Helping Your Homeschooler Socialize | Still Playing School

Helping Your Homeschooler Socialize

One of the biggest myths surrounding homeschooling is that children who don't attend public school won't have a chance to socialize with their peers. We've told you a bit about why we've decided to homeschool but now I'd also love to share with you how we are socializing our kids as they learn at home.

How to help your homeschooler make and maintain friendships

I want to begin by saying that children and humans in general are innately social creatures. We've always lived in familial groups, learned to communicate, and passed knowledge on as a community. Yet if you've decided to homeschool a well meaning yet critically curious observer might ask you, "How will they make friends? How will they socialize if they don't go to school?" Yes, we are social everywhere we go from the grocery store to the library, but if you are concerned about this aspect of homeschooling here are the ways we ensure our kids are well socialized. 

1. Join a local homeschooling community!
One of the first things I did when we decided to homeschool was to search for a tribe of other  homeschoolers in our area. Right away I found INCH which was perfect for us. We meet regularly through out the year at all types of social events that we organize within our group. At our first meeting a 12 year old boy asked me if we were new to the group and when I said that we were he said, "Well, welcome!" The following week an 8 year old boy introduced himself to our 2 year old son not hesitating at once to start a conversation with a child who would never be in at a grade in public school. INCH immediately proved to me what I already know: Homeschooled children are social with all people they meet, not limited to making friends within their grade level.

2. Join a virtual homeschooling community!

In this day and age, any community we seek is at our fingertips! I love connecting with fellow homeschooling families (like you!) via the internet and I present this opportunity to my children as well. With careful supervision, the internet can be a way to connect homeschoolers in a collaborative aspect that mirrors our current virtual culture as adults. 

3. Seek out pen pals!

What would be a better opportunity for authentic writing than a pen pal? Combine writing letters, emails, and video chats online. You can connect to friends and family that you already know in real life or seek out new connections through the virtual groups mentioned above. We love pen pals and always appreciate mail to Still Playing School, PO Box 95, Annville PA 17003! 

4. Join extracurricular activities!

Homeschoolers can be even more flexible with academic schedules which allows for amazing extracurricular opportunities. Our kids are five and two and they've been involved in art classes, library story times, sign language classes, music classes, ice skating lessons, swim lessons, t-ball, horse camp, mommy and me classes, playground groups, soccer, and gymnastics. Still we don't feel over scheduled or lacking family time because we are home together when we aren't at our activities.

5. Visit a nursing home regularly!

I feel that it's vital for us to socialize across generations. Our oldest neighbors are one of the most valuable social resources for our children and us! We love to visit our local nursing home to join in activities or just meet and visit with residents. The mutual exchange of appreciation and gratitude at these social visits never fails to warm my heart for days!

6. Be sure to make and maintain friendships with public schooled peers!

As the majority of our kids' peers head off to public schools without them, we strive to continue maintaining long lasting friendships that have been established already. It's important for us to show our children all lifestyle choices reflected in those around them as they socialize.

If you homeschool, what are some ways you provide social opportunities for your kids?
If you don't homeschool, what social opportunities do your children seek outside of the classroom?

Role Playing How to Be a Good Friend by Mom Inspired Life

Book Friends by Growing Book by Book

Teaching Kids How to Make Friends by The Educators' Spin On It

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  1. When we chose to homeschool we had to answer that same question over and over...One of the things I did was start a mommy group where we organized play dates and field trips for the kids. While my boys are still young (2 and 3) I feel they are very socialized and I have no fear of homeschooling undoing what they already know how to do- be a friend! :-)

  2. Awesome tips for homeschoolers! It is a myth and I'm glad you wrote on the topic. :) Local homeschooling groups are GROWING today and offer so many avenues for socialization!

  3. Great tips! I have many cousins and close friends who were homeschooled and are very social. I went to school and I am far less social. I think it has far more to do with individual personalities. I do think it is important to give children lots of opportunities to socialize in other ways. My son craves lots of social interaction so I know I will have to join an active homeschool group and have him involved in lots of extra-curricular activities.

  4. Those are great suggestions. I especially love your suggestion of visiting a nursing home regularly. That is great for the children and the residents. While a one time visit is also beneficial, regular visits build relationships.

  5. It is still such a huge misconception, isn't it? Hopefully it won't be for much longer. Love the suggestions, especially visiting a nursing home!

  6. I always laugh at this one and ask, "Have you seen my kids?!?" They can hold a conversation with anyone they meet, know how to be a good friend, and are not the stereotypical "awkward homeschooled kids". Great tips!

  7. I so need these ideas as we consider homeschooling.

  8. My kids have never met a stranger. Even my more reserved ones. I love the suggestion for taking them to the nursing home to make friends!

  9. great advice!
    right now we visit our friends at the park :)