I have been helping people decide if home schooling is right for their family for over a decade now. There has yet to be a person who hasn’t asked, “What about socialization?” Even if they didn’t really think that was an issue, someone close to them felt it was the number one issue. I know countless families that use that as an excuse not to step up to the plate and do what’s best for their children. I even have parents ask me this about MY OWN kids, while we are watching our sons play baseball at an all-star game! My response was to say, “My goodness, you are right. Just look at him – he obviously has no social skills!” This comment was made as my son was surrounded by players from all different teams exchanging phone numbers and everyone laughing at a joke he made.
Let’s make one thing clear, right now. NO ONE – that’s right – not a single person learns good social skills when forced into a cramped room with 30 other people who are learning social skills too. On the other hand, I would like to propose that home schooling your child is the BEST way to learn social skills. Most homeschoolers that I know are always around people of different ages and interests. Personally, my sons mentor younger kids as well as be mentored by people who are older than they are.
Another branch of this weird thought pattern is that they won’t have friends when they are adults. To each person who brings up this point, I ask how many people are they still friends with from elementary school? From high school? Yes, thanks to Facebook, we have the ability to reconnect to friends in our past, but honestly, how many do you have a meaningful relationship with now that you are an adult? Probably not many.
That isn’t to say your child won’t have friends. They will – unless they are an introvert. If they are, please don’t force friendships on them that your child doesn’t need nor want. If they are extroverts, like my older sons are, there are a numerous of opportunities for them. Here’s just a list of things off the top of my head:
- Boy/Girl Scouts, 4H or the like
- Home school co-ops
- Church functions
- Library activities (many libraries have teen groups and do plays, book talks or other activities)
- Volunteer opportunities.
- After-school activities (most states have laws that make public schools allow home schoolers in for activities)
- Bowling leagues
- Roller Skating
- Ski Clubs
- Public pools or beaches
- Dance or gymnastic classes
- Karate or other marshal art classes
- Art classes
- Museum clubs
Those are just a few things that are available in my very small town with limited opportunities!
So stop using socialization as an excuse, and really look at what you feel is best for your child’s future.