“How do you socialize your homeschooler?” Like it or not, we’re sure you’ve heard this question before.
While homeschooling comes with many benefits, the issue of isolation is a trigger topic for many people. The topic of “socialization” is consistently at the forefront of many conversations between moms about homeschooling. How to handle it? Is it even necessary?
Most families agree that finding a group your child can be a part of is important. However, finding the right fit often feels like finding a needle in a haystack. You’re not alone! We asked our Abeka community of moms how they ensure their children receive the right type of social interaction. Here’s what they had to say.
Socialization on the Go
The beauty of homeschooling is that your children are not limited to spending the majority of their day inside a classroom. Take advantage of this and bring them with you to the grocery store, to the post office, to go vote, and other public places so they have opportunities to converse and socialize with people of all ages.
“I give my children opportunities to socialize with people from every walk and stage of life. My daughter is just as capable of having an appropriate and polite conversation with another mother as she is with her friends, and she also knows how to behave around elders and infants. It’s a beautiful mix with homeschool, and I truly believe our children are better suited for the workforce and life in general by being required to adapt to all social situations.” – Morgan
“…we’ve just involved them in whatever we were doing. I have been told by many people that my kids are very well adjusted and mature for their ages. They can converse with adults as well as kids with ease.” – Sheila
“Children learn best to be social around people of ALL ages. Church, stores, sports, music lessons, co-ops, swim lessons, play dates, family, and friends can all help in making sure your child gets plenty of socialization with no worries.” – Ashley
Sports and Extracurricular Activities
Has your child always dreamed of playing a sport? Find a community team where they can build friendships and burn off some energy. Do they love to cook? Volunteer at a local soup kitchen to prepare food for those in need. Ask your child what they’re interested in and find a way for them to do it outside your home. This is a great way for children to interact and socialize with others—and potentially learn a skill!
“They love being in the water so we joined a swim team. We signed them up for 4H because there were activities they were interested in.” – Sheila
“Get them into a sport or other activities they enjoy. 4H is good as well.” – Kelly
“We place value on community service projects. My daughter may not be able to hold a conversation about Pokémon, but she can talk to you about the importance of helping pick up trash, taking care of animals, her love of Jesus, and show you how to properly fold the United State’s flag.” – Melinda
Get Involved at Church
Church is the perfect place for your homeschoolers to socialize! Churches often offer programs such as Awana, Bible Drill, youth group activities, choir, and more for children, youths, and young adults. There are also opportunities for older children to volunteer within the church, whether that means working events or working in the nursery. You can trust they’re being taught Biblical principles, plus, they’ll be meeting other children their age with similar beliefs and convictions.
“Being involved in her church youth group, choir, and church activities.” – Linda
“We attend Awana every Wednesday at church.” – Patricia
“We’ve always attended church, so they have gone to Sunday school and youth activities.” – Sheila
Seek Out Homeschool Groups
A co-op is a great place to meet and socialize with other like-minded homeschool families in your area. As a parent, it’s important for you to find a comfortable environment for your family where you don’t feel like you have to defend the way you choose to educate your children. Often, co-ops go on field trips or outing together and offer classes and extracurricular activities. Consider starting your own if the options in your area are limited. You can even organize get-togethers in a smaller, more intimate setting. This could even be having a family from church over for dinner and some play time after.
“We joined the local co-op where they participated in the yearbook, teen council, and other fun activities.” – Sheila
“My daughter belongs to a homeschool co-op. We meet on Fridays and have class from nine to noon with different subjects.” – Patricia
“Our parks and recreation centers have homeschool specific activities, such as science classes, art lessons, and swim lessons for local families to work together on the curriculum.” – Gina
Socialization is a complex responsibility for most parents, and while there’s no one way to tackle it, it’s completely achievable! There are many ways you can get your children involved in the community and ensure they are receiving the perfect amount of social interaction.