Researchers Say Socialization No Longer an ''Issue''

Socialization is no longer an “issue” for homeschoolers, according to some researchers on the long-running debate over public and independent schooling.

Susan McDowell, author of "But What About Socialization? Answering the Perpetual Home Schooling Question: A Review of the Literature,” has researched 24 studies on the socialization of homeschoolers, according to Bristol Herald Courier.

"It’s a non-issue today," said McDowell, who earned Ph.D. in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University. "All the research shows children are doing well."

On one occasion, she was challenged by one of her publishers to find evidence that homeschoolers were socially deficient compared to their publically educated counterparts.

However, she claims finding no one in the academic field with such view supported by research.

Other researchers, such as Larry Shyers, who holds Ph.D. in counseling, support McDowell’s findings. Shyers’ dissertation, "Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Children," won a national award in excellence in research from the Educational Research Information Clearinghouse in 1992.

His studies found that homeschooled children are not disadvantaged when it comes to socialization. He said that those taught at home were more likely to invite others to play with them, they were not as competitive but more cooperative, and they kept their noise levels lower. Homeschooled children also played with peers of both genders rather than with those of the same gender, he added.

Fourteen-year-old Kayla Freeman from Bristol, Tenn. says she knows more people than she did while in traditional school, and she has discovered better friends in the homeschool community.

“Most homeschooled kids I know are outgoing and friendly," Kayla said. "They are the truest friends I have."

Whether it is for religious, social, or educational reason, American parents are, albeit small in number, increasingly withdrawing their children out of public schools and instructing them at home, despite the criticisms laid out by homeschool critics.

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) estimated that 1.1 Million students were homeschooled in the United States in 2003, an increase from 850,000 from the 1999 NHES data.