Are homeschooled children well-socialized? It’s a common and understandable question. Today on Home School Heartbeat, HSLDA President Mike Smith and his guest discuss that concern.
This week, I’m pleased to welcome Rachel Gathercole to the program. Rachel is a homeschooling mother of three children, whose book The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling has just been released. Thank you for joining us, Rachel.
Thank you, Mike, glad to be here.
Rachel, we hear the question, “What about socialization?” from homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike. Why is it such a common concern?
Well, for one thing socialization is a very important aspect of education. It may well be the most important aspect of education, especially to parents. Parents want their kids to be happy, and be able to get along with others and they’re right to, of course, and when you combine that with the fact that people mistakenly imagine that homeschoolers are isolated at home all day without peer contacts and so on, it’s natural that they’re concerned. In reality, research and experience show that homeschoolers tend to have very rich, positive social lives. But since the public has been, for the most part, unable to see into the lives of homeschoolers, the way that we can observe students in a school classroom, people just don’t know what homeschooling is really like so instead the public has had to fall back on stereotyped images and the media encourages that and the end result is that the real lives of homeschoolers are a mystery to most people. It’s an unknown, so there’s a tendency to have lots of fears about it and socialization comes up as primary among those fears, even though it really needn’t be.
Listeners, join us next time as we discuss this question further. And until then, I’m Mike Smith.