It’s no secret that homeschoolers excel academically. Yet some critics continue to challenge them on an apparent “lack of homeschool socialization.” Homeschoolers are often accused of not learning how to live in the “real world.” However, most homeschool families integrate a wide variety of socialization activities into their homeschool curriculum. Here are some of our top tips for integrating homeschooling and socialization.
- Get involved in community resources and opportunities such as athletics, theater, and dance. Contact your local parks and recreation departments to find out about upcoming classes. See what your church offers. Many homeschooled students are part of a choir or volunteer committee.
- Enroll them in clubs. There are so many clubs available to kids! Check out things that interest them like The Girl Scouts, The Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs or a youth group. Research your local library, which often offers reading aloud events, as well as other homeschool events.
- Check out your community college. Many students, especially older students, can take some classes that not only help them get college credit, but it also gives them a chance to interact with individuals of varied ages.
- Think about volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to socialize, and although there might be age restrictions, some organizations will permit children to accompany a parent volunteer.
- Look into camps. Camp is a great way to integrate socialization into your curriculum, and most camps have multi-age groups with counselors who provide positive role modeling.
- Join a co-op or join a teaching co-op with other parents who homeschool. In a teaching co-op, each parent agrees to teach a specialty to all the children, and they study some subjects in a group setting. Co-op groups range from English, Writing, Science, Math, Speech and Debate and much more! Basically, if you need help in teaching a given subject, chances are you are not the only one. Research your area because there is probably a homeschool co-op already started.
- Scout out organized spelling and geography bees, math leagues, and science clubs. All of these give homeschoolers a chance to compete academically. Keep your eyes open for contests such as wood working challenges, science fairs, and knitting contests.
- Get music lessons or art lessons. Is your child musically inclined or artistic? Consider art classes, or music classes where your child is involved with other students. Also, see what kind of youth orchestras, bands, or choirs are close by for your child to work in groups.
- Call your local YMCA. Need those PE credit hours? Many YMCA’s or gyms offer events for homeschooling families. And some of these classes are given every week!
In every homeschool community, there are an abundance of resources available to ensure that your kids receive adequate socialization. In addition to the provided list, you might want to look for a homeschool support group, as well. In many cases, these groups sponsor weekly and monthly activities for homeschool students, including physical education classes, museum trips, special speakers, camping outings, trips to historic sites, and many other activities. Also, most state homeschool associations sponsor an annual conference where homeschool children perform plays, assemble yearbooks, and participate in graduation ceremonies in the advanced grades.
Homeschool families, as a whole, do not raise their children in social isolation, and they are not ill equipped for the “real world.” In fact, it is quite the opposite. Homeschooling and socialization goes hand-in-hand for many families as they are involved in their community. If you would like more ideas check out Bridgeway’s live, interactive classes or call us at 404-439-0882.