Why do they keep asking that question?
If you choose to homeschool you will find very quickly that few people doubt your ability to educate you children, they may ask "How will you teach Algebra?" or something like that but most people realize that one on one education should work. Their major concern for Your Children will be, "What about Socialization". It seems they think homeschoolers lock their children away in a closet and never let them interact with other children. They think children in school socialize just because they spend 8+ hours sitting in a room with other children that they are seldom allowed to talk to or do activities with. I hear some school don't even allow talking during lunch and recess any more.
I will also tell you most experienced homeschoolers laugh when asked this question and say "I wish my child has a little less socialization and more time to do work/chores, etc. Because school work only takes a few hours a day or less most homeschooled children have lots of time for friends.
Positive versus Negative Socialization:
A really positive aspect of homeschooling is that there is almost no negative socialization. There isn't the picking on and the teasing. I have seen many homeschooled children with obvious differences in learning or behavior being treated just like everyone else by other homeschooled children. There isn't the peer pressure thing going on, which helps on many levels. First there isn't the you can't be "friends with her because she's a girl or because she is younger then you", homeschoolers tend to have friends based on interests and not age or gender. Homeschoolers know how to talk to people of all ages, yes even grownups, because they spend time in real world situations. Classrooms are certainly an artificial environment, I've never had a job where all my co-workers are the same age as I am or have the same level of experience, we learn from people because they are different. The next benefit of lack of peer pressure is young children do not pick up the habits of using curse words and other "bad" language at early ages and later are not interested in that type of childish way of communicating. They do not date at young ages just because everyone else is or have to wear certain types of clothes. They are used to being different and don't go along with the pack just to go along. I see this repeatedly in my own children even though they are involved now in schools and other teen groups, as well as in other homeschoolers.
What The Experts?? Say
Every once and a while there will be a TV program or news story about homeschoolers and to avoid journalistic bias they will find and expert who opposed homeschooling. They will usually talk about that it is important for kids to be picked on to learn how to deal with other people. How ludicrous. As adults we pick and choose who we relate to, even in a work environment if there is someone we don't get along with well there are ways to avoid as much contact as possible and we have better coping mechanisms then we did as children.
So Where Do Homeschooler Socialize?
How do homeschoolers meet their friends? Everywhere - Community sports and activities, scouting, religious institutions, neighborhoods, etc., etc. Of course there are lots of places to meet other homeschoolers - support groups, coops, community programs geared toward homeschoolers (bowling, art, gymnastics, music -depending on where you live). If you don't have formal groups where you are send an email through a homeschool list and invite some people to meet in a park or come over for a movie or game night. Try putting up a sign in a local library if you want to start a group or ask the librarians, they usually know some of the homeschoolers in the community. When we started our support group we did monthly field trips often followed by a picnic, it was rare when at least one of my kids didn't go home after with another family or invite some of the kids from the trip back to our house. Field trips also offer a support system to parents to share their ideas, frustrations and just be around other adults (yes, homeschool parents need socialization too). Read more on this topic on the Groups and Coops page.