Most of you won’t deny that the socialization of homeschooled children has been a controversial issue since, well, the beginning of homeschooling. Some people are convinced that because homeschoolers don’t have the same opportunities to interact with their peers on a regular basis, they must be missing out on important social skills.
Are homeschooled children socially awkward?
The answer, it seems, is a resounding “no.” In fact, many studies have shown that homeschooled children are actually more socially adept than their traditional school counterparts.
According to a survey by Richard G. Medlin, homeschooled children score better and are better at social skills than those in traditional schools. Another study found that homeschoolers were more likely to participate in community service and other extracurricular activities than public school students.
In fact, when they asked about “what about socialization?”, they proudly respond, “it’s one of the reasons I’m happy, I’m homeschooled”.
Because like all others, homeschoolers do also have weekly meetings, and interactions with other homeschooled peers, neighbors, community, co-ops, and more.
However, this entirely depends on the unique circumstances that your children are going through. If he is having good life experiences and interactions then I would bet he is more socially perfect than those who are in public schools.
On the other hand, if he is having a difficult time socially, then I believe that it has more to do with his individual personality and less to do with the fact that he is homeschooled. As also proved by several studies, there is no significant difference between these two groups of students.
With that being said, social awkwardness isn’t what we can pin on a particular group, it’s more of a personal issue because we even see many socially awkward children who’re in the (so-called) standard education system.
So, why are homeschooled children so socially adept?
Yes, homeschooling offers greater opportunities to socialize, but it’s all about executing things. Those parents who imposed these socialization tips on their homeschooled kids, end up having a socially skilled child.
To some extent, homeschoolers are not confined to interacting only with kids their own age like traditional school students are. As a result, they learn to communicate effectively with people of all ages, something that comes in handy later in life.
In addition, homeschooled children have often been involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and field trips, like sports teams, Scouts, 4-H clubs, co-ops, and even with religious communities. This gives them plenty of opportunities to interact with other kids their own age and to develop important social skills.
Recommended: Why Do Parents Homeschool Their Child?
What does the research say about homeschooling and socialization?
Let’s do a short Homeschool vs. Public school kids’ social skill comparison based on real studies.
Thought I was giving some clues of research previously as well, but in this section, I decided to jot down some amazing researches and studies to give you evidence-based insights about “Are homeschooled children socially awkward?”.
As quoted by EducationandBehavior.com, a study conducted by Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale (it’s a well-tested tool to measure social skills in children) showed that “Homeschoolers did not significantly differ from conventionally schooled students on any of the subscales or total adaptive behavior scores”. Their maturity, communication, and social living skills subscale were at 84% compared to the 23% of traditionally schooled kids.
The same has been concluded by Dr. Medlin, and there are numerous studies on this concern.
Recommended: Is Homeschooling Better Than Public School?
What I concluded,
It’s clear from the research that homeschooled children are not socially awkward. In fact, they are more likely to excel in social skills than their traditional school counterparts.
My straight answer to the question, “Are homeschooled children socially awkward?” is that,
It’s all about how you execute things and what experiences you provide to your children. If you want them to be socially adept, then make sure they have plenty of opportunities to interact, they have high-level resources and good quality of education. – It’s simple as that.
Now let’s go ahead with general discussions.
Why are social skills important?
First, come first,
What are social skills?
They are the set of skills that allow us to interact effectively with others. They include communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and more.
Social skills are important to success in life. Good social skills can help you in your personal and professional life.
Some of the benefits of good social skills are:
- improved relationships
- better communication and build confidence
- reduced stress
- improved mental health
- better collaborative work
- enhanced leadership skills
And it’s more than anything to develop social skills in homeschoolers/in your kids. Research in Pennsylvania concluded that youth with good social skills are more likely to graduate. It’s also linked to different aspects of life, like jobs, family life, and friendships.
It is important for children to be socially successful, regardless of whether they are homeschooled or not. There are a few things parents can do to help their children be socially successful.
The first thing parents can do is help their children develop social skills early on. Toddlers and young children can be taught how to greet others, how to start and carry on a conversation, and how to share. These social skills will be important for children as they grow older and interact with more people.
Another thing parents can do is expose their children to different social situations. This can be done by taking them to the park, letting them play with other children, and enrolling them in extracurricular activities. By exposing children to different social situations, they will learn how to navigate them and feel more comfortable in them.
Lastly, parents should encourage their children to be themselves. This means that they should not try to force their children to conform to any one mold or behave in a certain way. Children should be allowed to express their individuality and be respected for it.
How does homeschooling affect socialization skills?
Really! Your child’s socialization skills can be affected by homeschooling!
Well, not at all. But doing little errors in homeschooling by parents can lead to some bad socialization skills.
Most homeschooled children might have difficulty socializing with their peers as they don’t get to interact with other children on a regular basis, they can find it hard to socialize when they do encounter them.
This is especially true for introverted children or those who are shy and reserved.
In addition, homeschooled children might have trouble relating to children who are different from them. This is because they don’t have the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of people on a daily basis.
Lastly, homeschooled children might have difficulty adjusting to new environments, this is because they are used to being in a familiar and comfortable setting (their home).
Recommended: Reasons why homeschooling is bad
Easy fixes to homeschool socialization – My 9 no-brainer tips
Now that we know the potential consequences, let’s talk about possible solutions.
Disclaimer: These are easy to execute.
It’s a great way for children to socialize and interact with others. They can volunteer at a local library, hospital, or senior center.
Joining clubs and organizations
Organizations and clubs are great to meet other children with similar interests. They can join clubs like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, 4-H, or a sports team.
Children can take classes outside of the home to interact with other children. These can be art, dance, or music classes.
Going on field trips
It’s one of the best things that I personally love about homeschooling. Along with practical life experiences, field trips provide great opportunities for socialization.
Participating in homeschool co-ops
Co-ops offer numerous socialization opportunities. I would highly recommend joining a coop where children can learn together and interact with others.
Playdates are a great way for children to interact with their peers
Participating in community events
Community events are a great way for children to interact with other people in their community. They can participate in events like the local fair or parade. If you’re religious, attending local church events is great advice I would give.
Hosting a play date
Kids love to play, so they found to interact more while playing. Why not invite some other homeschooled kids over for a play date? Have some fun in the local park?
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the local library saved me from summer boredom (even though I was not homeschooled). No doubt, It’s a great place for kids to socialize and study together.
7 ways parents can help homeschool kids to cope with mental & emotional stability
Question for you!
Does emotional and mental stability have a correlation with social skills!
My answer is, “Yes”.
Emotional and mental stability are closely related to social skills. When a child is emotionally and mentally unstable, they may have a hard time interacting with others. This is because they are not in a good state of mind to be able to communicate effectively. Additionally, they may act out due to their emotional state, which can also lead to social difficulties.
Parents can help their homeschooled children to cope with mental and emotional stability in a few ways:
1. Flexible learning structure
An overburdened schedule is the most common problem with homeschoolers, which can lead to mental and emotional exhaustion. So, a flexible learning structure is very important to follow. Ask your kid about what he wanna learn this week/today, encourage him to better creativity, and try to be more flexible with the learning methods.
2. Get rid of perfectionism
Kids who are homeschooled often feel a lot of pressure to be perfect. This is because they feel like they have to live up to the expectations of their parents and society. It’s important to get rid of this perfectionism because it can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety.
3. Teach them how to deal with failure
I found it difficult for many homeschooled kids to cope with failure, one of the highlighted reasons for this is that they lack motivation. Make sure to teach that failure is a part of life and it’s important.
4. Encourage social interaction
One of the best things you can do for your homeschooled child is to encourage social interaction. This can be done by joining clubs, sports teams, or other extracurricular activities. Additionally, your child can have playdates with others.
5. Promote independence
Homeschooled kids often feel like they are not as independent as their peers. This is because they don’t have the same opportunities to be independent. It’s important to promote independence by giving them responsibilities around the house and a sense of ownership and encouraging them to make decisions for themselves.
6. Help them find their passion
Homeschooled kids often feel like they have to live up to the expectations of their parents and society. It’s important to help them find their passion in life so they can be motivated to learn.
7. Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Last but Important, (not just limited to homeschoolers) a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly.
Trusting your gut
Cutting to the chase, the final conclusion to “Are homeschooled children socially awkward?” is, “NO!, they aren’t, in fact, homeschoolers tend to perform in most cases”
It’s your responsibility (as a parent of homeschooled children) to execute the important factors listed above in order to help your children avoid social awkwardness. Additionally, it’s important for parents to believe in the process. This means that they should not put too much pressure on their children to be perfect, and should allow them to make mistakes.
Talking in general, some kids feel socially awkward, but this can be avoided by executing important factors like having a strong support system and exposing them to social situations regularly.
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Mo is a home-based Mommie and a passionate journalist. She loves to help other moms to spend a good life.