Concerns About Lack of Socialization When Children Are Schooled At Home

“We have talked about home schooling, but are worried about the lack of socialization.” This was said to me recently. To be honest I chuckled. Apparently this misconception is still alive and well. Yes, there are places where this can be an issue if you are only counting socialization as interactions with kids of similar ages. As someone who has friends 10 years older and 10 years younger than me I think same aged friends are overrated in the long run.

When we lived in Small Town it was harder to find other kids to interact with during the day (school) time. I also was not as secure in my abilities to search out others or to step out and start something for which I felt a need. That is one of my regrets of the first few years of homeschooling. If I were to encourage any homeschoolers, especially newer ones, in anything it would be to not wait for someone else to offer something you feel you need. If you feel the need likely others do too, start a group, create a class, talk to your local library.

Here are some other comments I have heard or been told:

“All of his/her friends attend the public school and there would be no one else with who to play.”

“They will never learn to stand in a line.”

“How can they learn to be in a classroom setting if they are never in a classroom?”

These questions are all missing the point of the larger question or concern the people who have spoken them really want to have addressed. The question or concern can change from person to person, though I doubt it has anything to do with line-standing skills. Perhaps they fear their kids being labeled ‘weird’ or being unable to interact with others. Perhaps they assume too much emphasis being on the ‘home’ part and think learning only takes place in that particular building.

If you think the above photo is what ‘socializing’ looks like I will tell you something the photo does not show – several other kids nearby either talking to this particular child, looking over his shoulder and sharing in the book, and the subsequent conversations held with other kids of various ages in regards to the newly obtained information about the Millennium Falcon.

Here is a snapshot of one of our homeschool days – an art class with ages PreK through 12ish years old looking at Yayoi Kusama and creating an inspired art work of their own (a weekly art class at a library started by a mom who wanted to have an art class for her daughter)

…We left with the contact info for a new friend one of my kids made and encouraged that family to come again, while also joining us for another unofficial class we usually attend beforehand at the same location. Turns out George’s propensity to talk even though it takes him more effort actually has helped encourage yet another kid who struggles with speech. This is the third one in as many weeks. He beams when I tell him later how he was an encouragement to the kid and mom just by being who he is and having gone through some of the same struggles they are currently experiencing.

We continued practicing those all important line-standing skills we picked up from the grocery store and lunches at our favorite fast food joint while waiting to obtain more paint for the art project…

…a stop by the youth sports department to sign up for the next sport’s season, to the public school for speech therapy (Jack and I get to wait in the entry way, by which I have begun to know more of the bus drivers and he helps hold doors for people with arms full of items), then home for a few hours. By evening it was time for some more ‘classroom practice’ so off to a local park we went for a 1.5 hour P.E. lesson in ultimate frisbee. (Okay, not an official P.E. class but that is exactly what it looked like, except run by college kids who were very enthusiastic about this sport.) We happened to know one other kid but even then I had to point out to my kids the fact that they knew him. I know his mom better than the kids know this particular kid, and it was a very different setting than where we usually see the mom.

Jack came up to me at the end and pointedly shared the existence of a youth league. He also enthusiastically demonstrated his skills to Dad once he arrived home. I think he is smitten with the game.

Socialization…not a worry in my world at this time. We actually have more interactions with kids their age than when they were both in public school. There is more time to interact rather than simply being in the general vicinity of each other for longer periods of time.

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