School Choice and Child Socialization
By Cassie Moran
Date: Jan. 14, 2020
A common concern about homeschooling is that children will not learn to be social. In fact, this is quite the misconception. Not only are there ample opportunities for socialization- through co-ops, extra-curriculars, and more- but homeschooled children tend to be more social and have fewer behavioral problems than their peers. Homeschooled children typically have more opportunities to socialize than public school students do under current conditions. If people are genuinely concerned about the socialization of homeschooled children, should we not now extend that same concern to all children?
Today, public school students are either staring at a computer screen for many hours each day as they sit alone at home, or they are sitting in a building six feet apart from their peers with their face covered. Either way, they are isolated. This does not allow for adequate socialization and the effects are chilling. Children are suffering from depression, anxiety, and behavior problems, and much of it stems from problems such as isolation, rather than from sickness itself. While it is essential to protect our children’s physical health, it is every bit as necessary to consider their social and emotional health.
Our children’s social and emotional health must not be neglected, most certainly not for a virus that largely does not affect children. Even if children are infected with COVID-19, they are unlikely to have symptoms, and asymptomatic transmission is unlikely. Of course, each child and each family holds their own health history and risk level. Thus, each family must be able to decide for themselves the best way to stay healthy- physically, socially, and emotionally, not to mention academically. Clearly, mass school shutdowns are not the answer. With students struggling in so many ways, families must hold the power to choose the educational option which best meets the needs of their children.