Until recently, homeschooling parents had to defend themselves (if they wanted to, of course!) against the common accusation “But homeschooled kids don’t know how to socialize!” with either anecdotal evidence, or with the single long-term study on the subject, “Homeschooling Grows Up,” a study that showed that the socialization issue when it comes to homeschooling is no more than a myth.
Now, we have another large, long-term study in our arsenal. “Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults” clearly shows that home-educated adults are more socially engaged, earn more and are happier than their public-school-educated peers!
This reminds me of the early opposition to homeschooling, when the main argument was that homeschooled kids will not do as well as public schooled kids because they’re not taught by professional, college-educated teachers. Several studies later, when it turned out that home schooled children actually do BETTER academically than public school students, the arguments shifted. Now, critics were saying that home schooled kids are isolated and will not learn how to socialize.
I’m happy about the studies, because they will ease the worries of parents who are considering homeschooling their children. But anyone who has been engaged in homeschooling for the past decade, or more, is not exactly surprised.
What’s surprising to me is that anyone would assume that what’s going on in a typical public school, socially speaking, is desirable or even “normal.” You force a large group of immature kids into the same classroom, and make them spend eight hours each day with each other, with very little supervision (one teacher for 20-30 students), and you call that normal, desirable socialization? While this scenario may work for some students, for many others it creates unimaginable stress and social difficulties, and not because something is wrong with them – but because the situation is inherently difficult.
Being homeschooled does not equal being isolated. It means spending your days with your family and with a select group of friends. It means going outside on field trips and on excursions, meeting other home schooled kids, and going through a much more gentle, natural socialization process than in public school.
We knew all along that homeschooling produces intelligent, happy, confident, well-adjusted adults. And now we have the studies to prove it!