Homeschooling and Socialization

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.

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18 Responses to Homeschooling and Socialization
  1. Cardamoms Pod
    June 11, 2009 | 7:37 am

    As always, Kimberly, this is an excellent post! I think now I don’t have to write about homeschooling at all! 🙂 I’m going to link to this series on my blog… -Kimarie

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  2. Heather McFadden
    June 11, 2009 | 11:34 am

    What a great post!!! Thanks!
    Heather

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  3. Michelle
    June 11, 2009 | 12:02 pm

    I love it! I agree 100%, and you said it perfectly!

    God bless,
    Michelle

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  4. Michelle
    June 11, 2009 | 12:15 pm

    P.S. – I linked to your post! 😉

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  5. Shari
    June 11, 2009 | 2:04 pm

    We get these questions and ‘looks’ all the time from our family. We are the only Christians who are saved in our family so they don’t ‘get it’. I love homeschooling and it is such a privilege afforded to us! Thank you for posting this.

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  6. tara lacayo
    June 11, 2009 | 2:04 pm

    what a great post!!!! THis is still the issue I have to explain over and over when talking to others about why we homeschool! The fact is, that children who homeschool learn to socialize with all ages. I have seen children, not all, but some children in school who only know how to relate to other children! Homeschool children get real life socialization (i.e. the grocery bagger, a teenager, the man in the park, the little old lady across the street, etc.) Thanks for sharing!

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    Raising Olives Reply:

    Wow, thank you all. As I stated in the post, it has always bewildered me that people think that children won’t be socialized unless they are in a classroom.

    Michelle mentions in her post on this topic, that as our kids get older people can see that homeschooling does not create social misfits. Great point. It does seem that as more homeschooled children grow up that people are beginning to see the light, so to speak and to realize that the classroom is not necessary for socialization.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

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  7. Lisa
    June 11, 2009 | 11:21 pm

    Wow! Since my daughter has expressed a desire to homeschool her children I naturally brought up the socialization issue. She answered with all the same info. and reminded me of a homeschooled family we knew from church. I soon felt much less “worried” about the kids being homeschooled. (It is not my chioce how my daughter educates her children it is hers) I fully support her decision after reading so many blogs of homeschooling moms. What a great support system there is to help a parent along and I see the wisdom in it. It will be exciting to see how things progress. I personally hated public school and would have probably thrived in a homeschool environment. Back in my childhood that would have been seen in the same light as moving to a commune! How times have changed…and for the good!

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  8. Kelli
    June 12, 2009 | 8:09 am

    Hey-I’m glad you posted this. This is something I have thought a lot about. I love the comment, too, about children interacting with other adults-the grocery bagger, the man in the park. It really is pretty funny, when you think about it, that we would think a room full of 5 year olds, or whatever age, is exactly what our children need 🙂

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  9. Seth
    June 13, 2009 | 12:06 am

    Hey now, you are taking away my excuse for being a sheltered unsocial homeschooler. I would be afraid to look at the other charts and graphs, that would show me bringing the average way down.

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  10. Angela
    June 13, 2009 | 9:54 pm

    I could not have said it better. Being the only homeschoolers in our family, we get ALOT of questions. Especially with their God-mother being a public school teacher. I have even had spouts of weakness that I thought.. maybe they would excel in a ps setting. Those are usually washed away by my wonderful and wize homeschooling friends. Thank you again for the reminder. I am constantly told how friendly and outgoing my kids are. I guess being “sheltered homeschoolers” has not been extremely detramental to their social life after all. They just are not socalizing with 25 roudy kids their same age every day. They get to talk to everyone arround them, like Tara said. Well put everyone!

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  11. Melanie
    December 10, 2009 | 2:18 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have just recently decided to homeschool. I feel that God is leading me in that direction and has been for some time but I foolishly tried to fight him on it! I feel such peace now that I have made this decision and your posts are a great inspiration and a great resource for me to answer the typical questions received by homeschoolers! THANK YOU!!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks Melanie, for taking the time to let me know.

    Blessings to you as you begin your homeschool journey. May it be joyful and wonderful as you build those relationships with your children.

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  12. Kate @ Bliss & That
    April 7, 2010 | 3:51 pm

    I came here looking for this post, because it seemed as if I’d read it here before and needed refreshed. My husband and I have almost made the decision to homeschool starting in the fall, and just today had the talk with my mom. What’s the first thing that came out of her mouth other than being “concerned” that I would be too busy/stretched thin/etc?? “What about socialization? Do you think that when they’re older, they’ll be accepted by kids their age from schools?” (This also came from my MIL too when my DH and I talked to her, just a bit more gently, though…) I tried to eloquently say just about everything that I know, as stated here, but I’m just afraid it didn’t come across strongly or that I wasn’t taken seriously. I guess it’s just the first time of many, many times I’ll have to stick up for homeschoolers and their children. Can’t the “s” word just be banned from homeschooling discussion!? 🙂

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m good with banning the “s” word from the homeschooling discussion.

    Since I was homeschooled as a child, I have a great comeback for that issue. I simply remind them that I was homeschooled and ask if they find me socially awkward. Really puts them on the spot and they never bring it up again, at least not with me. 😉

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  13. […] For an argument on socialization that will rock you, see this! […]

  14. Jenny Davis
    November 2, 2010 | 9:09 pm

    Consider this: socialization when looked up in the dictionary means to fit or train for a social environment… The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture.

    I certainly don’t want this for my child! I have never been the kind of person who is a follower of the crowd… I tend to go the opposite direction in fact. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel I guess…

    ~Jenny

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  15. Kim
    October 10, 2013 | 3:55 pm

    This is such a great point. Much of my child’s bad behavior has come from other bad behaved children. Proverbs talks about accompanying ourselves with fools, which you pointed out. As 2 Timothy 4:12 says, young Christians are to set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. This can not be taught by simply hanging out. Humans are designed to rely on God’s Word for training and righteousness not by simply being around other people just because they happen to be born the same year they were.

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