I am sick and tired of defending homeschooling from the question, “What about socialization?” Members of the modern homeschool movement have insisted for thirty years that homeschooled children are well-socialized. We laughingly refer to socialization as the “S word.” We deflect the socialization question by insisting it’s a myth. And yet, it persists.
We trounced the academic argument long ago. Very few people challenge the notion that homeschoolers are intellectually curious, self-directed learners who match or exceed the academic prowess of their school-going peers. So, why do you think we can’t shake the socialization issue?
I’ll tell you what I think. The truth is, homeschoolers are not well-socialized.
There. I’ve said it. Someone had to.
I say this with the greatest respect and affection for the homeschooled or unschooled. Nevertheless, in my experience, homeschoolers deviate from the norm. They are not well-socialized in the traditional school sense. They are odd ducks swimming in a big, standardized social pool. They stand out from the crowd, and a trained eye can spot them a mile away.
Now, please understand that for years I’ve been a champion for homeschooling and have countered the socialization argument with rational explanations and practical examples of how homeschoolers are well-socialized. You know the drill:
- Homeschool parents model appropriate social behavior and teach their children how to interact and get along with others.
- Homeschoolers interact and play with other children and students through homeschool support groups at Park Days, in co-op classes, and on field trips, etc.
- Homeschooled children participate in (and win!) math olympiads, spelling bees, geography bees, science competitions, and debate teams.
- Homeschoolers join choirs, orchestras, book clubs, athletic events, and they even go to homeschool proms!
- Homeschoolers take classes and compete academically in community college, adult education programs, museum events, online forums, summer school, and at camps, etc.
- Homeschoolers participate in community activities such as Scouts, 4-H, Little League, Pop Warner Football, AYSO soccer, theater classes, martial arts classes, dance classes, etc.
- Homeschoolers volunteer in the community.
- Homeschoolers play with neighborhood kids from both public and private schools.
I’ve also pointed out the advantage homeschoolers have because instead of being socialized by interacting with the same 30 children in a classroom, who are the exact same age, on the exact same academic track, from the same geographic and socio-economic area — homeschoolers get to interact with people of varying ages, abilities, ethnicities, and socio-economic diversity on a day-to-day basis in the real world.
|One research study even concluded, “The socialization of home-educated students was often better than that of their schooled peers.” The research proves homeschoolers surpass standard social expectations, and in exceeding them they fall short of social mediocrity.|
I’ve pointed people toward the always positive research studies that have been conducted on homeschoolers over the past three decades by the U.S. Department of Education and other government and private organizations. Here is a random compilation of findings from the reports:
To read the Diane’s findings and the rest of the comprehensive article click here: http://www.homefires.com/articles/odd_children.asp
From the Smiths:
Updated 10 December 2011: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling: