There's a misconception about home-schooled students: They can't socialize normally because they're cooped up in their houses every day.

This is only true if you assume home schooling is exactly what it sounds like: studying at home, only at home and never interacting with others in the "outside world." This is a false assumption. Not only does home schooling include activities outside of the home, it also allows -- and even encourages -- students to socialize with people of different ages, backgrounds and perspectives.

Having been home-schooled for my entire school career, I've seen how active home-schoolers are outside of their homes. Many families who home-school are part of local home-schooling co-op groups that hold their own field trips, performance nights, graduation ceremonies, etc. They also might join with other home-schoolers and form classes of their own by hiring educators or parents with expertise in that field to teach a specific class. In past years, I've taken Latin and rhetoric classes in this way.

Whether it's sports, dance, music or art, extracurricular studies are another avenue for home-schoolers to interact with others. Since last year, my siblings and I have been leading a student chapter of the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society, a regional music organization, and we've held concerts and been on field trips with music students from all over the Bay Area. Many home-schoolers compete in speech and debate clubs, participating in multiple tournaments each year all over the state. Other home-schooled friends of mine are politically involved by making calls and canvassing for presidential campaigns. In addition, home-schoolers play on organized sports teams through park programs and sports clubs. In these activities, we often interact with public and private school students as well.

Home-schoolers also tend to socialize with a variety of different people....