Since 2012, homeschooling has been a significant topic in Australia. The rise in the number of parents considering homeschooling their children has also increased the most famous homeschooling question, “What about socialisation when you homeschool your children?”
As parents, we want what is best for our kids. Socialisation skills, the ability to get along with current or future peers and at times ‘fit in’. With the people on this planet, socialization is more important than your grade 4 Maths assignment! So if you are here reading this question, I am happy you are here.
I am currently raising two of the MOST SOCIAL home-schooled children (and one of them has a special needs diagnosis!), and I would love to share some homeschooled truths.
Homeschooling kids have a lot of opportunity for social contact.
There are so many social events, friendship catch ups and co-ordinated group lessons happening right now with other homeschooled children, that if we wanted to, we could spend nearly every waking moment of our homeschool day with other children! Ahhh, the wonders of Facebook communities. But we don’t. We can’t. Otherwise, we may never get anything done.
In the past week, we have been invited to Kids archery, friendship catch up at local nature studies, a co-op science lesson, homeschool sports day and professionally lead home-school lessons in surfing and music. And now of these include the just straight out play sessions and travelling kids meetups!
Homeschooling kids have a lot of opportunity for social contact. However, it relies on the parent to initiate at the very least the first contact into these events. Join as many homeschooling groups on Facebook as possible, put yourself out there (often pushing past your on Socialisation fears) and meet some of the most supportive and wonderful group of Home Schooling Mums and Dads.
Homeschooled kids learn ‘real world’ socialisation with people of all ages.
Socialisation doesn’t need to happen with kids of the same age! Think about it this way. As adults we rarely socialise with people our same age, so why do kids need to as well. By giving them an extensive range of children over differing ages, maturity levels and social abilities; your child is forced to learn how to communicate with people of all walks of life, just like us in the adult world. Schools may have a peerage group policy for learning, socialising and playing, but that doesn’t mean Home Schooling needs to as well. Children of other ages and abilities, other parents, tour operators when we are travelling, kids meet at exhibits and activities; all provide opportunities to play and socialise together.
READ MORE: FREE Educational Apps for Homeschooling Kids
All kids are weird – homeschooling doesn’t make them weirder
I remember a well-meaning shop assistant once said to me “but, their so normal!”. My kids aren’t normal. I aim for them not to be. But, they are well mannered, polite, respectful, educated and can think of other peoples perspective. Homeschooled kids do all the weird stuff that kids in general do. When Rob was six years old and in mainstreamed school, he stuck his head out the car window and licked at the air like a dog. Abby, the same age has been home-schooled from day 1 and did the same thing last week. Homeschooling doesn’t make them weirder. Kids are funny, but so are yours, and that’s ok.
Homeschool kids deal with bullying less often
Children in the mainstream school system (regardless if its public or private education) will be at one time or another by sadly surrounded by drugs, emotional disorders, violence, drugs, promiscuity, contempt for authority, bullying and cyberbullying. These are precisely the behaviours that we hope to steer our children away from, and although aren’t our primary reason to homeschool, it makes me sleep better at night.
We know personally too many children that have been bullied in the school system and now sadly will suffer long-term effects. Homeschooling is not the fix for these issues, neither is it free from bullying, but the rates of your child experiencing any of these are dramatically lessened.
READ MORE: The How-To of Homeschooling
We do regular things too!
Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the other socialisation things that other kids do. Every week we participate in social groups like Scouts which provides an excellent opportunity for fun and socialisation. Read our article on Home Schooling and Lone Scouting.