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Gathercole, who has spent 10 years homeschooling her three children, says what most people wonder about is whether homeschooled children can work and play with others, in other words, their socialization skills. She begins by noting that "once upon a time, all children were homeschooled" before more formal schooling and the development of "school culture." She notes that conventional schools offer "socialization" through peer pressure, the stress of choosing between popularity and academic performance, and excessive attention to appearance. Drawing on her own experiences as a homeschooler, she details the networks of other homeschoolers who provide opportunities for their childrenand themselvesto socialize. Gathercole also points to research showing that homeschooled children have stronger self-concepts than children attending conventional schools. Focusing on how homeschoolers address misperceptions, she explores concepts of socialization, the importance of friendships with other children, strong relationships with parents, and how homeschoolers eventually integrate into the "real world." Great encouragement for parents who are homeschooling and those who are considering it. Bush, Vanessa
Rachel Gathercole has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of North Carolina. She is a free-lance writer who has written for many homeschooling and parenting publications. She is also a co-leader in the Home Education Association of North Carolina, and an instructor for independent writing courses for homeschoolers. She has homeschooled her own three children.