One of the questions that people always seem to ask about homeschooling is ‘What about socialization?’ The idea is that children who go to school will spend time with other children and therefore will learn how to socialize with their peers. Whereas homeschooled children will be protected and cossetted in a boring, uninteresting environment at home, with little social interaction outside the family, and so will not learn social skills or have much fun.
I always think this is a bit odd because schools claim to be places of learning, not social clubs. But even so, it’s an interesting question and deserves a thoughtful response.
I knew one person who would answer this question with, “I know, isn’t it terrible? That’s one of my main reasons for homeschooling.” And, of course, it would be one of mine. The socialization that goes on in homeschool circles has to be one of the gems that make homeschooling so desirable.
Recently I posted a quotation on Facebook. Here it is:
“Concerns that homeschooled children are marginalised in terms of opportunities for socialisation are generally addressed by homeschooling parents and homeschool support groups through the provision of additional social activities. Not one report in this study suggested that a greater emphasis on social interactions would be beneficial.” ~ The Education Review Office of New Zealand in a report entitled, ‘The Quality of Home Schooling’ (1998) (emphasis is mine)
Anna said: ‘It’s funny isn’t it – a local guy came up to me the other day and said “I don’t know what your doing with your kids but whatever it is keep doing it, they are so polite and really amazing kids” Then the next day, some stranger is asking me if I’m worried about the socializing’.
‘… The issue for me isn’t they need to be with other kids to learn to socialize; it’s that I think it’s great for them to have some friends their own age to play with. If kids learned social skills from other kids there wouldn’t be any bullying in the playground, and we would never have to sort out an argument.’
Geryl said: ‘Homeschooled children have more opportunities for actual socialization in that it is not scheduled, structured or planned as in formalized situations. It flows in a natural progression like life. Then too, children in formal educational settings are often “penalized” by being placed in detention, suspension, etc. for “socializing”.’
Another quote that I put on Facebook was:
Research clearly verifies that the more people there are around your children, the less opportunity they have for the meaningful social interaction … Psychologists have found, as many parents know instinctively, that peaceful solitude is necessary for mental health and that the less cluttered your children’s routine, the more secure they will be.” ~ Dr Raymond Moore, “Home Style Teaching” (1984)
And finally, a third quotation:
“Research … reveals a significant advantage in social development for home schooled children. They are socially adept, possess a positive self-image, and are active in areas that develop leadership skills. Thomas Smedley, in a 1992 controlled study, concluded: `… the home educated children in this sample were significantly better socialised and more mature than those in public school.’” ~ Dr Brian Ray, HSLDA
There’s no doubt about it; homeschooling does enhance, rather than hinder a child’s social skills. And the social side of life is actually another great reason to choose homeschooling.
P.S. When you ‘like’ me on Facebook you can get the free eBook, ‘Cyber Safety for Homeschool Families’.