“What about socialization?” This is the first question that pops out of the mouth of the uninformed when they hear about a family who homeschools. They seem to imagine children who act as though they were raised by wolves or who are totally unable to carry on intelligent conversations with those residing outside their own household.
Here is the official definition of the word “socialization”:
soÃ¢Â?Â¢cialÃ¢Â?Â¢iÃ¢Â?Â¢zaÃ¢Â?Â¢tion (s sh -l -z sh n)
n. The process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity with the values of one’s society.
The public school’s primary mission is to educate. Socializing is discouraged in most settings. Children are not supposed to talk in the classroom, in the hallway and in some schools, not even in the cafeteria. Thus, most socializing takes place at the unsupervised setting of the playground; the values most children pick up at recess are not exactly in conformity with the better morals of our society. Issues such as bullying, drugs, sexual talk and actions, and the establishment of an unfair pecking order do not meet up with the expected norms of adult life. What little bit of allowable socializing in the classroom setting is artificial, institutional and generic. Where in the “real world” or workplace are adults expected to interact with 20 to 30 people of one’s own age and not those who are younger or older?
Homeschooling, on the other hand, provides children with more opportunities for real interpersonal and interactive life situations. The homeschooled student socializes daily with siblings and adults of all ages. They are more apt to go with their parents to the grocery store, bank, and other places of business so they can actively learn about the “real” world. They can choose to play with friends who have common interests and common values to their own family. When they do meet children with varying backgrounds, they are more apt to discuss this with their parents. They do not have to tolerate physical or emotional assault from bullies. This builds their self esteem and self confidence. Studies show over and over that home educated students are more capable of thinking for themselves and are not so peer dependent. This is why a lot of colleges actively recruit homeschooled students. When the family participates in a homeschool group activity, the children play with and learn alongside people who range from newborns to grandparents.
The public school setting is forced upon children whereas a homeschooled student can choose (much like an adult) with whom they will associate and in what setting. They usually have more time to pursue their outside interests such as sports, hobbies, church activities, volunteer opportunities, apprenticeships and clubs. This actually gives homeschooled students the upper hand when it comes to real world socialization skills. Therefore, the proper formation of social skills is more compatible with a reason FOR home education instead of a reason to NOT homeschool.