Building your home school network and working on social skills for kids may be one of the biggest questions people have about homeschooled children.
And, it’s definitely one of the phrases that homeschooling parents hear the most, especially when others are asking about their homeschooling journey.
(As long as we homeschool, I believe the social disadvantages of homeschooling is going to be an argument we’ll have to battle.)
Actually, if you’re new to homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling, you may have one of these socialization questions:
What about homeschool socialization?
Are homeschoolers socialized?
OR . . .
. . maybe you just need some new ideas because your homeschool child has no friends or you want to expand their social circle and need some homeschool socialization ideas on building your home school network (for both you and your kids!).
We get it (mainly because we’ve been there!)
And, you don’t need to worry because we’ve got you covered with TRIED AND TRUE ways for building your home school network!
BUT . . .
Before we get to any of the fun social ideas, let’s take a quick look at does homeschooling affect social skills?
(Start with this cute homeschool socialization VIDEO.)
What about homeschooling and socialization?
To be honest, how to build a home school network was one of my concerns before I started homeschooling.
My daughter is a little social butterfly.
She never meets a stranger and rarely feels out of place in homeschool groups or any other networks or classes.
Since she is an only child at home, I was worried (in the beginning) that I wouldn’t be able to meet her socialization needs while she is homeschooled.
I honestly wondered things like, “Do homeschoolers have friends?” and “Are homeschoolers lonely?”
(I know, right?)
BOY HAS THAT SOCIALIZATION SWITCH FLIPPED!
Now, I’m so tired from running her around that I wish she had less socialization and outside activities.
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ANYWAY . . .
I’m telling you about our homeschool experience so that you no longer have to be concerned about your homeschool friends network!
If you’re looking for ideas on how to improve social skills for kids during homeschooling, don’t worry!
You’ll have plenty of opportunities and it’s easier than you think.
START BY checking out this list of ideas we put together for finding friends for homeschoolers and building your home school network!
(And stop wondering, “How do I meet other homeschoolers?”)
CHECK IT OUT . . .
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Finding Friends for Homeschoolers & Building Your Home School Network
13 BEST Homeschool Socialization Ideas and EXCELLENT Ways to Improve Social Skills for Kids (That You Probably Never Thought About)
There are plenty of ways that you can connect your homeschoolers to others and help improve homeschool social skills for kids, but it often take planning and persistence.
Here are some ideas on how to find friends for your homeschooled child (and yourself!).
But, remember, you are looking for quality relationships and not just quantity, so don’t overwhelm your child (or yourself) trying to fit in a million different extra curricular activities. (That was the voice of experience speaking right there. You’re welcome.)
Building Your Home School Network Idea #1: Find a local homeschool meetup group on Facebook.
I cannot even tell you how many Facebook homeschool groups we belong to!
There are homeschool groups for nature hikes, and for tweens, and for just our city, and for the state, and, and, and … SO MANY.
(You guys! FOR REAL.)
Heading over to Facebook and search: homeschool group [your city].
If you don’t find a group for your city or area, expand the search to your state.
(If you find a great group, it might be worth the drive to meet up a couple of times each month.)
HOMESCHOOL SOCIALIZATION TIP: If one group doesn’t work out (we’ve all been there, trust me), don’t be afraid to join several of them and try it out again. (Remember, persistence!)
Building Your Home School Network Idea #2: Go to the park.
OK, I see you rolling your eyes.
“The park? REALLY? That’s your TIP?”
And, yes. It really is my tip because it’s one of the best places to not just meet other kids, but also meet parents!
(Remember, you need a homeschool tribe, too!)
Many kids will naturally gravitate toward each other when playing at the park (especially on the playground equipment).
Take your kids to the park regularly and if you see they are having fun with a particular child, approach the parent and exchange information.
(Or, make another park playground meet-up date on the spot!)
And, it works! We’ve met several of our friends this way!
HOMESCHOOL SOCIALIZATION TIP: Spend some time going to the park during the middle of the day (when public school is in session). You’ll be able to see if it’s all toddlers or if there are school aged children there, too. Chances are, those school aged children are homeschoolers that you can connect with!
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Building Your Home School Network Idea #3: Join the YMCA (or a gym).
Most YMCAs or gyms now have children’s rooms and even cheap and free children’s events.
Try out a couple of different days to workout and see which days have the largest children’s room turnout.
After a couple of weeks, you can get a good feel for the families that come on specific days and your child may connect to some friends that way.
HOMESCHOOL SOCIALIZATION TIP: This is a double-duty tip! It gets your kids out interacting with others while you get a break to focus on yourself. Taking care of ourselves is something that homeschool parents often put at the bottom of the list. Don’t let that happen to you!
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Building Your Home School Network Idea #4: Join homeschool classes.
Many areas now offer a variety of homeschool classes and homeschool events.
(And many are even free or really cheap!)
Search the web for homeschool classes in your area (or search homeschool programs near me) and then sign up for the ones that interest your child!
You’ll probably find a mix of academic, physical (like exercise and sports and hikes, etc.), and just fun!
Be sure to gravitate toward those that are of most interest to your child so they can meet other kids who have the same interests.
HOMESCHOOL SOCIALIZATION TIP: Homeschooling (especially in the U.S.) is becoming more mainstream and many businesses today want to grab a piece of that homeschooling pie. If you don’t see a class, ask a business if they’ll add one! We’ve done that with several businesses who were excited to offer discount classes once we pitched the idea to them (especially when we polled a homeschool Facebook group to see how many were interested beforehand)!
Building Your Home School Network Idea #5: Volunteer or help with a community project.
Volunteering is a great way to meet other families with big hearts.
Commit to a place that also allows children to volunteer, that way your child can come along and also potentially meet other kids who are also volunteering.
For about a year, we volunteered weekly with a local shelter and my kid even got to be friends with some of the kids staying in the shelter whose families had met some hard times!
It was a great experience that my homeschooler still talks about and was really life changing for her.
Now, we gather a group of our homeschooled friends and volunteer at special events there once or twice each year.
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Many places don’t allow children to volunteer for liability issues. Don’t be afraid to contact your local shelter, place of worship, food bank, etc. and ask. The shelter where we volunteered didn’t publicize that they allowed children to volunteer, but when we said that we would like to come into the children’s room and do craft and snack time with the kids once every week they allowed it! You can also check sites like: VolunteerMatch.org.
Building Your Home School Network Idea #6: Go to the library.
No matter what time of day we go to the library, there are always kids there.
(And we have a small local library.)
My daughter almost always finds kids to play with while she’s at the library.
We’ve exchanged numbers or emails with a couple of them so she can get to know the kids better!
HOMESCHOOL TIP: If your local library doesn’t offer homeschool events or classes, ask them to add some. Come up with some ideas before you present it to them (or it will never get done!).
Building Your Home School Network Idea #7: Join (or utilize) a church, temple, synagogue, mosque (etc.).
Places of worship are great places for your kids to meet other kids.
They will be in the same class, at the same time each week, which will allow them to develop relationships.
And, it doesn’t even matter your belief system.
Places of worship usually have really great special events (think: Trunk-or-Treat for Halloween) and other cool things like summer camps.
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Don’t shy away from homeschool classes or cool events just because it’s at a church or place of worship different from your own. You never know until you try it out and it may be a great cultural learning opportunity for your entire family!
Building Your Home School Network Idea #8: Frequent the children’s museum (and other museums and tourist destinations in your area).
Regularly visit the children’s museum (or a local museum in your area).
Many today offer discounted homeschool days and even free family days.
(So, this tip doesn’t even have to stretch the budget.)
Don’t forget to trade information with the parents of the kids your child connects with during the trips! You don’t want to get home with the disappointment of, “OH! They were so awesome. I wish we would’ve traded numbers . . .”
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Make a bucket list of places your kids want to visit. Then, each week (or a couple of times each week), draw out of the bucket for a place to visit for the week.
NEW TO HOMESCHOOLING?
Building Your Home School Network Idea #9: Join homeschool co op classes.
If homeschool co op classes or programs are available in your area, consider joining one (especially if it’s for social events or field trips).
Homeschool co ops are generally organized by a group of homeschooling parents for a variety of reasons: to offer classes, to organize field trips, to participate in group arts and crafts, to provide social time for homeschoolers, to create a homeschool buyers co-op to get the benefits of group discounts, and more!
You can easily form your regular homeschool tribe through co-ops.
HOMESCHOOL TIP: There are homeschool co ops that are academic and also some that are for social events and other reasons. Be sure to understand the goal of the co op before joining! If you don’t know, just ask them!
Building Your Home School Network Idea #10: Host a book club (or other social club).
If you can’t find a group, then start one!
(Don’t be scared. In this social media age, gathering a group isn’t that hard!)
An easy one is to start a kids’ homeschool book club that can meet at the local library.
Or, if your kid is interested in something else like Pokemon, then host a Pokemon club instead!
(Or, whatever interests your homeschooler! Just ask your kid!)
HOMESCHOOL TIP: You can post about your event on Facebook events, in local Facebook homeschool groups, and on NextDoor. Also, check if the library will let you hang a flyer on the community bulletin board (and look for other community bulletin boards like in coffee shops).
Building Your Home School Network Idea #11: Go to public school events.
You may think it’s weird for a homeschool parent to tell you to go to public school, but there are SO MANY events through public schools!
Check out the local school carnivals, plays, or football, basketball, volleyball, and softball games.
If you go regularly, you’ll get to know some of the parents and your child will probably naturally migrate to the kids who are attending.
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Most public schools post their event schedules (and school calendars) online. Just search the internet for schools near you.
Building Your Home School Network Idea #12: Join a troop that meets regularly.
Join American Heritage Girls, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, or a similar troop or group.
The great thing about troops is that you generally keep the same core of people from year to year, so there are opportunities to build long-term friendships.
And, it’s generally not just homeschoolers.
Your kid will get a chance to make friends from all different backgrounds and schools—probably homeschoolers and kids in traditional school settings!
HOMESCHOOL TIP: Most groups and troops will let you sit in on a meeting before making a financial or time commitment. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can do that and see what you/your kids think about it!
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Building Your Home School Network Idea #13: Ask your friends.
Sometimes we forget about the most obvious, but . . .
Let your friends and family members know what you’re up to with growing your home school network!
You don’t have to say, “My homeschool kid has no friends.”
Instead, phrase it like, “We’re looking to expand our home school network. Do you have any families that would be good connections?”
Your friends and family will almost always have a “I think you will really like meeting . . .” suggestion.
DO YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT HOMESCHOOL SOCIALIZATION?
WHAT ARE YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLES WITH GETTING YOUR KIDS OUT AND GROWING YOUR HOME SCHOOL NETWORK?
LET’S CHAT IN THE COMMENTS!