive regarding teaching socialization, because their focus is on teaching what they want their child to learn instead of removing what they want them to to unlearn from they have picked up from traditional school setting.  The plain truth is that socialization starts in the home and a child’s parents and family are the best vehicle for its development.

It just so happens that there has been extensive research on this issue by educators and sociologists that indicates what is actually likely to happen on the socialization front.  The a well-known children's self-concept scale, used to measure self-esteem in children, has been established as an accurate indicator of children's social adjustment.  Research studies using this measurement on hundreds of children, over a wide range of ages, in various countries, have shown that there is no difference between homeschooled children and traditionally schooled children in regard to their self-esteem, and therefore their socialization.  Another scientifically proven adaptive behavioral scale used by sociologists, which measures socialization, communication and daily living skills, actually found that homeschooled children actually scored higher than public school children.  It seems, therefore, that there is no need to be concerned that homeschooling will cause children any socialization damage.

We hope that this assessment of some of the main arguments surrounding the issue of socialization in the homeschool venue has been helpful and informative to you.  While the socialization topic is controversial, we feel that healthy debate is worthwhile..


Street Talk

The socialization issue around home schooling is a question parents must consider. Thanks for your comments. They are helpful. There are many ways to socialize children other than formal schooling.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Well yes, and no. I've has several children pass through my hands who were home schooled at primary level then came into state schooling for high school. Some were very well adjusted and socialized already, whilst two I can think of really struggled - academically fine, socially not so good. It has to be down to parents and how they deal with it, not all are brilliant at home schooling their kids, sorry, but that's the truth.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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