Is homeschooling generally bad for children because it reduced their opportunities to socialize and only exposed them to their parents worldview?

Can anybody describe to me a way to homeschool effectively in an area where the public schools aren't great?

Answers

Hannah Miller, World Traveler, TEFL instructor, Education Hacker, and Freelance Writer.

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The question, "What about socialization?" in regards to homeschooling is one that comes up relatively often. It's true that homeschooling can be done in such a way that the children are only ever exposed to their parents' worldview. However, in my experience, the majority of homeschooling parents make a concerted effort to expose their children to multiple different worldviews and perspectives as part of a well-rounded education. Socialization can and does happen outside of a public school environment. In fact, I would go so far as to say that socialization outside of a public school environment is more in tune with reality and can prepare children for the "real world" better than a classroom setting could. I say this because in what other environment does a human being ever find himself or herself on a daily basis in a room full of people with a nearly identical background and range of life experience, all of the same ages, and all with the same exposure to media, culture, and the news? The only time in which we experience this kind of social setting is in school. The product of it tends to be children who only enjoy playtime with other children in their age groups, teens who don't know how to interact with small children or babies, and young adults who struggle with relating to adults with more life experience. When children grow up outside of that daily classroom setting, they naturally learn how to interact with other individuals of all ages, and I would say that they tend to become more easily socialized, not less. Be sure to set up play dates, so your child can interact with other children in a similar age range and learn to make friends. Seek out your local homeschooling group for support and community. Intentionally keep an eye out for festivals, museum events, and extracurricular activities (such as soccer, skating, dance) your child might be interested in. Homeschooling groups will often host art co-ops, which tend to be a fantastic way to meet new people and make friends. Lastly, invite people of all ages over for dinner. Bring new cultures, worldviews, and traditions to your home by intentionally welcoming them in. Ultimately, you have the most control over what your child is exposed to when it comes to worldviews. You should be comfortable teaching your child your worldview, but also exposing them to a wide array of different opinions and perspectives, as this will allow them to form critical thinking skills.

Here are a few articles on this topic that you might find interesting and informative: What About Socialization? Homeschool.com

Education and Socialization: Why didn't we think of that?! EdventureProject

Are homeschooled kids really lacking in socialization? SheKnows

Carrie Hagen, Nonfiction Writer and Researcher, Teacher

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Hi, Let me speak to your second question, which asks how you can homeschool effectively in an area "where the public schools aren't great." I don't know how much research you have already conducted, but it's important to note that there is a wide variety of homeschooling curriculums/curricula for homeschooling parents to choose from. Some emphasize the importance of field trips -- and later, internships -- for at-home learners, and others, as Hannah mentioned above, encourage co-op groups where homeschoolers can come together for group instruction.

As a public school teacher with family members who have experienced homeschooling in one form or another, I encourage you to speak with homeschooling graduates. Ask them about their academic and social experiences, and what they feel the benefits and drawbacks were... conversations like these might be the most informative.

Jenny Bristol, Homeschooling Parent, Writer, and Editor

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Questions about socialization are one of the most common things that come up in regard to homeschooling. Some people are worried that if their kids don't spend many hours a day with kids that are the same age as theirs that their kids won't know how to relate to others. But this is not true. It's more important for children to spend time around people that are a variety of ages and are from a variety of backgrounds. It gives them a much wider base of experience and exposes them to a larger world.

Some parents worry that their kids will miss out on learning things from their age cohort. But is that really the group of people you want teaching your kids values, behavior, and right from wrong? It's not the teachers' job to parent your children, so your kids go the whole school day without your direct parental guidance. Parenting is much more effective when issues can be dealt with as they come up, not weeks later when you are finally informed of a pattern of bad behavior at school.

All that being said, there are plenty of opportunities to "socialize" your kids while you homeschool. Unless you lock yourselves in your house, you're likely to run errands, conduct business transactions (think: the bank), have playdates, involve your kids in extracurricular activities such as sports or scouts, or perhaps your kids will volunteer at the library. Many homeschoolers also participate in homeschooling co-ops or support groups where they are surrounded by other students and parents.

There is no shortage of opportunities for various kinds of socialization while homeschooling. Homeschooled kids' socialization options are much more varied, they are richer, and the flexibility of life as a homeschooling family allows for finding social opportunities that fit your goals, perspective, and lifestyle. Your kids will definitely learn how they fit into the world, but they will learn it with the safety of family support, not being on their own in a school environment.

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