Looking for the “S” Word

Socialization for the Homeschool Student

Veteran Homeschoolers know that socialization is really not something to worry about in the homeschool. Even for those of us who are moms to only children.

The truth is children receive social instruction in the very environment where it is needed – society. As parents we are best equipped to direct the “socialization” of our children because we have their best interest at heart.

Yet, I remember when I was starting out as a homeschooling family, it was one of the first questions asked and often worried about, especially because my son is an only child. It wasn’t long though, before I realized those fears were instigated upon me by outside forces rather than an internal struggle.

Maybe though, you are a new homeschool mom looking for social opportunities and perhaps you just don’t know where to begin. I want to offer you a little guidance.

10 Ways to Find Socialization Opportunities for Your Homeschool Student

  • Bible Class.

Yes Bible class, or worship and fellowship time with your congregation counts as social time. In my opinion it is the most important social time of their lives.

  • In the Grocery Store.

Give your child a list of their own and have them fill it themselves. When they have a question, direct them to the nearest employee to ask for help. As your child grows older you can even give them an envelope with cash to pay for their own items. Of course you are always near to keep them safe and teach them appropriate behavior.

  • Homeschool Field Trip or Meet Up Groups.Little Man at Cici's pizza

Many areas of the country have such groups. You can usually do a web search for your location and those key words and find a myriad of results. Of course if you can’t find one, you can always gather a group of like-minded friends and start your own.

  • Homeschool Gym.

Check your local YMCA or Recreation Center for class opportunities for homeschool gym. Not only will your child find the p.e. requirement you need, but they soon will make friends and so will their homeschool moms.  

  • Homeschool Support Group.

Many support groups exist throughout the country. Often groups of parents have been working together for many years and offer a wealth of suggestions and support. They welcome new-comers because they realize that in order to grow and continue they need new students. An internet search for your location and “Homeschool Support Group” will generally yield results even for rural areas. Every state has at least one state-wide support group and often these groups have listings for local groups so check with them.  

  • Homeschool Co-op.

A homeschool co-op is a group of families working cooperatively to provide classes for their students. These are set up in a variety of ways from all families using the same curriculum in their homes as well as in co-op to enhancement classes which offer extra curricular opportunities. Check with your state support group or an internet search for one in your area. Many times these co-ops meet in homes, churches, libraries or community centers.

  • The Bank.

Set up a bank account for your child and teach them how to handle accounting. Teach them how to talk to the banker and make deposits and withdrawals. Then teach them how to utilize their own money by having them shop for their own toys, clothes, etc. This way your child is learning to socialize within their society.

  • Service Oriented Projects.

Introduce your child to a society that perhaps is outside of their norm. Take them to nursing homes and teach them how to talk with the patients. Stop in for lunch at a local food shelter, volunteer to serve food or even have lunch and teach them to talk to those in need. Visit a children’s hospital and deliver balloons to patients. (Please check with hospital policies first, many do not allow random visiting). Go to your community food bank and help your child stock shelves. Be sure to take a bag or two of food along with you.

  • Have a party.

Invite your children’s friends over for a day of backyard play. It does not have to be fancy. Slip N Slides, bubble wands or even an evening of firefly catching can make for wonderful memories and building of lasting friendships.
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  • Homeschool Change Up.

This is an idea that has been floating around in my head for a while and there was one time when I sort of did it. I was not well and a friend offered to have my son do his work in her homeschool classroom for a couple of days. It gave me time to rest up and him time to be with other children. Since that time I’ve thought how nice it would be to do this on a regular basis. 2 or more families a couple of times a year do a change up. Moms get a break for a day while the students get to experience school in a different environment.

As you can see socialization simply means teaching your children how to live within their society. You are only limited by your willingness and imagination. The world is wide open before us, we simply need to leave our front yards to experience it.

I’m joining with the iHomeschool Network as we

Be sure to link to the iHN Hop and read through all of the posts to join in the conversation.

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