Those who homeschool their children are often asked, “What about socialization?” There’s a general belief that being in a brick and mortar school guarantees that your children will build healthy friendships and that homeschooling lacks opportunities for connection with peers. The truth is that homeschooling enables parents to give their children a well-rounded education that includes socialization.
What is socialization?
Socialization is the process through which a child gains the social skills they need to effectively navigate the society they live in. It’s the building of social fluency; the capacity to negotiate social situations, maintain strong relationships, demonstrate tolerance and work well with others.
A systematic review of the available research on homeschooling found that homeschoolers fare well academically and appear to be well adjusted and well socialized. In fact, it was found that homeschooled kids are less likely to engage in risky behaviour such as alcohol and drug consumption and may have fewer behavioural problems than their conventionally schooled counterparts. Some research found that homeschooled children have stronger relationships with their parents and other adults, are generally content and hopeful, have high levels of satisfaction with life, have less emotional turmoil and are more likely to take social responsibility than conventionally schooled kids. Research shows that adults who were homeschooled are more likely to participate in volunteer work and community service, attend religious services, read magazines and books, write clearly, and take frequent trips to a public library.
How are homeschooled children socialized?
Homeschooled children live their lives in the naturally social environment of the family and community. They develop social skills through the role modelling of their parents, other adults in the community, through outings and time with friends. Most homeschooled children finish their lessons/academic work in a few hours, leaving them free time to do other activities. Many of these pastimes involve interactions with others. The following is a list of some of the many pursuits of homeschoolers, often undertaken in the company of a wide range of diverse children:
- Individual and team sports
- Part-time jobs
- Library programs
- 4H Programs
- Volunteer opportunities
- Arts and crafts classes
- Drama clubs
- Cooking classes
- Homeschool days at museums, amusement parks, and nature centers
- Martial arts lessons
- Community college courses
- Homeschool graduation celebrations
Homeschooling your children does not mean you are educating your child in isolation. Many great opportunities exist for homeschooling families to connect their children with extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. Families have the flexibility to select social experiences that develop and expand their children’s interests while developing rewarding lifelong skills and relationships.
The Centre for Learning@Home assists with socialization by offering sports, events, and activities across four major regions in the province of Alberta. Students can gain the experience of an overnight camp, playing on an athletic team, and participating in fine arts events like musical performances.
Feel confident in your family’s home education with the support of The Centre for Learning@Home. We’ve supported homeschooling families in Alberta for nearly thirty years, and encourage parents to set a curriculum that they and their children are comfortable with. Choose a teacher-directed online or a parent-directed home education approach.
Call us at (403) 938-4119 or our toll-free number 1-800-659-1945 to learn more about getting your family set up for homeschooling.