Homeschoolers and Socialization: What Is “Fringe”?

When I write about the socialization problems I experienced as a homeschooler, a common response from homeschool advocates is that my experience was just fringe—and that it doesn’t in any way represent homeschoolers as a whole. This made me wonder: Just what is “fringe”?

When it comes to socialization, HSLDA is still touting 1997 numbers showing that most homeschoolers are involved in a variety of outside activities, including things like 4H, bible club, and music classes. There is one part of these numbers, however, that is very little discussed: Namely, the the fact that 87% of the homeschooled children in the study played with people outside of their family means that 13% of them did not play with people outside of their families. This is not simply socialization within a bubble or limited social interaction, it’s social isolation.

Who are these 13%? The study was doen by Brian Ray and was commissioned by HSLDA. It was billed as a way to prove that homeschool children did well academically, so presumably the volunteers were more likely to be committed homeschoolers who felt that their children’s scores would help prove homeschooling’s validity. Presumably, also, the participants were Christian homeschoolers in HSLDA’s orbit of influence. And a full 13% of these homeschooled children did not have friends other than their siblings.

Is 13% fringe? You could argue so, especially given that this number likely leaves out unschoolers and those not homeschooling for religious reasons, who are less likely to seek to limit their children’s social interaction, and given that the number is now sixteen years old. The trouble is that when the term “fringe” is used it is used to minimize and brush over the group it is being applied to. I don’t think that group should be minimized or brushed over, especially when so many parents were willing to openly admit that their children did not socialize with those outside of their family. Should we suggest that all homeschoolers are socially isolated? Certainly not! But we do need to admit that some are.

Had my parents participated in this Ray study, I would not have been in that 13% figure. I had friends outside of my family. However, I was not socialized outside of Christian homeschool circles, and I think that’s important to talk about as well, because this too is something I’ve been told is “fringe.” Those Christians who homeschool in part or in whole for religious reasons are almost universally concerned about the influence unbelieving peers may have on their children. Indeed, removing their children from those influences is part of why they homeschool. Because of this, they generally socialize their children exclusively with other Christian homeschoolers—and they are generally not against cutting off even these friendships when a friend’s family is considered too “liberal” in their beliefs. It is for this reason that I find the suggestion that homeschool kids being socialized exclusively in an Christian homeschool bubble is “fringe” ridiculous. Granted, being socialized in a bubble is head and shoulders better than being completely socially isolated, but it can and does result in socialization challenges for those who eventually leave that bubble.

Now I know that not all homeschool parents homeschool for religious reasons. I know that there are also unschoolers and others who homeschool for secular reasons. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2007 (the most recent year they have released numbers for) 83% of homeschool parents list “a desire to provide religious or moral instruction” as one of their reasons for homeschooling, and 36% list it as their primary reason. (In fact, “dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools” was selected less frequently than the desire to provide religious or moral instruction). That does not sound at all “fringe” to me. Beyond just those numbers, when the largest homeschool conventions are dominated by individuals like Doug Phillips and Ken Ham, there is no way you’re going to convince me that Christian homeschooling is a “fringe” phenomenon in the homeschooling movement.

So are homeschool socialization problems, including both social isolation and troubles stemming from being socialized in a Christian homeschool bubble, “fringe”? I would answer that in the negative. Does that mean all homeschoolers are raised in a bubble, or that most homeschoolers are socially isolated? I would answer that, also, in the negative. But I don’t think that homeschool advocates who actively minimize and ignore very real problems in an effort to make sure that people know that not all homeschoolers are like that are doing themselves any favors. What’s so hard about admitting that it does happen and then taking steps to improve things?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Rosie

    Well, since to most Christian homeschoolers the isolation is a feature, not a bug, they’re less concerned with solving the problem than with proving it isn’t really a problem. Because any actual solution would necessarily negate a good bit of what they’re striving for. So first you have to convince them that their goals are problematic, which can be difficult.

  • ZeldasCrown

    Just because one has friends outside the family (according to the parents, not the children) doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t feel isolated, or that the person is being socialized well. Imagine a situation where two large homeschooling families commonly get together for social activities. From past posts (here and other places), it seems pretty common that the children are matched up play-wise by age and gender. If you’d ask the parents, they’d say that, yes, my children have friends outside the family (and would end up in the 87%). The kids may or may not even like the other child they’ve been paired up with-it’s not like they chose that friend-the friend was chosen for them. I’d be interested to see the results if the children were asked the same questions, rather than the parents. I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were different.

    I wouldn’t exactly call having one friend outside the family who’s been pre-screened and selected for you to be “well-socialized”, especially considering that one friend is probably from the exact same background. So, I’d also be interested in knowing the number of friends from outside the family and their background for the 87%. One of the most valuable things I learned from public school was how to interact with people who are different than myself, and I would consider that to be an important part of being well-socialized.

  • tdd68

    I think there is no real way to consider religious homeschooling to be “fringe”. Honestly, for the longest time, I totally discounted the idea that there was any type of homeschooling OTHER than religious based. I finally met a few families that were secular/unschool/disatisfied with local schools, but that was after years of hearing only about religious homeschooling.

    Socialization can be hard for many children, no matter what type of environment they are being raised in. it seems unfair to then constrain their possible socialization even further by fiat…maintaining only certain outside contacts, etc. Whenever I would be made aware of a homeschooling family, that was always the first thing I would think of; especially because I had(and still have, for that matter) such a hard time socializing in a “normal” environment and I know that imposed isolation to a certain group would have made my socializing that much more difficult.

  • Mel

    My main fear for home-schooled children – especially those whose parents are trying to protect their children – is that the line between protection and smothering is very thin and thins more as the child becomes a teenager. My students have much more freedom in choosing friends and exploring their personalities than many of the bloggers that I’ve read here. By definition, public schooled children have eight hours a day where they can make choices without parental interference. Do even the 87% of home-schooled students who participate in outside activities get 8 hours a day of parent-free time?

    • ZeldasCrown

      That’s a good point too about the activities, in addition to the big question of how many non-family friends a person has. I learned a lot about social interaction from the various sports or clubs that I participated in. Not the least of which was that different social situations have different guidelines (which can sometimes be very subtle) as to what is acceptable/unacceptable behavior. And how much of home school social time is directly supervised by an adult (which I’m sure will vary greatly from family to family). It’s really hard to learn self-control when everything is controlled for you, so you never have to moderate yourself.

      I think a lot of this really contributes to the lack of understanding/empathy often displayed by the extremely religious. Such as the recent politicians who were anti-gay marriage until somebody came out as gay in their family. It would be very easy to think that everyone naturally thinks and feels the same way (if you’ve never met someone different), and so anyone who’s actually doing something differently must be willfully acting against their natural instincts/thoughts (it’s the whole, “I’m not gay, so I don’t see why anybody else would be, so anyone who says they’re gay must just willfully be acting against their natural attractions”).

      • Sally

        ZeldasCrown “(it’s the whole, “I’m not gay, so I don’t see why anybody else would be, so anyone who says they’re gay must just willfully be acting against their natural attractions”).”

        I know you were making an analogy here, and I’m getting off topic with this next comment, but I’ll keep it brief. It suddenly dawned on me about a year ago that maybe a lot of the people who insist being gay is a choice … are themselves making a choice.

        But you’re probably right about at least some of the protestors. Maybe it’s a real combination.

        Anyway, back to the topic at hand…
        Yes, let’s face it. If Mom either by choice or by pressure is a SAHM, what better way to make that fulfilling than to turn it into a full time job with homeschooling. If Mom’s happy, and the kids are afraid to even ask to go to school, and they don’t know how things might be different, what’s to fix?
        That said, I don’t want to be unfair to those who homeschool well and whose kids do have meaningful social connections. Of course you’d want that mom to also feel fulfilled, but the key is as long as the kids are too!

      • ZeldasCrown

        I think as long as everyone is happy, the kids are getting a good education, don’t feel isolated, have opportunities outside of the home to connect with non-family members (this goes for mom too!), everybody’s well-adjusted, nobody’s being brainwashed, then I think it was a good idea for that family to homeschool. There’s a lot of good reasons to homeschool (bad quality of public schools in their area, children not fitting in at public school, etc), and there’s also a lot of bad reasons to homeschool (mostly control/abuse reasons). Different things work for different people, and if something is working, then who am I to demand that a family does differently? As we have seen, each system of education has pluses and minuses, and each community needs to be aware of the limitations so that they may be addressed if something becomes an issue. Just because only a “small part” of the community has a particular issue doesn’t mean it’s something to be ignored, and that it’s not serious. My mom was a stay at home mom, and I think she sometimes enjoyed having a little break during the day while we were at school to get stuff done without my brother and I underfoot all the time (as well as to have some time to herself). I feel I’m sort of the same way-no matter how much I like a person, there isn’t a soul on this planet that I want to be around 24/7.

        To reply to the off-topic bit-I totally agree with that too. If a bi-sexual person decides to only act on attraction to one gender, I would say that there was a choice involved there. I’d agree it’s some combination of the two. I guess it’d be hard to convince such a person that it wasn’t a choice for everybody.

        But, I’m off to lunch now, so I think this will be my last post on this particular blog post for today!

      • AnotherOne

        The thing is, how many homeschooling moms are happy? I would be very interested in a survey that addressed that, though I know things as intangible as “happiness” and “fulfillment” are difficult to assess. (Also, I think there’s a lot of pressure on homeschooling moms to say that they’re happy and fulfilled, even when they’re not.)
        My mom certainly wasn’t happy when I was a homeschooled child and teen. She was insanely depressed and stressed, and she screamed at us constantly. And at least some of the moms around my age that I know who homeschool seem to be in a similar boat, though they wax philosophical and spiritual about how “joy” is greater than “happiness,” and how they strive to look past the “daily trials” to “see God” in the “big picture.” But even in those situations, where the daily grind is overwhelming them and no one seems happy, putting the kids in school never seems to be a seriously considered option (quite the opposite, in fact).

      • Alice

        Also, my parents would have been unhappy no matter what because they are extremely cynical and fearful of the outside world. That is the main reason they decided to home-school. Some of the other home-schooling parents I knew growing up were the same way, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is common.

    • http://fancystephanie.wordpress.com/ fancystephanie

      “By definition, public schooled children have eight hours a day where they can make choices without parental interference. ”

      Yeah, and my parents thought that was a BAD idea. I just had a discussion with my dad where he spoke disparagingly of teenagers hanging with other teenagers…all making bad decisions together… *facepalm*

      • Mel

        And sometimes teenagers do make bad decisions. I’d never try to argue that point. Teens do need the freedom to test their own skills and deal with the consequences. As an adult, I don’t enjoy watching teenagers making dumb decisions, but I realize that making bad decisions is part of learning how to make good decisions. I prefer that my students learn how to make choices in the relatively safe confines of school, sponsored activities and part-time work than having to learn the same lessons when they are dealing with adult responsibilities.

  • Gail

    One big part of socialization is coming into contact with other beliefs/cultures besides your own. I doubt going to 4H and Bible Club is really going to do that. It’s true that in a lot of areas, the public school is not going to be very diverse (I was lucky–mine was in the suburban South and was very diverse), but at least the curriculum probably acknowledges that there are non-white, non-Christian, non-conservative people out there. Some homeschoolers get this exposure, but a lot of them don’t. And it’s hard to know what “fringe” is when there are so few reliable statistics on homeschoolers.

    • Joykins

      Now that I’m no longer moving in evangelical circles, 4H is where I meet most of the homeschooled kids that I do meet. And the ones from 4H tend to be very involved in clubs, at least here. I don’t know really what that means for diversity, as our 4H club tends to draw very strongly from the “science geek” population (which means it is ethnically and religiously diverse, but hardly a cross-section of the general population) since it is an aerospace club.

  • Sally

    I homeschooled for 8 years. At least 5 of those years I spent trying to make it work with our local support group. It was a non-sectarian (basically secular, really) group but boy was it dysfunctional! It seemed it had been more functional at one time, but by the time I got there, it was dying. Two of my kids each got a friend out of it that lasted at least a few years, but one of my kids got no real friends. But beyond individual friendships, was there a vibrant social environment? No. Honestly, it was painful.

    And several of us tried to address this. Several of us tried to change it. I guess that was part of the dysfunction- the fact that trying to talk about it and trying to do something about it (not just talk) didn’t improve it. Why? There was some kind of unwritten rule. I still don’t know what the rule was.

    But I do know that we were surrounded by lonely kids. We were gathering and going through the motions of socialization, but few were connecting.

    I hope that was a fringe experience. I visited the local Christian group a few times- not enough to really find out if kids were more connected there or not. But I didn’t stick it out because after a conversation with a friend there, it was clear there was not one boy in the group around my loneliest kid’s age. And this was a fairly large, well-organized, more dynamic group. That said, hopefully most or even all those kids felt connected. I don’t know.
    Isolation doesn’t just happen because parents enforce it. Sometimes it happens because kids need more contact time to get connected enough to even form a friendship that leads to more contact time. I would say maybe it had more to do with the fierce independence of the parents that led them to resist creating enough of a structured environment that the kids could connect (maybe the fierce independence was the rule?).
    We had other activities that were not homeschool related, but again, it wasn’t enough.
    Don’t get me wrong, kids can be lonely at public school too. But the homeschooling community has got to start talking about this stuff if they want to survive, imo. And if they care about the very kids they’re dedicating their lives to.

    • Jayn

      It is frustrating how some homeschoolers will take the socialisation question and turn it around to how kids can do badly socially in public school as well (and I’m the LAST person who is going to argue with that). I get a sense that it doesn’t matter if homeschooling is prone to this issue, because public school isn’t perfect on it so why should it be such a big deal if homeschooled kids find their socialisation lacking? But it’s a real problem for the kids who deal with it, and needs to be properly addressed regardless of the circumstances it occurs in. The fact that public schools can stand to do better on the issue doesn’t mean that it’s something homeschoolers can ignore. The failings of one institution does not make the failings of another okay.

    • ZeldasCrown

      I think what’s happening here is that we are once again getting the perspective of the parents (“my children have friends, so everything’s great”-particularly if they are one of those folks for whom appearances is so important, and who feel the need to prove that homeschooling is vastly superior than all other schooling methods for everyone) rather than the kids (“well, I have a friend, but I only see him/her like once a month, so I still feel kind of isolated”, etc). This seems to be pretty common in the materials handed out by the HSLDA-asking the parents, and then taking what the parents say as a true indication of how the children feel. I have to commend you, Sally, for being able to see from your children’s perspectives how things were going. It would have been very easy for you to say “we’re part of a homeschooling group so my children have friends and there’s no issue”, but you did what you could to fix things (I don’t have much hope that all of the 87% in this study would all do the same).

    • Sally

      I keep thinking about what are the unwritten rules that I experienced? This won’t tell us much about the staunch religious folks, but it relates to what might be going on with the non-religious homeschoolers- and maybe religious homeschoolers who are not isolationists. Of course this is just one area, and who knows what is happening 50 miles from here.

      1. I already mentioned a fierce commitment to independence. What does a group of independent moms look like? Not much of a group, in my experience anyway. [This led to a lack of consistent activities, attendance, and even criticism of efforts to create more cohesiveness for the kids.]
      2. Commitment to sticking it out even if kids are struggling academically or socially (or both). [I can only speculate for the most part as to how this worked out for the kids. I have the impression there were a lot of lonely, aimless kids, but I don't know for sure. No one talks about how their kid is *really* doing.]
      3. Talking about struggling socially is taboo. If we tried to talk about it in the context of the group, we got no traction. And who is going to say, “Hey, my kid X feels like he has no friends. Sure, there’s one kid 25 minutes away, but my kid doesn’t really enjoy being at his house. I think homeschooling is failing socially for my child.” Why? Wow, I could say it now, but then when I was in the middle of it? I just couldn’t say it. And what would anyone have done anyway? There wasn’t a this-kind-of-problem-solving mindset. We were all busy insisting it *was* working.
      4. A tendency among adults to be difficult to work with. Now, this can’t be true among all, but I wonder if there’s an even slightly higher incidence of adults who homeschool their children who don’t get along very well in the world themselves. That was absolutely my experience. (I know, maybe I’m one of those adults :).)
      And what were the unwritten rules among the kids? I don’t really know, except that the kids in groups acted like most kids in groups. My kids were sometimes welcomed into a pre-existing group, and sometimes not. There was some learning that took place there, but it was kind of warped by the fact that contact was so intermittent.

  • Gillianren

    I don’t care if it’s fringe or not. It happens, and it needs to be fixed. Those who deny that kind of make me suspect that it isn’t all that fringe after all, and they just don’t want to face the problem.

  • Christine

    I think that it’s understandable (if not justifable) that the majority of the homeschooling parents who read your stories would assume that your parents were part of the fringe. For starters, there’s the fact that I might agree with that statement. Sure, it’s a really really large fringe, but because it’s so far from what society as a whole believes, it’s easy to classify it as a fringe.

    There’s also the fact that the parents who consider isolation to be a feature rather than a bug aren’t going to be interacting with the other homeschooling parents. They wouldn’t want their kids to attend a homeschool co-op with people who insisted on teaching standard history, or good science. So of course the parents who homeschool for academic reasons are going to assume that most parents are responsible – all the ones they encounter are.

    I would assume also that these parents would also be less likely to belong to the HSLDA. I’m not going to try and claim that this means we can ignore the 13%, because that’s a problem even at 1% (not a “ban homeschooling” problem, but a “put checks and balances in place” problem). But there are essentially two movements, and the data from one doesn’t apply at all to the other.

    • http://kathrynbrightbill.com/ KB

      I don’t really think it’s an accurate representation to say that the parents who isolate their children aren’t involved in homeschool groups. In fact, in my experience it was exactly the opposite. That was the ONLY environment that those kids were involved in because other homeschoolers were the only ones who were “safe” for their kids to be around.

      Homeschool groups, in my experience, were a place for socially awkward isolated kids to reinforce their awkward weirdness. It’s kids learning how to socialize with each other but they have no idea how to socialize with mainstream society. That’s not fringe, it’s every homeschool group I ever tried to get involved with growing up. It’s why my siblings and I never were much involved in the homeschool world–we weren’t enough in the bubble to have anything in common with those kids much of the time.

      For years I thought that the socially awkward, isolated from everyone outside the bubble, homeschoolers were the fringe. The more I interact with former homeschoolers who grew up in completely different parts of the country, and hear the same stories I saw with the “weird” homeschoolers I avoided growing up, the more I’m realizing that they weren’t the fringe, we were.

      • Christine

        I was unclear: I know that the parents who homeschool to isolate have groups, but they tend to be separate from the rest of the homeschoolers. These days enough parents homeschool that it’s really easy (especially in cities, or online) for parents to self-segregate into groups with similar philosophical inclinations.

      • http://kathrynbrightbill.com/ KB

        I’m saying that in many places those *are* the only groups. I didn’t grow up in some tiny town, but to this day the only groups there are the ones that I never got involved in because it was all the kind of bubble that Libby Anne describes. There are no other options if you want to be involved with other homeschoolers where I grew up but the groups you call fringe. I grew up in a cosmopolitan, ethnically diverse city far from the flyover states and this was and is the reality there.

        It’s not the fringe, that’s the mainstream homeschooling. I’ve seen too many people who were normal evangelicals ending up turning into families who isolated their kids from anything outside the homeschool bubble after getting involved with the only homeschool options because the normal people don’t group together to form less isolated groups, they get sucked into the bubble too.

      • Christine

        I wasn’t trying to say that the oddball groups were small in numbers, just that they self-segregated. If the only groups designated as “homeschooling” are religious extremist (I have some Christian & homeschooled friends who complained about the people in their group being crazy, so I understand the creep), then the homeschooling parents will join other groups – dance, language, math, etc – that aren’t billed as homeschool groups. The religious parents will be in the co-ops, and not in those groups, so you get the same effect.

        The fact that there is reason for someone to make a mistake doesn’t mean it’s not a mistake.

      • http://kathrynbrightbill.com/ KB

        You’re missing my point. The fringe isn’t the big behemoth of a homeschool group that monopolizes homeschooling in the area. That *is* the mainstream of homeschooling. The fringe are those families who steer clear of the group–that’s a small minority of homeschoolers.

      • Christine

        What I’m seeing you say is that the majority of homeschoolers are in the extremist group. I’m missing everything else, as apparently what you’re saying somehow contradicts my original point, and I don’t yet see how.

  • Amethyst Marie

    In the 90s, one of the very few tv shows we were allowed to watch was PBS’ Wishbone. I was a little too old for it, but my tween sister loved it, and I’d usually watch it with her as her “parental supervision”. I distinctly remember watching one episode where the main character makes friends with a Bad Influence, and his mom starts her warning speech with “I can’t choose your friends for you, but…” I was shocked by that statement and involuntarily said, “Yes, you can!” out loud. I was completely aware that my parents reserved the right to choose my friends for me, and I genuinely felt like I’d make God unhappy if I rebelled against their choices even in thought.

    • LizBert

      It’s possible to be too old for Wishbone?!

      • Kate Monster

        No. You’re never too old for Wishbone!

      • Amethyst Marie

        When you’re a frustrated teenager who is literally not allowed to be a teenager, you’re too old for everything. :P But I secretly loved the show lol

  • MyOwnPerson

    When I’ve tried to talk to my parents about socialization problems I had they try and convince me of how well socialized I really was. :/ I get the sneaking suspicion that most homeschooling families would claim that their children are adequately socialized even if this isn’t the case.

    • Christine

      I think a lot of them believe/have convinced themselves that “socialization” means “getting out and socializing”. Sure, the lady at the Early Years Centre who was complaining that her daughter gets lots of socialization does seem to be on top of it, but the fact that she had 19 people to invite to her birthday party (especially since a bunch of them were siblings) doesn’t mean that the daughter is well-socialized. (Nor does it mean that the mom knows how to set reasonable boundaries.)

  • Mewslie

    I think a better metric is, how many friends do home school kids have whose parents were not acquainted with their own. That is, can they identify people who they want to be friends with and progress into a friendship with them, without their parents help.

    It’s so important out in the real world.

    • Ace_of_Sevens

      Yes, this. I only knew the kids of my parents’ friends.

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

      Oh yes. Even if their parents have wound up being friends, how many of those friendships started with the kids?

      As a non-HS kid, my parents knew many of my friends parents, simply by virtue of being in the neighbourhood. But I dont remember having many friends (if any once I was old enough to remember it) where my parents were friends with their parents first.

  • Ace_of_Sevens

    There are also people like me in my younger years, who wasn’t restricted per se to only socialized with kids from my church (many of whom were not homeschooled), but how else was I going to meet anyone? I didn’t see anyone else with any regularity.

  • Sally

    One other thought I had- How many isolated women are easing their isolation with friends online? Of those same women, how many have children old enough or otherwise allow their children to be online?

    • renee

      LOTS.

      The HS mom I know, that is isolated, spends like 16-18 hours in online groups EVERYDAY. Her kids? None.

  • katiehippie

    My thoughts as a person not homeschooled but raised conservative Christian and only places we went were church and home and grandma’s house I didn’t even realize til later on how isolated I was. I thought it was normal. I didn’t know until I was 11 or 12 that you could see friends from school in the summer time. I don’t think my parents tried to prevent that but they didn’t suggest it either. So I don’t think you could ask the kids if they feel isolated because even if they are unhappy, they may not know why.

  • Theo Darling

    I would have been described as “socialized” too, but I had no friends outside of church (and navigated inner-church interactions as a fringe-kid in the youth group, fwiw). I had weekly music lessons and while that’s obviously an extracurricular, I fail to see how taking /private lessons/ is supposed to count for something in the peer-socialization argument. Other than that, the only time I saw other kids was once a month at 4-H, where I definitely didn’t fit in or feel like part of the group. I did feel isolated and invisible, and from what I’ve seen I don’t think my experience is really out of the ordinary or scary-fringe. I grew up in mainstream denominations and we read really popular books. My concern is not that this is limited to the fringe of the movement, but that the movement as a whole (using “movement” loosely enough to encompass the overlapping but separate sphere of evangelical Xianity) is moving to the outlying edges. The “mainstream” is becoming more and more extreme.

  • renee

    “and they are generally not against cutting off even these friendships when a friend’s family is considered too “liberal” in their beliefs.”

    SO true.
    One pastor (call them family A) wouldn’t let his kid be friends with another family (call them B) anymore, because B weren’t anti-gay marriage, and were politically liberal (though very Christian, and totally isolated HSers). Family B also wanted to limit involvement with family A because the two kids had held hands for like 2 minutes!!! They were 12.

  • Dom Zerchi

    The problem is (for some of us at least), that we feel compelled to think about the question critically. Of course the fact that the only significant attempt at an objective scientific study wa conducted by an advocacy group is a substantial problem. I think it’s fair to say that we cannot draw any conclusion about socialization from the partisan study. You are right to see the study in that light. However, we certainly cannot draw any conclusion from your personal story. It’s subjectively important to you, and it should be important to anyone who cares about you for that reason, but it is not evidence about the relative socialization of homeschooled students. It is just your personal story. The same can be said for the other stories you mention. They are not evidence for anything. I can tell you stories that would seem to support the idea that homeschoolers are better socialized. They are also just personal stories that don’t prove anything.

    What is needed to answer the question is an objective approach, not an anecdotal approach, and more studies.


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