Last week, we had a guest for Shabbos who didn't know that I am homeschooling my kids for the time being. She asked me where my kids go to school. "Weeeeell....they don't." "But they will at some point, right?" "Weeeeell...." "Don't tell me you're going to HOMESCHOOL them?! Kids need FRIENDS! They need to SOCIALIZE! Your kids will grow up WEIRD!"
I get that a lot. No one wonders how my kids will learn to read, do math, or parse a Chumash. But they all ask about socialization.
Recently, on Imamother, there was a thread. A mother had written to the Yated, asking about pulling her child out of school for one year. She got about seven or eight responses, all of them variants on the same theme: "What about SOCIALIZATION?" To hear that question, one would think that school is an eight-hour playdate. That the sole reason for going to school and paying all that tuition is so your kids can have thirty "bestest friends," all the same age.
Except when they don't. See, schools don't hand-pick classmates or teachers, so every class is a mixed bag. Some kids will be friends with your kids, some won't. And even if your children are fortunate enough to make a few friends, that's not really the point. Schools were not designed as social clubs, but as a way to efficiently educate large numbers of kids. Most of the time, kids sit quietly, either listening to a teacher or doing schoolwork. Not socializing. Making friends is a by-product, not a goal. Kids actually socialize more effectively when they can mix with large groups of different kids of different ages with grown-ups on hand to monitor the situation. Not in a silent classroom or chaotic school playground.