Proponents of homeschooling have always and forever faced the criticism that homeschooled children will not be properly socialized. And for just as long, nearly, we have known that this criticism is mythical. It has been debunked time and again, despite the fact that opponents continue to promulgate the mythology. Even a U.S. Department of Education official debunked it, more than once, for example saying,
People disagree about whether homeschooling helps or hinders a child’s social development. Homeschooling children spend less time with peers and more time with people of different ages. Most participate in scouting, church groups, and other associations. Many volunteer in their communities. Some operate a business. There is no conclusive research suggesting that additional time with same-aged peers is preferable to more time with individuals of varying ages.
That was written twelve years ago. You would think the myth would have been laid to rest by now.
In fact, some studies have gone beyond mere debunking to showing just the opposite: homeschoolers in the aggregate have better social skills. A CBN report notes, “Dr. Thomas Smedley believes that homeschoolers have superior socialization skills, and his research supports this claim. He conducted a study in which he administered the Vineyard Adaptive Behavior Scales test to identify mature and well-adapted behaviors in children. Home learners ranked in the 84th percentile, compared to publicly schooled students, who were drastically lower in the 23rd.”
For Christians, the ultimate standard is in the scriptural commands to educate our children (Deut. 6; Eph 6; etc.). But scriptural truth will always eventually break out in history, as our Lord will not be mocked. And finally we are seeing that ultimate refutation, in time and history, of the socialization myth. It is glorious, and yet sad in a way, to behold God’s judgment upon a faithless society.
The report comes from the Daily Mail (UK), which is working based upon the results of not one but “a barrage of new surveys” to conclude the following:
- too many graduates lack the necessary soft skills to adapt to the work environment
- These skills include the ability to communicate with authority figures, prioritize and organize work, manage projects and work in teams
- One survey found 60 percent of employers said applicants lacked “communication and interpersonal skills”
- That figure has jumped 10 percent in the past two years
In short, the general population—the vast majority of whom, we must assume, have been educated in public, government school environments from Kindergarten through college—are not properly socialized.
And like I said, this is not an isolated study. Several have come to the same conclusion:
Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College found 60 percent of employers surveyed cited “communication and interpersonal skills” as a problem for applicants.
A workforce efficiency company called Addecco found 44 percent cited “soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap.”
An annual “Talent Shortage Survey” gets the same reaction from 20 percent of cases worldwide: they are “lacking motivation, interpersonal skills, appearance, punctuality and flexibility.”
Yet another study shows that recent graduates think they are better socialized than they really are—itself a social foible. Students’ ratings of themselves in ten areas of social skills compared to ratings given by employers shows anywhere from an 11 to a 36 percent disconnect, always inflated on the students’ side.
In that last-mentioned study, the worst area of the ten was “Communicating with authority figures and clients.” Here, 70 percent of students said they are “very prepared” or “completely prepared” to use this skill in the workforce today. Only 44 percent of employers agreed.
This specific category gets to the heart of the issue—and this is something homeschoolers have known all along. The question at the heart is, “What is proper socialization?” By this term, most of the traditional critics have meant something like socialization by same-age peers, in a multicultural setting, and in which the student is exposed to, and pressured (or required) to accept as normal, other religions, other lifestyles, other political views, other values, and sexual deviance.
Any Christian should be able to see that the end goal of this type of “proper socialization” is the minimizing and dilution of the Christian worldview in the students’ lives. There is no other main goal of such a setting; it has no other unifying theme or purpose.
As a result, same-age, multi-religious, peer socialization develops young adults who have no boundaries in regard to culture, religion, or sexuality—but along with this also goes implicitly (and explicitly in many cases) boundaries in regard to authority, traditional religious values, proper subordination, discipline toward tasks, delayed gratification, service to others, humility, etc.
And thus the outcome of the secularized, public schools’ “proper socialization” is being seen in increasing waves of students who cannot behave properly in a standard work environment. They can’t communicate, take orders, relate to clients, manage jobs, get along in teams or be trusted to have the self-discipline to complete tasks independently (thus they can’t work alone or with others), prepare written summaries or presentations, present persuasive arguments, or speak in public.
Compare this to what the U.S. Department of Education itself knew at least twelve years ago, and really much earlier: “Homeschooling children spend less time with peers and more time with people of different ages. Most participate in scouting, church groups, and other associations. Many volunteer in their communities. Some operate a business.”
It is the very type of socialization found in homeschooling environments that develops these very needed (and basic) social skills. Interaction with different ages and authorities, parents, pastors, etc., develops these skills. That is what proper socialization is. Proper socialization is not the socialization that overstimulated, oversexualized, drugged (legally and illegally), deprogrammed, and uninhibited teenagers have to offer other teenagers, approved by leftist teachers’ unions who secretly admire the great strides Miley Cyrus is making for society.
As long as the NEA and like groups can drive the conversation, the myths will continue. But the more the facts pervade society, the more we will be confronted with manifestation of the truth. The liberals will want to throw more money into the government education programs to fix whatever they determine the problem to be, but Christians should know the real problem and the only proper solution: get out of the immoral and corrupt—and now openly proven failure—that is public schooling.