Homeschooling socialization has been a trivial question since the beginning of homeschooling. That’s why I have put this guide together to give you a better understanding of how, when and where a child that is being homeschool gets to socialize.
Critics of homeschooling are very vocal about their opinion that children who are homeschooled don’t get enough opportunities to socialize with other children. If this is your first time homeschooling read my post on the beginner’s guide to homeschooling.
Because they are alone at home or with just a brother or sister for company, these children are deprived of social interaction.
While it’s true that some homeschooled children are isolated by strict parents and may crave social opportunities, research shows that most homeschooled children are well socialized.
Let’s define socialization so we can better understand this.
What is socialization?
Socialization refers to social interaction with others, but it also includes understanding the social norms and rules of society and adhering to them.
Some educators and parents who homeschool believe that the best socialization children can get starts with interactions at home as well as other people of different ages – in other words not in a class where everyone is the same age.
They feel that children should not be socialized by other children their own age. Children should interact with people of all ages.
By interacting with people of all ages a child develops an understanding of how people interact.
Where does socialization start?
Socialization starts at home. Family members introduce the child to what’s right and what’s wrong and how to behave. This is the first introduction to socialization your kids will have a home.
This is the start of a process that teaches the child about social norms and customs. This knowledge helps children to function well in society, and, if many members of society know the rules, then society can operate effectively.
Family members, teachers, friends and everyone a child comes across in his or her life play a role in the child’s socialization.
Can homeschooling affect your child’s social skills?
Yes, homeschooling can have a positive impact on social skills. This is because homeschooled children don’t need to deal with
- peer pressure
- aggressive behavior
and other bad influences as much as when they are in school.
In school peer pressure is enormous. Kids feel they must be like everyone else or be like the most popular kid in the class. In the process, they never find out who they themselves really are.
As a matter of facts bullying and peer pressure starts as early as kindergarten and many parents fail to see this because it usually presents in a different way that if it was a high schooler.
Some of the things that happens in the classroom
Classrooms are places where children compete constantly and those who can’t or don’t want to compete are left feeling like losers, while those who don’t want to learn, just make the lives of students who enjoy learning a misery. Is that healthy socialization?
I remember my 8-year-old daughter coming home from school one day in tears because one of her friends didn’t want to play with her that particular day because she was playing with someone else.
Research has shown that children who receive their education at home, are happy with themselves and their situation and they are accepting of others. They don’t need to put another child down to feel better about themselves.
Several research studies have found that homeschooled children are well adjusted.
Is homeschooling anti-social?
Homeschooling itself isn’t anti-social. It can be anti-social if those who practice it are distrustful and anti-social.
For instance, paranoid families, and religious fundamentalists who reject society as a whole and therefore want to educate their children themselves.
Homeschooling can become anti-social in the hands of abusive parents and uncaring adults in a dysfunctional setting. But this is the exception and just mentioned here to give a complete picture of homeschooling.
In practice, good homeschools make use of homeschool networks, interact with neighbors, and other homeschool families.
If you are new to homeschooling check out these post:
These children attend the local theater, have music lessons, visit historic landmarks, join art clubs, participate in sports, go hiking, travel to other cities, and in general explore the world around them.
Today homeschooled children have countless opportunities to engage in regular social interactions with people of all age groups, which gives them actual real-world practice in social skills.
Parents who homeschool can take their children with them when they go on errands and that can be an opportunity for a child to observe correct social behavior, for example when going to the bank or paying the bills.
Social benefits of homeschooling
- Better parent-child relationships
Studies show that children who are homeschooled have better relationships with their parents than children who attend conventional schools. The reason I believe this is true is that you are spending more time with your child.
I have learned so much from my daughter since I’ve been homeschooling her mainly because I’ve been spending more time with her. She talks to me a lot more and the way she expresses herself when talking to elders is admirable.
Another post you might like to read: 8 Ways to Manage Anxiety as a 1st Time homeschooler
- Emotionally well
Research has shown that homeschoolers tend to be happy, satisfied with their lives, and engaged in civil society.
Research has shown that homeschooled children experience lower rates of abuse and neglect than children who attend school.
Homeschooled children are also spared the threat of bullying, rejection by peers, and pervasive peer pressure. Home-schooled children don’t have to worry about looking cool or having the latest tech gadget just to fit in.
In an accepting homeschool environment, there is more scope for a child to discover who they are, what they are interested in and what they might become passionate about.
A child in a homeschool environment who develops an odd fascination with slugs or dresses differently, won’t be ridiculed. There is much more freedom to immerse themselves in their interests.
- Balanced socializing
Homeschooled children get the opportunity to socialize with people of different ages, not just a large group the same age as them.
At homeschool co-ops you can see children of different ages talking to each other, playing, and having a good time. It’s not below an older child to mix with the younger children.
- Happier and more productive as adults
Research has found that as adults, homeschoolers got more involved in their communities than students who attend regular school.
They are academically successful and a significant number go on to higher education. At the same time, they also score higher than regular students on the happiness scale.
18 Ways kids can socialized while being homeschooled
There are several ways open to homeschoolers to socialize with others. Kids can get involved with other kids in activities and they can also interact with adults at places like libraries, theaters, museums, galleries, and so forth.
If you are looking for social opportunities for your homeschooled child, you would do well to find a homeschool co-op near you.
Homeschool co-ops offer plenty of opportunities for your child to socialize and make friends with other children. They offer classes and various extra-curricular activities.
You can also search for a homeschool support group online. Keep in mind that these support groups might have a different focus or teaching style – it might take a while to find one that suits you and your child.
Support groups may be formal or just a few families that arrange playdates and field trips for their children.
Here is a list of social activities for homeschooled children
- Music lessons
- Dance lessons
- Art lessons
- Language classes
- Arts and crafts classes
- Local sports teams
- Participate in a community fun runs
- Volunteer at a local facility like a homeless shelter or pet shelter
- Visit the local police station or the fire station
- Visit/volunteer at the zoo
- Visit the local museum/ places of interest
- Look for special programs at local colleges and universities
- Go on church or summer camps
- Go on field trips
- Join a 4-H development program
When you choose one or more extracurricular activities for your child, remember the socialization aspect of it is as important as the activity itself.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that your child needs social interaction for healthy balanced development. Make sure you give your child many opportunities for healthy socialization.
Children derive great emotional and psychological benefit from interaction with a variety of people in a variety of settings.