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But I Can't Homeschool: Social Interaction

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Homeschooled kids are loners, right? They’re the ones that nobody plays with. They have no social skills. They wouldn’t know how to function in a regular classroom, much less in regular society. Kids need to be around other kids. Sure, they might get bullied sometimes, and they’re definitely going to learn things that you would rather they didn’t learn; but you can’t shelter your kids forever. Sooner or later, they’re going to have to get out there and be part of the world, and there’s nothing that you can do to prevent that. Keeping them at home just delays social development and means that it will be harder for them when they do rejoin society…right?

Actually, homeschooled kids often have pretty good social skills.
Actually, homeschooled kids often have pretty good social skills. Emily L. Goodman

Actually, homeschooled kids often have pretty good social skills.

A lot of them spend a lot of time with adults—you know, like you and your spouse.  Since you aren’t leaving them at school for a huge chunk of their day, it’s likely that they go along with you while you do…pretty much everything.  Whether it’s a mom’s group meeting or a trip to the grocery store, your kids are tagging along with you and observing your social interactions.  That means that they're learning the "adult" way of handling things, and so it advances their social skills faster.

There are all sorts of activities out there for them.
There are all sorts of activities out there for them. Emily L. Goodman

There are all sorts of activities out there for them.

Since they’re not in school during the daytime hours, they can use those hours for social activities—and there are plenty of clubs and classes that take advantage of homeschooled kids’ larger range of available hours.  In addition to that, there are church groups and outings, homeschool associations, and other groups that your kids can be part of.  Invite their friends over; take the time to take them to parties and other social gatherings; and remember that “social interaction” doesn’t necessarily have to be every day.

They have each other.
They have each other. Emily L. Goodman

They have each other.

If you have more than one child, homeschooling will likely change their relationship in a number of ways—both good and bad.  Because they are constantly in one another’s presence, with few to no breaks, they will likely bring out the worst in one another.  They will also bring out the best in each other.  They will be each other’s staunchest advocates and most brutal adversaries...sometimes at the same time!

Virtual counts...some.
Virtual counts...some. Emily L. Goodman

Virtual counts...some.

Once your child enters middle or high school, she will likely want to spend more and more time on the computer, texting her friends, or on the phone.  This is no substitute for face-to-face time, but it is a normal part of regular social interaction—and it will help keep her up to date with everything that’s going on with other kids her age.  Just make sure that you keep a close eye on what’s being discussed, and discuss safety rules up front:  no nude pictures, or the cell phone has to go!

You're better able to supervise.
You're better able to supervise. Emily L. Goodman

You're better able to supervise.

No, you can’t control every minute; but knowing that Mom or Dad is always leaning over his shoulder is great incentive for your child to behave the way you expect.  Kids know that they can get away with a lot more when their parents aren’t watching, and you have the ability to gently correct behavior before it becomes to inappropriate.  This is especially important for high-needs kids, who may need extra help keeping their behavior in check.



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