Socializing Children: Important Part of Homeschool Curriculum
Homeschooled kids have plenty of opportunities to learn social skills. Learn how the socialization process works in homeschool families.
In recent years, the decision to homeschool has become more and more popular. Unfamiliar with the lifestyle of a homeschool family, many people wonder if homeschooling will mean that the children lead a life of seclusion from the rest of society. Well-meaning grandparents and neighbors feel that they simply must ask homeschooling parents what their plans are for socializing the children.
Youth groups exist in many forms. The Girl Scouts (Brownies, Juniors) and the Boy Scouts (Cub Scouts, Webelos) have both been around for nearly 100 years and offer children a structured environment to improve their leadership skills, explore hobbies and interests. Campfire (Bluebirds) offers co-ed opportunities for children to learn and play together. 4H is another opportunity for children to learn social skills and leadership skills while exploring other interests.
Many churches offer Awana or Caravans, programs designed to impart biblical education, knowledge of scripture, and a passion for their faith while giving kids opportunities to socialize with others in a Christian environment.
Interacting with siblings gives children plenty of opportunities to experience and practice the art of sharing and taking turns. Instances of sibling rivalry can also give children the opportunity to deal with bullies. One way that homeschool socialization contrasts with classroom socialization is the fact that in a homeschool environment, children aren’t spending 6 or more hours each day with their peers (siblings not included). Some homeschooling parents see this as an advantage and point out that in the adult world people rarely spend 6 or more hours with agemates.
Homeschooled children have the same opportunity as other children to participate in dance classes, community choirs, community theater, martial arts, little league, soccer teams, bowling leagues, and other extra-curricular activities. Participation in team sports and expressive arts can help children learn group dynamics, practice public speaking, and display social skills they’ve learned elsewhere.
Homeschool support groups exist in every state and many families have formed co-ops. A co-op (or cooperative group) occurs whenever homeschooling families get together to share learning resources, opportunities, or curriculum. Some co-ops are as small as two families and others are large, consisting of sometimes a hundred families. A co-op is designed to serve the needs of the families involved and can meet daily, weekly, or monthly and sometimes focus on a specific academic subject or theme.
Many homeschool support groups also offer field trips. Families who are homeschooling can visit museums together, get group discounts to sporting events or theatrical productions, and take tours just like a school group.
What about Socialization?
When asked about socialization, it’s easy for homeschooling parents to get flustered and annoyed. It probably isn’t because they’re unsure of their decision. More likely, it’s because there simply isn’t enough time in the day to participate in all the social activities that are available. Instead of asking about socialization, perhaps a well-meaning grandparent or neighbor might just want to offer a ride.