The topic of homeschool socialization usually comes up when people learn that you teach your children at home. I guess they worry that your children will not experience the “fun” of school. Your child might miss school birthday parties, valentine’s parties, recess, assemblies, and the prom. Let’s see how you can help your help your child to socialize at home.
Socialization means to learn how to live in ones culture or to interact with other people. As a homeschooling family we teach about the culture and how to live in it.
As homeschoolers we usually have more time for homeschool socialization. Homeschoolers are not tied to school schedule so they have time for work, community service, or missions. Some families help out at food banks or retirement homes. Children in high school can work during the day and do their schooling when they get home.
My children have been involved in church and in AWANA. In church and AWANA they have learned to work in a group. They have also learned to be respectful to adults and other children.
Another activity that my children have enjoyed is going to camp. At camp they participated in activities that were new to them. They enjoyed going down water slides, playing paint ball, and riding horses.
We have also been involved in a homeschool co-op when we first started homeschooling. It was a group of families from our church. We had picnics and went on field trips together.
For a couple of years we were part of an alternative school put on by our public school district. Most of the classes had multiple aged children. There were also a lot of parents and young children in the classes. The parents kept their children under control.
My children have never played sports but, many homeschool families do. I know families that are involved with little league and soccer.
Besides AWANA there are other groups that children can join. My older children were involved in Keepers at Home. Keepers at Home is a Christian group similar to Girl or Boy Scouts. In the girls group the girls earn badges for activities like sewing and cooking. There is also a boys group.
Some families are involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Campfire Girls, or 4H. There is no end to the activities that homeschoolers do. To find groups in your area ask neighbors or friends. Also look in the phonebook or online for groups.
Some parks departments have activities for children.
Most of the activities mentioned for homeschool socialization are the same ones that children from private and public schools enjoy. So your children will have the opportunity to make friends with school children.
There are so many activities that your children can be involved in that you have to be careful that they are not out every day. Don’t neglect the three “R’s”. Pick and choose your activities wisely. If your family is sport minded do sports. If you like animals or cooking find a 4H group.
Also if your child socializes in groups without your supervision you will want to talk to your child about bullying and other bad things that can happen. You don’t want to frighten your children, just make them aware that bad things can happen. Tell them not to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Also tell them to talk things over with a trusted adult.
You need to be aware that when your child is outside the family he will be exposed to other ideas. When my children were very young they were involved in church groups. The groups were activity driven so that the children had little contact with each other. At home I taught our values. A lot of socialization skills are learned at home such as how to get along with siblings and respect of parents.
Later when I felt that my children were old enough that they would not be influenced by the world they went to camp and joined other groups.
Moms also need to be with other people. You can find companionship with other likeminded parents when you join co-ops or a homeschooling association.
Homeschool socialization is first learned at home. Then when our children know our values they can learn to live in the world.
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