To many people, the words homeschool and socialization do not belong in the same sentence. But why? Why do we believe that homeschool socialization doesn’t exist? Why can socialization happen only if your kids public school?
How would I define socialization? I believe that socialization at its very core is a process by which people learn from others throughout the course of their lives.
What does Dictionary.com say about socialization? “A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.”
Given these definitions of socialization, I have to ask the question:
Is the only place to learn from others found within the fours walls of a school?
If we follow the logic that socialization only comes from school, are we then to assume socialization does not occur within the family unit, at church, or on any give sports team? How about during neighborhood play or at the local playground? And if we assume socialization is a process occurring throughout our lives then what happens when we are no longer within the four walls of elementary, middle or high school?
So How Do You “Socialize” The Homeschooled Child?
Given the definition from Dictionary.com I say that you would socialize a homeschool child, or anyone else for that matter by having them live their lives, be in their environment and around the people you would normally be around during the course of a day.
Just because we HOMEschool our children, does not mean we keep them locked up in our home! It is actually quite the opposite.
Our children are involved in a plethora of different activities where they have the opportunity to interact with many types of people:
- travel soccer
- competitive gymnastics
- Girl Scouts
- homeschool classes offered by local museums and businesses
- youth football league
- chess club
- book clubs
- horseback riding
- cheer leading
- swim class
- volunteer time at a local food pantry
- music lessons
- not to mention playground time, a multitude of friends, play dates, etc.
The bottom line is that people are people. If you are an awkward, shy person, you are going to be that person wherever you are. If you are bossy and loud you too are going to be that person either in school or raised in a homeschool environment. One child’s bane can be another child’s strength. Yes you can encourage and discourage behavior bents in one direction or another, but this can be done most efficiently by those that know and love you, those that can nurture you and want what is best for you.
Whether in school, homeschool, college, or work, you are being socialized. Each environment brings its own unique structure and set of social rules and guidelines. As our lives grow and change we learn to navigate each and every situation.
So how do you socialize a homeschooled child? Let them live their life just like any other person. Give them guidance, love and support. Help them navigate the situations that arise in their lives, that could be the kid on the playground who won’t let them have a turn on the swing, or helping them face their fears of talking to adults such as librarians or coaches. Anyway you look at it socialization is a process, one that is NOT exclusive to the happenings inside the four walls of a school.
You can also check out another post I wrote, What About Socialization?