9 Ways Your Children Develop Social Skills During Homeschooling
“But how will my child develop social skills?”
We hear it all the time. Parents are sold on the many advantages of homeschooling and then hit a wall.
The number of students being home-schooled in the United States keeps growing. Still, parents worry.
Here’s the most recent federal statistics available:
The number of school-age children who were home-schooled in the United States was close to 1.8 million in 2011-12.
That was up from 1.5 million five years earlier.
But parents are concerned about their children getting less than they need.
“What if my child falls behind developmentally? What if they have trouble making friends and having great relationships later in life?”
It’s in important question to carefully consider:
Is homeschooling is right for you and your family?
But too many myths exist for many to make a good decision.
First, let’s dispel some myths about homeschooling:
Myth 1: Students Don’t Develop Social Skills in Homeschooling
Like many, maybe you think your children won’t develop the social skills they need.
The data says otherwise. Years ago it was difficult to prove that homeschooling was successful.
But in 2009 a study followed up on adults who had been homeschooled.
In terms of income, happiness, and satisfaction, homeschoolers prevailed.
The fact they could develop social skills was proven.
Researchers returned to students they had studied in 1994. They came back 15 years later.
Here’s what they found:
Fact: Home-educated adults were more socially engaged.
Before the study, everyone was afraid that homeschoolers wouldn’t fully develop.
As adults, they were actually more socially engaged than other students.
69 percent participated in organized activities at least once per week. The rest of the population was only at 48 percent.
Fact: Their average income was higher.
They made more money than their public school counterparts.
When measured, the average income of homeschoolers was higher.
Even more important: there were no cases of government support as the primary source of income for homeschoolers.
11% of their counterparts were depending on government support.
Fact: Homeschoolers were happier.
What could be a better measure of a full life and social development? Homeschoolers are proven to be happier as adults.
67.3 percent described themselves as very happy. This is compared to 43.8 in others.
Fact: They were well prepared for life.
What did the students themselves think about homeschooling 15 years later?
96% thought home-schooling had prepared them well for life. That’s almost all of the homeschoolers studied!
Many parents fear homeschooling their children. Will their children regret it later?
This is far from true. Rather, homeschoolers felt more prepared.
There is so much data to support homeschooling. It actually benefits your children to take them out of public school.
But the myths persist.
Myth 2: Homeschooling Means Being At Home
Actually, homeschooling doesn’t really mean being stuck at home.
The phrase “homeschooling” can be misleading. It makes us think about a child sitting in a room all by themselves at a desk.
Or in a dungeon!
There are no other children there. The student is all alone and socially deprived.
Where do we come up with these fantasies? Nothing could be more false.
Homeschooling is unlike public schools. Homeschools have no walls.
Myth 3: Homeschooling Means no Balance
There is much room for balance in homeschooling. Children have many opportunities to develop social skills as a result.
Homeschoolers excel in the outside activities where children develop their social skills. 98% of all homeschoolers participate regularly in 2 or more of the activities listed below.
Homeschoolers Develop Social Skills Many Ways
Once you dispel the myths it’s easy to see the benefits of homeschooling.
In fact, some experts see homeschooling as the way to raise “elite kids.”
Boston Magazine reports the support a mother found when starting to homeschool her kids:
“One mother ran a theater group, a dad ran a math group.”
One “oversaw a creative-writing club. Their children took supplementary classes at the Harvard Extension School and Bunker Hill Community College.”
The result? One of the happy students attended Harvard.
The article goes on to describe the support many cities and towns are giving to homeschoolers. The same is true all around the country.
Here’s 9 homeschoolers develop social skills:
1. Playing Sports
One of the best ways homeschoolers develop social skills is through playing sports with other kids.
In fact, it also helps them learn
“Physical activity before, during and after school promotes scholastic performance in children and youth.”
In any community, there are a number of ways to volunteer. A benefit of homeschooling is that students aren’t limited by age group.
Homeschool groups can volunteer at shelters, nursing homes, and hospitals.
What better way to develop well-rounded social skills that last a lifetime?
3. Other Homeschoolers
Once a parent decides to homeschool there are many support systems. These include other homeschooled families, of course.
In many of the activities listed here organizing other homeschoolers helps vary your curriculum.
An internet search in your area is likely to find networks of other homeschool parents to work with.
These connections also give your children the opportunity to develop socially.
4. Video Conferencing
We all know technology is part of social interaction today. And homeschoolers can interact with other students through video services like Skype.
That’s not all. They can attend lectures, and interact with experts.
Video chat was once used as a tool for parents living in remote communities to connect. Now homeschoolers have more options.
Some even take college courses while being homeschooled.
5. Church or Place of Worship
Whatever your children’s faith, a place of worship builds social skills.
The New York Times reports on many of the ways going to church is good for you. They discuss better health and a longer life.
Social development is key as well. They write:
“A study conducted in North Carolina found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts.”
Further, “that social support is directly tied to better health.”
6. Youth Groups
Homeschoolers are no longer a unique set apart entity. Because homeschooling is so effective many parents decide to go this route.
As a result, your children will likely participate in many of the same youth groups you did as a child. Just like sports, these groups are community based.
From this, their social circle will continue to grow.
7. Special Activities
Beyond traditional sports and youth groups, homeschoolers love participating in special activities with other children.
Here’s a short sample list to get the wheels turning:
- Dance Classes
- Group Music Lessons
- Art Classes
- Martial Arts
8. Field Trips
One of the best parts of homeschooling are all the possibilities.
In an article titled “10 FUNdamentally educational homeschool field trips” The Tampa Bay Times reminds us:
“The world is truly the homeschoolers classroom.”
For homeschoolers, their surroundings are a “learning lab.”
“One that covers “everything from history to art, social studies, science and more.”
This shows that you’re not alone as a homeschooling parent. Get some other homeschool families together and plan a field trip.
Plan a number of field trips together.
Nothing is better for helping your kids grow. There are so many things to do.
- Art Museum
- Local Businesses
- History Museum
- Animal Preserve
- Nature Sanctuary
Of course, each city has a wide range of possibilities.
The best part? Many of these field trips can also be free!
Think about touring a fire department, making ice cream, visiting a power plant, or going for a nature walk.
The possibilities are endless.
There are much more opportunities for learning and socialization with homeschooled kids.
Homeschoolers even travel beyond conventional field trips. They can go anywhere.
In an interview, one parent reports:
“Travel has been a huge part of our homeschooling as we think it is a great way to learn,” she said.
“Before we traveled somewhere, we studied the geography, geology, wildlife and history of the area.”
Homeschooling has allowed their family to travel more frequently together.
Including places around the country. And international travel.
This homeschooled family has visited Iceland, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Kenya, India, Mexico and Peru among others.
Looks like homeschooling is far from sitting in a one room classroom by yourself.
What better way to get social than to meet people all over?
And while not everyone can travel around the world, homeschooling means a classroom without walls.
Students excel in that environment.
Children Excel in Homeschooling
It’s true. Studies show the combined benefits of homeschooling.
In fact, head over to your local public school and take a look before making a decision.
You might find a sea of faces buried in their smartphones.
Homeschooling prepares students to excel socially.
Measuring the socialization and academic preparation of homeschooled students proves it works. They are just as prepared to excel at college as other students.
If not more so. Homeschoolers outperformed their peers 30 – 37 points on average across all subjects.
But before you get started to remember:
A period of deschooling is suggested first.
Don’t know about deschooling? Let’s go find out all about deschooling.