I think freedom to explore, learn, figure out the world are one of the most important things you can give a child. They can also learn to avoid bullies or stand up to them. In adult controlled situations a lot of times they can't get away from them and however the adults try, they can't keep a handle on all of the social interactions and the kids don't really have a chance to stand up to the bullies because it's the second punch that gets caught.
I was talking with one of my older sons about my youngest son, who has decided he has no social skills and he needs to just avoid people. The problem is, I can see he likes to be around people. He just got beat up emotionally by so many disfunctional assholes in high school and junior high (I'm pretty sure he's somewhere on the ausbergers spectrum). My older son made the observation that trying to develop normal adult social skills in jr high and high school is kind of like Jane Goodall trying to learn to be human by interacting with gorillas.
I have raised 9 kids, each one unique, with their own brands of genius and foolishness. (We didn't home school, but we actively tried to supplement what they learned as much as we could). I would summarize my ideas in a few words.
1. Kids need to know they are loved, valued, and their opinions matter.
2. Kids need to know that their opinions don't necessarily matter more than everyone elses.
3. Kids need to know that everyone's opinion should be measured against the truth.
4. Kids need to be taught how to think logically, recognize illogical thinking and con jobs.
5. Kids need to know that there are limits. They need to know where the limits are. They need to know there are consequences for stepping over the limits. The consequences have to be significant enough to keep them within the limits, usually.
6. Kids need to be educated. There are lots of ways to educate. I like stories, examples and hands on experience. Children are born little animals. We make them human as we raise them. They make us better humans as we raise them. Keep examples of bravery, honor, toughness, intelligence, caring and wisdom before them as often as you can.
7. Kids need freedom, within the limits. One of the big problems I think we've created is the lack of unscheduled, child controlled, free time. Time to play, to make friends or fight, to explore, to figure out who they are. It's how they internalize and learn.
8. You need to know that it isn't all about you. Your 'me time' ended when the kids were born and you may never get it back for an length of time. Your mission, whether you choose to accept it or not, is to love and raise these kids into competent caring adults.
9 You need to model the behavior you want to see in your child. Admit it to them when you do something wrong (and you surely will). Show them how to live a life with integrity, love and a sense of humor. Show them joy.
10. Have Fun!!!