The common misconception when it comes to homeschoolers is that they are not socialized, when in fact, the opposite is true. The picture of a homeschooler stuck at the kitchen table while Mom hovers over is as inaccurate as they come, as homeschoolers spend more time out and about than their public school counterparts. When homeschooling parents include their kids in all sorts of community activities, it pays off with a well rounded, socialized child.
If you think about it, traditional school does not encourage children to socialize naturally. Classes are divided into age and academic brackets, and include students from the same geographic area and from similar socio-economic backgrounds. With many students to instruct, teachers suppress socially active children so they don’t disturb the class.
Conversely, homeschooled children interact with a larger pool of people, including those of different ages and backgrounds, and they become socially mature at an earlier age.
According to Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization by Richard G. Medlin, “Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with–and feel close to–all sorts of people. Home schooling parents can take much of the credit for this. For, with their children’s long-term social development in mind, they actively encourage their children to take advantage of social opportunities outside the family. Home-schooled children are acquiring the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes they need. They have good self-esteem and are likely to display fewer behavior problems than do other children. They may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills than other children as well. And they appear to be functioning effectively as members of adult society.”
Homeschool Socialization opportunities:
- Participate in your homeschooling community, with other homeschooling families, with support groups, and with co-ops. This can leads to cooperative classes, field trips, holiday get togethers, and more.
- There are many resources in your broader community. Think community theater; local sports clubs; local, state and federal parks; libraries; museums; youth centers; camps; volunteer opportunities, etc.
- There are national organizations like the National Spelling Bee, 4-H, or Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts that might be in your area. Often there are local alternatives even if a larger organization doesn’t exist.
- And parents, don’t forget yourselves in all of this socialization! Involvement in the homeschool community, and in your local community is just as important for you as it is for your children. It’s good to have an ear to bend when you need a little advice or support, and when involved, you’re more likely to find out about new ideas and opportunities that can benefit you and your children.
The general public is staring to realize that socialization is not an issue with homeschoolers. In fact, the opposite it true – homeschoolers have great talents and social skills because of their many outside opportunities.
Great job Homeschooling Parents!