How to Answer the Common Question About Homeschooling: What About Socialization?

Here’s how to answer the common question about homeschooling: What about socialization?

What About Socialization?

How to Answer the Common Question About Homeschooling: What About Socialization?

It astounds me that thirty years after I started educating my kids, the most-asked question of homeschoolers is STILL: What about socialization?

It’s time to write this post. I’ve sat on it for years, but today I was inspired to get on it when I was listening to the Snarky Homeschool Moms Podcast where they address: Do You Even Know What Socialization Means? (It’s a great episode, you should listen.)

Almost thirty years ago, 7Sisters’ Marilyn and I were leadership in our local homeschool support group.

Every year we did a how-to-get-started workshop in which we addressed the three most common homeschool questions of that day:

  • Is that legal? (Homeschooling is now legal in all 50 states.)
  • Are you qualified? (We know by valid research and experience that a homeschool parent’s level of education is not a factor in homeschool success.)
  • What about socialization? (The above two questions have become moot, but this one is still around!)

Therefore, I will now officially address “What about socialization?” from my three different qualifications:

  • a mental health professional
  • an emeritus leader in the homeschool community
  • and a homeschool mom

1) What about socialization? Answered by a mental health professional.

As my friends, Marci and Aurie at Snarky Homeschool Moms said, “Do you even know what socialization means?”


Let’s look at the actual definition:

“Socialization” is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society. Socialization is thus “the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.” gives a similar definition:

“a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position”

As a counselor, I often help my clients with the process of socialization, because their depression, anxiety or trauma has interrupted the process. We discuss ways to learn:

  • How to live in a culturally healthy way (norms and customs)
  • Ways to understand and define their beliefs (ideologies)
  • How to develop skills and habits for living in our society

THAT IS what socialization is. With that in mind, think about this: isn’t that EXACTLY what we homeschooling parents do with our children? One of the reasons many of us homeschool is so that we can teach our children:

  • How to live our lives healthily (spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially) in our current society
  • For those of us who are religious: how to understand our faith and communicate in Christlike ways with people of other ideals
  • How to practice good manners, compassionate attitudes and service as a lifestyle

Therefore, I would say that homeschooled kids have the BEST chance at good socialization, and the research bears that out (this was actually my graduate research). 

Here is a link to more research summaries.  

What About Socialization?
2) What about socialization? Answered by an emeritus leader in the homeschool community.

I homeschooled my five kids all the way to graduation. They are all college graduates now, living healthy and productive lives.

Also, during my homeschool years, I served my local homeschool community for over 20 years as:

  • President of Tri-State Homeschool Network for three years
    • at that time, a three-hundred family organization
  • Board member and upper-classmen advisor for eighteen years at Mt. Sophia Academy
    • homeschool umbrella school that has helped hundreds of teens graduate and successfully begin college and/or career
  • Member of Delaware Home Educators Association for ten years
    • organization of state homeschool leaders
  • Advisor for sixteen years for:
    • homeschool youth groups
    • debate team
    • student government
    • cinematography club
  • Teacher in co-ops and Mt. Sophia Academy classes for twenty years with classes such as

That is not meant as a brag-list, it is meant to say: I know my population. Homeschoolers are *socialized*.

  • Homeschoolers I know are involved in groups that have established values (don’t have fun at another’s expense, help the newbies feel comfortable, take care of the facilities, etc).
  • They are also active in homeschool classes/co-ops, community organizations, churches, sports, arts and service.
  • Homeschoolers I worked with were learning to live balanced lifestyles of faith, health and understanding.

THAT’S what socialization truly is!

3) What about socialization? Answered by a homeschool mom.

As I said earlier, I homeschooled all five of my kids through graduation.

They were socialized in:

  • How to live in a culturally healthy way:
    • We discussed our ideals for:
    • culture
    • our actual American cultures
    • perspective taking
    • leadership
    • visioneering
    • ways to live in a welcoming and civil way in the real world (especially during their high school years)
    • Take a listen at my oldest son’s podcast: Top 40 Philosophy.
  • Ways to understand and define their beliefs (ideologies):
    • My kids cut their teeth in Sunday School and AWANA, so they learned their Scripture.
    • In high school they studied philosophy, critical thinking, hermeneutics and apologetics.

      History and Philosophy of the Western World
      Click image for full description.
  • How to behave politely and compassionately (skills and habits):
    • My kids learned good manners at home and in their homeschool youth groups and leadership teams,
    • they learned social skills and soft skills for becoming leaders in the community.

      Social Skills for Children
      Click image for full description.
  • They practiced their socialization in:

They were socialized!

SO, how do you answer that irritating question: What about socialization?

That’s according to your mood.

Here are some ideas:

  • One of my homeschool mom-friends told her teens the smart-aleck thing to say:
  • “We aren’t socialized! My mom chains us to our desk in the basement and brings us peanut butter sandwiches.”

  • You could join my Snarky Homeschool Mom-friends and say,
  • “Do you even know what socialization means?”

Click image for full description.
  • Or you could write your own elevator pitch/mission statement about socialization.
    • Then memorize it.
    • Maybe something like this:
  • “My children are socialized through the gospel, family, church and community organizations to be healthy spirit, soul and body and to become good people, leaders and valuable contributors to society. How about YOUR kids?”

What about socialization?

Maybe if we all have a similar mission statement that we can share, we might infect our culture for the good with the idea that socialization is NOT the constricted, artificial segregating of our children in age-isolated peer situations. Rather, socialization is the development of the next generation of GOOD PEOPLE!


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How to Answer the Common Question About Homeschooling: What About Socialization?


Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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