I often deal with the socialization debate, also.
My response to this issue is that public school does have much more quantity in social dealings. However, it is a false cross section of society to cut our children's teeth on socially. They are from their area, in their socio-economic bracket and age groups.
When I got out into the work place and needed to work in a group, I wasn't just working with people from my social group. I was working with older people, younger people, people from different religious backgrounds, racial backgrounds, lifestyles, etc.
People often comment on how my homeschooled children are comfortable talking WITH anyone. They can communicate and joke with my 72 year old neighbor from Mississippi, and my old boss from New York, or the lady who runs the music store in the city as well as play with a 3 year old gently and understand what she can and can't do, or horse around with a kid their own age. We live in a great big world full of many flavors of people.
So, yes, socialization is needed but that doesn't mean public school has cornered the market on it.
BTW, as a homeschooling parent, I want to sincerely thank you. It is people like you who dedicate so much of your energy and time that make schooling so much simpler and pleasant for the rest of us.
Reply from Diane:
Thank you, Christal. It's kind words like yours that keep me going!