If there’s a single topic that homeschool parents have to deal with on a regular basis, it’s the question of socialization. For many parents on the outside looking in, homeschool seems like a very insular world. Your kids spend time with you and your spouse…but who else? That lends itself to an incredible number of “but what about…” type conversations. As homeschool parents, we know the reality – most of the time, our kids get far more socialization than any public school student. But what about when that’s not true?
There are families who struggle to find ways to let their kids get out and make friends. Whether they live in an outlying rural area or have just started this amazing journey known as homeschooling, it can be frustrating, annoying and even frightening. After all, kids need other kids. There are some things that can help.
First, realize that while your child certainly does need friends, there’s no reason to fret just because he or she doesn’t have a circle of a dozen other kids to hang out with on a regular basis. Think about your own past – how many good friends did you have at your child’s age? If you’re like most folks, you can count the number of real friends (not acquaintances) on a single hand. Yep. We’re all like that. Surprising, isn’t it?
Second, you need to take steps to get out of the house and help your child meet others. Your local homeschool co-op is probably a pretty good resource. If you don’t have a co-op or informal homeschool group in your area (or don’t like the one that is there), you’ve still got some other options. One of the best might just be to enroll your child in a community sports program. Not only will your child learn the valuable lessons that only come from developing teamwork skills, but he or she might actually make some very good friends with the other kids (and you might make some yourself).
Third, look for educational options in your community – that doesn’t mean you need to enroll your kid in school, but you can find plenty of subjects that you might not be great at addressing. Pottery, art, cooking, wildlife sciences…the list of topics is virtually endless, and most areas have at least some programs available. Check out your options and you might just be surprised by what’s out there.
There’s no reason that your homeschooler needs to suffer from having no friends. The situation is probably less dire than you think, but there are always options out there if you look hard enough.
Katie is a computer junkie, workbook hating, TV watching, iGadget addicted, secular homeschooling, soccer mom. A not-so-country girl, living in very country small town, she has been homeschooling her two boys (ages 7 and 12) since 2005. You can get a little glimpse of her when you visit her blog: You. Me. Us.