Byline: Michael Smith, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
One of the most persistent criticisms of home-schooling is the accusation that home-schoolers will not be able to fully participate in society because they lack socialization. It's a challenge that reaches right to the heart of home-schooling, because if a child isn't properly socialized, how will that child be able to contribute to society?
Since the re-emergence of the home-school movement in the late 1970s, critics of home-schooling have perpetuated two myths. The first concerns the ability of parents to adequately teach their own children at home; the second is whether home-schooled children will be well-adjusted socially.
Proving academic success is relatively straightforward. Today, it is accepted that home-schoolers, on average, outperform their public school peers. The most recent study, Homeschool Progress Report 2009, conducted by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, surveyed more than 11,000 home-schooled students. It showed that the average home-schooler scored 37 percentile points higher on standardized achievement tests than the public school average.
The second myth, however, is more difficult to address because children who were home-schooled in appreciable numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s are only now coming of age and in a position to demonstrate they can succeed as adults.
Home-school families across the nation knew criticisms about adequate socialization were ill-founded - they had the evidence right in their own homes. In part to address this question from a research perspective, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned a study in 2003 titled Homeschooling Grows Up, conducted by Mr. Ray, to discover how home-schoolers were faring as adults. The news was good for home-schooling. In all areas of life, from gaining employment, to being satisfied with their home-schooling, to participating in community activities, to voting, home-schoolers were more active and involved than their public school counterparts.
Until recently, Homeschooling Grows Up was the only study that addressed the socialization of home-schooled adults. Now we have a new longitudinal study titled Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults from the Canadian Centre for Home Education. …