So, what about homeschool socialization?
If you’ve been a homeschool family for more than 5 minutes, you’ve likely heard this jab from a well-meaning friend or family member. But the truth is that this is not an issue for most homeschooled kids!
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The data and statistics tell us that homeschooled kids are out in the community much more than their public school peers. So, let’s put this issue to rest but also talk about practical ways to help your homeschoolers make friends. Listen in on the podcast episode below for ideas.
According to Oxford dictionary, socialization can be defined in two ways:
- the activity of mixing socially with others.
- the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.
The main way that homeschooling is different from schooling in a traditional classroom setting is that your child is likely not around 25-30 of his peers all day. Homeschooled children are still socially active, participating in multiple groups, sports, volunteer activities, co-op, church groups, and more each week.
Some homeschooled children are in large families, so they are around many kids all day, although these children are of all different ages.
Homeschooled kids that are active in the community are mixing socially with a wide range of ages on a regular basis.
The the “mixing socially” aspect of socialization is usually not a problem for homeschool families.
Now for the second part of that definition. Many homeschoolers would say that they don’t necessarily want their children to behave in a way that is acceptable to society. Not all of us share in the worldview of the dominant secular culture. Yes, many of homeschool so that we are the primary influence on our kids – not the culture, not the teacher, not the curriculum, and not their immature peers. You could say that all education is discipleship and worldview matters.
Let’s face it: some kids will be socially awkward no matter if they are homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled. Other kids will be the cool kids no matter which type of education they receive. Much of it has to do with family dynamics and personality anyway. So homeschooling doesn’t make kids weird or lack socialization skills.
EPISODE #6: How to Help Your Homeschooled Kids Make Friends
A blog reader named Melissa sent in this great question: How do I get my kids out and involved in activities and making friends? Every homeschool co-op or group in our area doesn’t work for our family because of the day of the week it is on or cost. My kids really want friends to connect with, and I just can’t figure it out!
This is the age-old question that homeschoolers will inevitably hear from at least one person in their life: “What about homeschool socialization?” It really isn’t that complicated! Homeschoolers are out in the real world more than public school kids.
Check out this related episode: Homeschooling an Only Child with Gwen Little – HWM #91
Do you have a question about homeschooling? Use the button below to record a voicemail and send me your question. You just might find yourself on a future podcast episode!
Homeschool children socialize in dozens of ways. Since they’re not tied down to a traditional school schedule, homeschool families are free to get together with other people anytime of the day. Many homeschool children are involved in co-ops for things like physical education, art class, science experiments, field trips, and library events.
Homeschooled children can also take lessons of many kinds during the day. Some kids participate in sports teams, music groups, and church groups.
How do homeschoolers have friends?
Homeschoolers have friends the way anyone would make friends – in your real life and connected to the activities you do regularly. So while homeschooled kids might not be sitting with 25 of their peers all day, they are out in the community. If you have other local homeschool families, your kids can make friends with those kids.
If your children play on a sports team, they can have friends from that team. Maybe your child is involved in something like karate. They will naturally meet other kids and begin to form friendships.
Church groups are a great place for homeschooled kids to meet other kids their same age. Does your local community have a regular homeschool co-op? These homeschool meet-ups are a natural way for your kids to have friends.
Clearly, homeschool socialization is not as big of a problem as critics make it out to be.
Now, of course some kids are more naturally shy and not as adept in making friends. But that would be the case for some children no matter how they are educated!