People ask me about homeschool socialization all the time.
As a former homeschooler, my friends who were not homeschooled are often surprised that I’m not “socially awkward.” What’s strange is that it’s not just the traditionally schooled who think that homeschoolers are socially awkward. For some reason, many homeschoolers feel that same way.
But homeschoolers, like everyone else, have plenty of opportunities to get involved with other people and develop their social skills. In fact, many college professors and employers find that homeschoolers are better able to conduct themselves in a “professional manner” than their public school counterparts because they can take advantage of numerous socialization opportunities.
So in order to stomp out this stereotype of homeschool socialization as a concern, I have created a list of ways for homeschoolers to get out in the public and rub shoulders with others:
Ways to Increase Homeschool Socialization
- Co-Ops: One way to improve homeschool socialization is through Homeschool Co-Ops. Homeschool Co-Ops are a great place to get involved with other like-minded homeschoolers and their families. Co-Ops offer classes for homeschoolers, field trip opportunities, and an outlet for Moms and Dads, too. Co-Ops give you the flexibility of class scheduling, and the plus of socialization. Classes are often taught by parents who are experts in specific subjects or areas. This provides a wide variety of classes for the kids in the Co-Op. Nearly every community has a homeschooling Co-Op, so find yours and give it a shot!
- Scouting: February is a big month for Scouting. National Boy Scout Day is Feb. 8, and Girl Scout Cookie sales are traditionally huge this month. Found out about local troop information from your regional Boy Scout or Girl Scout Council. Both groups employ a variety of age groups and include lots of parental support. Don’t overlook Pathfinders, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 4-H and others. Getting involved in wholesome community clubs can be a wonderful and rewarding experience.
- Recreational Sports: Your student has literally thousands of ways to socialize with others outside of the classroom. Look to club or rec sports! Your child can try out for different activities like soccer, basketball, ballet, football and more through local youth organizations, YMCAs and YWCAs. Kids don’t have to attend a public school to play club sports, which provide opportunities for socialization and healthy activity. As your child gets older, they may discover a passion for one of these sports. Homeschooling can help your child pursue this! Bridgeway Academy has a program meant for athletes who want to participate in college sports with our special NCAA-approved program.
- Community Service: To improve homeschool socialization outside of the classroom, you can start getting involved in a local outreach! This will teach your child to socialize with peers, adults, and even people who may be less fortunate. These opportunities will help your child learn humility, empathy and hard work, which will enrich them throughout their whole lives!
- Sunday School and Youth Group: Most churches have a youth outreach program! Whether it’s Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, or both, your student can get involved and socialize with other like-minded students. Youth Groups provide a safe place to worship, learn about God, and connect with your peers.
- Dual Enrollment: For homeschoolers in the later years of high school, many community colleges allow students to enroll and take classes for dual credit. In fact, I got to do this in my senior year of high school! It not only helped me socialize with other students, but it also prepared me for what college would be like! Homeschooling provided me with a flexible enough schedule to take part in dual enrollment, and it was one of the best decisions my family made during my high school years!
These are just a few of the many ways that your homeschool children can socialize with others. But homeschool socialization doesn’t stop there! It’s also important to remember that your child is socializing with you! Adult-student relationships are vital. Too many students don’t get this amount of time with their parents! Be proud of how your child is able to interact with adults, and don’t be afraid to get them involved within your community!