Several people have expressed to me the opinion that homeschooling was a disadvantage to my children due to the lack of social interaction that my children would have. They felt that the social skills learned while going to school were as important as the academic education.
The value of the social interaction in school is not the same for everyone. For a person with average learning capacity, an outgoing personality, and no physical traits for which one is likely to be discriminated against, the public school system is probably a very good experience overall. However, for people who don’t fit into that category, the school environment can be detrimental, even traumatic. Kids can be very mean to someone who is different from what is judged to be normal. I remember some of the mean things I did and said when I was in school, and I regret the hurt feelings that I caused.
While it is true that people do learn things from personal interactions in school, I don’t believe that any lessons which are important won’t be learned elsewhere. My kids interact with their family, with their friends, and with other adults and children at varying times. I have no reason to suppose that any worthwhile lessons won’t be learned during those interactions. If I were to keep my children locked up in a cage and not allow them to see anyone else, then that would definitely affect their social skills. However, that scenario doesn’t reflect their actual situation.
My kids were in public schools for several years. If there were any important lessons to be learned which they wouldn’t have learned without school, I think it is probable that they have already learned them. My daughters are too young for dating at this point, so any interactions with the opposite sex that they’ll miss out on are irrelevant at this point. By the time they’re ready for dating, they will probably be taking classes at a community college, or at a trade school, or they’ll be working part-time.
One reason that I was initially glad to let my daughters go to school was to give them a greater opportunity to make friends, but now that they have a set of friends there is one less advantage to going to school outside of home.
I believe that the educational value of home school far outweighs the educational value of the public schools; and I also believe, for the reasons stated above, that being educated at home puts them at no significant disadvantage regarding social skills.