Socialization: Homeschoolers Are in the Real World
Academically homeschoolers have generally excelled, but some critics have continued to challenge them on an apparent "lack of socialization" or "isolation from the world." Often there is a charge that homeschoolers are not learning how to live in the "real world." However, a closer look at public school training shows that it is actually public school children who are not living in the real world.
For instance, public school children are confined to a classroom for at least 180 days each year with little opportunity to be exposed to the workplace or to go on field trips. The children are trapped with a group of children their own age with little chance to relate to children of other ages or adults. They learn in a vacuum where there are no absolute standards. They are given little to no responsibility, and everything is provided for them. The opportunity to pursue their interests and to apply their unique talents is stifled. Actions by public students rarely have consequences, as discipline is lax and passing from grade to grade is automatic. The students are not really prepared to operate in the home (family) or the workplace, which comprise a major part of the "real world" after graduation.
Homeschoolers, on the other hand, do not have the above problems. They are completely prepared for the "real world" of the workplace and the home. They relate regularly with adults and follow their examples rather than the examples of foolish peers. They learn based on "hands on" experiences and early apprenticeship training. In fact, the only "socialization" or aspect of the "real world" which they miss out on by not attending the public school is unhealthy peer pressure, crime, and immorality. Of course, the average homeschooler wisely learns about these things from afar instead of being personally involved in crime or immorality or perhaps from being a victim.
Practically, homeschoolers generally overcome the potential for "isolation" through heavy involvement in church youth groups, 4H clubs, music and art lessons, Little League sports participation, YMCA, Scouts, singing groups, activities with neighborhood children, academic contests (spelling bees, orations, creative and research papers), and regular involvement in field trips. In fact, one researcher stated, "The investigator was not prepared for the level of commitment exhibited by the parents in getting the child to various activities…It appeared that these students are involved in more social activities, whether by design or being with the parent in various situations, than the average middle school-aged child."1
In nearly every community throughout the country, local homeschool support groups have formed in addition to the state-wide homeschool associations. In many areas these local support groups sponsor weekly and monthly activities for the homeschool students, including physical education classes, special speakers, sports, camping, trips to museums, industries, farms, parks, historic sites, and hundreds of other activities. Regular contests are also held including spelling bees, science fairs, wood working contests, and geography contests. Homeschoolers in many localities have formed homeschool choirs, bands, sports teams, bowling leagues, educational and activity clubs of every kind, and many types of resource libraries. The state homeschool associations generally sponsor a major conference where homeschool children can attend and the older children perform plays, assemble yearbooks, and participate in graduation ceremonies for eighth and twelfth grades. A review of the state homeschool association and local support group newsletters testify of the great many social activities available. Homeschool families, as a whole, do not raise their children in social isolation.2
Reprinted with the permission of the Home Safety Council. © 2008 Home Safety Council All Rights Reserved.
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