Publication Date


Degree Granted


Institution Granting Degree

University of Virginia


The purpose of this study was to determine what practices home school educators in Virginia were using to meet the socialization needs of their middle school age students. The researcher interviewed parents from ten home schooling families that were in the process of educating a middle school age child (11-14 years old). All parent respondents were from rural localities, encompassing five Virginia counties.

Previous research of socialization within the home school population has concentrated on general personal adjustment and self-esteem. In contrast, this study focused on seven areas of socialization: 1) personal identity, 2) personal destiny, 3) values and moral development, 4) autonomy, 5) relationships (peer and adult), 6) sexuality, and 7) social skills. These seven areas were used in a guided interview format to elicit information from the parents on practices that they had made a part of their instruction. Emergent issues related to socialization are included. Case studies were constructed on each of the ten families. A content analysis of the parent interviews, using the seven previously mentioned areas of socialization as categories was completed.

The case studies, findings, conclusions and researcher remarks were limited to the study population. The researcher concluded from the data gathered that while home school educators were using many nontraditional methods, along with traditional methods, to address the socialization needs of their students, each area was being addressed. Findings indicated that the most important practices of these home school educators were those of: (1) parental modeling; (2) allowing the student to assume specific amounts of responsibility and to participate in situations usually reserved for much older students or adults; and, (3) instilling those values related to their Christian beliefs.