It seems intrinsically obvious that homeschoolers must be socially deprived. After all, while others are in school, they are not. While schoolchildren ride the bus, homeschoolers, in general, do not. While the conventionally schooled spend their days with large groups of peers, homeschoolers, it may seem, do not.
But research shows that homeschoolers are not socially deprived. Personal contact with any representative sample of homeschoolers will confirm this. And many experienced homeschoolers consider socialization one of the greatest advantages of homeschooling. Why the discrepancy? One reason is that homeschooling is not what people generally imagine it to be. It is not, as many imagine, essentially school transplanted into the home without the other kids. So just what is it instead? In this chapter we will dispense with common stereotypes and instead peer into the lives of some real homeschoolers to see what they really do with their time.
One definition of homeschooling is that it is simply the education or teaching of a child or children at home, usually by the parent or guardian. To some extent this is true, but for understanding what the life of a homeschooler is really like, this definition is wholly inadequate because in truth, Homeschooling is much more than that. It doesn't necessarily take place at home and often has little to do with school. It goes by many names that reflect a variety of approaches and philosophieshomeschooling, unschooling, home-based education, world schooling, life schooling, life learning. I have even heard it jokingly termed "car-schooling"!
The reality is that homeschooling is more than just a home-grown imitation of school, more than an educational method or choice. It is a total child-rearing choice, sometimes a philosophical or religious one, and for many it is nothing short of a way of life.