If you went to public school, I’m sure you can remember seeing several socially awkward kids in school. When I see people grimace when they find out a child is homeschooled, and then follow up with a question like, “How will your child learn to be social,” I laugh. Homeschooling will not deprive your child of opportunities to be social. It is more likely, that a child will not be social if he or she comes from a socially awkward home environment, but those will exist in all school settings. If you are a homeschool parent you may consider creating an intentional atmosphere where your child can socialize with his or her peers and other adults.
Here 20 ways to to provide your homeschool child with ample opportunities to socialize
- Visit the park. Sounds simple, right? I love that the park is completely free. It’s like an oasis for kids where they can be loud, run, get dirty, jump, climb, play, and meet other kids just as excited to be visiting the park.
- Library programs. The best part about library programs is that they offer free quality programs in your own community. It is a great way to meet other families in your area with children.
- Neighborhood sports. Google sports teams in your community, visit your local recreation center, or visit your library to find out what teams are available near your home.
- County Activities. Counties across the United States have parks and planning services, which are often referred to as parks and recreation offices. This programs are usually partially funded by the local taxes in your area. This helps keep the out-of-pocket costs low for parents. The cost are usually reasonable and the programs generally are provided by well-trained staff members.
- Homeschool Co-op. The number of home school families is growing so researching the nearest co-op can provide an opportunity to meet similar families in your city. Co-ops can provide added classes, sports teams, field trip opportunities, etc. What’s great is that the families usually stay the same so it allows homeschoolers to build stronger connections with one another. Many co-ops are fee based depending on what services they are giving families
- Church groups. If you attend church, there will usually be a Children’s Ministry Team that solely focuses on the children in the church. They plan free or low-cost activities that most children will enjoy. Church groups are great for strengthening long-term friendships with people who have a similar value system.
- Museum Classes. Call or visit local museums in your area to see if there are homeschool events offered. Sometimes a couple of days out of the year they may offer special homeschool events at discounted prices. These special classes give students a chance to learn new lessons, and give each parent a chance to meet new homeschool families.
- Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts. These organizations are some of the most well-known youth activity groups in the United States. There is often a free associated with membership in the group, but these organizations try to off-set cost by having well-know company sponsors and fundraisers.
- 4-H Clubs. Most 4-H programs target students between 8 and 18. The program is designed to shape future leaders and innovators. The 4-H pledge alone is one that many parents will want their children to adopt: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” If you are interested in learning more about this global youth organization click here. “Fueled by research-driven programming, 4-H’ers engage in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, citizenship and healthy living. (source)”
- Lego Robotic Clubs. Are you raising a young engineer or a kid who enjoys Lego bricks? There are brick building clubs across the US. Parents can even start their own clubs and teams. Sylvan Learning also has a group of young builders program called the Sylvan Learning Robotics Club. Their goal is to reach students between 2nd and 6th grade.
- Homeschool meetups. The internet has made it easier than ever to connect with other families. Meetup.com has helped centralize groups that you can search through just by entering your zip code. The various groups all depend on the community. Some of the groups I explored in my area are: STEM centered groups, Coding groups, Unschooling groups, Craft groups, sports, Montessori focused groups, etc.
- Take a class to learn how to play an instrument. To encourage socialization the class should be group organized where other students are learning a long side each other.
- Homeschool swim class. Many swim schools will offer discounted swim lessons for kids who are homeschooled. The lessons are usually in the early part of the day when other kids are normally attending school.
- Drama Club. There are all types of clubs. If you have a child who loves acting or performing, there may be local theaters available they have parts for kids.
- Summer camps. Academic, sports, or overnight camps give kids a chance to make new friends. Learn from other adults and explore the world outside of their home.
- Playdates. Encourage your kids to get to know other kids by organizing playdates. You can go on field trips or enjoy open play at home.
- Field Trips. Because parents of homeschool students have unparalleled flexibility when it relates to learning, think outside what normal field trips will offer and see what is uniquely available in your area. The goal is to allow your child or children to explore their own interests in greater depth. For instance, if you have a child who is interested in geography and foreign languages contact several embassies to see if your family can visit so your child can learn firsthand about other countries. Remember, an Embassy Tour day is held annually in Washington, D.C., where foreign embassies hold open houses throughout the day, allowing you to visit multiple embassies in a single day.
- Participate in Homeschool Day. Homeschooling is so popular that there are dedicated events throughout the year. Homeschooling doesn’t mean parents and students sit at home everyday, no, it is great to get out and explore. Homeschool Day also gives you a chance to get to know more homeschool families and see new places that you may not otherwise visit. HEAV.org is a homeschool site for Virginia families, which provides a long list of businesses that take part in homeschool Day.
- Spend time with family. Socialization does not only occur between peer-to-peer relationships. Kids should learn how to socialize with both adults and other kids. Homeschool parents can help their children interact with other generations by allowing them to spend time with family members and friends who are different ages.
- Attend a Homeschool Convention or Conference. Visit Great Homeschool Conventions to learn about upcoming homeschool conventions in the US. Places in the DMV that may provide homeschool convention or other homeschool event information:
Frankly, your homeschool can be as active as you like. It all depends on you, your research, and your willingness to get to know others.
If you are using Classical Conversations for your homeschool curriculum, each week I share the visual materials I create for my students based on the Foundations guide. Unfortunately, I do not have these printables created in advance, so if you’re able to go ahead and create future materials for the upcoming week, please feel free to share your materials with me as well. If you are a part of CC, join CC connected and printables for weekly lessons will be available to you. CC connected is $6/month for community members and $60/month for non-community members.
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