One of the biggest homeschooling myths is that of socialization.
The thinking is that children who don't go to school won't be socialized. The reality is very different.
Find out what the research says about socialization in homeschooling - and how to go about socializing your child.
Research into Homeschool Socialization
How well are homeschooled children socialised?
In a study by the University of Durham (UK) in 2002, Paula Rothermel found :
"Children who learn at home appear to develop very different skills from those learning in school. Such children integrate easily into a variety of social settings and are accustomed to taking responsibility within their families and to motivating themselves in their day to day activities."
In 1992 psychotherapist Larry Shyers did a study while at the University of Florida in which he closely examined the behavior of 35 home schoolers and 35 public schoolers.
He found that home schoolers were generally more patient and less competitive. They tended to introduce themselves to one another more and they didn't fight as much.
So you can see that the research just does not back up the myth. Homeschooled children can be (and are) very sociable.
And really, do children who go to school have a better chance of being socialised?
It is important to mention that the the opportunity to socialize within school is actually quite limited. I would argue that school does not adequately prepare a child for the realities of adult life.
In school there is great pressure to fit in with the group - even at the expense of your own personality. If a child is losing it's sense of self-worth within the group, then that isn't good socialization.
Homeschooling and Socialization
So what socialization options are open to a homeschooled child?
Children who are homeschooled have LOTS of opportunities to be out and about within society.
Normal day to day outings of course are a start, but when followed up with field trips, co-ops, homeschool groups and after school groups, church groups, sports groups - the children have as many (if not more) opportunities to socialize than schooled children.
Homeschooled children meet a much wider variety of people, including adults. They get to practice their social skills 'in' society itself. Even day to day activities will bring you into contact with lots of different members of the community.
Not everyone is super-social!
Some children thrive on regular contact with large groups of other children. Others may prefer contact with a small group of peers, or even an adult. Homeschooling makes it easy to tailor interaction to suit the personality of the child.
Being practical, here are some ideas about finding enjoyable social activities for your child.
Make contact with your local homeschooling group.
Encourage your child to take up hobbies that will bring him into contact with other people or experts.
Find out what events are happening locally that your child would enjoy, and organise field trips.
If you are thinking how to start homeschooling your child, then this is one issue I really want to re-assure you about.
Homeschooling will let your child's own natural abilities and personality shine through.
With a little effort, you can be assured that there are plenty of opportunities for homeschool socialization - and that those opportunities are often better quality and more appropriate.