Confessions of a Homeschool Veteran: The Myth About Socialization

I’m a homeschool veteran.

I can say that because my mother started homeschooling me and the Bro when I began the second grade. I’m so glad she did. Granted, this was back in the mid-nineties and my little, second-grade self didn’t know what homeschooling even was and the thought of leaving my friends was quite alarming. But I quickly settled into it and grew to love my new lifestyle.

Now, I’m about to finish my BA and starting to think back on my educational journey.  What do I have to say now that I’m reaching this landmark in my life?

A lot.

This will be a series of posts about my experiences as a homeschooled student. Yes, there are misconceptions that I’ll address but there are also points of interest that I can share now that I’m an adult and have been through it.   

This is Confessions of a Homeschool Veteran.

CONFESSIONS OF A Homeschool Veteran 1 (1)

You can guess from the graphic what topic I’m going to address first. Yes, I’d like to bust a myth:

Homeschoolers and socialization.  

This has got to be the most popular myth about homeschooling. All my life my parents were asked all kinds of questions like, “But do your kids socialize?”,  “Aren’t you worried your kids won’t be socialized?”, “Do they have a social life?”

In one word – YES!  Yes to all of those questions.

Let me explain something that I think people who ask these questions seem to forget. You ready for this?

Everybody worries about socialization. Period. 

I don’t think there is a parent on this planet with a school-aged child that doesn’t worry about their child’s social life no matter their schooling situation. I mean c’mon, you remember what it was like to be a kid, right?  It’s hard to make friends. It’s hard to keep a stiff upper lip when no one wants to sit next to you at lunch. It’s hard to find your place in a group. Guess what? Traditionally schooled kids have socialization issues too. In fact, let me be so bold as to say that traditionally schooled kids have potentially more socialization issues than do homeschooled kids. There are a lot of reasons for that but this isn’t the post. I think we all know enough about peer pressure, bullying, cliques, and battered self-worth to get the picture.

Just because a child doesn’t go to a traditional school doesn’t mean they can’t be socialized.  And by the same token, just because a child goes to a traditional school doesn’t mean they’re properly socialized either. I mean, heck, adults have socialization issues! We learn a thing or two about communicating as we age but we can be just as socially awkward as we were when we were adolescents. We’re all different and our educational situations don’t necessarily determine our social comfort levels. It’s something we all have to learn and some of us are naturally better at it than others. 

Having said all that, I’ll admit it, there are some socially awkward homeschoolers out there. But just because you may have come across one of them, doesn’t mean that’s how the rest of us are.  Don’t lump us together, please. Homeschoolers come in all stripes and types and I know that as human beings we naturally stereotype cultures and sub-cultures, but just like not all black people like fried chicken, (yes, I went there and yes, I’m half black) not all homeschoolers are socially awkward. Back off the stereotypes, don’t be so quick to make assumptions, and get to know a homeschooled student before you make a judgement call.  

Whenever I hear the socialization myth, I laugh cause I think it’s so ridiculous. Let me just say, I have never once been told that I have a problem socializing. The Bro and I were involved in extracurricular activities as kids, we’ve always been active at church and have never lacked friends. I grew up being able to have conversations with people my parents’ age and older and liking it! And while homeschoolers are quick to say that the average, traditionally schooled child isn’t capable of doing this, I’m slower to make that judgement call because everyone is different. There are great communicators from every educational background and I don’t think anyone really wants to be negatively defined by their education anymore than I do. 

We should be defined by what we do with our education, not by how we got it. 


So, next time you meet a homeschooled student, don’t let the question of socialization be the first thing to pop out of your mouth. Do like everyone else and ask them about their favorite subject. Believe me, they’ll tell you!

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  • Awesome post! I’ve gotten the whole socialization so many times now! I think though that people are beginning to understand that we aren’t quite such weirdos now. 😉

    • Elyssa

      I agree, I think more people are realizing that. A fact, for which, I am, of course, truly thankful! 🙂

    • Thank you!! Haha, yes, I agree 🙂

  • muyiwa

    How about learning conflict resolution? I think in a school environment you have many more opportunities to learn what I consider to be important social interactions then in a home school environment. That of course is my opinion from the outside looking in. Great to hear your point of view. I considered home schooling my kids and ultimately decided against it, while I certainly recognize the merits and advantages.

    • I think that when it comes to exposing children to different social situations it depends on how the parents homeschool. Home, school, workplace, it doesn’t matter, if you spend a lot of time with any group of people, you’re going to need to learn how to resolve varying degrees of conflict. Sure, there is something to be said about the potential variety of opportunities to work through conflict in a traditional school setting but if parents get their children involved in different activities outside the home, then those children will have access to a variety of situations as well. I believe successful homeschooling is is dependent on being well rounded educationally & socially :).

      Thank you for your opinion!

    • Absurd

      I was homeschooled from Kindergarten to 5th grade, attended a public school in 6th grade, went back homeschool for 7th and 8th, then finished all four years of high school in a public school. The artificial environment did not teach me conflict resolution. If someone strikes me I file charges, if someone steals from me I file a police report, if someone breaks into my home or tries to sexually assault me I shoot them. That’s conflict resolution. What I learned was that it’s socially accepted in schools for students to mistreat each other by adults who believe it’s some sick rite of passage into adulthood. I learned that criminal behavior (theft, battery, destruction of private property, sexual harassment, and sexual assault to name a few) is swept under the rug in public schools and excused as “childish behavior”.

  • Hey Elyssa! Super post!
    I started homeschooling my sons when the eldest was just going into the 9th grade. It was challenging, but when I think of @disqus_7xPpSgyeYy:disqus comments about conflict resolution, I have to say that I’m glad we made the change.
    Our eldest was having a ton of conflict in school, and taking it out on his younger brother. We are confident that not only did we ‘save’ our elder son from torment and conflict, we also saved their relationship. The ‘boys’ are extremely close today.
    As for socialization – our home was filled with their friends, they participated in innumerable social events, and we were able to know how life was progressing.
    They were able to work with their dad from time to time, so they learned work skills that are serving them today. This is an aspect that is overlooked, I think.
    Go you and your bold step to address this head on!
    My daughter-in-love home schools our lovely grandchildren. I’ll be sharing your blog with her.
    BTW, I’m visiting over from 500 Words

    • Hi Donna! Yes I recognized you from 500 Words, thanks for stopping by!

      I’m so glad your homeschool experience was so positive. Mine was similar – my brother and I, though seven years apart, are super close and that’s cause we spent ever day together. We had a really rough patch when we were about 12 & 19 but got over it and become closer than we were before.

      I think you’re right, there is that aspect of homeschooling that is overlooked – there is ‘stuff’ that replaces the traditional school setting. Extracurricular activities, working with parents, sibling relationships, etc., all make up experiences that force us to learn how to function in the real world. I think you and I both agree that those experiences are more than sufficiently well-rounded to training kiddos and young people to be effective, hard working adults!

      Thanks so much for your comments 🙂

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