Stop homeschooling and get your children socialized! How many homeschooling parents have heard those sentiments? Dare I say all have? Few argue with the idea that homeschooling children perform better educationally, but there looms the idea that homeschooled children will grow up to be freaks who cannot get along with others because they are not socialized with their peers. Where does this idea come from? Let’s step back and see what the research has to say about this issue:
Larry Edward Shyers completed a thesis at the University of Florida called Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students. This nearly 300 page thesis explored the self esteem of eight to ten year olds. He looked at 70 homeschooled children and 70 children in traditional schooling using the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale. He found no difference between the groups. He also looked at how children treated one another using the Children’s Assertive Behavior Scale. He found no difference between the groups. He also participated in an observation using Child Observation Checklist’s Direct Observation Form and found that homeschooled children had less problems than traditionally schooled peers. He went on to conclude that interaction with adults is more important in developing social skills than interaction with children. When you step back and think about it, his conclusion makes complete sense. Children best learn social skills from an adult who has fully developed social skills instead of a peer who is still learning how to get along with others. Children model behavior of those they are around the most.
Thomas Smedley also completed research on The Socialization of Homeschool Children while working on his Master’s degree at Radford University of Virginia. He used the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales to look at social maturity of 20 homeschooled students and 13 traditional schooled children matched demographically. His research showed that homeschooled children were more socialized and mature than children in traditional schooling. Homeschooled students scored at the 84th percentile while traditionally schooled students scored at the 27th percentile. He concluded that “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily, into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service, and adulthood, with an eye on eternity.” Here we see the grouping of children by age is not the ideal method for socialization. Homeschooled children tend to socialize with all ages rather than children who are in their grade.
Okay, but what about adults? Are these homeschooled children able to go into the workplace successfully? Most homeschooled children are socialized vertically so their exposure is to all age groups. The workplace does not resemble the controlled age grouping of schools. In the workplace the worker is expected to interact with all ages and types of people. The homeschooled student is exposed to a cross-section of the world with different ages and types of people instead of a group of children the same age from the same neighborhood.
There has been discussion recently about how homeschooling neglects one of the most important roles of the school system – training to become a good citizen. Are these homeschooled children able to be good citizens? Let’s look at the research…
Dr. Brian D. Ray completed a research study on the topic of adults who were homeschooled. He surveyed over 7,000 adults who had been homeschooled at least 7 years and compared that information to the general US population. This is some of what he found:
- 74% of home educated adults had taken college courses versus 46% of the general population.
- 71% of home educated adults participate in a community service activity versus 37% of the general population.
- 88% of home educated adults were members of an organization versus 50% of the general population.
- 4% of home educated adults thought politics and government were too difficult to follow versus 35% of the general population.
- 76% of home educated adults aged 18-24 voted compared to 29% of 18-24 year olds in the general population
- The home educated were more likely to work for a political candidate, contribute money to a candidate or political cause, and stage a protest than the general US population. Data was looked at in different age groups and each age grouping in each category showed the home educated were more likely to be active politically.
- 59% of home educated adults are very happy in life versus 28% of the general population.
- 73% of home educated adults found life to be pretty exciting versus 47% of the general population.
- 61% of home educated adults are satisfied with their job versus 40% of the general population.
- 49% of home educated adults are satisfied with their financial status versus 23% of the general population.
- 95% of participants in the study were happy they were homeschooled.
- 82% of participants in the study wanted to homeschool their children.
So what is the problem here? Research shows that homeschooled children grow up to be contributing members of society. In fact, they are more involved in their community than traditionally schooled peers. Could it be possible that the family unit is the most valuable method to train and teach children to be valuable members of society? The research supports it. So do I.