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Homeschool Fact:
An increasing number of black (African American) parents are homeschooling their children; faster than any other segment of the population - an estimated 140,000 K-12 students in the U.S. in 2008.

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What about Socialization?

Do they have any friends? Children who are homeschooled enjoy talking to their friends, their friends' parents, old people in the lines (queues) in grocery stores, and the auto mechanic.

One day my veterinarian called me to talk about my sheep's problems. Once the veterinarian found out what the National Home Education Research Institute does, he volunteered, "Do you know what I notice about homeschool kids?"

I asked, "What?"

"When they come into my office with their parents, they talk with me." Upon a little further probing, I found out that most other children and youth who come into his office avoid conversing with him or are not very agile at discussing things with him; they are not accustomed to conversing with a variety of adults.

Unless parents isolate themselves from contact with other humans and forbid their children from contact with other humans, then the opportunity for social interaction is grand for homeschoolers. People are social by nature, and the vast majority of homeschoolers engage in a wide variety of activities with persons of all ages. In fact, homeschool children and youth find it very normal to - and are very comfortable with - talk and play and learn with persons of all ages. They are not confined to six hours per day, five days per week, 185 days per year, for 13 or more years, largely with same-age peers.

The research described in The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling supports the notion that homeschool youth are healthy - socially, psychologically, and emotionally. Normal life for homeschoolers is interacting with whoever comes along related to whatever purpose the student or family has in mind. Being segregated by age does not dictate a homeschooler's life.

Goals and vision and educational objectives determine with whom, and with what ages of people, he or she will be each day. Their friends are older, younger, the same age, from down the street, from across town, from the local synagogue or church, from the nearby public/state school, or from the private scout club. Most people live most of their lives this way once they finish school. In fact, when asked about the real world, most homeschoolers chuckle and respond that life in the four walls of a school is far from the real world and that they have always been living in the real world.

It is well-known among educators, and many others, that there is a hidden curriculum in the schools, having more to do with values and acculturation than with reading, writing, and arithmetic. It has to do with how people behave and with what understanding of reality and society guides their thinking. The hidden curriculum affects the psychological and spiritual development of a child.

While some have tried to argue that the public school environment and curriculum are value-neutral and religion-neutral, most scholars and educators have come to recognize this is not true. Warren Nord, of the department of philosophy of the University of North Carolina, stated: "Indeed, I will argue that at least in its textbooks and formal curriculum students are indoctrinated into the modern (secular) worldview and against religion." All of this is part and parcel of socialization."

This article is continued in "What about Socialization?: Part 2".

Brian D. Ray, Ph.D., is the president of the National Home Education Research Institute ( Brian and his wife Betsy have been married 23 years and have eight children, all of whom have been home educated since birth.

This article is excerpted from Dr. Ray's book The Worldwide Guide to Homeschooling and is provided courtesy of

Homeschool girl reading