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Homeschool vs. Public School: Who’s Better Socialized?

I’m sure you’ve heard the arguments a thousand times from your critics: Homeschooled kids are anti-social, they don’t know how to cope in the real world, or even that homeschoolers are social outcasts. If you are already homeschooling your kids, you know better. If you are in the process of considering homeschooling, rest assured that the naysayers are not right. Sure, you have the power to make your kids social pariahs, but with a little thought and planning, your kids can be just as socially adept, if not more so, that those who go to public or private schools.

What does it mean to be socialized?

It helps to define this loose term before delving into arguments for or against homeschooling. Socialization is a complex thing and involves more than simply having a social life. It does not mean having more friends than you can count or having more friends and acquaintances than the kids in public school. To put it in the most basic terms, being socialized means understanding how to behave appropriately in different situations and knowing how to interact with a wide variety of people.

Public and private schools are big places where kids learn to be socialized in the school of hard knocks. They learn by trial and error how to behave around their peers and their teachers. Sometimes the teachers are available to guide them, but much of the time they are too busy to show each child how to behave appropriately. At home, you have the time, the ability, and the opportunity to teach your children proper social skills. You also have the flexibility to put your children into more varied social situations than a traditional classroom can provide.

Who is better socialized: homeschooled children or traditionally educated children?

The answer to this question is not that straightforward. A better way to consider the question is to look to the parents. As parents, we model behavior for our children and instruct them in how to interact with others. Regardless of the type or location of education, the best-socialized children are those whose parents take the time to teach them. As a homeschooling parent, this does give you an advantage. You have more time with your kids to help them grow socially. But, you must take advantage of the time you have. Surely there are homeschooled kids out there who do not develop good social skills because their parents keep them isolated and do not provide proper situations and interactions for them.

While the answer is not a definitive one, there has been research conducted that shows that homeschooled children can be as well socialized as public school children, and in some cases, even better. In 2003, a study conducted by the Home School Legal Defense Association [1] found that homeschoolers were either equally or more involved in community activities, voting, and employment than their public school counterparts. A study from the Canadian Centre for Home Education [1] followed homeschooled children from age 15 to 34. They found that these adults were more socially engaged than adults who were not homeschooled. They were also happier.

If you’re not ready to take a hard look at the true state of public education, you will want to avoid this unflinching and highly controversial documentary…. [2]

As a homeschooling parent, you have the power to put your children on the path to success in life, which includes good social skills. Instead of throwing them into a classroom in which their only opportunity to learn socialization is from one adult and thirty other kids, you can take them out into the real world. You can bring them to interactions with their peers, but also take them places where they can meet people of all ages and in all situations. There is no reason why your kids should not be the most socialized and successful of adults one day.

How to ensure your kids get the best social skills

All of the above ideas are good places to start for helping your children become well rounded and socialized. It is very important not to keep them isolated at home. Children need to have friends their own age. They also need time away from you. As difficult as it may be to do, your kids benefit greatly from being independent of you and learning some of their socializing on their own. Teach them the basics at home and then let them explore in different situations and make new friends.

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