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Homeschooling and the Socialization Argument
We homeschooled our children for four years and were questioned about socialization frequently. There is a myth out there that homeschoolers have no social skills. I believe this goes back to the very early years of the homeschool movement when homeschooling was illegal in many states. Parents who chose to homeschool their kids sometimes had to hide their children in order to do so. This led people to believe that homeschoolers were not capable of being socialized.
According to Webster's online dictionary socialization means "1. to make social: especially: to fit or train for a social environment". I see nothing in this definition that means children that do not go to public school will not be trained for a social environment. Honestly, I believe that homeschooled children are better socialized than children who attend school.
Just because I chose to teach my kids at home did not mean that they were never around other children. First of all, they have many cousins of all ages. Second, there are many children in our neighborhood that they play with on a regular basis. Third, my children were involved in many activities in our community and knew people in almost everything they did. Fourth, we are actively involved with our church allowing them to be with friends there for a couple of hours each week. Fifth, there are many homeschool activities available and we hardly found ourselves at home enough some weeks to get our school work done.
All of these things listed above gave my children ample opportunity to be socialized around other children. One of the things I found most interesting when homeschooling my kids though was because they were home with me and went everywhere with me, they were also much more socialized to the real world. They interacted with numerous adults and were able to be social with people of all walks of life in many various situations. I was frequently complimented on how polite, well-mannered and interesting my children were when we were out in public. If my kids had been in school all day every day they would have missed out on a lot of necessary life skills that they gained by going everywhere with me for four years. They can carry on a conversation with anyone of any age and keep it going for some time.
Think of the school setting. Kids are in one room, with 20 to 30 people exactly their age and one or two teachers for most of the day. How is this anything like the real world? Homeschoolers are typically out in the real world much more often than their public school counterparts.
I am not saying the public school children are not socialized. For the most part all children end up being socialized just fine and people should not worry so much about whether homeschooled children will be socialized or not. I think no matter how your children end up getting their education it is up to the parents to teach them the right way to interact with people of all ages in all situations. People like to make a big deal out of the socialization argument, but I believe that it shouldn't even be an issue anymore with the way kids are homeschooled today. There is just nothing to worry about.