To this, I say “It depends!”
We sold a house a little over a year ago to a family who had just moved here. They had homeschooled up until that school year, where they had their children in a School of Tomorrow school. (A homeschool curriculum-based school, set up with the publisher and attended half days by the students.)
They believe their children shouldn’t socialize with anyone outside of their church, and they go to great lengths to prevent them from doing otherwise. After spending time with them, I remarked to my husband “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they lived on a compound with guns and attack dog.” Not because they seemed militant, but because their kids were so isolated.
We are still friendly with neighbors near that house, and wouldn’t you know, after they moved in, they got a big guard dog? The kids still aren’t allowed to play with the neighbor’s children (two of whom came to Christ two years ago, after attending church with us and joining Missionettes and Royal Rangers, and they both continue to attend and love the Lord!)
So what is our responsibility as homeschooling parents?
Are we to expose our children to the drugs and gangs and early dating scene at the local junior high “so our kids will FIT IN”, or are we to totally separate them from anyone outside of our family, so that no one can ever taint our little darlings?
To both, I answer a firm NO!
We are to shelter them while they are young, and teach them about the world and life as they are able to absorb and understand it. People who isolate their children DO create kids who are unable to socialize properly, and they are the people that others look at and say, “See, homeschoolers are nothing but a bunch of isolationist wackos!”
The Socialization Issue by Kevin & Kate Megill is a GREAT article on this very subject located on one of my favorite websites.