I apologize for the late reply. I have been out of town on a vacation with the family and have only just returned to the computer.
I can imagine that this challenge creates in you a certain sorrow. Most moms want there children to 'fit in' with their peer group and your desire that he do so is not uncommon. However it is a concern that his peer group seeks to ridicule and belittle him. I do not think that this type of behavior is good and it would seem to me that keeping your son away from such people would be best.
Let me ask you about the friends that your son has found. Are they good companions? Does your son seem to enjoy their friendship? Do these friends allow him to be himself and do they appreciate him as unique? It would seem to me that having a few friends that are loyal and who are the type of people that I can enjoy being with is far more important than having trying to fit in with a group of people who sound like bullies.
As far as making your son 'tougher' I do not think that that is necessary as much as allowing him to be himself and guiding him in proper social skills and behavior. I do not think that public school is the answer to the challenge that you face. Perhaps more observation of your son as he interacts with boys whose company he enjoys is a better place to start. Do you see behavior in him that needs to be changed? Does he behave in such a way that the other boys feel the need to let him have his way, etc. or that moves them to treat him with special consideration?
Homeschooling is about education. The education of homeschooling is a well rounded approach to the needs of the child. Clearly there are challenges with regard to your son. It is a great blessing that you are homeschooling so that you are better able to observe and address these challenges.
What a blessing for your son to have in you a mom that desires to better know your child and to help him deal with the challenges of peer groups.
Let us pray this afternoon for all those persons who are being bullied by those who fail to see the unique nature of every person. Lord, we ask that You allow us grace sufficient to see You in each person and to give us the wisdom to meet each individual with a heart for people.
Sending out a prayer,