If you homeschool or have considered homeschooling then chances are excellent that you have been asked about or have considered the “detrimental social effects” of homeschooling your children. As a person who has been faced with this thought since childhood, I find it mystifying. If I wished for my child to be a terrific writer I would seek to expose him to superb literature. If I wished for my child to excel in art, I would seek out magnificent works for him to study. If I wished for my child to become a great orator I would take him to hear those who excel in oration. However, if I wish for my child to learn socialization skills then current thought dictates that I should send him to a classroom with 20 other 5 year olds. We know how kind, thoughtful and well-spoken most 5 year olds are, 😉 why would we think that they are the ones who are best equipped to develop these traits in our own children? I think that society has sold us a bill of goods. “They” have said it long enough and loud enough that we now believe that children cannot be “well socialized” unless they spend large amounts of time with their peers.
Mature Christians are best suited to inculcate maturity in children. Children, on the other hand, are ill suited for producing maturity in other children simply because they are not yet mature themselves.
We have these instructions from the scriptures. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” and “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Proverbs 22:15, 13:20)
The scriptures, especially Proverbs are rife with verses warning of foolish companions and exhorting youths to listen to the wisdom of father and mother and those who are older and wiser than themselves. Is it Biblical for us to seek to surround our children primarily with their own peer group rather than seeking to provide examples and fellowship with those who are older and more experienced? Is it Biblical for us to teach our children to value peer approval more highly than the approval of their parents? (What is the usual, social result of classroom education upon a child except exulting peer opinions and lowering parental influence.) Consider the example of Rehoboam. 1 Kings 12:8 tells us, “But he (Rehoboam) forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him”. He listened to his peers. The results of his decision were disastrous for the kingdom of Israel.
In addition to biblical principles, there have been several studies that have been done on the socialization aspect of homeschooling that demonstrate that homeschoolers have fewer social problems than traditionally educated children. Smedley compared homeschoolers to their publically educated counter parts in his masters degree thesis at Radford University. His study used the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales which considers communication and daily living skills as well as socialization. He found that homeschooled students were more mature than traditional classroom students scoring in the 84th percentile while the public schooled children scored in the 27th percentile.
HSLDA gathered a significant amount of research that is probably the most meaningful to parents, “How do homeschooled kids do after graduation?” They looked at higher education, jobs, community involvement, civic involvement, enjoyment of life, and what adult homeschoolers had to say about being homeschooled. There are loads of graphs and links that demonstrate that homeschoolers excel the general population in education level, volunteering and involvement in their local communities, active civic involvement, and satisfaction with life. They also found that 74% of homeschool graduates who have school age children have already begun to homeschool them.
I highly recommend that you head over and check out some more of those amazing statistics. Of course they are not amazing to me, cough, cough, being homeschooled myself I already know how amazing homeschoolers are, ahem. 🙂
So the question is, how is peer-driven socialization working in the U.S.? Are American citizens more honest, reliable, friendly, caring, giving, and godly now than they were when home education was the only education?
You may be interested in the other posts in my homeschooling series.
I wrote Disagreeing with Love as a sort of preface, it is fine to disagree, just handle it biblically.
Before the Beginning tells why my parents decided to homeschool my siblings and me.
Homeschool: Public Schools explains why we believe that the current government controlled educational system is unbiblical.
Homeschool Goals is the basis for these following posts as it explains our family’s goals for educating our children.
Homeschool vs. The Classroom explains why a classroom setting is not the best route to accomplish our particular goals for our children.
For more posts on the more practical aspect of how we educate our nine children at home visit the homeschooling page.