How to Provide Social Opportunities for YOUR Homeschool Child
Updated: Aug 26, 2020
One of the biggest questions from non-homeschool parents is, “How does your child get socialized?” If you are new to homeschooling (Especially if you are someone who never considered homeschooling until COVID 19 hit) you may be even more concerned by this question. How will your child get the interactions they need, while staying safe and getting in good learning time.
Here are a few tips for homeschool parents to keep in mind as you work to provide your child with social opportunities.
It’s Okay to be Unconventional
Before we talk about ways to increase your child’s social opportunities during homeschool, let’s talk a moment about the alternative, public school. Your child sits mostly quietly for at least 3 to 4 hours every day and then eats their lunch in about 15 minutes and only interacts with kids their own age. This is not necessarily the best thing for your child’s socialization AND very poorly prepares them for the diversity they will see in real-world work situations.
Homeschooling, on the other hand, provides kids the opportunity to socialize with students who are different ages from them, volunteer in community organizations with people of all demographics and walks of life, allows the parent to easily be the child’s mentor (instead of them being mentored by peers), and still can easily provide them opportunities to have friends their age by doing extracurricular activities with kids who are their age and have similar interests.
There are some really great, and important things that kids can learn through socialization in public schools. Take comfort as a homeschool parent knowing that you can provide similar situations for your child, while also expanding their opportunities for social interaction, far beyond what they would get in a typical school setting.
Create a Homeschool Co-op
A great way to provide structure, support (to both parent and child) and social interaction for your child/children is to involve them in a Co-op. This would be a group of other homeschool families that all meet together on a regular basis to complete projects and learning activities. Homeschool Co-ops usually rotate between each group member’s home and give students a chance to learn with other kids who are similar in age to them (but not always the same age).
Connect With Online Homeschool Groups
This is a great way to create a co-op if you're not sure where to start. It also can be a good way to get advice on problems you may be having with homeschool and find families who have similar schedules to your family for playdates. Feel free to join our facbook group to connect up with families all over the world (and get free curriculum).
Have Your Student Join a Group
Maybe they can be on a sports team, or a Karati, dance, or gymnastics class. They can take lessons for a musical instrument, or participate in art classes. There are also many opportunities for kids to socialize within a religious organization. This is a great way for kids to interact with students who are similar in age and share similar interests with them. This can be a good opportunity to help teach your child how to reach out to the people around them and build connections (with a little more likelihood of forming friendships than in a typical classroom setting because the students have a common ground to build off of).
Have them Participate in Community Events
This is the area where homeschoolers can really shine. There is so much freedom and flexibility with a homeschool child’s schedule, that a parent and child can get involved in their community together. Students can volunteer at a zoo or local museum, participate in a community fundraiser or run, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or so many other things. Parents can focus the community involvement around things they want their child to learn or a child’s interests. This is a wonderful way for a child to interact with a diverse group of people and apply what they are learning to better their community!
Check out more tips for homeschool families HERE! And comment below with your favorite social activities to do with your homeschool student!