This week we continue our series where I answer your homeschool questions. One of the questions I am asked often is, “What about homeschool socialization? Will my child be socialized?” I honestly understand where the question comes from. By taking a child out of a traditional classroom you are removing them from a certain kind of social experience. I am going to take a few minutes to answer this question in a couple ways. I don’t think there is one answer to the age old socialization question.
Leaving the school environment
Many people fear that by leaving the school environment the child will lose the ability to handle social situations. With recess being removed, P.E. being restricted, and free time being obliterated how much time does a child in a school environment really spend socializing? Unless they are breaking a teacher’s rule, or involved in a group project the bulk of a child’s socialization will happen in a 30 minute lunch break.
Are you involved?
Often when asking about socialization people don’t realize that homeschoolers aren’t necessarily at home very often. In fact, between co ops, field trips, and homeschool groups some children only see home a day or two a week. The rest of this time is spent involved in these activities with other children. If you are willing to plug in to some of these great groups your child will be exposed to many different children and adults.
Are your children in extra-curriculars?
Another way children learn to handle social situations is through extra-curriculars. Things like sports, dance, and clubs are wonderful for a building a child’s social understanding. Within these settings your child will encounter many of the social situations they would in a traditional schooling situation.
Do you do life with your kids?
By this I mean, are your kids going with you to places you go? When you go to the bank, are they with you. What about the grocery store? Will they come with you to a ministry? Will you bring them to serve a community project? Children will learn a lot about handling a social situation by being involved in day to day life things with you. Not only will they learn to communicate with a class of their peers. They will know how to talk to small children, adults, and people in a position of authority.
Are you an introvert?
I am an introvert 100%! I love being around people in small doses. I love laughing and joking and talking with people. However, I am recharged most by being at home on the couch with a good book. I would rather be in a deep conversation with a few people than in a vague conversation with many. That being said, I am homeschooling an extrovert. In order to do that I have to sacrifice my preference for what is best for my child. If you are an introvert, you will have to be deliberate about heading out to events and get togethers.
What do you think? Do you think homeschoolers are socialized?