I would begin this by trying to convince people that homeschool kids are indeed socialized – but I won’t. I agree with a statement that I read years ago. An article’s title I once read said this:
Socialization – The Biggest Non-Issue in Homeschooling
I totally agree. Over the years, as homeschools have emerged in all corners of the world (religious or secular), it has been clear that homeschoolers can function just fine in society.
There is no need to convince anyone anymore, our children will grow up and prove it for themselves as many others have for decades. From the Bible and beyond, it has been entirely biblical for us to train our children in the way they should go.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I do not believe that this scripture solely means we should train them in character, biblical history, or in following Christ — although they are crucial. How could this scripture be about all of these things and not include the actual education of our kids? Doesn’t make sense, right?
The following questions are questions that most of us have heard:
Are homeschooled kids less social?
Are homeschoolers socialized?
Are homeschooled students weird?
Answers: At times, yes, and of course. Who wants to be normal anyway?
It all boils down to character, and children growing into who they are as humans. Are some homeschooled kids weird? Sure, yup. They sure are. Are some homeschool kids loners? Yes.
However, you find that anywhere. Don’t you find people who prefer to be alone or who prefer to not conform to societal norms – anywhere? My kids are weird and unique. I chuck it up to them having a weird mom. We own it.
I remember school, and my memories aren’t too pleasant. I remember being judged if I wasn’t wearing the right clothes or because I wasn’t as pretty as other girls. I was called names like big nose or fat. That really didn’t help me socially at all. It lowered my self-esteem or prompted me to steal clothes out of my sister’s closet to fit in. That’s it.
I wasn’t enrolled in extracurricular activities because I wasn’t encouraged to do so or allowed to at home. My parents weren’t that “type.” Parents of public school kids can think their kids are exposed to good relationships and friendships just because so many children are around.
Many times that couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Many kids end up sitting by themselves every day in the lunchroom, and parents would never know. Their free-time interaction with peers is limited to lunchtime and recess. Then you stop to realize – what public school do you know that still has recess?
Public school days are ordered and kids are told what to learn and when. Very little time is allowed where students can have full-blown meaningful conversations.
The difference in homeschooling families is that parents may have more control over what their children are exposed to. I will argue that because of that very reason homeschoolers are often more socialized than kids in public school.
Intentional interaction through planning isn’t limited to after-school activities with homeschoolers. Evening activities, for homeschoolers, are just — more options to interact with others.
The “socialization” that the world is talking about — when it comes to homeschoolers — has to do with children being around peers. Throwing your kids in a school full of 300 other children doesn’t necessarily equate to socialization. Positive exposure to socialization in life comes through interacting with all different types of people and community, in varied situations and of a wide variety of ages.
The opportunities homeschoolers have to positively interact with the community far exceed the opportunity provided to children in a typical public school day.
There are circumstances that help build social skills in homeschoolers that may not be continually opportune for children in public school, like:
Homeschoolers are more socialized when they learn with smaller groups in homeschool co-ops.
Homeschoolers are more socialized when they do what they love to do and are supported by parents to do so.
Homeschoolers are more socialized because they leave the house a lot and go to different places. And field trips – homeschoolers tend to take a lot of field trips.
Homeschoolers are more socialized when they learn about bullying instead of staying in it day in and day out.
Homeschoolers are more socialized because they have experience dealing with peers as well as a wide variety of age groups. They tend to interact with people of all ages more comfortably.
Homeschoolers are more socialized as they have more time to be involved in more activities.
Researcher Brian Ray found that the homeschooled children in a 1997 study he conducted were involved in an average of 5.2 activities each week, including field trips, Sunday school, Bible club, group sports, music classes, volunteer work, and more.
Homeschoolers are often more socialized with the wide range of people they are exposed to in conversation.
Additionally, homeschoolers have control over their schedules to do specific things like:
- Join local groups with other homeschoolers
- Get involved with online groups
- Go on many field trips
- Join classes or co-ops for homeschoolers
- Host get-togethers in the day or evening
- Go to homeschool events
- Go to church
- Pursue hobbies
- Learn specific life skills
The National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) states that homeschooled children do just as well, if not better than their “schooled” peers in terms of self-concept and self-esteem. Kids with better self-concept and self-esteem can speak to others more easily. They can more readily carry conversations with other people, not only their peers.
The question of whether a homeschooler is adequately socialized or not is truly a non-issue. Socialization in homeschool kids (or any kid) depends on opportunity, character, experiences, attitude, and parental guidance.
Steered by parents who are dedicated to helping their children become productive adults, socialization is dependent on different factors.
Public school parents can also properly socialize their children, of course. As a mom who has done both, I can testify that the opportunities to positively socialize kids are more available for homeschool families.
The socialization in homeschooling isn’t left to happenstance, but is intentional and comes from real life events that prepare children for the future.
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Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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