Another topic covered in my Blog on my 2E child: http://2echild.blogspot.com
Play is important. It teaches, not only applied societal rules, but basic problem solving. New variables are constantly thrown at the child as new children enter the mix. When you home school it doesn't mean that the child is isolated. There are numerous ways to set up structured play (sports or group activities).
The strength of structured play lies in the controlled atmosphere of the learning. Correct societal rules are taught and reinforced. It allows learning to take place. It teaches children how to play well with others.
The weakness of structured play lies in the lack of spontaneity in the children. Structured play is a good for the mainstay of societal rules before more unstructured play is allowed.
When the basic rules are taught to the child...he can act appropriately with others and can, therefore, be a good friend.
Now...it is important that a distinguishment be made between unstructured play and unsupervised play. It is simply too dangerous now days to have your children play outside at areas not somehow supervised by responsible adults. There are simply too many bad influences and evil adults that look for the unsupervised child to lead astray or far worse. Have your child go to the park to play with other children....with you there.
Never allow the slipshod thinking of moral relativism to allow you to think that everyone is just as important as the next regardless of their actions or thoughts. Your child is the most important person to you...and you want only the best influences around him.
It is never OK to have him hang around with the children who cut school and smoke or do drugs. Are you discriminating against them by not having your child play with them?....YOU BET.
To discriminate is to use critical thinking. You wouldn't want to eat food from cooks whom have a communicable disease...you must be discriminative in everyday life.
It is unjustified discrimination that is wrong. To not have your children play with, somehow, disadvantaged children solely because of the conditions not of their control...(socio/economic - physical/mental disabilities) is wrong on so many levels. It is about morals. A good child is a good child...no matter his race or social status. It is about them being able to walk with your child through life...on a correct path...that will lead them forever upwards.
You would not want your child around children who cut school and smoke or do drugs because of their lack of foresight and morals. They are on the wrong path and you wouldn't want your child to become apart of any lifestyle that would be detrimental to his life...in any way.
Unstructured peer play with children who would make good friends with your child, in a safe and supervised place is what is desirable. School is only social during recess and lunch...(or at least should be). You will have not lost a thing by homeschooling. You gain the opportunity to give your child the best of experiences through structured and unstructured.....but supervised play.
Because that is what is best for your child...
and that is what a good parent ensures.