How to Socialize Your Homeschool Child
From time to time, we receive emails from homeschool parents searching for opportunities for socializing their kids. We are always glad to hear from parents who take their children’s socialization seriously. Homeschool parents must remember that when they start homeschooling, they take their child’s education and their child’s socialization into their hands. Ensuring that your kid receives the social interaction they require while being educated at home may take some thought and effort, but it absolutely can be done—we have some hints that may aid along the way!
Homeschool help groups, co-ops, field trip groups, and park dates all allow your kid to socialize with other children and make friends. You can explore these groups online; some groups are now on Facebook, so you may want to search there. Note that some homeschool groups have specific religious or pedagogical beliefs and that you may have to look around a bit to establish the one that fits you, your child, and your homeschooling style.
You may be homeschooling your kid, but that does not mean you cannot look to your local public school for opportunities! Some states necessitate public schools to allow homeschooled learners to participate in extracurriculars at the school they would have attended while others leave it up to the school district. Call your local public school to ask whether they allow homeschooled learners to participate in extracurricular activities and to ask for a list of available clubs or activities (as well as sports). Also, you may find some information on the school’s website.
Classes, Clubs, and Beyond!
When it comes to classrooms and clubs, the sky’s the limit! You can sign your kids up for classes and enroll them in clubs, but this is only the start. While the opportunities available to you and your kid will differ depending on your area, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Recreation and Parks:Take a look at your community parks and recreation department’s programming for children, as well as community sports leagues and summer camps.
- The Park: Pay attention to when your local park is the busiest and take your kid there to play with other children. Suppose they befriend another kid while playing, swap numbers with that child’s parent so you can set up another playdate.
- Museums and Zoos: Look for children’s programming at community museums, zoos, and related organizations, as well as art galleries, children’s museums, nature centers, or aquariums.
- Community Productions: Sign your kid up for a local children’s choir or youth orchestra or involve your family in a community theater production.
- Area Nonprofits: Most local nonprofits offer programming for children, particularly those centered on the arts, education, or youth development.
- YMCA: Your local YMCA likely provide sports classes, swim team, and summer camps, along with other programming for children. They may also provide childcare for younger children or group-play for middle or older children while parents exercise.
- The Library: Find out if your community library has a Lego club or book clubs for kids. They may also have teen nights and other events for kids. Depending on your teenagers’ age, take advantage of your library’s weekly story time offerings!
- Colleges and Universities:Your local community college or university likely provides opportunities for children, as well as both younger children and teens. You may have to explore by department or watch your community’s events calendar.
- Religious Communities: If you belong to a church or other religious community, Sunday school, youth group, kids’ choir, summer Bible school, and other programming may provide opportunities for your child to socialize with their peers.
As you weigh opportunities similar to those above, remember that socialization is just as valid a reason for involving your kids in a program as any content knowledge or skills your kid will gain. Bear in mind that children have a developmental need for social interaction with their peers. Be sure to expose your child to many different avenues for socialization. As kids work out who they are and where they fit in the world, they benefit from being exposed to various individuals and activities.
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