Homeschool Friends - Getting Social in Your Homeschool

Homeschooling your kids doesn't mean they won't get to interact with other kids or that they will be socially awkward. Come get social in your homeschool!
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Homeschool Friends

The (Absurd) Socialization Argument

Socialization means to socialize or teach how to behave socially. When people talk about needing to send children to school to be socialized I cringe.  We do not send kids to school to learn how we want them to act - most people send them to public school working very hard to make sure that all those social influences remain as small as possible. 

My kids will learn all necessary socialization items at home. First, kids learn how to raise their hand, stand in line, follow directions, and be respectful from me, in the library, on the soccer team, and in Sunday school. Then, kids can learn how to interact with not only people that are born within the same 11 months as them, but with younger kids and older adults at home and in the community. 

My kids learn how to be pick their own friends based on similar interests and respect like they will do the rest of our lives. 

How to Get Social in Your Homeschool

Home

I think a lot of people overlook that being part of a family is socialization. You are teaching them how to behave in a social setting. They learn how to take turns, say please and thank you, be respectful, not always get their way, share, wait for their turn to talk, help out, make their voice heard, etc. Home is the most important socialization your kids will ever get!

Community

Teaching kids how to interact in their community is another important part of socialization. These are the skill they will need their entire lives. So take them with you as you:
  • buy groceries
  • take food to a neighbor who had a baby
  • mow an elderly neighbors grass
  • visit grandparents
  • check books out at the library
  • deposit or withdraw money from the bank
  • mail a package
  • go to church
  • serve in your community with a local food pantry or meals on wheels
  • attend church
  • play at the park

Friends

This is really what most people when they bring up the argument of socialization. They want to know if your homeschool child is going to know how to make friends.  We'll get to that, but first I want you to think about life as an adult - how much do you interact with friends and in what context. Got it? That is what we are preparing our kids for; not to be full time, never leaving college students. 

Besides playing with siblings (which is big in meeting this need), there are lots of ways to help your child learn to make friends, interact with other kids, figure out how to cope with kids they don't care for, and know how to manage a group setting with peers:
  • the park - great chance to practice meeting new people, taking turns, leadership, and interacting with others you may not naturally "click" with
  • church programs - Sunday school, Awana, VBS, and other church programs are a great way to interact with various people of your same age in a controlled setting like school
  • park district program - great chance to meet other kids with similar interests from a variety of backgrounds
  • classes - signing up for a class in art, music, gymnastics, Spanish, robotics, etc. is a great way to not only enrich your child's education, but to interact with other kids
  • co-op - there are many coops you can find searching online for other homeschools who want to do field-trips, playdates, classes, gym time, etc. with other kids
  • camp - for those that want to give their kids a chance to develop some independence, they can sign up for summer camp to have an amazing experience with other kids
  • serving together - kids will make friends with others who also have a heart for serving others
  • groups - 4H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, choral, basket ball and band groups are all great ways for kids to have a chance to interact with others their age and develop friendships based on mutual interests
  • play dates - arranging time to spend with a certain friend or family is a great way to foster deeper, authentic friendships that will last.

To be honest, a lot of homeschoolers find they focus so much on finding lots of fun socialization opportunities for kids that they over due it and eventually have to scale back. And again, thinking back to your relationships, is okay. Most adults interact with their family, those in their community, coworkers, and a couple close friends. Most of us don't have the big, elaborate social schedule we think kids need!

My goal is to help my kids know how to navigate social situations they will encounter as an adult, to be respectful of all even if they don't agree, to be able to carry on a conversation with people of all ages, and how to form deep meaningful relationships with others whose company they enjoy.


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Beth Gorden
Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is a homeschooling mother of six who strives to enjoy every moment with her kids through hands-on learning, crafts, new experiences, and lots of playing together. Beth is also the creator and author of 123 Homeschool 4 Me where she shares 1000+ free printables, creative homeschool lessons, crafts, and other fun ideas to help preschool and homeschooling families have fun while learning and exploring together.