The debate over home schooling has been a hot topic for many over the past few years. Home schooling can be defined as, “to teach school subjects to one’s children at home” (Merriam-Webster Online, 2003). However, the main debate is not over whether or not children should be taught at home; rather, the question debated is if home-schooled children are as prepared socially as those children who are traditionally schooled.
Although opponents of home schooling claim that children who are educated at home do not develop their social skills at the same rate as their peers who attend traditional schools, research findings indicate that students who are home-schooled develop socially at the same rate as those who are traditionally schooled.
Home schooling originated in a time when there were a small number of schools. Even when more public and community schools became available, traditional groups like the Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons, chose to school their young children at home. The Amish society kept their older children out of the public schools and chose to educate them through life in the community. The movement for home schooling has become more prevalent in modern day education. Many parents opt to educate at home, whether it be for religious purposes or because they are pursuing the philosophy of child-led learning. Whatever the reason for home schooling, it has become a predominant form of education in society today (Lines, 1995).
Society inflicts many stereotypes upon those who “go against the norm.” Children who are home-schooled are seen as shy, passive, introverted people who do not get along well in society. It is believed that parents of home-schooled children are protecting their children from the real world. Many opponents of home schooling believe that children are isolated socially and cannot function in society due to this lack of socialization. It is further believed that the self-concept of the home-schooled child suffers from the lack of exposure to a more traditional environment (Aiex, 1994). However, according to research, these stereotypes are just that; they do not portray the truth about home-schooled children.
Children who are home-schooled do gain the necessary skills and attitudes to function in society. Through instruction at home, the students learn the essential information needed to partake in social activities within society at a similar rate as those students in conventional schools. Julie Webb (1989) was one of the only researchers who examined the adult lives of home-educated people. Of those studied, Webb found that all who attempted higher education were successful, and that their socialization was often better than that of their traditionally schooled peers (Aiex, 1994). This research proved that students who are schooled at home do in fact develop the necessary skills to perform well in society.
Although the home-schooled students develop their social skills at the...