Is socialisation possible when homeschooling?
Many people worry that homeschooling robs children of the opportunity to socialise. This does not just mean the chance to make friends with their peer group.
There is also a worry that homeschooled children do not need to conform and fit in with society and its rules and that this will negatively impact their future life. Could it lead to the homeschool child being branded as a misfit?
The truth is that socialisation is possible when homeschooling but of course you do need to work at it to make it happen. To ensure your child is not isolated or lonely, it is important to structure plenty of extracurricular activities where they can meet friends of the same age and enjoy hanging out with their own peer group.
According to research carried out in the USA, many homeschooled children have a wide range of friends and outside interests such as going to the park, gym, swimming, football, qura’an lessons and enjoy many of the extracurricular activities on offer in the local area.
There is no reason at all why your homeschooled child should not have the same wide circle of friends outside school time as anyone else. The difference is that you will need to work at it. It will be down to you to help them find groups and interest clubs to get started, rather than leaving it all to be generated by the school.
Interestingly a study carried out on the socialisation of homeschooled children found that many rated their own levels of socialisation at about the same level as reported by conventionally schooled children, so this suggests that for many, there is not much difference. As a plus point, the homeschooled child was far less likely to indulge in criminal or anti-social behaviour as well. Most reported feeling happy.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Some homeschooled children who may be kept at home for religious reasons can become extremely introverted and unwilling to venture outside into the world. In these cases, homeschooling can be used to keep control over a child and is certainly not in the spirit of homeschooling for the good of the child!
When it comes to socialisation and learning, there are times when we must all fit in with the rules. There are concerns that some homeschool children suffer from a cultural alienation because they do not share the collective experience of school. Again this is something that the homeschooling parent needs to work at. A structured timetable of regular lessons and a regular routine on online lessons will help the home school child find the discipline to work and study and to fit in with society more easily.
Finally, homeschooled children can be as academically successful and as socialised as a conventionally schooled children but this will largely depend on the parent’s abilities to make it work. Ensuring your children are confident and fully socialised can take time, attention and planning. The results will be worth it but this is something you do need to consider before you start.