When a family decides to place their children in a home schooling system, they are making a gigantic decision that will have immense implications on the development and welfare of their children. For some, it is seen as an alternative to traditional schooling, which perhaps provides the children with a more personalized, tailored education, that takes into account their unique learning styles and needs. With this in mind, it is important to consider, not only the educational progress of the children but also their social, emotional and mental well-being, which may play a role in their development.
This article seeks to explore the area of social disadvantage amongst homeschooled children, from a variety of perspectives, in order to best inform those who may be considering homeschooling as an educational option for their children.
#1 – The Rise of Homeschooling and its Reasons
In recent years, much has been made about the increasing numbers of families who are opting to homeschool their children, rather than sticking to the traditional route. This revolution in education has been prompted by a number of reasons, some of which are a desire to prioritize religious or moral teachings in their children’s curriculum, or some who feel that public schooling is not providing the brand of education they desire for their children.
Whatever the reason, homeschooling has been growing in popularity and prevalence, and this has caused parents to wrestle with the benefits and drawbacks of such a system, especially with regards to social disadvantage. Much of the data and research done by experts suggests that homeschooled children generally experience no more social disadvantage than their peers in traditional schooling. It is argued that in many families, normal school curricula may not permit the time available for the children to engage in extra-curricular activities, social activities and exploration of interests.
When children are at home, such things are more readily available, if the family find suitable programs and activities for the child to do.
#2 – Inside the Home School Environment
Another factor to take into consideration with regards to homeschooling are the specifics of the particular home schooling set up. Educational experts point out that not all homeschooling families are created equal. Some homeschooling parents may provide their children with an incredible level of education, while others may not provide a full and balanced education at all.
This means that some homeschooling families may be unable to facilitate the same kind of socialization and opportunities for their children as their peers in traditional schools, causing their social interaction and development to be impacted. More modern curricula, however, may be geared to give homeschooling families the opportunity to become more socially active, engaging in activities and programs, getting involved with the local church, and even participating in group homeschooling with other families.
#3 – What Families Can Do With Networking And Extracurricular Activities?
For very determined parents, there are plenty of opportunities to support and facilitate their children’s social lives, through networking and extracurricular activities. Some homeschooled children take part in enrichment classes provided by external organizations and clubs, or even engage in distance learning programs, to get the traditional schooling experience without having to attend the actual school building. Parents may also opt for small, local homeschooling groups, where children and parents come together to engage in activities and discussion.
This provides a social environment that allows the children to interact and converse with peers, being both guided and monitored by the parents or group leaders at all times.
#4 – What About College Admission?
One of the biggest concerns for homeschooling parents is the question of college admission. Often, the perception is that, due to the lack of traditional schooling, the admissions process and college acceptance for homeschooled children is more difficult and challenging. Indeed, according to reports, in the United States and Canada, more than eighty percent of colleges are said to accept homeschooled applicants on an equal basis with traditionally schooled applicants and provide access to admissions guidance and support.
Furthermore, colleges and other higher education institutions provide portals and websites that cater to the needs of homeschooled applicants, and that offer guidance, advice and support throughout the admissions process.
#5 – Can Parenting Style Help With Socialization?
Aside from the educational support given to children who are homeschooled, much of the socialization process also comes down to the parenting style of the homeschooling family. According to reports, many parents who choose to homeschool their child may find that the environment which they have provided for him/her, encourages their child to be more sociable and friendly to others. This is because the family environment is generally far more relaxed, and time is available for the child to explore their hobbies and interests.
Parents may also opt for family friendly activities, such as visits to museums and parks, playdates, and other things that can help children to become more sociable.
#6 – The Role Of Theme Parks And Community Organizations
In many places, there are theme parks that cater to families and homeschoolers in particular, offering discounted admission and other benefits. Many of these theme parks are geared towards family-friendly activities, where homeschooled children can socialize, build friendships, engage in activities and explore the world around them, which goes a long way in helping them gain an understanding of their place in the community. Many cities also offer access to community organizations, recreation centers, and other outlets, which help homeschooled children to interact with their peers.
This is especially beneficial if classes or home learning activities are organized through these outlets, as it provides a more structured environment that can help to foster the social routine of homeschooled children.
#7 – Does Homeschooling Promote Bonus Learning Opportunities?
In addition to the wide variety of activities and programs that homeschooling families may access for their children, some experts also point out that children who are homeschooled may also benefit from exposure to experiences and opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them, if they were in traditional schooling. This could be from foreign language classes, art programs, or even exposure to a variety of cultural and religious activities.
Experts say that children who are homeschooled often gain a greater understanding of the world around them and this helps to open up the world of possibilities in terms of communication and socialization with their peers. This could be very beneficial for children who may otherwise be isolated and unable to access such activities in a traditional school.
#8 – What is the Outcome Of Various Studies Done?
Recent studies show that homeschooled children generally experience no more social disadvantage than those who attend mainstream schooling. Many experts even suggest that such children may experience a greater level of socialization, as the homeschooling environment can allow the children to access a wider array of activities and experiences, than the time and structure of traditional schooling. However, the social disadvantage of homeschooled children is still an area that requires further exploration, due to the wide variety of personal circumstances, parenting styles and house hold dynamics, each with their own potential to impact the outcome of homeschooled children, in regards to their social development.
#9 – What is the Impact of Social Isolation on Children Who are Homeschooled?
Although the impact of socialization of homeschooled children can be positive, there is still the question of social isolation, which has been identified as a potential risk factor in the development of children who are homeschooled. It is worth noting that homeschooling in some cases, can result in isolation, due to the fact that the children may be subject to peer pressure, lack of understanding of authority figures or even a lack of leadership opportunities.
In order to address these possible outcomes, parents and educators can be proactive to ensure that the children’s environment is safe, engaging and monitored. There also needs to be a focus on the social, emotional and mental well-being of the child, through programming and activities, to help them keep their development on track.
#10 – What Are The Different Perspectives Of College Recruiters?
When it comes to college recruiters and admissions staff, their opinion of homeschooled children is said to be quite positive. Many of the recruiters who were interviewed were very open to considering homeschooled applicants, noting that such applicants often came with a unique background, perspective, and independent learning approaches that could add a real value to their college experience. They all also stressed the need for parents of homeschooled children to provide evidence of the educational progress of their children, as well as highlighting any extracurricular projects, awards, and other achievements, that may set the student apart from their peers.
#11 – What Are The Types Of Personal Support Available?
When it comes to the overall question of social disadvantage amongst homeschooled children, it is worth noting that there are plenty of opportunities for personal and professional support. From online support networks, to discussion forums, homeschooling families may access a wealth of information, advice and support, as well as guidance on activities, classes and extracurricular programs that may benefit their children. What’s more, some communities also provide support groups and clubs, where homeschooled children and their parents, can come together to socialize, ask questions and even create activities and projects, together.
This provides homeschooled families with a strong, supportive structure that can help to keep the socialization of homeschooled children on track.
#12 – Are Homeschooled Children More Emotionally Intelligent?
Some experts also point out that children who are homeschooled may actually come out as more emotionally intelligent, as a result of their experiences. This is because the lack of direct competition and the more relaxed environment, can give the child more time to learn about themselves, and process the world around them in their own way. This can lead to greater emotional intelligence, an increased sense of self-awareness, new discoveries and greater understanding of the motivations and feelings of others.
Again, this can help children to build friendships, which could attribute to better integrated and healthier relationships, in the future.
#13 – Concluding Remarks
To conclude, it is clear that homeschooled children may face social disadvantage in some cases, such as social isolation, difficulty with college admissions and lack of access to group activities, but this disadvantage is not universal. The vast majority of studies and reports show that, most homeschooled children have experiences and exposure that are as equal as, if not greater than, those in traditional schooling.
Parents and guardians of homeschooled children should be aware of the risks and should be proactive in providing a safe and stimulating environment for their children, that fosters socialization, exploration and the development of strong friendships and bonds. By doing this, homeschooling parents can ensure that their children have the best possible chance at social, emotional and mental well-being.