Home Schooling: Family as Peer Group
The author partly qualifies that claim by observing that, for some children, the family is the peer group. She gives as an example the case of a black worker with four daughters who decided that they were all going to be doctors–and ended up with one doctor and three other professionals. The way he did it was by making the family the set of people with whom his daughters chiefly interacted, and with whose values they identified. I think that describes my upbringing as well–I was very much an outsider in school, seeing my family as real people and my age peers as at least mildly alien. I gather from correspondence with Judith Harris that it may have been true of her as well.
This suggests an important point about home schooling–it is, among other things, a way of making it more likely that your children's parents, siblings, and a few friends will function as the effective peer group. Seen from one standpoint, that means parents trying to control their children, mold them in their own image. Seen from the other side, the choice is between the parents' values and the values of a random collection of kids–and most parents know which they prefer.
There are some disadvantages to the approach, of course. I was never entirely socialized to the surrounding society; one result is that I regard argument nont as a way of expressing hostility but as an entertaining and educational activity, an attitude that can quite easily get one in trouble. And there are other ways in which most of the people around me still seem slightly alien, more so than they probably would if I had identified with my age peers when growing up. Yet, all things considered, I prefer the attitudes, values and worldview I was brought up with to those more generally prevailing.
Many years ago, my parents expressed concern as to whether they should have made more of an effort to bring their children up in their ancestral religion, celebrated Hannukah instead of Christmas, perhaps sent me to Hebrew School. My reply was that I thought it better to be brought up, as I was, in the religion they actually believed in--18th century rationalism, the world view of Adam Smith and David Hume.