Many scientists, educators and parents claim that nowadays traditional school doesn’t meet the requirements of good education. Public as well as private schools are blamed for having negative effects on children which develop into child violence, bad behavior, resistance to the system and reluctance to gain knowledge. Home schooling is seen as the only opportunity to avoid such effects and educate a child in a favorable, comfortable and result oriented way. However, the recent researches have shown that despite all the advantages of home schooling it has one crucial disadvantage – the danger of social isolation, which may have even more undesirable impact on home learners. This implies the idea that home schoolers need social interaction.
Supporters of home education say that home schooled children can avoid many problems connected with traditional schools, for example, threatening environment or breeding ground for poor social behaviors. There are many students in school who don’t value learning and spend their time on resisting pressure instead of gaining knowledge. At home, children do not face fear of other students, or aggressive teachers, and can spend their time effectively and become successful students (Cogan). But in fact, school is a place where students learn to interact with others and build successful social skills. It is argued by psychologists that not being able to learn and associate with other children could lead to various developmental problems (Medlin 12). The lack of association could later result in an inability to socialize well, a shyness to communicate with people and a tendency to live a solitary life.
Another argument of those who advocate home schooling is that parents are able to keep their children closer and thus more protected. Parents decide themselves who their children should communicate with. Moreover, as children don’t attend public or private schools they are not exposed to such harmful and ambiguous issues as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. However, in the reality it means that children are even less protected because if they don’t face such things in school, they may not know how to react when put into a real life situation.
One more strong point of home schooling is that it allows children study at their own speed. If they have troubles in covering difficult issues, they can spend more time on learning and practicing them. A parent can focus more attention upon such skills in favor of another skill that is quite easy for the child (Lyman). On the other hand, such approach leads to a tendency to work better individually rather than in a team. According to Marion O’Brien, “guided interaction is essential to help children develop positive relationships” (O’Brien, 23). Social interaction helps children develop different social skills such as conversation, humor, manners, and conflict resolution. Thus, such skills will be very useful in their day-to-day life when they become mature and live their own life, solve business issues, meet people and the like.
These negative consequences of the lack of socialization can be overcome by being involved in the activities outside the home and communicating with other children, for example, dance or sports, scouting programs, volunteer work, living in the neighborhood with many other children to socialize with, or by having brothers/sisters or cousins who attend traditional school. Another way to help home schoolers socialize is to join a local homeschool group. These groups are very popular and located nationwide. Richard G. Medlin notes that “home schoolers rely heavily on support groups as a resource for planning field trips and maintaining personal contact with like-minded families” (Medlin 11).
Having said these, home schoolers definitely need socialization. Despite all the advantages of home schooling, the negative consequences are evident. Children may have big difficulties finding their place in the society in the future as lack of social interaction leads to various developmental problems. This issue can be solved by involving home learners in different social activities such as volunteer work, scouting programs, sports and joining local homeschool groups.
Cogan, Michael. “Home-Educated Doing Well at College.” National Home Education Research Institute. 5 Dec. 2010. <http://www.nheri.org/>.
Lyman, Isabel. “Homeschooling: Back to the Future?” Cato Institute: Policy Analysis. 5 Dec. 2010. <http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-294.html>.
Medlin, Richard G. “Home Schooling: What's Hard? What Helps?” Home School Researcher 11.4 (1995): 11-13.
O'Brien, Marion. Inclusive Child Care for Infants and Toddlers. 1st ed. Baltimore: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing: 1997.