Date of Award:

1-1-2004

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Shelley L. Knudsen Lindauer

Abstract

Concern over the social development of children who are home schooled has caused parents and educators to question the wisdom of this practice. A review of home-schooling research has not revealed whether a difference exists between the social skills of homeschooled children and children who attend public schools. This study explored the socialization of home-schooled children by comparing Social Skills Rating System scores of home-schooled children with the scores of their mothers and a comparison sample of publicly-schooled chi ldren. Forty-six home-schooled children (23 boys and 23 girls), their mothers, and 39 publicly-schooled children (16 boys and 23 girls) participated in the study. Children and their mothers were asked to report the frequency of social behaviors engaged in by the child. Publicly-schooled girls reported engaging in more positive social behaviors than did home-schooled girls. No differences were found between publicly-schooled and home-schooled boys' scores. Mothers of home-schooled children reported their children's behaviors as more assertive than did their children, while children reported their behaviors as more cooperative than did their mothers.

Home-schooling mothers' and their children's perceptions of socialization were also explored by interviewing I 0 mother-child dyads. Results of qualitative analyses revealed that acceptance of, and the ability to communicate well with individuals of varying ages rather than association with same-aged peers was a key concept in the home-schooling perception of socialization. Home-schooling families believed that their perceptions of socialization were different from non-home-schooling families, who, they believed, focused more on same-age peer interaction. Findings also revealed that the family was seen as the primary socializing agent by home-schooling families. However, they were aware of, and tried to include, other positive socializing agents that could influence their children's social development.

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