What about Socialization in Homeschooling Families?

What about socialization in homeschooling families? Ask that question round homeschoolers and you’ll have us cringing, then either ranting or running. Socialization is a word thrown at us to say we shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing, that we’ll all grow up to be poorly adjusted hicks who can’t carry on a decent conversation with anyone. Kids, it is argued, need to be around other kids to learn proper social skills, and homeschooling—isolating them at home by themselves—doesn’t give them that.


I graduated as a homeschool student with five other girls my age. Today, three of us are happily married and one is engaged. One has a bachelor’s degree with distinction, one went through NAIT, and another is working on her Ph.D. One volunteered with special needs kids for several years and is now getting a degree in special education. Another chose the career path of a graphic designer and painter.

I would say we are all successful, satisfied, and “socialized.” Since then, I’ve met even more happy homeschoolers, like authors C. J. Darlington  (homeschooling student) and Tricia Goyer (homeschooling parent).

What about Socialization in Homeschooling Families? Photo of several kids reading together on a bench via Depositphotos.

What is “socialization”?

Socialization isn’t even in my dictionary. “Socialize” is, and means “1. make social; make fit for living with others. 2 adapt to community needs” (Gage Canadian Dictionary). Social means “1. of or dealing with human beings in their relations to each other; having to do with the life of human beings in a community. 2 living, or liking to live, with others” (GCD).

Is that what the homeschooling naysayers are concerned about? That we all learn to dwell with each other, to participate within our communities, to like each other? Then they needn’t worry, because most of the homeschoolers I know are quite involved in their communities—in fact, I would argue, more involved than school kids, because they actually have the time to help others, since they aren’t bound by what they can do after school.

Do kids need kids their age?

People argue that kids need to be socialized with kids their own age. Yet what I’ve seen is that many kids in the public school system learn to interact with kids their own age—and only kids their own age. My brothers and I had adult friends when we were in our teens, and we were comfortable playing with kids of any age.

One family of homeschoolers around the block from us had nine kids, ranging in age from five years older than me to fifteen years younger. We played hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer, with whoever was available to play. It didn’t matter how old they were, just as long as they could run after a ball or skate after a puck.

I’ve found, as a parent hiring babysitters, that most teens who’ve gone through public school have troubles carrying on a conversation with me. On the other hand, the homeschooled teens I’ve hired as babysitters interact with me much more easily.

Do you remember being in school and hearing a teacher say, “You aren’t here to socialize!”? The truth is that school was never designed to be a social activity. It’s intended to be an educational activity. ~ The Canadian Homeschooler

What about negative socialization?

With the current epidemic of bullying going through our school systems, I’m sometimes surprised that this form of “socialization” is touted as being so positive. As a homeschool student myself, I was grateful to be spared from most bullying and peer pressure that happens in a school situation. That’s been a big reason for me to homeschool my own daughters as well, as they have experienced bullying from school kids—thankfully in situations we were able to walk away from.

There’s more places than just school for kids to meet others and learn social skills. So may I repeat: socialization? Bosh.

As a homeschooler, do you get asked about socialization in homeschooling? If you are considering homeschooling, are you concerned about how your kids will be able to socialize?

Photo credit: Depositphotos.

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One Response

  1. Nat January 28, 2009

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