The Issue of Homeschooling and Socialization

Posted on December 07 2011

One of the major arguments against homeschooling is that there is a lack of opportunities for socialization. The thinking is that the homeschooled child is locked up in the home all day, doing math drills or science projects under a parent's eagle eye. The people who use this argument against homeschooling go on further to say that although homeschoolers may fare well in academics; they may lack the requisite skills of relating to other people since they are deprived of the opportunity to socialize with plenty of kids their age. In short, homeschooling may result in social misfits that don't know how to make friends and converse with other people, especially those their age.

Is this true?
Advocates of homeschooling beg to disagree with the stereotype of homeschoolers as children who lack socialization. In fact, it can be said that socialization is another argument for (and not against) homeschooling. When homeschooling parents do it right and immerse their children in the community's life and routines, homeschooled children can actually gain more opportunities for socialization - not just with children in their own age groups but with a wider variety of people belonging to a wider spectrum of background, age and race. This will prepare them better for the real world.
By definition, socialization is defined as "the process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity with the values of one's society". In short, socialization is about preparing your child to face the real world.
Under this definition, homeschooled children do have opportunities for socialization:

  • There are plenty of opportunities for relating with others in a real, interactive and interpersonal way. The child is not limited to socializing with students that are his age and geographic location.
  • Parents can include day-to-day routines around the community as part of socialization. Getting the mail, going out for groceries, sharing a word or two at the dry cleaners or talking with bank tellers - these are just some examples of how a homeschooled child can have the opportunity to talk to people.
  • Homeschoolers have more time to go out and play. With one on one supervision, a homeschooled child can learn more in 3 to 4 hours than a child sharing his teacher's attention with 29 other children. With more time on their hands, children can have plenty of activities that teach them to relate with others. They have time to choose and play with friends that share the same values and interests as the family.
  • Socialization opportunities for Homeschoolers
    Here are some areas where a homeschooled child can socialize with peers, as well as people from other ages and backgrounds:

    • Join community-based groups and activities. This includes joining the 4-H Club, a community sports organization (such as the Little League), community theater organization or getting into scouting.
    • Watch out for contests and clubs- this includes spelling bees, science clubs or math leagues.
    • Enroll in summer camp or summer school.
    • Join athletic competitions. If your child is into sports, you can have him compete with other kids in sports such as baseball, swimming, track and field or soccer. Your child can also join summer sports clinics that may be hosted by your community.
    • Join homeschooling organizations. Homeschooling support groups also host their own events locally, statewide or even nationwide. You can also participate in get-togethers or field trips. Some groups even host plays and other "school events".
    • Volunteer. If your child is old enough (in the high school level), he can also volunteer with civic organizations. With the flexibility afforded by virtual high schools, he has more time to enjoy the privilege of attending to the needs and welfare of others.

    You will notice that for a child to learn to effectively relate to others, it will take a lot of work on your (the homeschooling parent) part as you guide your child to acquire the behaviors and systems of beliefs that they need.

    What about landmark events?
    Those against homeschooling argue that homeschooling makes a child miss out on important events that usually serve as landmarks in a youngster's life, such as graduation or the prom. However, if you want your child to participate, you can look for homeschooling organizations in your area. These usually host graduation ceremonies or proms for students of online high schools. Here, your child can experience how it feels to be handed a high school diploma while you, loved ones and friends cheer him on. Also, your child may be invited to dances through their friends.

    Online education for more socialization opportunities
    Online high school programs enable your child to "relate with the real world". The American Academy provides high quality education that allows him to earn high school credits while being immersed in your community's daily routines. The American Academy is an accredited online high school offering over 100 online high school courses.