I had a friend ask me about the big S word, and I thought I'd record my answer here for all posterity. :) At least that way if I need it again, I can just come grab it. I'm sure I'll need it again.
As for socialization - if she can teach her kid how he/she how to behave in public and how to treat people properly and she takes him/her to the grocery store, the park, the library, McDonald's, the ice cream store - if she keeps her kid with her and teaches/trains behavior in all those areas, then the kid will be BETTER socialized than the herd (yes, I said herd) of school kids who learned how to behave in public from each other instead of from responsible adults. Her child will know that teasing is cruel, making fun of other's differences is unacceptable, physical violence is wrong, and that everything goes better if one is courteous and polite BECAUSE he learned all those things from his parents. If you think about it, elementary school kids - and especially middle school kids - tease, torture, hurt, and are generally rude because the herd follows the most powerful leader, and that leader has usually seized control - think back to those who made fun of us at Carver because we weren't the most beautiful :) They definately weren't the cream of the crop. What good does it do to have the herd mentality when you grow up to work and live with people of all ages?