Hi Rod - this is the classic question most people ask about home education - in short - no I'm not concerned in the slightest - because home schooled kids get much better socialisation than schooled children on the whole.
I've been home educating my kids for 7 years now. I did most of my reading and research in the first 3 years. When I first came across the idea about 10 years ago, I was horrified with my friend and thought she was totally ignorant and irrisponsible by home educating her daughter. But since that time I have read lots and had lots of first hand experience with the home educating community - and my fears where based in ignorance and prejudices.
Having been involved with the community now for about 10 years, I can see that the children are well adjusted and quite self confident, with lots of ideas about life, the universe and everything, including their passion and drives for their own life's journey.
It's a different start in life - and I believe way more conducive to wellbeing and happiness in the whole of life than the school system provides. If you look at the stats, you'll find that home educated kids generally have better outcomes with exam results, further education and income than schooled children. There may be other reasons that the figures are this way - perhaps it's only a certain type of person that home educates, leading to these sorts of figures.
I don't have any links at the moment - but if you do look into it - you won't have to look far to get more of an idea about what home education is all about.
I read a bit of the input on the comment wall. In case no one else has said similar, here is my opinion:
As the deliberate Christianity based takeover of American life, through politics and eventually the full "Seven Mountains" has grown, education has been increasingly reduced. The masses can better be controlled if they lack critical reasoning skills and become overly dependent on Christian overlords for survival (i.e., food, rent, clothing). I'll ask you to check or fill in the dates for much of what I am about to present, because it's what I have seen in my personal lifetime of public school education followed by government supported university and graduate school education and training.
"Under God" was added to The Pledge of Allegiance in the mid 1950s, and "in God We Trust" added to US money not too long before that, if I recall correctly. Ostensibly, this was to seek out "Godless commies."
Citizenship used to be graded, in the 1960s elementary school education. It taught the basic laws, ethics and morals of civilization, so we would grow up to become productive, not destructive, members of society, based on American history, The Constitution, and just plain good sense. Few even recall such a grade, now, and no schools appear to be teaching it. Instead, we are inundated with news that God and Jesus have to be taught instead, as excuses for good behavior, and that good behavior can't possibly exist without them. So much for common sense, as good sense no longer seems common.
Nearly 1990, then-President Reagan suddenly pulled the rug out of post-high school education. Federally funded student loans for doctors had been running 13 3/8 %, with the interested calculated and added into the ballooning principle every 6 months! Reagan suddenly made the interest non-tax deductible. Real estate mortgage is still tax deductable, but not education. So, those from wealthy families can afford to get an education, buy property, grow more wealth, while the poor are stuck. (NB: Eventually, a sniveling 10% tax deduction was returned to student loan interest. I've no idea what the standard is, now.)
To provide teachers where no one wants to pay for them, college and graduate students are financially arm-twisted with the promise of student loan payback. So, they come from watered down education (so gradual I cannot personally cite a milestone), get deeply into federal debt for more education and the promise of The American Dream lifestyle, and then wind up in an even more poor, dangerous school system further down the sewer drain, to pay back the loans.
It appears the Dominionists put their own sheeples on a separate tract, promoting parental indoctrination through home schooling, making sure the rising generations of large families in their following will avoid questioning the politics of the religion which leads them. This, by the way, must have been ever so much cheaper than creating religion-based schools, which certainly also exist.
As government shifts funding from public schools toward vouchers for religious schools, the under-funded, watered down education of the masses will continue to deteriorate, and desperation among the general population will continue to grow.
Meanwhile, those in power recognize no need to produce massive quantities of well educated Americans (scientists, engineers, etc). They can import the lower ranks, draft from among them new followers, and make sure they have enough American-raised and trained minds at the very top. And then, when the lower ranks try to earn their way up, as per the American Dream, they can have their visas yanked and get targeted as "intellectuals" and/or "heathens."
Yes, this all sounds like some conspiracy theory. Yet, having been raised Jewish, with the inbred belief that education is the key to anything and everything, I am shocked to see how generations behind me appear less and less and less educated -- particularly when there is so much available online for free and through our remaining public libraries.
If my students are the future, we're all in a lot of trouble. Students should form ideas and express them, but uneducated students tend to express old ideas poorly. Try this: read George Bush's recent book, then read Al Gore's book. You will hear the ideas of a sophomoric frat boy in one and a well-educated, mature man in the other. Guess which one doesn't like to read? Education in America has become the passing on of facts as defined by the state education department. Children learn how to play with computers, so they don't have to learn math, which largely eliminates logic from the curriculum. Consider geometry, in which all the rules are based on axioms for which there are mathematical proofs. Each step in math, actually, is built on the previous step, which leads all the way back to "manipulatives," the marbles or jelly beans teachers put on the table to demonstrate addition and subtraction. College students (mine, anyway) don't know grammar, spelling, or punctuation because they haven't read enough to absorb them. (Talk to any good writer and you will find a voracious reader.) They can use a thesaurus, but they remain unaware that they are not using the right word, but as Mark Twain said, its second cousin. They can use a grammar checker, but can't tell when the grammar checker gives them a bum steer. (Run the Gettysburg Address through a grammar check program sometime.) They can use a spell checker, but can't spot the misuse of homophones, such as "there," "their," and "they're." Forget history. What they know of that has been summarized, sanitized, politicized, and Bowdlerized. I read countless essays about students' high school days, but they're either about sports or proms or childbirth. I'm still waiting for an essay on the fascinations of math or biology. For most of my students, learning--or even showing an interest--is so uncool it leads instantly to a reputation as Mr. Geeky McNerdiness.
Most of the knowledge I acquired during my school days came from outside reading, and reading developed the ability to learn more while granting me access to a vast variety of sources. As a college professor, I am required to engage in "professional development." To me, that means continuing study, the thirty or forty new books on literature, history, philosophy, religion, etc., that I read each academic year along with dozens of new novels, plays, and poems. To my administration, it means going to training in some new software that is supposed to teach my students better than I can. Most of my colleagues use a program called Turnitin to find plagiarized essays. I use a search engine because the judgment I've developed makes the difference between a student writing and professional writing as easy to spot as the difference between a red light and a green one.
When I took the SAT as a high school junior, I scored a combined 1400 without a prep book or a prep course. It seemed to me that relying on one's education and ability and letting the test chips fall where they may could be a useful tool for college admissions officers. Now that the tests have become the raison d'etre of public school instruction, they are ruining education. The Internet, as valuable a tool as it is, puts "knowledge" and "information" a mouse click away, but a lot of that "knowledge" is bogus. Consider a lit course. What works could I assign students to read that they can't find summarized and analyzed on the net? Multiple choice tests aren't very effective in testing knowledge and understanding, and essay tests can only cover a small portion of the material. How can I know if an average student test essay results from a careful reading of an assigned book or from Cliff Notes or Cliff's thousand imitators? Did the student read Gatsby or go to Pink Monkey? Can the student read and think, or does he or she skim and summarize?
Getting an education and getting a diploma are two different things. They can overlap, but they often don't.
Aargh. I mean, you know, like aargh.