What About Socialization?


Are you hesitant to homeschool because you’re worried about socialization? More often than not, when I tell someone that my family homeschools their first question is, “What about socialization?”It’s a common misconception that homeschoolers are unsocialized and the socialization question is frequently asked. 

I decided to ask a few fellow homeschooling moms what they thought about socialization and I’d like to share some of their answers. I think it’s important to note that only you can decide what’s right for your family. That may be homeschool, public school, or something else. There’s certainly pros and cons to each. But if you decide to homeschool, you might just realize that you don’t need to worry about the socialization aspect.

What About Socialization?

What about socialization?

“Between church activities, family gatherings, field trips including going overseas, meeting people at the grocery store and library, school co-op, swimming lessons, and soccer practice, we don’t have time to be unsocial.”- Future.Flying.Saucers

“Socialization is one of the reasons we chose TO homeschool. We want our children socialized by multi-age groups in natural settings rather than in single-age classroom groups. Now, since getting into homeschooling, we sometimes think we should call our family “not-home-schoolers” because we are so often out and about engaging with children and adults in the community. From day-to-day errands, to homeschool co-ops and gatherings, to public events, to faith-based initiatives, to enrichment and sports activities, our children are immersed in social opportunities — learning the ins and outs of interacting in diverse situations with all different types (and ages!) of folks.”- Martianne of Training Happy Hearts

“I always laugh at that question, like we’re going to keep our kids in a cave and never let them out to play. My kids routinely get together with kids from church, they participate in sports, and scouting, and have friends over. In all of that, how are they not socialized?”- Ticia from Adventures In Mommydom

“Children do not actually have much time to socialize in school, during my student teaching (for my MA) I saw kids lose recess for talking, have silent lunch time because they were too loud, etc… As homeschoolers, my children are involved in co-op and other learning classes, gymnastics, swimming, church and we have regular play dates. My son’s birthday is coming up and we had a very hard time narrowing down the invite list down to 12 kids. My son is able to make friends in every circumstance, no matter where we go. Socialization is not an issue! Homeschooling has become so mainstream that there are so many opportunities to spend time with others, and the added benefit is that it is in a more relaxed and ‘real life’ setting. ‘Real life’ is not a classroom.”- Jen from Chestnut Grove Academy

“I don’t focus on ‘socialization’. Instead I encourage and facilitate friendships. Throwing a large group of same aged children into a classroom where their time is constantly micromanaged by someone else is *not* a situation conducive to developing personal and meaningful friendships. Focus on relationships and connection, not pack mentality style socialization.”- Rebecca from Down a Rabbit Trail

“I just got back from a weekend of seven soccer games, two playdates, one sleepover, and am heading into a week of practices, co-op classes, and ‘study groups’. I WISH we were more unsocialized — I’m exhausted!”-Nicole from Schooling in the Sun

Does your family homeschool? What about socialization?

 

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About Joyce

Joyce is the mom behind Childhood Beckons, where she encourages parents to focus on their families and the childhood that beckons them. Her motto is "Childhood is calling my son to play and explore. And childhood is calling me to help him on his journey." She enjoys discovering creative ways to play and learn and passing along her family's favorites. You can find Joyce on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Thank you for putting this together. It will make a great go-to webpage form when others ask me about socialization. (And thanks for including our family’s take on it, too! ) We all homeschool for different reasons, but, no matter what they are, socialization is rarely — if ever — a problem. :)

  2. What about circumstances where homeschooled children don’t have much opportunity to socialise with other children?

    We are new to a small town where there are not many activities for children, and where there are no homeschooling groups. I desperately want to homeschool my children, but they are very lonely and want to play with other children.

    Sending them to school seems like the only option for them to play with other children. BTW, they are six year old boy-girl twins, and have very different interests to one another. We also have a four year old boy.

    • Hi Lana!

      That’s a great question. And I want to start off with saying that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sending your kids to public school if that’s what is right for your family. I homeschool my son, but we take it year by year and public school is still very much an option for us. I have many friends with kids in public school and I can very much see why it is best for their family. For their kids. But if you are drawn to homeschooling and would like to explore the socialization issue for small town homeschoolers there might be more options available than you might think. That was true in my case, and maybe it is for you as well.

      We also live in a small town and I didn’t know any other homeschoolers when we started. My son, R, is an only child, so I was very concerned with socialization because he doesn’t have a sibling to play with.

      I’ve discovered that even though there isn’t a homeschooling group for my town, there is one for the county we live in. It serves all the towns and cities in the county and they have rotating play dates and group get-togethers. Through this group, I’ve found access to a seemingly “behind the scenes” homeschooling community. For instance, the next town over has a skating rink and hosts homeschool skate days and I would have never known about it otherwise. There are also field trips and holiday parties I would have never known about. Sometimes the activities require us to drive a little, but it’s almost always worth it.

      I’ve also had success with going to community events and striking up conversations. I recently attended a bird watching class in the next town over and discovered a homeschooling mom, with a son my age, that lived in my town! I’ve also found that one homeschooling mom friend can open the door to other opportunities. The woman I met while bird watching wasn’t a part of the county homeschool group that I’m in, but was a part of a co-op and extended an invitation to my family.

      And, I’ve recently started a club of my own. My son is very interested in nature study so I started a group when I didn’t find one that fit our needs. I posted about our newly forming club in our county’s homeschool group and at the start of our club there are 12 children including my son.

      Also, there are young sports leagues that a lot of homeschooling families take part in. AYSO is a national youth soccer organization, and my small town had a branch. Yours might too!

      There may be a “behind the scenes” homeschooling community near you as well that is waiting to be discovered. I think it is legitimately harder for homeschoolers in small towns though. It certainly takes more effort and often more gas. And even then, get togethers are not on a daily basis.

      I often take my son to the park after school hours and on the weekends. There he gets to play with kids he might not meet otherwise. If he really hits it off with another child, I try to exchange numbers (or facebook account names) with the other parent to plan play dates in the future.

      If you’d like for me to help seek out groups and communities in your general area, please feel free to email me. My email is joyce (at) childhoodbeckons.com

      • Thanks so much for your reply Joyce! It has given me some things to explore and think about.

        Also, thank you for the offer to help find the groups, but we’re in Australia :D

        • Oh! I hope some of the suggestions I mentioned still apply. And I hope you find opportunities unique to you and your location. :)

  3. I love this! I feel like we have too MUCH socialization between our co-ops, sports, and club activities. I love this roundup of quotes – if it’s ok, I would love to link this post on my blog under FAQ for when my family and friends ask me this for the umpteenth time!

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