A number of years ago a family from my hometown decided to remove their son from public school and teach him at home. Wanting to go through all the “proper” channels, the boy’s mother informed the principal of their intentions. As is often the case, the principal felt morally responsible to warn this young mom of the negative effects that could result from their decision. He expressed his genuine concern that her son would suffer harm as a result of the lack of socialization available in the homeschool environment.
While they talked, two boys were brought into the office. One was crying and had blood running down his face. The other was sullen and quiet.
After dealing with the situation, the principal returned to resume his discussion with the mom. “Well, where were we?”
The young mom looked him squarely in the eye. “We were discussing socialization, and with all due respect, Sir, if this is representative of the socialization that my son will be missing out on, then I guess I’m not all that concerned!”
For that, he had no response.
“What do you do about socialization?” It’s a question asked often of homeschoolers. It’s a question that I’ve been asked dozens of times by family, friends and even perfect strangers. And frankly, it’s a question that’s starting to make me just a little bit testy.
The need for socialization is not a myth. In fact, the formation of responsible, productive members of society requires socialization. The real myth is found in the current assertion that effective socialization is accomplished in the classroom setting. Do people honestly believe that the socialization of a society’s future leaders should be placed squarely in the hands of its youngest and most unproductive members? Should children really be responsible for socializing each other? In the words of Vizzini, “Inconceivable!”
The concern raised by educators, sociologists and psychologists in our country today should question the longterm effects of the socialization experienced in schools rather than that of children educated at home. Now that an entire generation of homeschooled children have grown into adulthood, studies are beginning to show that those who have been educated at home are more well equipped to be productive members of society than those educated in public schools. The results of one such study conducted by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute and published by HSLDA, reveals strong evidence that those who have been homeschooled are becoming considerably more productive as adults than their publically schooled counterparts.
I wonder if the socialization question has become the “mantra” of the education establishment simply because there is NO measureable evidence available proving that homeschooling is indeed inferior to public school. I wonder what they will do when it becomes increasingly clear that their socialization argument can’t stand up under scrutiny either.