Opinions are worthless when it comes to silencing your critics – research is what you need. Here is what the research says about socialization and homeschooling – you’re gonna love it!
I actually had no plans whatsoever to write this article. But there was this one person in my life who would not let up on me on the whole issue of homeschooling and socialization. And because it was someone close to me, someone who’s opinion I value, someone who was expressing their concerns out of love for us and our kids, brushing it off and ignoring it was not so easy.
Although I’ve done the research, and am 100% convinced that homeschooling is no more likely to harm our children than a life of traditional schooling, this one person was not convinced at all. And I hadn’t felt the need to collect and save any of that research, so could only say what the research showed, without having proof at hand.
Until now. You see, I’ve spent too much time defending it, and it was time I silenced the critics by showing them some of the compelling research I’d seen – the same research that made me rest easy about our decision to homeschool.
Research Shows That Homeschooled Children Will Not Grow Up to Be Social Misfits
Here is a sampling of some of the research on the effects of homeschooling on a child’s ability to function socially. Even if you look beyond this small sample, you’ll be hard pressed to find convincing evidence that homeschooled children do not function well socially in adulthood.
Homeschooling and the Question of Socialization Revisited
Richard G. Medlin, Peabody Journal of Education, Volume 88, Issue 3, 2013
This study found that compared to children enrolled in traditional schools, homeschooled children seemed to have better quality friendships and relationships with their parents, as well as with other adults. They were happy, showed good moral reasoning abilities, and may have even been less selfish. As teenagers, they had less emotional turmoil, and did not act out as often as their tradionally-schooled peers. They did well in college, and also later in adulthood.
“An alarmist view of homeschooling, therefore, is not supported by empirical research.”
Homeschooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream
Studies in Education Policy, October 2007, The Fraser Institute
There is lots of good news for homeschoolers here. Here are some of their findings:
- As adults, homeschooled children are more satisfied with life compared to those who were educated in traditional schools
- Despite the fact that there is a widespread belief that homeschooled children are poorly socialized, the research has found this is simply not true.
- The internet has helped with the building of social connections.
- There is no evidence that homeschooled adults are even moderately disadvantaged, and there is even a study which suggests that homeschooled children are “more mature and better socialized” than their traditionally schooled peers.
There is a lot of great stuff in this paper – I highly recommend you bookmark it and take the time to read through it. Then share it with friends and family who worry about your decision to homeschool – there is nothing better than research to reassure them!
Home-Education: Aims, Practices and Outcomes
Paula Rothermel, University of Durham, 2002
Paula found that on the whole, homeschooled kids had good social skills, strong family bonds, a “flexible approach” and benefited from the freedom of working at their own pace.
Home-education: a critical evaluation
Paula Rothermel, Paper presented at The British Psychological Society Annual Education Conference, The University of Exeter 1998
She found that homeschooled kids were confident, motivated, and showed “good levels of attainment.”
Yep! We’re Grown-up, Home-schooled Kids—and We’re Doing Just Fine, Thank You!
J. Gary Knowles & James A. Muchmore, Journal of Research on Christian Education, Volume 4, Issue 1, 1995
Gary found that when children who were homeschooled were interviewed as adults, they generally “reflected positively on their home education,” and had not been deprived of the interaction required for good social functioning.
Michael refers to a 1992 study (the largest one to date which looked at the issue of socialization and homeschooling), and says they found that homeschooled children might even function better than traditionally schooled children as far as social adjustment goes.
The study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm that homeschooling does not mess up a child’s ability to function socially, or otherwise, in adulthood.
The One Paper That Says it All – This is the One That Silenced the Naysayers
Remember that one person who wouldn’t let up on me – who was sooo worried our kids would become social misfits in adulthood? Here is the paper that silenced my biggest critic, written by a guy who had studied homeschooling kids for over 20 years.
Homeschoolers on to College: What Research Shows Us
Dr. Brian Ray, Journal of College Admission, No. 185, Fall 2004
He found that “numerous studies”, using various psychological measures, showed that homeschooled children often develop better than those who are traditionally schooled, and at the very least, they are keeping up with them. He also quotes the Shyers study, done in 1992, which showed that the only significant difference, socially speaking, between homeschooled and traditionally schooled children is that the homeschooled ones behaved better.
This is another one that I highly recommend you bookmark, and read from start to finish. Then share it with all the homeschooling critics in your life. If this doesn’t reassure them that they have absolutely nothing to worry about, I don’t know what will!