Homeschool Socialization - Concerns
Homeschool social skills is an area of deep concern when it comes to homeschooling. Many critics point out that since man needs to hone his social skills, a homeschooling environment where social interaction is limited is detrimental to his growth and development. But studies have proved this wrong! When our family first started to homeschool, socialization was the issue others were most concerned about. But we have proved the critics wrong as Matthew is comfortable interacting with adults as well as his peers.
Children put into the fiercely competitive school environments lack the confidence to hold a conversation. Such children show little genuine interest in the topic of conversation and don't know how to interact with people of various age groups, especially their elders.
Children who learn at home are more aware of the implications and the purpose of their learning. They will ask intelligent questions and make accurate observations. Children begin their life by imitating their parents. Homeschooled children, therefore, pick up the qualities they see in their parents (so be careful what you do). On the other hand, they are protected from the detrimental influences of their peers. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child..."
In my opinion, homeschooled children are better equipped with the tools necessary to face the world. The positive reinforcement that takes place in the homeschooling environment as opposed to being abandoned, embarassed or ignored in a normal school environment strengthens their self-esteem. Being shielded from negative influences from their peers plus the positive influences from parents will help them to be more versatile and better balanced as they progress into adulthood.
Homeschool Socialization - Tips
Socialization is hailed as one of the greatest advantages of schools. This is the place where the child picks up the rudiments of social skills that help him survive. Wrong. In truth, a regular school-going child can interact only with his peers. He may bully younger children or fear older ones. He does not know how to behave with an adult. This is because in the school environment he interacts only with his peers. A homeschooling environment brings in a more natural social environment. There is no peer pressure, age classification is not a factor, therefore, children not only associate with children their same age level, but with children of different ages and adults as well and can make decisions on their own with the influence of their peers.
Below are a few tips for homeschool socialization of your children.
Religious Activities - If you become actively involved at a local church or other religious establishment, your children will have the opportunity to interact with others. Many churches have youth groups that participate in different activities such as game nights, choir, volunteering and church camps.
Field Trips - Taking your children on field trips is a great way to help them interact with others. You can go on field trips to the local museum, zoo or aquarium and visit with the staff at each place. Even a trip to the store can be educational if you teach your children how to count money and purchase something. They will improve their math skills as well as learning how to interact with the cashier during the purchase.
Join a Homeschool Co-op/Support Group - One of the best ways that you can help your homeschooled children meet others and develop friendships is by joining a homeschool co-op. These groups consist of other homeschooling parents and children, which means that both you and your children will instantly have something in common with everyone else.
Homeschooling Co-ops also provide opportunities to those involved. For example, some groups schedule regular field trips where everyone in the group goes. Some take turns teaching extra "group" classes, and much more. Homeschooling co-ops will play an essential role in socializing homeschooled children.
Community Activities - Getting involved in your local community is essential for those who are homeschooling. The majority of communities have a variety of different groups and organizations available to get involved with. A few examples include community theaters, choirs, bands/symphonies, art clubs and much more. Generally, you can find out about these groups through your local library and even the Chamber of Commerce.
Neighborhood Events - There are many neighborhoods that organize events for those living in that particular neighborhood. If your neighborhood does something like this, then get involved. If it doesn't, then take the time to organize something yourself! The children (and their parents) in the neighborhood would probably love the opportunity to get out and interact with the others in the neighborhood.
To sum up homeschool socialization, Growing Without Schooling publisher, Pat Farenga, wrote: "Group experiences are a big part of education, and homeschoolers have plenty of them. They write to us about how they form or join writing clubs, book discussion groups and local homeschooling groups. Homeschoolers also take part in school sports teams and music groups (in nearby public schools), as well as in the many public and private group activities our communities provide. These young people can and do experience other people and cultures without going to school."
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A Favorite Bible Verse: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6