from previous page

These observations are reinforced by developmental and social psychologist Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University, who has spent many years studying children in various societies. He has noted that over-exposure to a peer group during a child's early years can be damaging and has found that until the fifth or sixth grade level, children who spend more time with their peers than with their parents or older family members become peer dependent. This, he claims, leads to a loss of self worth, optimism, respect for their parents and trust in their peers.

At any rate, even unschooled children with no siblings often have much more contact with a wider variety of people than they would if they were in school. They interact on a personal basis with people in the community from all walks of life, with the result that they learn about the adult world without losing any sense of the child world. Because they're not segregated in a school building all day, their lives can be full and integrated into all aspects of community life.

Wendy Priesnitz is the editor of this website and has been a Canadian home-based education advocate since the 1970s. She is also the editor of Life Learning Magazine, and author of School Free - The Homeschooling Handbook, Challenging Assumptions in Education, and Beyond School: Living As If School Doesn't Exist, as well as the editor of an anthology of articles from Life Learning Magazine called Life Learning: Lessons from the Educational Frontier.