Many homeschooled children are also introverted children. This is not true of all of them, but it is true of many. In some cases, that is why they are homeschooled in the first place: because school, for whatever reason, was too overwhelming for them, and being surrounded by all of those (often very loud) people every day was more than they could handle. In others, the introversion is a product of the homeschooled status: because they are not exposed to other children as often, homeschooled children may be more comfortable with themselves and overstimulated more quickly than other children.
That’s not a bad thing. In fact, many introverted children have a much better grasp on their self-concepts than others, and they may tend to be quieter and generally easy to get along with. They don’t tend to be the ones who are bouncing off the walls, making themselves the center of attention, or getting steadily louder as the evening goes on.
You’ll tend to find an introverted child on the fringes. She might be spending time with a few good friends on the outskirts of a larger gathering, or she might spend an entire evening talking to one or two people—or she might not be socializing at all. If you just glance in for a few minutes, you might see your introverted child sitting off to the side, her nose buried in a book, seemingly oblivious to the chaos around her.
Your first instinct—particularly if you are extroverted yourself—might be to walk over and take that book away as quickly as possible. Social situations are rarer for homeschooled children than they are for children who are in public schools every day, and if she doesn’t get out there now, who knows when she’ll have another chance?
Ignore that instinct. That book is a security blanket—especially for a shy child, or one who is in a deeply unfamiliar situation. She may not even really be reading it. She might be quietly observing what is going on around her with a shield and a screen that prevents the rest of her peers from realizing that she is not engaged in the gathering. She looks busy, and therefore she must be all right—and it makes her more comfortable with the situation.
On the other hand, she might well be reading it. It may be that none of her friends are yet present, or that she isn’t engaged in that particular group, or that she has no desire to participate in the current activity. That’s okay, too! When the time comes, she will set the book down on her own—but forcing her to do it will create a scenario in which she is even more uncomfortable, and next time, she might be unwilling to attend a social event at all.
Let her come out of her shell on her own. It will happen; but it will happen when she is comfortable, and not when you are. Let her keep the security blanket.
Someday, she won’t need it anymore.