This is the question that all homeschool families are always asked and we are no exception. This was the first question the nurse asked the other day when I told her that I homeschool. I guess that people assume that we stay home all the time and they also assume that good and important socialization occurs at the public and private school buildings.
Socialization: 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.
Let's start with the second of these 2 assumptions: I don't think that largely good socialization is occuring at schools these days, I think a lot of it is negative. I've seen a kid in our homeschool group, who used to be the funniest, most relaxed happy kid ever, who was always right in the middle of the other kids having a great time, after a year in private school, start hovering on the edges, self-conscious, quiet and miserable looking. It's like he's a whole nother kid. I think that's what constant peer pressure does to kids. It could be a product of growing another year, but I don't see it happening to the kids who are continuing to homeschool, several of whom are already teens and older than him. Of course, there may be something else going on with him that I don't know about so maybe he doesn't count? Regardless, I don't really see a lot of behaviors amongst the kids I see out in public that I want them to teach my kids. And finally, don't you remember being told while in school "We're not here to socialize!"
Secondly, we aren't home all the time isolating our kids from other people (even if we were, my husband and I could probably teach them how to behave without their teen and tween friends having to step in and do it!) In the mornings, we are usually home, but in the afternoon, we're skating, we're at the park, on field trips, at 4H, at the pool and at the library, the grocery, Walmart, or the movies. The point is, we get out of the house. I'm not even the slightest bit worried that when they are adults they won't know how to act around other people.
To the nurse I kept my explanation simple due to a lack of time (and the fact that she probably wasn't really interested but just making polite conversation) , "Oh we have a homeschool group that we do a lot of things with."