Myth: “Homeschooling deteriorates social skills and communication aptitude of children as compared to school goers.”
This is one of the many apprehensions parents have while considering homeschooling their children.
However, in reality, homeschooled children not only have larger opportunities for socializing but also more diverse options than school goers. They are not limited to interacting with just their peers, which is mostly what happened if they went to school. Rather they get to spend time with people of all ages and talents in a variety of settings.
If you’re worried about the social skills of your homeschooled child, the issue lies in how you’re incorporating socializing activities into their daily routine.
Before we get into the hows of homeschooling the best way, let’s right away address the numero uno apprehension of all parents who choose to homeschool their children.
Homeschooling has emerged as the safest and more effective option for children for a number of reasons. For one, homeschooled children grow up to be mentally resilient, partly because they weren’t victims of bullying. They are also much ahead in terms of education
Now that we know that homeschooling doesn’t necessarily make children introverts, let’s discuss a few ways of developing social skills in homeschooled children:
1. Build a social activity calendar
There are a lot of activities that parents of homeschooled children can incorporate into their routines to encourage a healthy social life.
All the activities that are available for regular school goers after school hours are also good for homeschooled children. Here is a bucket list of what all activities you can engage your homeschooled child in:
- Encourage your child to participate in contests (e.g. drawing competition, debates, etc.). Some US states allow homeschoolers to participate in public school extracurricular programs viz. speaking clubs, sports teams, choirs, etc. Enquire with the local schools to find out what could be available for your child to participate in
- Make them take the lead while paying at the billing counters when you go grocery shopping at a supermarket
- Enroll your child in public libraries that offer community classes
- Make a daily slot for outdoor activity – for example, visiting a park routinely will help your child build a play-circle
- Host mini bashes or parties for your child’s friends’ circle – this can go a long way in creating and maintaining a social circle for your child.
- Join groups of parents that are homeschooling their children – mixing up with them is the best way to get your child a social circle real fast
- Encourage them to help strangers, this will not only better their social skills but will also go a long way in making them better human beings
- Take them to church and other congregations on a regular basis where they can meet people of all age groups
- Group tours (travel packages) are also a great way to help your child develop their social skills while you travel with other people and their children
- Visit your extended family for weekend outings or longer holidays if possible, interacting with them will help your child learn a multitude of social skills in a comfortable milieu
2. Encourage learning with a tutor
You mustn’t take up the onus of teaching skills like painting, piano, and chess all by yourself! Instead enrolling children in private lessons is a great way to develop their social skills by getting them to interact with an expert.
Here’s what you can do:
- Hire tutor(s) for subjects you feel you’re not well equipped with the subject matter knowledge
- Consider professional instruction for extra-curricular activities viz. painting, sketching, learning a new language, etc.
- You can choose online study pods where tutors deliver lectures to multiple students on a video call (your child gets to interact with the other students)
Consider enrolling your child in the following activities with Talentnook’s homeschooling tutors
3. Curtail the presence of deterring factors
While we can do a lot to expose a homeschooled child to social life, there is an equal amount of work that must go into removing all negative factors. Excessive TV consumption, online browsing, stickiness to only a certain set of hobbies are all red flags that you must look out for. These are deterring factors that tend to make children less sociable irrespective of whether they are homeschooled or not!
Limiting TV watching hours to a minimum and making sure that your child spends a certain number of hours at the park could be a good starting point.
4. Don’t fill in as their friends (and, other members of the social circle)!
The number one mistake that most parents make when they start homeschooling their kids is this! Most parents try to become their children’s classmates, teachers, and playmates all at once.
While this is a good endeavor and of course a child should be able to seek a friend in you, but you must not try to fill in for your child’s socializing needs.
Here is a checklist of key do’s and don’t’s:
Do the following:
- Help your child open up to you about their problems, enable free-flowing communication
- Take your child out with you
- Play with your child whenever you can but don’t limit them to considering only you as their playmate
- Allow moderated online socializing with their friends (allow interaction with friends and acquaintances whom you are aware of)
Don’t do the following no matter what:
- Build a belief system that only parents are a child’s well-wisher and home is the only safe haven
- Let your child win a game unfairly (it can make them become used to winning always and can deter them from playing with other children of the same age)
- Encourage introvert behavior and don’t ridicule them either for it
- Don’t speak of schools in a derogatory manner (or else your child will end up hating all school-goers who could be great friends otherwise!)
5. Encourage them to become all-rounders of communication
Social skills aren’t just limited to intermingling and talking to other children and adults. They also include softer skills like writing, public speaking, interviewing, etc. You can start by doing the following to develop your child’s social skills even more:
- Encourage your child to speak to the housekeepers, drivers, salesmen, etc. and ask them about their work
- Get your child a pen pal – writing and decorating letters and cards is a great way to develop social skills and creativity together!
- Foster in your child a habit of writing gratitude notes for people, this will help them connect non-verbally while gaining a lot of good vibes as a bonus!
- Encourage your child to keep a diary where they could write anything from just five lines a day or a two-page entry – this will help them express themselves better eventually. This also subtly helps one in building EQ (emotional quotient) as they learn to become aware of their feelings
These are a few ways to help your child develop social skills while they reap the key benefits of homeschooling. Use this as a ready reckoner to track the development of social skills while homeschooling your child.
We hope this article has helped to allay your fears that there are no ways to make homeschooled kids as sociable as school goers.
Visit Talentnook to start connecting with thousands of homeschooling tutors online. Find experienced tutors teaching disciplines ranging from Math and English to Spanish and Piano! You can browse through profiles, choose to connect with a few, and ask for demo lessons before you finalize on a tutor for your child. Homeschooling can’t get easier!