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Homeschool and Socialization

Updated on October 18, 2012

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.

"[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'?

See results

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?

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    • tennineeight1 profile image

      tennineeight1 5 years ago

      My brief experience with home schooling was positive. There were many groups, sports teams, and organized field trips. At no time did I see any children learning in isolation. There was a mix of religious affiliations and family backgrounds that I found enriching.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 5 years ago

      I am proud to homeschool my kids!

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 5 years ago

      I think homeschooling has some definite benefits. Living across from a high school I see and hear a lot of disturbing things. Swearing is extremely common. Sexual talk and behavior is common. Smoking or drinking or using drugs is frequently promoted by friends developed at school. A teacher's perspective is taught which may be far from the truth. My health teacher in high school told our girl's health class that having children was the most painful thing there was and that we shouldn't want to have children. I went home and talked to my mother. She said it could be painful and would take a lot of hard work to have children but that it was worth it. With so many resources available now such as the internet and computer software homeschooling can provide a great education without a lot of the negative things that come along with public school. You have brought up several good points of why homeschooling can be so much better for a child. Thanks for sharing all the information you have found that can be so helpful to those who want to homeschool there children.

    • CNelson01 profile image

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      I am a great fan of homeschooling. In fact, I think Christian parents should either send their kids to a Christian school or least in California where the public education system is increasingly a liberal and left wing indoctrination mill. It varies from community to community but public education in California is in bad shape in many places. Some charter schools are great and a good alternative to consider when homeschool isn't practical.

    • profile image

      Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 5 years ago

      I love all the research that you put on here. You obviously did your 'homework' and it paid off. Nice to see someone supporting homeschooling with valid research instead of just opinion.

      Li Li

    • MoonMaa profile image

      MoonMaa 5 years ago

      I was homeschooled and I liked it. I loved the fact that I could do my work on my own time and I was able to really understand what I was learning. I really loved your lens very encouraging and informative!

    • selah74 profile image

      selah74 5 years ago

      @Countryluthier: Thanks you for visiting.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Blessed by COUNTRYLUTHIER. Great job!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Good lens, very informative.

    • profile image

      bluedarkart 5 years ago

      Very interesting article!

    • Motionmaker profile image

      Motionmaker 5 years ago

      Great article! And an important topic.

    • selah74 profile image

      selah74 5 years ago

      @verymary: I do think your right--It would be unwise for a parent to keep a student locked up like Rapunzel until adulthood, and then to expect them to be effective in the work place. But its also unrationale to inflinct calculus on kindergarteners before they can count and before their brains is wired for abstract thinking. I think that is what the research is saying. Students are not physiologically ready for multiple "caretakers" or leaders/teachers until at least age 8. As a general rule, homeschoolers also have more opportunity than public schoolers for more contacts and also of various ages. Public schoolers generally stay in their own age cliche, which is not like any adult real-life experience I know of. But again I agree with you, both home and public schoolersdo need opportunities to learn to coop in their future career and work places.

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Chicago area

      I've never homeschooled so can't speak with any real knowledge, but I do think it's optimal for kids to learn from a variety of different adults, with different personalities & styles, as that's how the workplace will be. A homeschooling coop could solve this, though.

    • profile image

      olmpal 5 years ago

      My country doesn't allow homeshooling. I find it interesting and I suppose it has its cons and pros. Great and informative lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very interesting article on homeschooling. I can't believe that just a few years ago, I barely heard anything about homeschooling, and now I know several parents that have chosen to homeschool their kids.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      Nice article on the social benefits of homeschooling.