Socialization and Homeschooling
What is socialization?

According to, socialization (n) is a continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.  According to the World English Dictionary, it means “the modification from infancy of an individual’s behavior to conform with the demands of social life or the act of socializing or the state of being socialized.

Which of these two definitions do you prefer? Do you want your child modified to fit in with others, or do you want them to have a personal identity? In public schools the second definition of socialization tends to hold truer than the first…people who have their own personalities are often left out in the cold, considered odd, or weird.

How is homeschooling different?

With most homeschool families, each child is allowed to have his or her own personality, without bending to the outside world. Whereas most public school parents (not all, but most) feel that their child has to fit in or they will have no social life, homeschooling parents know that even with their own personalities a child will find friends-even if they do not have the same personality traits. They will find a common interest, and that will bond them as friends, not social conformity and modification.

What is the big deal with homeschooling and socialization?

People who are not familiar with homeschooling see proper socialization only coming from school and interacting with peers. They do not understand that in most cases homeschooling does not mean school at home, and often includes more opportunities to socialize than any public school could offer.

Homeschoolers, while they may not see the same people every day often spend more than the fifteen minutes allowed during school to talk with friends, adults, and (gasp) strangers with their parents near by. There are lessons to be taught everywhere, from outside a grocery store talking with a stranger (and a parent) about geology because he had a cool bear claw necklace on, or inside that same grocery store about math, which is really cheaper? The prices say one thing, but the unit price may show something completely different. Your child could ask an employee questions about the different fruits and vegetables, and get a lesson in gardening, and ecology!

What will my child miss by not being in school?

In most cases your child will not miss out on any events from not being in school. There are homeschool sports leagues (or city run), homeschool proms and graduation ceremonies, and some school districts allow homeschool students to participate in extra curricular activities such as band, football, basketball and other sports (they have to try out in most cases though). With homeschooling your children will get to experience a quality of life not available to public school students. Homeschooling generally has a more lax schedule and can be tailored to meet each students needs-including social activities. Many homeschoolers are so busy socializing they have lessons in the car instead of at home!

What can I do to help my child with his or her social skills?
Being a parent, teaching your child what is morally or ethically right or wrong, and being there to support your child is the best way to help your child. Yes, this is a form of modification, but knowing the difference between right and wrong is not necessarily an inherent trait.

Some children are natural born leaders others are followers. It happens even in homeschooling. A child who is a leader may want to do something that is not safe, and will get a follower to do it with them, or at times instead of them. This is where your teaching right and wrong comes in. It is always a parent’s hope that their children will think before acting, but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The next best way to help you child is to be there for him. If he feels comfortable coming to you and asking questions he is less likely to do something silly, or possibly illegal. Good values are taught in the home, not in a school. Talk with him, explain the reasons why you don’t allow him to do some things and allow others. Taking this time can save you a lifetime of worry.

Further Reading: 
The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling
So - WHY Do You Homeschool?
How Your One-of-a-Kind Family Can Make Homeschooling and Real Life Work

References: (2010)
World English Dictionary (2010)

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