Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Homeschooler Is So Unsocialized

I mean, my kid must be unsocialized since she's homeschooled, right?  What is this mysterious socialization thing that seems to elude homeschoolers anyway?  It must be hard to do if parents can't make it happen at home.  Ok, I'll step away from my sarcasm now.  Let's be serious.  Socialization is important.  

Being socialized means being able to converse normally with regular people and not be seen as terribly weird or strange by the people in the community in which we live.  It's being able to communicate effectively and knowing how to be around people and how to act appropriately around them.  It's not picking your nose and eating it in front of your friends.  Right?

What Some People Think
It seems like people who don't know many (or any) homeschoolers seem to have this misconception about socialization.  They think it's only possible to become socialized in a public or private school setting.  I went through public school as a child, and while I did have friends there, I can say now as a homeschool parent that my 2nd grader gets way more social time than I ever did in school.  When I was in school my time in class was spent learning (or trying to ignore the teacher while I wrote notes to friends).  I only really got 'social' time at school at lunch, at recess, in the halls, and during PE.  There was also that time standing at the bus stop or traveling to and from school, but that was only a few minutes out of the day.  

Reasonably I think that in a 7 hour school day I spent maybe an hour socializing.  That's only 5 hours a week and I think it's safe to say we meet that standard.  For most children there's also that time spent outside of school playing with neighborhood kids, and we do that as well.

The Reality
As a homeschooler my daughter has so many opportunities to learn to be socialized that we often find ourselves having to say no to activities because if we said yes to them all we'd never have time to do any schoolwork.  Most homeschool parents I know, including myself are sensitive to the issue of social time and so we do whatever we can to make that social time happen.  Is it possible for a homeschooler to turn out weird and unsocialized?  Yes, just as much as there is the possibility of a public or private school student turning out that way (come on, we all knew of that kid in school who was totally awkward and who didn't know how to act around people).  It happens, sometimes because the child or their parents are introverted, and sometimes because they don't live near a lot of other people to socialize with, or for other reasons we're not always privy to.  For the most part though I haven't really met any unsocialized homeschoolers.

We live in an area with a large and very active homeschool group.  The parents put together things like group field trips (ages Pre-school through high school), speech classes, art classes, choir, PE, book clubs, group play dates, swimming trips, sledding trips, holiday parties, curriculum swaps, and more.  The networking between these families is incredible and there is something going on every week.  One week there were 4 field trips and we just couldn't make it to them all because there was simply too much to do!

How My 2nd Grader Is Learning To Not Be Weird
Aside from the gatherings of our homeschool friends (whom we see often), my daughter also has her neighborhood friends and her friends from Girl Scouts.  She plays baseball all summer long as well as going to Girl Scout camp and other local summer camps.  She's part of the homeschool choir which meets once a week (sometimes more often if there's an upcoming concert) and homeschool art classes.  We attend field trips as often as we can with the homeschool group, but we are twice as lucky because our Girl Scout council puts on a lot of field trips and get-togethers year round as well.

Maybe I can explain this better with photos of how active we've been in the past year as part of one group or another.  I have photos of too many gatherings, groups, and field trips to share, but I can share a few.

We know other homeschool families who are involved with so much that they are hardly ever home.  They take every opportunity to get their kids into theater productions, dance, gymnastics, karate, soccer, Boy Scouts, church youth groups, volunteer opportunities, and a wide variety of other clubs, sports, and groups.  We try to keep a healthy balance in our family of school time, social time, family time, and time in the great outdoors as a family.  Add into that work and chores and we end up having a very full schedule and busy lifestyle with a lot of interaction with others on a day to day basis.

What I've Observed
I've noticed something wonderful about homeschooled children since we started our homeschooling journey three years ago.  They seem to be comfortable interacting with people of any age.  I'm not the only one to have noticed either.  The Huffington Post says, "Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.  The socialization thing is really a nonissue for most homeschoolers.  They're getting a lot of it." 

Middle school kids are fine playing with toddlers or hanging out among their peers.  Second graders tag along with fourth and fifth graders, and the older kids don't mind.  First graders and eight graders alike seem comfortable talking to adults and striking up a conversation with them, even if they're adults they don't know personally.  It's this wonderful melting pot of ages where no one cares how old you are or what grade you're in, and you're comfortable interacting with everybody.  I don't see that as much in institutionalized settings where kids are segregated in classes by age level.  

From family members to kids I've worked with in the school system, I've seen kids that have grown up in public or private schools sticking to their own age group and being too uncomfortable to move outside of it at recess and often times at home.  Sometimes kids will play with neighborhood kids that are a different age simply because there's no one else nearby that's their own age, but as soon as they get back to school, that extension of friendship often time ends.  It's a gap that doesn't disappear until high school and college, and even then well into adulthood I've noticed that a lot of adults tend to stick to their own age group when choosing friends.
"Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, Kelly says, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.  "The socialization thing is really a nonissue for most home schoolers," he says. "They're getting a lot of it." - See more at:
"Home-schooled students often spend less time in class, Kelly says, giving them more opportunity to get out into the world and engage with adults and teens alike.  "The socialization thing is really a nonissue for most home schoolers," he says. "They're getting a lot of it."" - See more at:

Are You Curious About Homeschooling?
Are you interested in seeing more homeschool myths debunked?  Check out our article here: The Truth About Homeschooling.  Or maybe you're looking for more of the nitty gritty info about what homeschooling is and how people do it, in which case you may be interested in our article: Homeschooling 101 - How Do I Start?

What do you think?  Have you met many strange homeschooled kids or past homeschoolers?  Are you a homeschool family and if so, what do you do to get in that socialization time?  Let us know in a comment below, or on Twitter.


  1. We definitely have fought the issue of too much, rather than not enough social time. Right now my kids are involved in church, two band classes, Choir, dance, theater and a couple very active homeschool groups.

    1. Isn't it so nice to have the opportunities though? I have a really hard time turning things down that we want to do but just don't have time for, but I'm really thankful so much is available :)

  2. Ugh! Yes, please stop telling me my kids aren't going to be socialized! I wrote a blog post: 20 way Homeschoolers socialize in the real world just to try and combat that misconception. It seems no one remembers their public school teachers always telling them "we're not here to socialize!"

  3. My kids are lonely and need more social interaction but they are learning to get along better with their siblings during this season. That is certainly socialization as well.

  4. My kids get out now and talk with more people than when they were in public school. My oldest is very shy so I have to try to get her out of her she'll a little. We have only homeschooled a little over a year. We just moved last year so they still don't know a lot of people but we are social. Library activities, chess club, art class, church and just add twice a month classes.

  5. I graduated a few years ago (still enjoy homeschooling blogs though).

    I agree with what you said about there are awkward kids in public school as well, so isolating only the homeschooled ones is not fair. In most cases, due to the efforts of the parents and the nature of homeschooing, homeschooled kids get more socialization. :) Typical myth, where the complete opposite is true.

  6. I do find some homeschoolers that we know might be unsocialzed more than we are.

  7. lol.. it's crazy the misconceptions! Most HS kids I know converse really well! :)