Does Home Schooling Impact a Child's Social Development?

When parents explore the home schooling option for educating children, many factors require consideration to ensure that home schooling fits the family. Because children need to develop socialization skills to learn how to get along positively with others, parents should consider how home schooling would impact a child’s exposure to common social situations.

Socialization Definition

Socialization involves a person’s ability to function effectively and positively in society, offers marriage and family therapist Michelle Barone, with the website 1. Following rules and laws and living peacefully with others requires practice to develop necessary skills. As children grow and mature through childhood, exposure to other people -- both peers and adults -- helps them gain experience and learn lessons about socialization.

The Home-school Home Environment

When children learn at home in a home-school environment, the children generally receive their instruction in the home from parents, with siblings also receiving instruction, if applicable. Parents might also utilize other instructional opportunities for teaching children, including professional tutors, community classes and even informal teaching groups organized through support groups, according to the Great Schools website. Many public school districts also allow home-schooled students to take select classes to supplement curriculum.

Natural Socialization Environment

Home-schooled children often experience exposure to a variety of situations and people throughout educational activities, in contrast to children in public schools, segregated into classrooms according to grade level. With ongoing interaction with adults, peers and children both younger and older, a home-schooled child gains important experiences that prepare the child for unsegregated realities in the world. A home-schooled child may have more skills and comfort interacting positively with others, even transcending a variety of demographics.

Parental Commitment

To ensure that a home-school child receives important socialization, parents must commit to give the child these opportunities through the activities and the curriculum offered, advises the Dr. Phil website. If a home-schooled child does not participate in any social learning opportunities and remains isolated from contact outside of the immediate family, the child may have difficulty developing important social skills, such as empathy and an awareness of diversity, warns a document published by the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. Effective home-school socialization generally comes from the immediate family environment, field trips, support groups, classes, church, neighborhood, organized sports and community outreach programs, states educator Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute 13.

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