Socialization – The Biggest Non-Issue in Homeschooling
What about socialization? How do homeschoolers socialize? To be honest, this is one of those questions that most homeschoolers always seem to get. It’s really such a non-issue that it can be funny! Homeschoolers agree that socialization is a necessary and important part of the development of the whole child. But, the reality is that homeschoolers don’t lack this necessary element; it just comes in different shapes and sizes.
Homeschooling actually plays an important role in helping your children become confident, and socially mature adults. Ask any homeschool mom and she’ll tell you that homeschooling and socialization are a perfect match. Why? It’s simple, really.
Socialization is the act of being involved socially with others regardless of age. Well, that pretty much describes a typical day in the life of a homeschooling family, doesn’t it? We’re often out and about where opportunities for socializing happen naturally. We’re at the park and in the library. We’re visiting museums and historic sites. And, we’re shopping at the grocery store, sending packages at the post office, and volunteering at the soup kitchen. So, you see, homeschool socialization comes in all shapes and sizes.
How Do Homeschoolers Make Friends?
Strong friendships help kids get through life. Friends help celebrate victories, offer encouragement, and wipe away tears. So, where can homeschoolers make friends? Pretty much everywhere! And, homeschooling is continually growing, so more and more social groups for homeschoolers are popping up all over the place.
A common homeschool myth is that homeschooled students don’t have friends. On the contrary, homeschooled children are typically active kids. They’re often involved in a variety of activities where they can develop strong bonds with other kids. And, on the plus side, homeschooled kids often have friends of varying ages. And, they tend to form close bonds with adult coaches, co-op teachers, parents of friends, etc. Some social activities for homeschoolers might include the following:
- Online communities
- Co-op classes
- Play dates
- Library, park, zoo, and museum programs
- Neighborhood playgrounds and parks
- Summer Camps
- Music, drama, cooking classes and more!
How Does Homeschool Affect Social Skills
So how does homeschooling affect social skills? Studies show that the effects of homeschooling on socialization are positive. Kids are always observing. Kids observe how their parents and older siblings interact with others and want to be like them. And, without the stress of negative peer pressure, homeschoolers, especially middle schoolers, tend to have a healthier self-esteem and are more at ease in social settings.
Homeschooled kids are out and about in the real world much more often than traditional students. This is key. This broadens a child’s peer group and gives kids more diverse social learning experiences. These experiences empower kids. And, kids who feel empowered, dream big. They’re often more motivated to succeed academically, to positively impact the lives of others, and to give back to their communities. This is a definite win-win situation!
Homeschool Socialization Ideas
There are many social opportunities for homeschoolers. Look around your neighborhood and get to know the other families. Take turns hosting a weekly play date. Join a local homeschooling support group and gather for field trips and park days. Also, ask yourself, What are my child’s interests? There is bound to be a nearby club, team, or class to join. If not, brainstorm with your child.
Consider creating a new group or club. How about a mother and daughter cooking club? A father and son hiking club? If you still need a little more inspiration, consider some of these ideas:
- Individual and Team Sports
- Part-time jobs
- Library programs
- 4H Programs
- Volunteer opportunities
- Arts and crafts, drama, and cooking classes, etc.
- Homeschool days at museums, amusement parks, and nature centers
Social Benefits of Homeschooled Children
Often, when parents weigh homeschooling pros and cons, socialization is sometimes a concern. They wonder how homeschooling will affect their children’s social skills. Well, from what we’ve talked about so far, homeschooling typically strengthens a child’s social skills. So, let’s take a look at some of the ways homeschooling helps children socially:
- Shorter school days allow more time to work on hobbies
- No negative peer influences
- No bullying
- Many opportunities to interact with people of all ages and situations
- More real-world experiences for practicing social skills
- Develop into confident adults with a healthy self-esteem
Yes, ensuring that your children are socially capable does require time and effort, but the rewards are priceless. If you are considering homeschooling, you may be worried about socialization. So, we’re here to reassure you that homeschooling can help you to positively shape your children’s social skills.
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