Homeschooling and Socialization is a topic that makes many homeschool families cringe. And it’s not because their children are inadequately socialized; it’s because so many people ask them about socialization and voice their concerns. From something as simple as walking through the grocery store during the day with their children, a homeschooling parent will likely get grilled about their choices, and random strangers will ask questions about homeschooling and socialization.
Homeschooling and Socialization go hand in hand.
This might surprise you, but homeschooling and socialization go hand in hand. In fact, many homeschooled children have better social lives than their traditionally schooled peers. How could this be possible? Well, first, let’s look at the facts. According to Think Impact Homeschooling Statistics, recent federal data shows that 3% to 4% of the school-going population in the United States is homeschooled. There are 73 million children in the U.S., which means over 2.9 million children are homeschooled in the U.S.
With that many children being homeschooled, do we still believe that they are all not adequately socialized? Of course not! Homeschooling has been growing in popularity for the last ten years, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when over 300 million students worldwide became homeschooled briefly.
Pandemic learning didn’t help stop the myth that homeschooled children aren’t socialized.
Unfortunately, when most parents and children were forced into remote learning through school boards during the pandemic, it did nothing to diminish the myth that homeschooled children aren’t socialized. Because children were being isolated with a makeshift version of online learning, parents also attempted to work from home simultaneously. This caused tremendous stress for parents and students alike and caused many parents and friends of the family to assume that what they were doing was homeschooling. Which they were not.
Recently I had a concerned citizen ask me why I would choose to homeschool my children, knowing that they wouldn’t get socialized and wouldn’t have as many opportunities in life—a shocking claim. Especially since statistics show that homeschooled children have a 67% College graduation rate compared to their public schooled peers at 59%, not to mention that my children have better social lives and many more friends than I do.
This person’s concern stemmed from watching their grandchild struggle through online/pandemic learning. And the isolation they felt. I kindly explained that homeschooling is 100% different from pandemic learning. And that my children have many opportunities to get out and socialize. Still, the person seemed bewildered.
A conversation with a homeschooled child.
As stated above, if over 2.9 million children in the United States are homeschooled, how could they all be isolated and live unsocialized lives? Have you ever had a conversation with a homeschooled child? They are usually the ones the explain in detail the project that they are working on. They are the ones that have unique interests and see the world through a much different lens than those around them.
Recently we had a family move to our neighbourhood that homeschools. While I was out for a walk with my kids, we stopped to say hello to two children playing catch. I welcomed them to the neighbourhood, and the one boy introduced himself, shook my hand and wished us a wonderful day. Why did this child interact so politely instead of ignoring our passing? Because many homeschooled children have opportunities to participate in socialization that other children don’t have access to. Let’s talk about that.
Socialization opportunities for homeschooled children:
There are so many opportunities available for homeschooling families to participate. Here are some of our favourites!
Since there are so many homeschooling families, many families get together to plan fun activities and sports-related opportunities for their children. Most cities have such a large amount of homeschooling families that they have registered homeschooling groups. These groups offer support for homeschooling families, co-op learning, field trips, sports, and lessons.
Our local homeschooling group comes with some fantastic perks, like gymnastics lessons, at a local gymnastics club, swimming lessons at the pool, track and field during the warm months, and gym/indoor pool rentals during the cold months, sledding, skiing, horseback riding and more.
During the summer months, when homeschooling activities are mostly paused, many homeschooling groups offer weekly meet-ups at parks in your location so homeschooling friends can get together to play and have fun!
Many homeschooling families understand the importance of the community. That’s why so many homeschooling families will volunteer at community events. Or care homes. Some homeschooling groups organize carolling and visits with local care homes during the holiday season. Other homeschooling families like to get involved in community gardens or soup kitchens. All of this community involvement helps children have budding and diverse social lives. They aren’t just socializing with their peers; they are also mingling with the community of people around them.
Basking in the Arts.
Since homeschooled children have more time during the day than traditional learning students, they have more time to get involved in the arts. This means they have more time to attend music lessons or art classes. Being able to develop those additional skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. This also means they will have more opportunities to meet people in the art community, which diversifies their socialization and opens their world to a new level of learning.
More time for imaginative play.
You can have homeschooling and socialization while still encouraging imaginative play. One of the top benefits of imaginative play is social development. When children engage in imaginative play, they can begin to understand relationships which help to improve their social skills and become more confident, connected, and self-reliant. And this results in children building better relationships with their peers.
Good old fashion play.
Just because your child is homeschooled doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t partake in friendships in their neighbourhood. Most homeschooled children have ‘homeschooled’ friends and ‘neighbourhood friends.’ Just like a traditionally schooled child will have ‘school friends’ and ‘neighbourhood friends.’ Evenings, weekends, and summer days are perfect for neighbourhood mingling and budding friendships with peers.
All this to say, that yes, homeschooling and socialization are partners. This terrible stereotype of homeschooled children is that they are always alone, awkward, rude, and don’t know how to take social cues. The opposite is true. Homeschooled children are brilliant and capable of having successful friendships and positive social lives. So, the next time someone doubts your children’s social lives, go ahead and point them to The Schoolio Blog!