9 Awesome Tips to Help you With Socializing Homeschoolers

socializing homeschoolers tips

The most commonly asked question about homeschooling is, “How do you make sure your homeschool kids are getting enough socialization?” 

Before I go any further, it’s time for a full confession on my part: 

Years ago, as a senior in college, I was talking with a group of friends after a church activity and the subject of our future kids came up. 

One of my friends mentioned that she might want to homeschool her kids someday. 

I was aghast. 

“What?!” I exclaimed. “Homeschool kids are so weird! I’d NEVER homeschool my kids – I want them to actually have friends and learn how to relate to other people.” 

Oh, how ignorant I was then. 

(And in case you’re wondering, I also married a military man and drive a minivan. Two other things I said I’d never do. Life is funny like that.) 

Perhaps homeschoolers have come a long way in the past twenty years since I spewed my strong opinions all over my college-aged friends. Or maybe I simply misjudged.

Over the past nine years of homeschooling my own five kids, I’ve learned that socializing homeschoolers does require some effort, but it usually takes care of itself in the long run. 

Yes, there are exceptions, but for the most part, I’m standing behind this claim.

Keep reading and I’ll explain. 

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What is socialization?

It’s important to note that when we talk about socialization for homeschoolers, we’re really talking about a few things.

Proper socialization typically incorporates these three ideas:

  1. Learning to understand social norms in a broader society
  2. Developing “social fluency,” which allows a person to deal with a variety of social situations and relationships
  3. Learning to be tolerant of others with different cultural backgrounds

There are many ways to help homeschooled kids become highly socialized in each of these aspects, and we’ll cover these at the end of this article. 

Common concerns about homeschooling and socialization

Obviously, public-schooled kids typically have more opportunities for social interaction than homeschooled kids.

This is simply because public-schooled kids are in school for just under seven hours a day, with many education policymakers pushing for extended public school days.

Because homeschooled kids don’t spend 35 hours a week in a public setting, many people assume that homeschoolers will be lonely, unable to communicate well with their peers or become socially awkward. 

In fact, in our recent Google search, we led with the query, “Are homeschoolers …”

And the top three results were the words:

  1. Smarter?
  2. Happier?
  3. Socially awkward?

While these may be the commonly-held beliefs about homeschooled kids, let’s see what the research really suggests about homeschoolers and socialization, shall we?

What research regarding homeschooling and socialization suggests

According to the Coalition for Responsible Home Education

“There is a large body of research focused on whether or not children who are homeschooled are well-socialized. Most of this research finds that being homeschooled does not harm children’s development of social skills … In fact, some research finds that homeschooled children score more highly than children who attend school on measurements of socialization.”

Additionally, studies from the University of Harvard’s Human Flourishing Project reveal that,

“Those who were home-schooled were subsequently more likely to volunteer, to have a sense of purpose, to be forgiving, to attend religious services in young adulthood, to have fewer lifetime sexual partners, and to have notably less marijuana use.” 

(If any of these things makes a homeschooler “socially awkward,” I think I’m okay with that.)

Before we move on, it IS important to note that not all homeschooled kids have the same opportunities for socialization

For example, one homeschooled child may be on a baseball team with several weekly practices, piano lessons, and a once-a-week homeschool co-op while another homeschooled child may not participate in any activities outside the home. 

But it seems clear that homeschooling alone is not the culprit in causing homeschooled kids to be less socially capable than their public school counterparts. 

Bottom line: homeschooling socialization isn’t worse than public school socialization, and it may even be better. 

What we DO know is that the two are just different. 

Related post: Dealing With Homeschool Burnout? You Need These 7 Great Tips!

Next up are 9 great tips that can help you with homeschool socialization.

Tips for socializing homeschoolers

1. Get involved in a local homeschool co-op

Joining a homeschool co-op is the most obvious way to help your homeschoolers connect with their peers.

One of the best ways to find a homeschool co-op in your area is to look on Facebook.

Simply type in the name of your town, followed by “Homeschooling” or “Homeschool Co-op.”

You can also look online to find out if there are national homeschooling organizations, such as Classical Conversations, located in your area.

2. Connect with volunteer organizations

Kids of many different ages can connect with volunteer organizations.

Your local library may sponsor a reading tutor program for kids of all ages, or your food pantry, hospital, or senior citizen’s center may have junior volunteers.

Volunteering is a great way to connect with others because your kids will be joining like-minded individuals in supporting a worthy cause!

3. Find a church home

If you are religious, finding a church home is a great way to help your homeschoolers find socialization opportunities.

Churches often sponsor a once-a-week youth activity night, as well as special classes for Sunday school, vacation Bible School, and occasional weeknight activities.

4. Join recreational sports teams

If your kids are athletic or have an interest in sports, sign them up for recreational sports or classes!

Participating in a team sport, such as soccer or basketball, can help your kids to develop a sense of unity with their teammates.

Even individual sports, like gymnastics and tennis, are great for allowing your kids to interact with their peers who have similar interests.

5. Be an example of socialization to your kids

Okay, this one can be tough, especially if you’re an introvert like me!

But when your kids see you getting involved in your community, participating in a local book club, volunteering in your co-op, or having social interactions with others, they are learning about positive socialization.

6. Get your homeschoolers involved in community arts 

While sports are an easy way to help with socializing your homeschoolers, there are lots of other opportunities for kids who aren’t interested in athletics.

Do some research in your community and find out if there is a dance studio, public theater, youth symphony or orchestra, debate club, and more.

Your local library or community events center is a great place to begin your search.

7. Go to public parks and meet new friends

Going to the park is a very simple way to give your homeschoolers the opportunity to socialize.

They can meet other kids of various ages, engage in creative play, and learn to drum up conversation.

While your kids may not make lifelong friends at the park (but they might!), going often is a good way to help your kids meet lots of other children.

8. Find job opportunities for teenagers

If you have teenagers, help them get a job at a place where other teenagers work.

This could be at a fast-food restaurant, a grocery store, at a public pool, or in a youth sports league.

9. Take music lessons

Taking music lessons can be a great way to help with homeschool socialization.

It’s important to make sure that not all of your kids’ socialization needs to happen with other kids their age.

Developing social fluency with other adults, such as a piano or violin teacher, is also an important skill for homeschooled kids to learn.

Also, if your child’s music lessons include regular recitals, they can meet other kids with similar musical interests and talents too.

Free Printable Homeschool Resources

If you’re not already a member of The Reluctant Homeschool Mama’s Free Resource Library, you can join right here!

newly updated resource library

You’ll find over 90 printable resources to help you keep your homeschool organized, engaging, and a lot of fun.

Think reading trackers, learning style assessment quizzes, book report forms, unit study planners, holiday fun worksheets, and more!

45 Quick Ideas for Socializing Homeschoolers

Here’s a quick-glance list of opportunities in which your homeschoolers can socialize.

Some of these may not be an option if you live in a very small town, but there are probably many that are!

  • join a homeschool co-op
  • participate in summer day camps
  • attend classes at the local nature center
  • join a local sports team: basketball, baseball, football, cheerleading, volleyball, swimming, soccer
  • participate in Boy or Girl Scouts
  • take gymnastics classes
  • join a board game club
  • attend vacation bible school
  • take martial arts classes: karate, tae-kwon-do, Brazilian jiujitsu
  • join 4-H 
  • try out for quiz tournaments: Math Counts, Spelling Bee, Geography Bee
  • participate in Lemonade Day
  • take golf lessons
  • join the local youth symphony or orchestra
  • attend recurring library events for kids: story time, summer series, etc.
  • participate in dance lessons
  • take tennis lessons
  • organize neighborhood activities
  • take voice lessons
  • audition for local theater performances
  • take a photography class
  • volunteer at an animal shelter
  • join a chess club at the local library
  • take music lessons: piano, violin, guitar, flute, trumpet, clarinet
  • frequent a rock climbing gym
  • volunteer at the food pantry or soup kitchen
  • join a robotics club
  • take a sewing or crochet class
  • join the homeschool yearbook staff
  • go to the neighborhood park often
  • volunteer at a senior citizen’s center
  • participate in church youth group
  • join a homeschool sports team
  • frequent the neighborhood pool
  • participate in the homeschool Prom committee
  • offer tutoring services

Final thoughts about socializing homeschoolers

Socializing homeschoolers is important to help your kids grow up to be well-rounded adults.

And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be too difficult!

There are many socialization opportunities that will develop naturally as you help your homeschooled kids develop their interests and talents as they grow.

I don’t know if that college friend of mine ended up homeschooling her kids or not.

But if she did (and we ever move back to where I grew up), it would be awesome to meet up at a homeschool co-op someday!

Tell us your thoughts about socializing homeschoolers in the comments below!

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Related articles about homeschooling life:

59 Inspirational Homeschool Quotes That All Homeschool Moms Need to Read

How to Easily Create a Fabulous Homeschool Library

What are your thoughts about socializing homeschoolers?

9 Awesome Tips to Help you With Socializing Homeschoolers9 Awesome Tips to Help you With Socializing Homeschoolers9 Awesome Tips to Help you With Socializing Homeschoolers9 Awesome Tips to Help you With Socializing Homeschoolers

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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