What Does Socialization Look Like For Homeschooled Kids?
I’ve written before about socialization, and how it’s not something that concerns me when it comes to homeschooling. Still, it’s the number one question/concern that comes up from other people. So I thought I’d try to explain a bit more about what socialization actually looks like for kids who don’t go to school.
It looks like groups of kids of mixed age groups hanging out together and having fun. Exploring together, directing their own play, coming up with their own ideas, and learning about each other. Homeschooled kids have endless time to spend with friends. There are no bells or timetables bringing them in from their play so they have plenty of time for forming friendships. They can socialize with kids of their own age or kids who are older or younger than them, learning to get along with and be comfortable around people of all ages.
It looks like close bonds formed with friends who they have chosen themselves for whatever reason they have decided. Not because of being sat next to someone in class or being the same age, but because they have found something in the other person that resonates with them.
It looks like field trips and shared experiences with friends…
…learning together and building upon each others knowledge.
It looks like teamwork and collaborative projects.
People think homeschooled kids miss out on the opportunity of working together with other children, but there are lots of opportunities for this. There are co-op’s and classes, but even just by putting a group of self-motivated learners together and watching their play you will notice all the times they work together on their own projects and learn from each other.
It looks like arguments and disagreements and practice in conflict resolution. Kids don’t always get along, we all know that. But the great thing about being there as a parent is you get to see just how competent kids are at working out their disagreements. And when things get a little too heated, parents are there to step in and help guide. There’s no need to separate kids or punish them for their immature behaviour and conflict, that doesn’t resolve anything. Instead they get to work through problems in their own time, learning valuable skills.
Interestingly, I’ve also never seen bullying of any kind at our homeschool meetups. It just doesn’t seem to happen. Possibly because young children have the guidance they need from parents before these kinds of situations occur. But there is also a lack of competitiveness and comparison among the kids. Everyone is accepted for who they are.
It looks like interacting with adults in the community when out and about. Being comfortable talking to them, and asking questions, and all the learning and opportunities that provides.
It looks like ample time for developing close relationships with siblings, parents, and extended family members.
And sometimes, it looks like staying home and enjoying a good book instead because you don’t feel like socializing today.
I adore this. It is really as simple as this. Thanks for being part of our socialization 🙂
Back at you!
If I didn’t have “health issues” I would home school. That’s fantastic 🙂
Thank you 🙂
I adore this, truly. Of the many, many concerns I had when we unexpectedly started homeschooling, I can honestly say that socialization was not one of them. Why? Because when you aren’t in school from 8-4 you have countless opportunities to be social! In the real world. Why can’t others see this?
Exactly! The ‘kids need to be in the real world’ one really confuses me. What part of this is not the real world? lol
I love what you said about a lack of competitiveness and comparison amongst homeschooled kids. I feel like I am still battling these as an adult on a daily basis! And I know that, though I don’t remember much of what I learned in grade school, I do remember feeling “less than” very often, in many subjects and those feelings are deeply engrained. Yes, children are naturally somewhat competitive; it’s part of what drives them to learn and achieve. But I fear public/formal education is ruining their sense of individuality and self worth with it’s obsessive grading and rigorous testing. Thankful to be homeschooling my own. Thank you for your wonderful blog!
Thank you Liz!
I agree. Success shouldn’t mean having to beat other people.
This is beautiful and oh so true. We’ve been home educating since 2006, with some traditional school time for my eldest mixed in, and this post explains exactly what we’ve experienced too. As a former Primary teacher I’m so grateful to be around families where children learn social skills in natural non-competitive environments (unless someone chooses to have a race 😉 ). The teenagers I’ve met, who have not attended high school, have been mature young adults who are already engaged in volunteering, part-time work or tertiary studies. They are the easter egg surprise at the end of the journey.
It’s an awesome way to spend a childhood isn’t it!
My 3.5 year old does not go to preschool et but is the most social and socialized child I know! She has a large group of friends at church from 0-6 and 4 friends her age from my mother’s group and now their younger siblings and 8 cousins. Plus many other friends here and there. I love watching her play with older and younger children and u think it has helped get imagination and speech especially playing with older kids. We are thinking about homeschooling and socialization is definitely not one of my concerns. (My patience being the main concern of mine! )
So many opportunities to be with other people!
Love the pics and the description of homeschooling. I’ve always had the notion that it is something that is done for only a few years or so…are you planning to do it through their highschool education as well?
I will read some more posts ….enjoying them so far.
Hi Donna. I plan to be doing it for a long time! I can’t imagine us stopping but who knows what the future holds 🙂
I love your posts! Everything screams out, ‘that’s what I was thinking!’ Keep up the awesome ‘work’ with the kiddos! Looking forward to reading more!
Thank you so much!
Lack of competitiveness, acceptance of others, and lack of bullying are perhaps the most important points. Preventing problems by giving that guidance is also much more effective than backtracking after problems have occurred.
Homeschooling veterans know socialization isn’t really the issue. People who ask that are often actually thinking, “But won’t they grow up to be weird–you know, misfits?” Research shows that home educated students may be the most balanced of us all. See nheri.org for research results.
Weird is so much more interesting than normal anyway, ha!! 😉
I love this post! You are so right. There are countless opportunities to socialize with any number of people when you homeschool. As for my kids, they are social butterflies! 🙂
I think this is wonderful, and true. However, the socialising with a group of other, home schooled children is not available to us. I have been trying for some time to create a group but with no luck. I am getting concerned as all my son’s friends are schooled and this is far from ideal for many reasons. I have organised an event for this week and so far not a single soul is coming! Any advice?