Why is socialization the most frequently asked question when it comes to homeschooling? The answer is simple. There are many misconceptions of homeschool socialization and how homeschooling works.
Homeschool Socialization Misconceptions
Some think homeschoolers stay in the house 24/7 with no interaction with the outside world. Some believe homeschoolers are strange and incapable of experiencing a “normal” and socialized life. These misconceptions cause many potential homeschoolers to be apprehensive about starting their homeschooling journey.
As a homeschooler, I certainly disagree with these misconceptions. I know that many homeschooled children thrive in social environments. Don’t just take my word for it, there are even studies that prove when it comes to social behaviors, homeschooled students are “more active and involved than their public school counterparts.”
I would argue that homeschooled children have more opportunities to be in “real life” socialized environments. With less time being needed for lessons and the general learning time, homeschooled students have the opportunity to see more of their friends, community and world.
Ways to Add Socialization to Homeschooling
Socialization can occur any and everywhere — at home, the store, the playground, at a place of worship, etc. My list of ideas to add socialization to homeschooling will help naysayers, potential homeschoolers, and current homeschooling families realize that there’s so many opportunities for social activities. Let’s debunk the myth that homeschooled children do not have opportunities to experience a socialized childhood.
Socialization Ideas for Active Families
If you and your family are on-the-go and active in your community, then your homeschool socialization opportunities are endless. Community activities can be found just about anywhere and go from free to costly (depending on your family’s size).
Find a sports team for your child to further learn about teamwork, communication, discipline and camaraderie. Participating in organized sports helps your child become a better student and physically fit.
Enroll your children in classes like dance, music, art or theater where you may find a small group of students with similar interests as your children. This is a time for them to become cultured, be creative and make new friends while doing so.
Youth groups where you worship can offer your children a sense of community, while offering inspiration and motivation for life.
Socialization Ideas for Traveling Homeschoolers
Families that enjoy traveling or move frequently face a homeschool socialization challenge. This is just a chance to get creative with the ways you add social activities to your homeschool life! There are ways to have intentional interactions with little commitment.
Use technology to connect with other homeschooling families from anywhere in the world. Connect with a family you met while traveling. Arrange virtual video chats with them through apps like Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, etc. It’s like having a virtual pen pal. Your children can use this tool to create group projects, and if the other parent(s) is willing to teach a lesson or host discussions, to learn from someone besides you.
Join a local homeschoolers’ Facebook group and request playdates with families with similar aged children as your own. Finding groups to join on the social media channel is easy and by adding the name of a city, plus “homeschool” (city + homeschool) in the search field will help you to discover homeschool groups comprised of parents who are also looking for ways to introduce their children to other homeschooled children.
Seek volunteer opportunities to get acquainted with the communities you visit. This requires some planning ahead, but it offers your child the opportunity to get to know people from various backgrounds. Consider both national and local charities and hospitals.
Socialization Ideas for Traditional Homeschoolers
If your family prefers to stay local and do things that align with your homeschool schedule, then get social and search out the following opportunities to hang out with other homeschoolers.
Join or start a co-op in your community. Homeschool co-ops are beneficial to the entire family. Co-ops provide students with the opportunity to learn with a larger group of students, be taught by non-family members, and receive teaching on subjects not taught at home. They also often include group field trips which greatly enhances the co-op experience.
Attend homeschool specific days at local organizations and attractions. Many organizations offer discount days or time slots specifically for homeschoolers. Check for an event calendar on the organization’s website.
Plan playdates with the families you meet at co-ops or homeschool days. Visiting eachothers’ homes, meeting at a local park for lunch, or organizing a date night babysitting swap allows the children to connect.
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About the All-Star Blogger
Teri Watters is the creator of MommyWifeLife.com, where she regularly blogs about ways to keep the family connected through education, activities and new products.