The common perception is that homeschooled children experience fewer opportunities to socialize than those attending brick and mortar schools. While the assumption may be based on opinions and anecdotal evidences only, it is necessary to investigate whether there is any merit to this belief. This article will analyze whether homeschooled kids are indeed less social, an important consideration for parents considering the option of homeschooling.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a form of education where the parents or guardians of children take the responsibility of providing instruction to the children. This can be done through various means, such as in-home instruction from a trained tutor, the use of online resources, or the use of pre-made homeschooling curriculums. An important distinction for parents to recognize is the difference between “homeschooling” and “online schooling” as these two phrases are often erroneously confused.
While online schooling is provided by state-funded and/or private institutions and often involves some level of parental supervision, homeschooling is an individualized, parent-directed education option that is practiced in the family’s home environment.
Reasons Parents Choose Homeschooling
Parents who choose to homeschool their children typically do so for a variety of reasons. One of the most popular reasons is to provide their child with a more personalized education. Parents are able to decide what subjects to teach, what pace to keep and how much time to spend on each subject.
Additionally, homeschooling provides parents with more control over the secular or religious bias of the education. Furthermore, parents might opt to homeschool their children to protect them from bullying, save on educational costs, or accommodate their child’s medical or behavioral health needs.
Do Homeschooled Kids Receive Adequate Socialization?
Many parents and members of the public are concerned about the socialization of homeschooled children. Homeschooled children certainly have the potential to find appropriate and meaningful social outlets if given the opportunity.
Parents can provide social opportunities by taking their children out of the home and scheduling regular play-dates with neighbors or friends. Additionally, parents may choose to enroll their children in social outlets such as: online courses, homeschool groups, extracurricular activities, internships, volunteer work, or multi-age classroom problems. Ultimately, the social interaction of the homeschooled child is determined by the effort the parents are willing to put into planning activities and outings.
Are Homeschooled Kids Less Socialized?
A multitude of studies have been conducted to assess the effects of homeschooling on socialization. Most studies have found that, when given the opportunity, homeschoolers display the same level of social skills as those of publicly schooled children.
This finding helps to shatter the popular misconception that homeschoolers are necessarily isolated or lack proper socialization. Studies have shown that the socialization of homeschooled children is contingent upon various factors. The quality of the social outing opportunities the parents provide to their children is a key element in determining their level of socialization.
If the parents have a wide range of activities planned, the children generally experience positive socialization. The quality of the social opportunities and the amount of adult supervision during outings has been reported to have the greatest influence on the social behavior of the child. The results of studies conclude that home schoolers display healthy social habits when provided ample opportunities to interact with their peers.
Do Homeschooled Children Struggle with Socialization?
The most concerning issue for parents when it comes to homeschooling is whether or not their children lack important social skills due to the lack of exposure to formal educational environments. It is true that homeschoolers do not experience the same daily interactions with the same peers that children in schools do. However, this does not necessarily mean that homeschooled children are less social than those in public schools, as there are more factors that can facilitate and foster socialization, such as play-dates, online communication and volunteering.
These activities can help teach their children the importance of cooperation and communication in making friends and building social relationships. Parents of homeschooled children also need to consider their children’s ages.
While usually not applicable in the case of younger children, social difficulties can arise as they approach middle and high school, when the need to interact with people their own age is higher. Therefore, parents should look into activities that involve social interactions, such as summer camps or weekend classes to ensure that older children are receiving ample social exposure.
It is important to consider the individual needs of children when deciding whether or not to homeschool. While there is a popular belief that homeschooled children are less social, the available evidence suggests that, when provided ample opportunities, homeschoolers can have just as much socialization and life experiences as those enrolled in public schools. With adequate parental support, homeschooled children can still find outlets for socialization and can experience positive socialization.
Ultimately, the socialization of homeschooled children depends on the amount of work and dedication parents put into finding outlets for their children. It is therefore recommended that parents searching for social outlets for their children seek the advice of experienced homeschooling moms and dads who have successfully navigated the same path.