Should You Home School?
The Social Benefits of Home Schooling
Unfortunately, many people who are not familiar with home schooling, often have the misconception that home schooled children would not be as well socialized, as children who are in institutional schools. This misconception could not be further from the truth.
Home school children are better at getting along with other children (with both home schooled and institutionally schooled children), they are better at getting along with children of other ages, and they actually interact regularly and get along with adults. It's amazing how easily home schooled children jump into a conversation between adults. Even home schooled teens talk with adults, and with their parents.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Institutionally schooled children, normally, are forced to sit in their desks most of the day, to not talk to each other, and to do book work even when it is boring. There is very little social interaction in most classrooms.
Then they go out on the playground for "recess." There is no one out there to teach them how to get along with each other, even in the best situations (the one or two playground supervisors don´t "teach" social skills - it´s more like they prevent physical fights).
More often, the children are likely to ignore all the children who are not in their own grade, and to emotionally abuse each other (called insulting or teasing), because they are so emotionally bored from the lack of social interaction in their classes, and because they have stored up lots of physical energy being still and quiet in the classroom.
Compare This To Home Schooling
Home schooled children get a lot of one-on-one communication time with at least one adult, with the parent that is teaching them (it has been pointed out by John Holt, that most children in schools don´t even get 15 minutes of direct one-on-one teaching time per week).
Parents instinctively know that if a child is bored, they are not learning. And children will tell their parents if they are bored (in institutional schools, they are taught to put up with it, and be quiet). If home schooled children have questions, they get answers, and fairly quickly.
The lack of boredom prevents a lot of problems from starting. If there is an altercation between two children, a parent is usually there to "teach" them how to get along, even when they are out in the home school groups. In other words, the parents teach them social skills, along with everything else. And home schooling gives you enough time and interaction to really teach social skills well.
Most home schooling parents also make sure their children are involved in groups with other children, to make sure they learn to socialize well. In home school groups and other types of activity groups for children (sports, boy scouts, girl guides, clubs, etc.), they normally interact with other children of different ages. This, along with removing the negative de-socializing experience of school, also teaches them how to get along well with others.
Our own personal experience with many home schooled children has confirmed they are better at getting along with others.
Even teens talk to parents. Sure they have hormones and growing pains, and emotional growing pains, but they are not isolated and ignoring those of other ages, especially their parents, who can help them through this more difficult time of life.
Home schooled children are not perfect, but in general they are better at relating to others, they are more mature, they have broader interests, and are developing skills that will help them in the real world of adult society and work.
Research Studies Also Show Home Schoolers Are Better Socialized
Research studies also show that home schooled children are better at relating with others.
Studies show most home school students have fewer "problem behaviours," when in mixed groups (of home schooled children and non-home schooled children), and home schooled children are much more likely to be better developed socially, more capable of functioning in the real adult world, and less affected by negative peer pressure.
This article discusses some of the research and has references:
This article summarizes a large study on grown up home schoolers and how they are doing:
This Fraser Institute has some excellent research from a Canadian perspective:
The best way to see how well home schooled children are socialized, is to get to know some for a while. They are not perfect, but they are better.
It's Up to Us Parents
It is possible that a home schooled child will "not" get the social benefits of home schooling. It's up to us parents to make sure that they do. We get involved in home school groups. We get out to home school activities, where we can meet other familes and the children can meet and make friends. If they need help getting along, we are there to help them and actually "teach" them how to get along (as opposed to just letting them try to figure out everything on their own).
Learning how to make friends and get along with others is not easy. We don't leave this to chance anymore than we leave math to chance. We teach them how to socialize, so they can become much better and much quicker, than learning it on their own through trial and error.
Sometimes, we have to work hard to find groups where our children can socialize. But at least we can work at it, and help our children.
The beauty of home schooling here is that we have a choice. We can make it work. And as I mentioned above, research and our own experience with many home schooling families, shows that home schooled children are better socialized. I think this is because we parents make sure of it.
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