Think that homeschooled kids don’t get enough socalization? Take a look at some of the social benefits of homeschooling!
“But what about socialization??” Those are four words that every homeschool mom in America is so so sooooooo tired of hearing.
It’s the question we’re most asked. People seem to think that if children aren’t in school there is no possible way they are going to make friends. They seem to think that homeschool means that we keep our kids at home all day every day and have no interaction with the outside world.
While I’m sure there are some homeschoolers who don’t get out into the world, the exact opposite is true for the other 99% of us. Just today I was sitting down with the upcoming school year’s calendar figuring out what activities to participate in. Sometimes we have to bow out of activities in order to make time for actual school work!
This year we have opportunities for a homeschool gym class, art enrichment classes, a history class, and an outdoor adventure workshop. That doesn’t even include play dates, park outings, field trips, and other fun activities! Our social calendar is filling up fast.
Which leads me to my point. While a lot of people may think that homeschooling somehow inhibits socalization, I would argue that there are many many social benefits to homeschooling!
#1- Kids get to actually be social at gatherings-
So how many times in school were you told, “this isn’t a time to socalize?” I know as a big time talker I got told that all the time!! For most kids sitting in classrooms their social time is limited to in between classes, during recess, at lunch or gym, for the hours spent in school the social time is limited.
In homeschool situations, we all know that the kids are there to learn, have fun, and socialize. Most activities are planned with the idea of cooperative learning, group activities, and plenty of time for running around and enjoying each others company. Of course there are some classes that are more classroom like where they have to be quiet and pay attention, but often we plan a fun activity afterword! When we go to homeschool gatherings we know that a huge part is getting social and having fun while learning!
#2- Kids get to know each other without outside influence-
The thing about society is that we like labels. In large groups cliques form, and people group together with others like them. I’m not going to say that the homeschool community is without it’s cliques, but more often kids get to know each other without any labels or influence from others. They get to form their own opinions of each individual they come in contact with, not knowing if they’re a jock, or a computer geek, or any of the other labels you find in school situations. There is an openness to get to know each other without any influence from other kids. There is no sitting alone at a lunch table because the other kids have decided they don’t like you and their friends aren’t allowed to either, there is no not having a partner in science class because no one from your social group is in that class. There is a sense of inclusion and kids can learn to like each other for their unique personalities.
#3- They interact with all different ages & grade levels-
At the average homeschool gathering we go to there are kids ranging in age from 3 to 17. What I love seeing is all of the kids playing together. You’ll have a 10 year old and a 6 year old hanging out playing Pokemon. You’ll see a 13 year old engaging with a preschooler. There is no sense of difference in age, or grade level. Kids don’t look at younger kids and see anything but another potential friend. There is nothing wrong with hanging out with the younger kids, and more mature kids can find friends that are older then them but share common interests. I remember being a kid and how important your grade was, and how so often you only hung out with other kids your age. That is almost non-existant in the homeschool world.
#4- You can pick who you hang out with-
When I first started homeschooling I was involved in a great group that we did classes and field trips with. As the time went on and the group evolved I found it wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. I sought out another group that we’re involved with now and absolutely love it. When your child is in school they’re kind of stuck with their class and the people in it. If they’re not making friends, they just kind of have to tough it out. In homeschooling you can seek out “your people,” you can arrange playdates with friends you want to spend more time with, you can shy away from activities that aren’t a good fit, or that your child won’t enjoy. Yes, you may have conflict, there may be that one kid that your child just can’t seem to get along with, but for the most part you have the ability to be choosy where, and with whom you spend your time.
#5- Your child gets to really be themselves-
Have a son who wants to take dance classes? Does your daughter want to shave her head? Whild in an ideal world they could do those things and not be made fun of in school often kids that aren’t “normal” get bullied or they don’t pursue their interests for fear of judgement. In the homeschool community everyone is figuring themselves out, they are taking classes, trying new things, and figuring out what they really like to do. There is much more free time for kids to immerse themselves in their interests and to find out what they are really passionate about. Often we participate in groups where the kids can do a project, show and tell, or have a chance for public speaking. This gives them an opportunity to share their ideas and interests with others and talk to them about it. The kids love hearing what each other have to say, asking questions, and learning from each other. It is a great atmosphere for kids to figure out who they are from within without a lot of outside influence.
Hopefully as homeschooling becomes more popular the question about socialization will become a thing of the past! Until then those of us who educate our kids at home will continue to enjoy these social benefits of homeschooling!
Do you homeschool? What social benefits would you add?
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