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What About Socialization?

ORGANIZED UNDER: Decision // Homeschool 101

Should I Worry About Socialization?

If you mention homeschooling to very many people, you are likely to get the 20-million-dollar question. It comes in a variety of forms. While it may sound like, “How will they make friends?” or, “What about the prom?” these questions all fall into one category: “What about socialization?”

The people asking you these questions are probably genuinely concerned for your child’s well-being. But the answer depends very much on what makes children socialized and how we go about getting them to that point. Does spending seven hours a day for thirteen or more years with peers of the same age group guarantee that a child will be socialized? Instead, consider that socialization should prepare your child to interact with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds.

Points to Ponder

Whether you are contemplating the socialization question for yourself or answering the questions of others, here are a few thoughts to consider.

Variety in Life

Other than the school years, there is no time in our lives when we spend hours a day only with other people our age. Can you imagine if we worked or went to church only with people who were a year or so older or younger? Being able to relate only to people our own age is actually the opposite of being social.

Variety in Ages

Homeschoolers tend to have a variety of friends of various ages and backgrounds and are often able to hold appropriate conversations with adults.

Personality Factor

Whether we are socially adept or not has a good deal to do with our personality and parenting. Outgoing people will most likely be outgoing, while those who are shy will be shy, regardless of schooling choices.

Intentional Friendships

While children don’t need to attend school to learn to socialize, having friends is important. Be sure your child has the opportunity to interact with people of a variety of ages and backgrounds.

Activity Suggestions

Activities such as sports, music, and drama can give your child the opportunity to spend time with others. Co-op is another option.

A Few More Thoughts

As your child learns to relate to many different people, you will be able to answer the socialization question with confidence: “My child gets along with people of all ages and backgrounds, because she interacts with a variety of people.”

At age eight, Stephenie McBride developed a life-long interest in teaching others. She taught English as a Second Language and Kindergarten in a public school for six years. Stephenie and her husband, Ben, adopted their two children from Kolkata, India, in 2000 and 2004. She has been an at-home parent and home educator since 2001. They use an eclectic mix of materials and approaches, with a strong emphasis on Charlotte Mason. Stephenie is the Assistant Editor of Publications for Home Educating Family Magazine. She also created and writes for Crestview Heights Academy Homeschool Curriculum. You can read more about Stephenie and her eclectic homeschooling adventures at crestviewheights.wordpress.com.

  • Heather K

    What a wonderful answer to that 20-million-dollar question! It is indeed the first thing that popped in to my head as well, how will the children learn social skills? I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and I work with many students who have autism on building social skills, but what my colleagues and I are finding is that many, if not close to all of our students (typically and non-typically developing) need social skill practice and that is not something that is really given much thought in the school setting. I think that is because they are surrounded by their same-aged peers all day. However, with technology decreasing social interaction (kids are more 1:1 with their video games and IPads then running around outside in groups) among other things, I think proper socialization needs to be taken in to account by all families, not just those who are homeschooling. Homeschooling families may face the brunt of the criticism, but their public school attending neighbors should be asked the same question, in my opinion.

    February 16, 2015 at 9:52 am
    • Anne Campbell

      Heather, thank you for joining this conversation. As a former public school teacher, I couldn’t agree more. And you’re right–with electronics taking over their brains, kids are “socializing” in person less and less.

      February 17, 2015 at 7:28 pm

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