Socialization and HomeSchoolers
"Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with--and feel close to--all sorts of people."
- Dr. Richard G. Medlin
I would really appreciate it if people who weren't homeschooled, and who have no real intention of homeschooling their own kids, would stop talking about socialization and homeschoolers. Seriously people, this is the most tired, worn out, poorly thought through, non-issue argument I've ever heard. It's been a question my parents have laughed about since they decided to homeschool me 20 years ago at the insistence of my public school teacher grandmother, and it's just as risible now as it was then.
There is a long-running assumption that the best way for a child to learn how to interact with other people is to send them to a school with their age mates. I find several flaws with this.
First, school is the one and only place where our social interaction is limited to people of our own age. This form of social stratification seldom, if ever, occurs in the real world.
Second, as country, we are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness, which clearly illustrates that enrollment in school is not an inoculant for poor socialization. In the 1970s, between 11% and 20% of Americans identified as suffering from feelings of loneliness. A study in 2010 found those numbers are now closer to 45%. Clearly, a huge number of people have grown up to become poorly socialized adults.
Finally, by virtue of not being tied to a state specified timetable, homeschoolers have the time to find and follow their passion/s in life. They often learn by doing, through collaborative hands-on projects. They have the freedom to socialize with people they want to be around, rather than those they are forced to be around. They learn to interact with adults as mentors and peers, rather than merely as authority figures. Homeschoolers are just as able to participate in sports, join clubs, or join the boy (or girl) scouts as any other kids. And they are able to meet new people near and far by traveling the world and going on "field trips" without any thought of the school calendar.
In short, the idea that homeschoolers cannot learn to properly socialize with others in the "real world" as well as their public/private schooled counterparts is just silly.
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