Homeschoolers and Socialization
By Dan Hammes
The first question asked by many people who do not homeschool their
children is, "What about socialization?" Homeschool children
are probably more adept in social situations than the majority of
their peers in public schools. Homeschoolers are not walking around
with signs declaring themselves to be social misfits. On the contrary,
they are the ones that can carry on a conversation in any social situation.
They can actually communicate with adults as well as with their peers.
Children in a regular school setting spend seven hours a day with
children their own age. Very rarely do they interact with people other
than those in their own classes. Does this actually prepare them for
the "real world?" Generally, the effect of peer pressure
on youths is negative. Homeschool children, on the other hand, spend
much of their day with people of different age groups. This has a
very positive effect on their interaction with others in the "real
world." After schooling is completed, the "real world"
consists of home and work environments. Where in this world does one
only interact with people their own age? In this respect it would
seem that the homeschool child would be better able to adapt to the
"real world" environment.
At a homeschool conference a speaker was commenting on homeschooling
and socialization. He said, "Just so my kids feel they are getting
the proper socialization, I take them into the bathroom and tell them
to hand over their lunch money." Though it is a ludicrous statement,
this is the type of socialization many kids receive in public schools.
In actuality, homeschool children experience a variety of forms of
socialization. They still play with the other kids in the neighborhood.
They attend church functions with other kids. They go on field trips
with other homeschool families. There are even group classes in science,
choir and other class endeavors that are more suited as a group activity.
Homeschool children are also involved in baseball, hockey, basketball
and other extra curricular activities just like their public school
counterparts. Sometimes it even appears that homeschool kids can be
over socialized. Just ask their mothers who are driving them all over
In 1992, Dr. Larry Shyers, did a study comparing social development
and behaviors of two groups of students ages eight to ten. One group
was homeschooled while the other group consisted of public and private
school children. His results showed that homeschooled children had
fewer behavioral problems than the schooled children. He also noted
that the schooled children more often modeled themselves after their
peers while the homeschool children imitated the behavior of their
Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute conducted
the largest survey of homeschoolers to date in 2003. The study surveyed
7300 adults who had been homeschooled. His study covered getting into
college, getting jobs, community involvement and enjoyment of life.
His conclusion was that homeschooling actually created more enjoyment
in life in the "real world."
Homeschooling does not interfere with socialization but actually enhances
it. Homeschool children have less disciplinary problems and are very
often quite mature compared to public school children. People might
want to start questioning whether the socialization their children
are getting in public schools is preventing their children from being
able to live in the "real world."