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No. 3

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Journal Tells Doctors to Monitor Homeschoolers

Homeschooling families nationwide may face more questioning from their pediatricians because of recommendations in a recent article in the national journal Contemporary Pediatrics.

The November 2006 article is entitled “What You Need to Learn about Homeschooling.” After a skeptical but not wholly unfavorable discussion of homeschooling, the concluding paragraph urges doctors to be “vigilant” in “monitoring” the socialization of their homeschooled patients. But it does not recommend that they monitor the socialization of public school children. (Read the full article at www.contemporarypediatrics.com.)

This unequal treatment indicates that the authors believe the myth that homeschooled children are less socialized than their public school counterparts. Home School Legal Defense Association is aware of no studies that indicate this. However, several studies indicate just the contrary—that homeschooled children are better socialized than public school children.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Scott Woodruff wrote the authors of the article to ask if they can point to any scientific studies supporting their recommendation that doctors monitor the socialization of homeschooled children. In the absence of any supporting studies, Woodruff requested that the authors publish a follow-up to their article. As this article goes to press, they have not responded.

Meanwhile, at least one pediatrician who read the article came away with his own conclusions. In his January 28, 2007, article for the Times of Northwest Indiana, Dr. Robert Dershewitz of Munster wrote, “Currently, it would be difficult for one to mount a convincing argument against home-schooling because what is known, though not definitive, suggests home schooled children do as well as, if not better than, conventionally schooled children.”

An Indiana HSLDA member reports that their family has gone to Dr. Dershewitz for several years. Perhaps it is because of Dr. Dershewitz’s firsthand experience watching homeschooled children grow up that he has a more favorable view of homeschooling. The fruit of home education—well-adjusted, happy children—is powerful testimony that homeschooling works.

— by Scott A. Woodruff