Socialisation is the biggest concern of parents when they consider homeschooling. There are a number of questions asked about this aspect; since they're all inter-related, we've answered them together below.
1. How do homeschooling children learn to socialise?
2. If children are taught at home, won't they miss the valuable social life of the school?
3. How do homeschooling children make friends?
4. Children in schools are able to meet, and get to know, many children very different from themselves. If they don't go to school, how would this happen?
5. If you don't send your children to school, how will they learn to deal with the real world?
Firstly let's make it clear: homeschoolers are not only taught at or isolated in homes. It's just that they don't go to a regular full-day school. Depending on where they live, they may have a wide range of options of joining groups of children that give an opportunity to learn different languages, subjects, skills and sports throughout the day. These are the places where they make friends and that too from various age groups, which is vital to a child's emotional and mental development. After all we need to prepare them for real life. Do we find all 30 yr olds in a queue outside a post office or all 20 yr olds in a manufacturing concern or all 40 yr olds in a bank?
Secondly, let's face it, if socialisation really happens in schools, most of the high school graduates should be confident, eloquent, people friendly and good communicators. Naturally shy kids always remain shy throughout their school lives. Modern day fee structures, admission procedures and common educational goals of parents don't allow school going children to really get to know children from different income strata. If schools, textbooks, homework, GPAs and examination papers were to prepare us for real world, we would not find university graduates stunned during their first month of job, and learning anew real life skills.
Homeschoolers on the other hand, generally tend to socialise with an assorted bunch of people during an active day. They learn to cope with the real world through real experiences, especially by observing their parents deal with issues / people. It does require some effort on the part of parents to ensure healthy social contact for their children, but it certainly is very doable. With more families turning towards homeschooling, small communities are starting to develop in different areas. It is easy to find good friends for your children if you connect with like-minded families in your neighbourhood. Someone quite truly said: “Home civilized is better than school socialized”; socialization is only a matter of thinking objectively.
Read tips on how to build these connections, in our ‘connecting with homeschoolers’ section.