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Homeschool and Socialization
What about Socialization?
"What do you think when you hear the word 'Homeschool'?" My psychology professor asked. Immediately hands raised. With each response from students the professor used research to silence the stereotypes.
"They are unsocialized," one student piped up from the back.
Admitting defeat the professor state that is the one area no research had been done, and the one legitimate concern about homeschoolers.
"How could the number one concern on homeschooling not sparked interest in researchers?" I wondered. The subject and controversy sparked interest in my undergraduate mind. It didn't take long before I found several studies about homeschoolers and socialization. I found published thesises, dissertations, and peer-reviewed studies on the topic. Below is a summer of what I have found.
A Brief History of Homeschool
Most people venture to guess homeschool has only been around a couple decades at best. However, it should be pointed out that public schools (as we know them today) are the educational intuition still in its prime. Where publicly funded schools didn’t begin until the 1880s, making them not much more than 130 years old. Prior to this time, the majority of American’s taught their children at home.
But there were other forms of education: private schools (often called ‘public schools’ because they were open to the public), mentoring, apprenticeships, governors or governesses, trade, tutoring, and other trainings. So many different types of education, and only in the last 130 years are we seeing a gap in socialization. Could it be, the deviation in childhood development rests in public schools?
Developmental Readiness for Parental Seperation
Whenever I speak of socialization and homeschool, I often get this response: "I went to public school, and look how I turned out." So how do public schoolers turn out?
Under a federal grant, a husband and wife research duo Drs. Raymond & Dorothy
Moore conducted research on children's brain development. They found children are not developmentally mature enough to replace parent with another caregiver for long, regular periods of time. When did they find the brain was mature enough to separate from home? No sooner than eight years of age, but up to twelve.
Children who spend more time with their mother are found have better developmental growth, had closer, healthful bonds with mother; had greater self-confidence; were less impulsive; possessed a greater attention span, and better focus on solving problems; and demonstrated greater motivation.
In contrast, the mother-deprived children developed weak bonds with both mother and care-giver; did not emulate either, nor hardly cared for praise; developed different ideas of success; expected to fail and thus often did not try to succeed.
According to research (to say nothing of live experiences), suggest parental interaction and involvement (especially from dad) is how children learn to develop extra-familial relationships, social skills and friendships. Oddly enough, our society seeks to "socialize" children by pairing them off with other unsocialized peers. One researcher refers to this as "a Lord of the Flies mentality." Such a system of socialization has not been empirically test, yet parents blindly enroll their young, moldable children into such an institution without question.
Research of Drs Raymond & Dorothy Moore
"[N]o other animal species will subject their infants to experiences they are not endowed to cope with except the human animal"
---Dr. Humberto Nagera, Child psychiatrist, University of Michigan
Other Homeschool books by Drs Raymond & Dorothy Moore
What Does Socialization Mean to You?
When people ask about socialization, I ask them "What aspect of socialization are you worried about?" Most don't know how to answer that.
What do you mean when you say 'socialization'?
So What Is Meant By 'Socialization' Anyway?
What are the building blocks of ‘socialization’? Self-concept, self-confidence, self-knowledge, personal identity; personal destiny; values, moral development; autonomy; relationships; sexuality; social skills (such as manners), and an ability to adapt socially and emotional to environments and situations. I’m not certain that’s all of them, but you get the idea. In multiple studies, homeschoolers out proform public, charter and even private schoolers in each area.
So what does it all mean? Well, research concludes homeschoolers out rank the competition socially. For example, homeschoolers, watch substantially less television then public schoolers, which may account for their participation in more extracurricular activities and more frequent contacts with associates.
Homeschoolers demonstrate greater leadership skills, greater sense of business ethics, higher number of friends and greater diversity of friends, better quality of family life, better social/emotional adjustment, more adaptive, exemplifies more appropriate behaviors, higher self-esteem, better self-concept, and are more politically active then their peers in institutional schools.
"Parental modeling seems to be a key practice in all areas of socialization"
---Dr. Kathie C. Johnson
Does Homeschooling Prepare Children For the 'Real-world'?
A person once confronted me about my religious beliefs. Ridiculing me for not raising my children to be prepared for the 'real world.' Life isn't singing hymns, reading scriptures, and attending church you know. Its drinking beer in a garage, burping aloud, and swearing. How do you expect your children to feel comfortable in the real world, if you don't expose them to it?" My answer was, "Exactly."
The 'real-world' is a perspective. For the woman mentioned above, it was drinking beer and burping. To my family its church service, and family outings. And she is no more adapted to my world than my children are to hers.
In 1981, the first doctorial dissertation on homeschool was published. In it, Dr. Reed Benson wrote: "Most of life is spent in a home. If one wants to adjust to life, then he needs to properly adjust to the homefront... Parents must decide which corner of the 'real world' they want their children to be comfortable in and then prepare them for that life."
"Do you wish to educate your children to be dutiful to their parents, to be kind and affectionate to their brothers and sisters? Put them under the necessity of being dutiful children, of being kind affectionate brothers and sisters: educate them in your own house... Domestic education is the institution of Nature-public education the contrivance of man. It is surely unnecessary to say which is likely to be the wisest"
--Adam Smith, Father of Capitalism and Author of The Wealth of Nations.
The Decision Should Be Left To the Parent
Some will surely suppose me to think no child can escape mental, emotional and social harm that sets foot in an institutional school. But I have know some parents who have put in the effort, not only to love their children, but enjoy them. From my observation it is the difference between a parent who live counts down the minutes until their children are home from school, and the parent who counts down summer break until they are back in school.
But who is to judge a parent’s decision to homeschool or not? Ronald Reagan has been quoted as saying: “Parents have a natural and inalienable right to educate their children, publicly and privately as they see fit, and that right should be recognized and encouraged.”
Your turn to state an oppinion
In your opinion, homeschool have a postive or negative effect on the students socialization?