February 20, 2007

National Publication tells Doctors: ‘Monitor Socialization in Homeschool Patients’

Homeschool families nationwide may face more questioning from their pediatricians because of recommendations in a recent article in Contemporary Pediatrics, a national publication for doctors who treat children.

The November, 2006, article was entitled “What you need to learn about homeschooling.” After a skeptical but not wholly unfavorable discussion of homeschooling, the concluding paragraph urged doctors to be “vigilant” in “monitoring” the socialization of their homeschooled patients. But it did not recommend they monitor the socialization of public school children.

This unequal treatment indicates that the authors believe the myth that homeschool children fare worse in socialization than children in public school. We are aware of no studies that indicate this is true. However, there are several studies that indicate just the contrary—that homeschool children are better socialized than public school children.

Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Scott Woodruff has written the authors to ask if there are any scientific studies that support their decision to recommend monitoring of homeschool children's socialization. Woodruff also requested that if they can produce no such studies, that they publish a follow-up to their article.

Meanwhile, at least one Indiana pediatrician came away with his own conclusions. Shortly after reading the article, Dr. Robert Dershewitz of Munster, Indiana, wrote an article for the January 28 copy of the Times of Northwest Indiana in which he stated:

“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 consulted Dr. Dershewitz for several years. Perhaps it is because of this first-hand 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.

 Other Resources

Contemporary Pediatrics: “What You Need to Learn about Homeschooling”, January 28, 2007—Your Child's Health column by Robert Dershewitz:
“An Introduction to Homeschooling”