I received some emails today from a local homeschool yahoo group that were just too good not to share with you all!
Since you may be having conversations about homeschooling with relatives this weekend, you might be interested and share the following article and research findings below. (Thank you to Dale for sending this website!)
Wishing you a warm, fun and gratitude-filled time with family,
A common concern voiced about homeschooled children is they lack the social interaction with peers that a school environment provides. Many homeschooling families address these concerns by joining numerous organizations, including independent study programs and specialized enrichment groups for PE, Art, Music, and Debate. Most are also active in community groups. Homeschooled children generally socialize with other children the same way that school children do: outside of school, via personal visits and through sports teams, clubs and religious groups.
Some homeschooling proponents have argued that homeschooling actually enhances the student's social development. Arguing that the school years are the only time in a person's life that he or she will be artificially segregated into chronologically-determined groups, these advocates assert that homeschoolers have a more normal interaction with persons across the age spectrum. This, in turn, results in more influence on the child from adults, and less from other children, leading to more mature youngsters.
In 2003, the National Home Education Research Institute conducted a survey of over 7,300 adults who had been homeschooled (over 5,000 for more than seven years). Here are some of the study's findings:
"Homeschool graduates are active and involved in their communities. Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity (e.g., coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association), compared with 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages."
"Homeschoolers are more involved in civic affairs and vote in much higher percentages than their peers. For example, 76% of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18–24 voted within the last five years, compared with only 29% of the relevant U.S. population. The numbers of homeschool graduates who vote are even greater in the older age brackets, with voting levels not falling below 95%, compared with a high of 53% for the corresponding U.S. populace."
"Of those adults who were homeschooled, 58.9% report that they are 'very happy' with life (compared with 27.6% for the general U.S. population). Moreover, 73.2% of homeschooled adults find life 'exciting', compared with 47.3% of the general population."
ERIC, the Education Resources Information Center of the U.S. government, has published multiple articles on homeschooling. Here's an excerpt from one which examined several studies on homeschool socialization:
"According to the findings, children who were schooled at home 'gained the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to function in society...at a rate similar to that of conventionally schooled children.'
"The researcher found no difference in the self concept of children in the two groups. Stough maintains that 'insofar as self concept is a reflector of socialization, it would appear that few home-schooled children are socially deprived, and that there may be sufficient evidence to indicate that some home-schooled children have a higher self concept than conventionally schooled children.'"
Email #2, from Nancy:
And read more here:
Education.com article on the research: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Socialization/
And this article from Homeschool Review has appeared on these lists before:
Here is HSLDA's brochure in pdf form on homeschooling and socialization/citizenship, etc., with charts to show the research results, with homeschoolers having much higher scores.
My favorite part of the studies is that everyone talks about the 'real world' vs. homeschooling but I can't think of anything more real than children and teens who hang out together with their parents, their friends' parents and friends siblings, and actually talk and have fun as opposed to children who have endured the artificial segregation at most schools. I found that my children's friends in traditional schools felt uncomfortable speaking to us parents or their siblings.
And something you might also want to do is to write a daily log of your activities (whether it is academic, cooking from scratch, making a giant tube contraption for the pet rat, or searching online for greek word roots) and then compile that log into a few paragraphs for each "subject area" at the end of the month (for your consultant teacher and/or your own records) and then review it at the end of your year and write a one-page summary for that time period. I know it amazed me to see what we accomplished when it didn't seem like we were doing enough "school" stuff. Then if you like, mail it (with love and intent to share) to the grandparents - like I did - (especially if they are doubtful about homeschooling merits) and hopefully they will share it with the doubting aunts and uncles also. They might just be amazed at how many books your child has read, the interesting volunteer experiences they had, how many group activities they did, and the unique things they studied, and tell you that they had no idea that homeschooling was like this.