Troubled with socialization of homeschooled students

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Postby Ophelia » Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:47 pm

This article came through my in box the other day. This seemed like the right place for it.

Homeschooling Socialization

When people talk about and debate the issue of homeschooling socialization, they are discussing whether children are acquiring the proper social skills in a home educational environment as opposed to the traditional classroom. Some critics will say that a homeschooling environment where social interaction is limited, is detrimental to a childs growth and development. But sociological and scientific studies have proven this perception to be wrong.

Learning to interact and communicate well with others is the definition of social skills. We need good social skills for all of the important relationships in our lives; career opportunities, healthy marriages, good parent/child rapore, etc. The question here is whether a childs ability to acquire social skills depends on an abundance of peer interactions such as children experience in public schools, or whether they are improved more rapidly in a healthy home education environment. In part the answer to this question lies in where the child will develope the healthiest measure of self-esteem, as this factor greatly influences the level of confidence and others-centeredness with which they relate.

Rather than discuss opinions at this point, we will instead cite some of the research so our readers can judge for themselves according to the evidence.

1. Dr. Raymond Moore, author of over 60 books and articles on human development, has done extensive research on homeschooling and socialization. "The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be 'socialized,'" Dr. Moore writes, "is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today." Children often do not respond well to large groups. They become nervous and overexcited by noise and too many people. Learning becomes difficult. Behavioral problems develop. After analyzing over 8,000 early childhood studies, Dr. Moore concluded that, contrary to popular belief, children are best socialized by parents -- not other children.

2. Dr. Thomas Smedley believes that homeschoolers have superior socialization skills, and his research supports this claim. He conducted a study in which he administered the Vineyard Adaptive Behavior Scales test to identify mature and well-adapted behaviors in children. This test evaluates communication skills, socialization, and daily living skills. Smedley found that the home-schooled children were more mature according to the scores of the Vineland scales, scoring in the 84th percentile, while the public school children scored in the 23rd and 27th percentile.

3. The Discovery Institute, a Seattle research facility, published an extensive report on homeschooling in 2000 written by Senior Fellow Dr. Patricia Lines. She describes several controlled studies comparing the social skills of homeschoolers and nonhomeschoolers. The homeschoolers scored as "well adjusted." In one study, trained counselors viewed videotapes of mixed groups of homeschooled and schooled children at play. The counselors didn't know the school status of each child. The results? The homeschooled kids demonstrated fewer behavioral problems. Dr. Lines' conclusion? "There is no basis to question the social development of homeschooled children."

4. Here is an excellent link for several different studies of Canadian research on the socialization of homeschoolers:

5. Gary Knowles, University of Michigan Assistant Professor of Education, released a study done at the University of Michigan which found that teaching children at home will not make them social misfits. Knowles surveyed 53 adults who were taught at home because of ideology or geographical isolation. He found that two thirds were married, which is the norm for adults their age. None were unemployed or on welfare. He found more than three fourths felt that being taught at home had helped them to interact with people from different levels of society. He found more than 40% attended college and 15% of those had completed a graduate degree. Nearly two thirds were self-employed. He stated, "That so many of those surveyed were self-employed supports the contention that homeschooling tends to enhance a person's self-reliance and independence." Ninety-six percent of them said that they would want to be taught at home again. He stated, "Many mentioned a strong relationship engendered with their parents while others talked about self-directed curriculum and individualized pace that a flexible program of homeschooling permitted." (From University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, study of home school adults by Assistant Professor of Education, J.Gary Knowles, Associated Press article entitled, "University Study Says Home-Taught Children Won't Become Social Misfits," appearing in the "Grand Haven Tribune" 9 March 1993.)

6. Susan McDowell, author of "But What About Socialization? Answering the Perpetual Home Schooling Question: A Review of the Literature,â€

Mother of Fionn (5-7-01), Bailey (9-12-02) and Owen (8-7-07)

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No Socialization problems here...

Postby heartsathome » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:14 pm

I think my daughter gets to socialize more than most kids in Public Schools. If you think about it...during class there is not much socialization, the 5-10 min bet. classes is not much time, and many schools have cut out recess all together (atleast they have where we live). Lunch time is usually 1/2 hour. So, when is the socialization?

My daughter, who is 8 and in 4th grade (she skipped 3rd grade), has SO Many homeschooled friends. We belong to a Homeschool group and meet Fridays for fellowship, do one field trip per month, and have a co-op on Tuesdays where she is in a couple classes with 17 other children. Throw in Church 3 times per week where she does AWANA and Girls in Action, and she has a full schedule.

That's not to say some hs kids aren't sheltered or exposed to these opportunities, but they are avail in most all areas. Homeschool groups are a great outlet for socialization.

And, what I LOVE is that there are no popularity contests. ALL the children, no matter how "cool" they are or how they look/dress, they all fit in. HS kids, in my experience, learn to accept everyone and include everyone. Like I said, my experience may be different than some, but for us, Homeschooling is our way of life!!
Carrie F.

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Re: Troubled with socialization of homeschooled students

Postby sandysand » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:50 am

kmccarth wrote:As the subject states, I attended a public school but have encounter many numerous home schooled individuals. I am worried that homeschoolers (although above-average intelligence, generally) do not have the social skills required to interact with their peers. The defining moment of this is when I read this article:

It's about Adam Gadahn, a home-schooled American who is now a spin man for al-Qaeda. I can't help but wondering if he had a "normal" upbringing at a public/private school, would he have turned into a senior operative for a terrorist organization? Would his classmates kept him in-check from an early age to conform to the norm? Conformity, in this sense, is beneficial and quite necessary, I believe. Anyone care to discuss?

I don't think this worries me such, because I'm sure many terrorists/serial killers/sociopaths have gone to public school and come out crazy anyhow. I think it just depends on the parents. Also whether or not they are cut off from the outside world.

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