Homeschool socialization and social effects of homeschooling are often listed as problems with homeschooling and homeschool and socialization is a common question. How do homeschoolers make friends and get social interaction when they’re stuck at home all day? Here’s the real truth (and why socializing homeschoolers should be the least of your worries!)
Socialization For Homeschoolers
When people talk about problems with homeschooling, homeschoolers and socialization, or negative effects of homeschooling, they often include the homeschooling socialization aspect — generally in some form of, “How do homeschoolers make friends?”
How to make homeschool friends is a valid, common question.
No one wants their child to be lonely or isolated or socially awkward.
However, the misconception about homeschool socialization often comes from those who:
- Have not experienced homeschooling
- Don’t fully understand homeschooling
- Are trying to put unnecessary constraints on homeschool in order to push an agenda
Socialization Homeschool FAQS
Does homeschooling affect socialization?
You may be surprised to learn that most homeschoolers have a peer group and close friends the same as kids in traditional school. Homeschooling only affects socialization if a child is not interested in socializing (which happens in regular school, too) or new homeschooling parents don’t know how to look for homeschool groups yet.
Are homeschoolers socially awkward?
Homeschooler are no more or less socially awkward than kids in traditional school. There are super outgoing homeschool kids that easily interact with peers and shy, introverted homeschoolers who prefer less interaction, just like kids who are in public school.
Do homeschoolers lack social skills?
Social skills, sometimes also called interpersonal skills, come from interacting with others in social situations or out in public. Homeschool students interact socially and with the public on a regular basis. So, homeschooler social skills are on par with any other school child.
Are homeschooled kids lonely?
Homeschool kids can get lonely or bored just like any kid, especially since we live in a world of go-go-go and kids expect to be entertained in every moment. This isn’t exclusive to homeschoolers. This is just a normal part of being a kid/human in the world we live in today, whether you homeschool or traditional school.
Homeschool Socialization Research and Homeschool Socialization Statistics
There are an estimated 1.8 million homeschoolers just in the United States. That estimate may be low because not all states are required to report homeschool statistics, so it’s likely much higher. That means there are plenty of homeschool peer groups in every state in the nation for kids to socialize with during homeschooling!
“…homeschooled children in this study described themselves as more cooperative, assertive, empathetic, and self-controlled than public school children did. There appears to be, therefore, a convergence of evidence from three different perspectives––parental report, objective observers, and self-report––that homeschooled children’s social skills are exceptional.”
Homeschooling preschool or kindergarten and worried about homeschooling social skills for that age range?
Homeschooling and socialization issues may be a concern of your own (or wondering “How do homeschoolers make friends?”) if you’re new to homeschooling or researching how to start homeschooling.
BUT . . .
Before you use homeschool socializing as one of the reasons not to homeschool, let’s take a closer look:
Socialization and Homeschooling: Why We’re Asking The Wrong Question…
Personally, I think we are asking the wrong questions.
Instead of focusing on homeschool vs. public school, I think we should be focusing on, “Is this normal behavior (or a normal situation) for any kid in today’s world?”
Let’s take a look at some of the earlier questions, adapted to this way of thinking:
Does [school] affect socialization?
In some ways. Socializing while sitting quietly in a classroom is … next to impossible. So, public school kids are left to socialize mostly in between classes and outside of the class learning time, which is much the same as homeschool kids (except their classes are just at home instead of in a school).
In fact, there are many parents who would argue that homeschool kids get more balanced socialization throughout a school day because they take advantage of homeschool meetups and field trips, etc. on a regular basis (in addition to their outside classes).
Are [school kids] socially awkward?
Yes. The end.
Most kids, in general, are awkward in some ways, and sometimes they are socially awkward.
But, you guys, this is just being a kid and developing skills. It often has very little to do with being homeschooled vs traditionally schooled.
Do [school students] lack social skills?
Yes. Of course they do. All kids lack some social skills because they are in the process of learning and social skills are part of that learning. This is not exclusive to homeschool kids. This is just part of the regular growth that all kids experience.
Are [school] kids lonely?
Yes. Kids sometimes get lonely — public school kids, private school kids, and homeschool kids. All kids, no matter where they live or go to school or how many (or few) friends they have, will experience loneliness at some point, no matter who they are (or are not) surrounded by. Adults sometimes get lonely, too. Why should kids be any different?
(WHOA. My education background worked its way in there for a sec during this section. Sorry about that.)
I hope that made things a little clearer. I think we like to use one or the other (homeschool or traditional school) as an excuse for negatives when, in fact, sometimes this is just the world kid live in today.
A Homeschool Socialization Definition
Before we move on, let’s talk about some confusion on the definition.
What do people really mean when they talk about homeschool socialization?
It’s often difficult to know if people really mean socialized or socialization.
According to Dictionary.com, socialized means “to associate or mingle sociably with others,” while socialization means “a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.”
I’m guessing that people really mean homeschool socialization, but both are relevant to the discussion of homeschooling.
What I think people really mean is some form of “How will your child ever learn to interact with others?”
And, the answer is that homeschool socialization occurs more naturally than you think! (Homeschooling without friends is actually a homeschool myth!)
Check this out…
Do Homeschoolers Have Friends?
Are Homeschoolers Socialized?
You may be surprised to know that many homeschoolers spend a great deal of time outside of the home interacting with others—including adults, other homeschoolers of all ages and stages, and also even traditionally schooled kids. If homeschooling parents are proactive, there are often many opportunities to get homeschoolers out and interacting, including park trips, playdates, homeschool group meetups, classes, sports activities, and so much more!
Honestly, “What about homeschool socialization?” used to be one of the top questions that homeschooling families hear, but that’s changing a little as homeschooling becomes more mainstream and society understands homeschooling more.
How do homeschoolers socialize?
Many homeschoolers have very active social calendars and participate in a variety of activities. classes. Outside the home classes, playdates, homeschool meetups, volunteering, park play and even online social apps are all ways homeschoolers interact — much the same way as any other school children!
(You guys! I’m sooooo tired from all the running around activities for homeschool. I’m actually trying to un-socialize more!)
(Not really. SO. TIRED.)
How do homeschoolers find friends?
Homeschoolers find friends by being given opportunities to meet up and socialize with other kids. This includes homeschool classes (outside the home and online), homeschool meetups, free park play, playing in the neighborhood and more. Kids make friends easily. Just put them in the same place!
How do I socialize my homeschooled child?
There are many ways to get your homeschooler out and interacting:
- Homeschool groups (search social media for your area)
- Homeschool classes outside the home
- Extracurricular activities
- Sports leagues
- Museum family days
- Day camps
- Get involved in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque (etc.)
- Free play at parks
OR any place that your kids can interact with other kids.
Remember: homeschool kids don’t have to have just other homeschoolers has friends. We have a mix of homeschool and public school friends.
The trick is to be open to interacting with others when you’re out. Some of our closest friends came from the parents just striking up conversations while we waited in lines or at events.
Benefits of Homeschool Socialization
- Kids socialize with all different ages and stages, just like real life!
- Homeschoolers can pick their own social peer group instead of being forced into groups by class, proximity, and time constraints
- Families can be as involved as they want/need to be
- Homeschool peer groups often exhibit/experience less bullying
- Parents have more control over peer groups
- Homeschool families can take advantage of a wide range of social opportunities available
Homeschool vs Public School Socialization
When discussing the homeschooling vs public school perspective, homeschooling & socialization comes up quite a bit, especially as part of the arguments against homeschooling.
Some people think that there are social disadvantages to homeschooling because they incorrectly overestimate public school socialization.
Remember, for the majority of the day public school kids are sitting at their desks and not interacting with each other!
So, in reality, both public school kids and home school kids are both interacting and socializing outside of their study time — whether it’s after class in public school or when a homeschooler finishes their school work at home and then plays outside with friends.
But, really though, does homeschooling negatively affect social skills?
People may assume that homeschool isolation is a regular occurrence when, in fact, it is quite often the exact opposite.
Homeschooling a social child is simple because many homeschool families spend a great deal of time in outside classes, activities, meet-ups and other activities for homeschoolers that allow ample time for socializing.
However, homeschool parents do have to ensure that they are proactive in signing their homeschoolers up for classes, activities, and meet-ups outside the home.
(It doesn’t have to be difficult or costly! It can be as simple as taking your homeschoolers to an active park where they can play with other kids a few times each week!)
So, homeschool socialization often falls very low on the list of potential homeschooling problems and homeschooling issues!
The social disadvantages of homeschooling are more of a socialization myth than a negative effect of homeschooling.
So, don’t let it be one of your reasons not to homeschool or to think homeschooling is wrong until you learn more.
Homeschool socialization really doesn’t have to be one of the potential problems with homeschooling.
READY TO LEARN MORE?
The Homeschool Socialization Myth:
Homeschooling causes socialization problems?
Homeschool socialization is such a common question that I named my book, It’s Homeschooling, Not Solitary Confinement, based on the homeschool socialization myth.
The title of the book came from a funny homeschool socialization meme I made for our homeschool group.
Robin (from Batman and Robin) is asking the big, green Hulk, “But if you homeschool how will your kids get socialization?”
And the Hulk, fists clenched, is barking back, “It’s homeschooling, not solitary confinement!”
Homeschool Socialization Meme
And, it ended up being one of my favorite funny homeschool socialization memes of all times:
If you’ve been homeschooling for some time, you’re probably chuckling a little at this right now.
If you’re just now considering homeschooling, you’ll get our collective eye roll soon enough because that panicked look from people and the question “How will you ever socialize your homeschool child?” is one of the most frequent questions that we get from those who don’t understand homeschooling.
(“It’s homeschooling, not solitary confinement!” is one of my favorite and frequent retorts. You should try it, too!)
CHECK THIS OUT NEXT:
Disadvantages of Homeschooling
Are There Negative Effects of Homeschooling on Socialization?
The negative effects of homeschooling on socialization often come from parents who don’t remain proactive on finding outside the home activities for their children and also ways for kids to (safely) connect with others online.
There are plenty of ways for your homeschooled kids to make friends, you just need to search them out.
(More on that in a bit!)
Also, because you’re so busy focusing on the kids, homeschooling can sometimes be isolating for the homeschooling parents!
Are there social benefits to homeschooling?
Now that we’ve covered that socialization really isn’t one of the negative effects of homeschooling, it’s only right that we look at the questions:
What are the social effects of homeschooling and are there social benefits of homeschooling?
And, do homeschoolers have friends?
To be honest, socialization was a big concern for me before I truly understood the homeschooling process.
How will I make sure that my social butterfly is being fulfilled and that she fits into society?
It weighed on my mind until I came to a full understanding that I control what I do in homeschooling and how my child learns, including when to be with other kids in group learning situations like play dates or classes outside of the home.
You have full control over your homeschool schedule!
If you’re like most homeschooling families, your kids will have a great deal of group learning opportunities and activities for homeschoolers outside of the home, too!
So, how do you socialize your homeschoolers?
Supplementing Your Homeschooling
Social Groups and Activities for Homeschoolers
So, you’re probably wondering how to socialize homeschoolers?
The easy answer is that you just need to get your kids out and interacting with people of all ages.
(You know, like in real life.)
It really is that easy. No stress. No worry.
Just get out!
ALSO CHECK OUT :
We are blessed to live in an area that has ample opportunities for classes outside of the home.
The local library now offers a full schedule of different homeschool classes, from writing and math to art and foreign languages.
We also have several opportunities to join nature or farm schools that teach kids about wilderness, farm life, and being outside in nature.
You will probably have the same kind of opportunities in your area—no matter where you live (even if you have to drive to find them)!
Maybe your child isn’t interested in farming, but maybe she is interested in cooking, or art, or architecture, or robotics.
As a homeschooling parent, it’s your responsibility to match at-home learning and outside learning to your child’s interests and your child’s learning style.
How to Find Homeschool Programs, Homeschool Classes, and Homeschool Activities
As the homeschooling movement continues to grow, homeschool programs and homeschool classes are popping up all over the place.
Homeschool Socialization Ideas: 8 Ways to Find Homeschool Programs
How to socialize homeschooled child:
- Check your local library
- Join Facebook and search for homeschool groups (and then join them!)
- Check with local churches (Even if you’re not religious! Many churches offer a variety of classes/activities, including sports.)
- Ask local parks and nature centers
- Review offerings from the YMCA or local gyms
- Check with local museums, zoos, and other tourist destinations
- Ask your homeschooling friends
- Ask local businesses to add homeschooling programs or homeschool activities!
As a homeschooling parent, I have the freedom to supplement her learning as I see fit and so do you. Don’t forget to use it!