Socialization and The Online High School Setting
Posted on August 23 2012
One of the most common apprehensions of parents who are considering having their child enter an online high school program is that it may result in a lack of socialization for their child. “Will homeschooling result in a child that has trouble relating to others? Won’t he be deprived on the company of his peers? Won’t my child be a social misfit, incapable of having meaningful friendships with people his age?”
Well, the answer is, “Not at all!”
Socialization: What is it?
The truth is, learning how to interact with others is not something that is only learned in the high school classrooms and playgrounds. Socialization is actually providing your child with the training he needs in order to play, work and relate with peers, as well as interact with people of various races, ages and upbringing.
Some people have a mistaken notion that those who earn their high school diploma online are kids who are chained to their desks, laboring over book reports and work sheets for hours on end, unable to go outside and play. This is far from the truth.
The great thing about having online high school classes is that you’re not limited to the classroom setting and not just to peers. Online high school students can actually get more opportunities to socialize with others since they can spend more time out in society. With some help from their parents, they can be involved with the community and relate to people from all walks of life.
Here are some suggestions to help provide socialization opportunities for your child:
- Work with other students of online high schools. Some parents of homeschooled children have established support groups to provide for activities for their homeschoolers. This can include regular meet-ups, proms and graduations. Other organized activities include spelling and quiz bees, science and math clubs and sports competitions.
- Work with your local high school. Virtual students can also enjoy typical high school activities that are considered landmarks in a high schooler’s life. Check if your child can be invited to the local school’s activities such as the prom, school fairs and high school sports competitions. There are currently a number of states that allow homeschooled students to have access to sports, music and education programs in public schools. For other states that have not legislated this access, access to public school programs are at the discretion of interscholastic athletic agencies or by the individual school districts.
- Look for community-based activities. There are some activities that are hosted by the community, rather than the school. This includes the 4-H club, Boy/Girl Scouts and the Little League. Some communities also hold summer sports clinics and annual fairs.
- Reach out to a person from the other side of the world. Find pen pals that your child can connect with and gain a different perspective about other areas and cultures in the world. They can also do this by e-mail. Of course, you will need to ensure that you are apprised of who your child is relating to.
- Join clubs. There are clubs that cater to your child’s various interests and abilities. There are theater clubs, music clubs, the local library book club and sports clubs. Joining clubs can actually help him get into a new sport, activity or hobby.
- Take classes. There are plenty of organizations that offer alternative learning opportunities. Encourage your child to don her apron as she learns to whip up the perfect cake in her baking classes. Or, enroll your child in martial arts classes. Other classes offered include acting, dancing or speech classes. Of course, it is important to consider your child’s interest and not force a class you like on him or her.
- Volunteer in civic organizations. If your local civic organization is holding its annual bake sale, encourage your child to join. If the community is having its annual beach clean-up, come with him and help clean up the environment and have fun while you’re at it.
- Travel. One great eye opener is to bring your child in your travels. Not only does he get to see other people from other races, environments and backgrounds, you can take this chance to bring up social issues. The great thing with enrolling your child in a virtual high school is that you have more flexibility in terms of your travel schedule.
With some help from you, the parent, you can prepare your child to boldly face the challenges of the real world with confidence and aplomb.