Every time you tell someone you home school your child, the first question you hear is "But what about socializing?" Some people are judging, but some people are just really concerned or curious.
Being a brand new home schooling mom, I didn't have any "pat" answers yet. Luckily, the last time someone asked, there was another, more experienced, home schooling mom present. She said "The social skills you need in life are not the same ones you learn in school." And I thought "Well, that's it - that's THE answer!!" And it is. If you think about it, adults rarely have to learn how to defend themselves against kids beating them up in the playground (yes, this happened to my little guy).
And, here's another thing. AJ is autistic. 50 kids running around a playground yelling and playing is not condusive to him learning how to socialize. That is an oppurtunity to freak out over the lack of structure and the abundance of noise. He never tried to socialize at recess, and his "aide" and teachers did not try to facilitate this either. At one point, AJ thought he had a friend. He was very happy. But, it turned out, the kid was playing him. This kid, after AJ trusted him, just started tormenting him. He told AJ before school one day, I'm going to get you in so much trouble today that you're going to spend all day in the principal's office. So that's the social experience AJ was getting in school.
But today, a home schooling mom that I met in an Asperger's group brought her son over. He's 13, so I didn't know if it would work, but it was worth trying. AJ was soooo nervous. He just didn't want this kid to come over. I think he was afraid of it turning into the same situation. But, it went absolutely great. This kid was just amazing. He played with AJ, and they just hung out. They both had a really good time. AJ was so happy!!! When he left, AJ turned to me and said "Mama, I think I maybe found a friend - a real one!" I almost burst into tears. I just gave him a big hug, and told him I think he did.
Now, that's socializing!!