Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Homeschooling and Socialization

"What about the socialization?" One occasionally hears this question with regard to homeschooling.

Here's a quote from psychology professor Richard G. Medlin's article, "Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization," Peabody Journal of Education, Vol. 75 (2000): 107-23.
Shyers (1992a, 1992b), in the most thorough study of home-schooled children's social behavior to date, tested 70 children who had been entirely home-schooled and 70 children who had always attended traditional schools. The two groups were matched in age (all were 8-10 years old), race, gender, family size, socioeconomic status, and number and frequency of extracurricular activities. Shyers measured self-concept and assertiveness and found no significant differences between the two groups.

The most intriguing part of the study, however, involved observing the children as they played and worked together. Small groups of children who all had the same school background were videotaped while playing in a large room equipped with toys such as puzzles, puppets, and dolls. The children were then videotaped again in a structured activity: working in teams putting puzzles together for prizes.

Each child's behavior was rated by two observers who did not know whether the children they were rating were home-schooled or traditionally schooled. The observers used the Direct Observation Form of the Child Behavior Checklist . . . , a checklist of 97 problem behaviors such as argues, brags or boasts, doesn't pay attention long, cries, disturbs other children, isolates self from others, shy or timimd, and shows off. The results were striking -- the mean problem behavior score for children attending conventional schools was more than eight times higher than that of the home-schooled group. Shyers (1992a) described the traditionally schooled children as "aggressive, loud, and competitive" (p. 6). In contrast, the home-schooled children acted in friendly, positive ways.



Blogger Michael Simpson said...

We don't homeschool our kids, but in conversation with friends who bring up the "socialization" objection, I always point out that socialization per se is hardly necessarily good. You can be socialized into both virtue and vice, after all.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Richard H said...

Socialization was one of the main reasons we homeschooled our children. We did not want them to be socialized by their peers into the dominant values of our culture. Instead, as Christians, we wanted them to be socialized into Kingdom values. This did not entail isolation from the broader culture or society, but a safe place from which one could learn and in which they could live.

The study you quote is completely believable.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Oriental Rugs said...

I'm sure access to resources, including time as a resource, is a contributing factor to the public school children's reactions to manipulating materials. Scarcity is the culture in public schools, after all.

2:47 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home