Homeschooling and Socialization: 11 Ways Homeschooled Kids Make Quality Friends
You homeschool your kids? How will they get socialized?
Every homeschool parent has heard that question at least once and are baffled. After all, those same homeschool parents are often in the middle of scheduling a week full of play dates, field trips, and team sports. Why can’t homeschooling and socialization go hand-in-hand?
Research shows that the majority of homeschooling parents expect their kids to respectfully communicate with people of all different backgrounds. The same research also suggests that homeschooled kids enjoy higher quality friendships and “better relationships with their parents and other adults” than the average school-enrolled child.
If your child is attending a public or private school, it doesn’t mean they can’t be just as happy or communicate as well with adults as a homeschooled child. It’s also true that there are many homeschooled children who aren’t very good at communication, either.
Proper socialization really boils down to more opportunities for quality interactions with (safe) people of all ages.
So whether you’re a homeschool parent who just moved to a new area, or you’re a public or private school parent looking for fun new ways to stay connected with the local community, this post is for you!
1. Invite them to take charge of social situations in small ways.
Out for dinner? Invite your child to ask the waiter politely for extra straws, or to order their meal. Shopping? Have your child ask a sales associate where the colored paper is located. Teach kids to reach out and politely ask for help when they need it.
2. Volunteer in the community together.
This is a prime opportunity to show your children how to give back to others of all ages. Head to the local rest home and provide company or lead crafts for elderly residents. Participate in holiday toy drives together. Create your own fundraising committee for a local shelter (pets need love, too). If there’s a community garden in your neighborhood, get involved! There are so many benefits to gardening with kids.
In every one of these activities, you’ll get to meet a wide variety of new potential friends in a low-pressure environment.
3. Join a co-op class or other local group.
Join a local homeschooling group or co-op so your child can collaborate and learn with others! Remember, no co-op or local homeschooling group is perfect, and you may have to try several different groups to find the right fit for you and your child.
4. Get involved in local team sports.
Check out soccer leagues, basketball teams, and other team sports in your local community. If your child is interested in a particular facet of exercise—martial arts or dance, for instance—it could also be worth exploring.
5. Host a block party.
Is there anything more fun than a party? Invite your neighbors to a block party, and invite your kids to help host, cook food, and create the invitations. Don’t let them just sit there eating cake. This is a prime opportunity to meet people and practice conversing with a wide variety of people.
6. Join a book club.
If your child doesn’t like reading, a book club might be just what he needs to get interested. Create a book club with other families in your co-op or find a group on Meetup. You may grow an eloquent literary genius—or hopefully just a kid with a desire to read!
7. Discover new Meetup groups.
Speaking of Meetup groups, you can find activities and potentially make new friends through the social site. (Just make sure you accompany your kiddo on any adventures.) Check out the Parents and Family, Education and Learning, or Hobbies and Crafts sections to get started.
8. Go on lots of field trips.
Field trips don’t have to be ultra-planned-out all-day events. It can be as simple as inviting another homeschool family to go to a local museum or historical site in your town. You’d be amazed at the places you’ll discover, things you’ll learn, and people you’ll meet along the way.
9. Check out neighborhood events.
Are you noticing a theme? Homeschool families are in a perfect position to dig into the local community. Take advantage of any local neighborhood events, such as book readings, family-friendly live music or classes by local artisans.
If your neighborhood lacks in the events department, consider getting some started. Nextdoor, a free private neighborhood social platform, is a great place to gauge interest in various activities.
10. Take music classes.
This is another great opportunity to teach your child valuable skills along with social opportunities. Your child will learn how to interact and collaborate with their instructor. And if you enroll your younger child in a group music class with parent participation, you’ll also get the opportunity to make new friends!
11. Make efforts to retain friendships with other families.
It can be tough to watch your child’s toddler friends grow older and go off to school. You may feel like you’re getting disconnected from the populace at large, once your child is of preschool or kindergarten age. It may take an effort to retain those friendships once sports and other extracurriculars start up, but it’s worth it for the good ones.
Did we miss anything? How do you keep your kids interacting in healthy social situations? Let us know in the comments below!