One of the inevitable questions asked of any home schooled family is, "What about socialization?" The myth is that if your child is home schooled, he will be a hermit and turn out as a messed up adult. That doesn't have to be the fate of your child, and it is hasn't been for many home schooled children whose parents have been proactive about planning social activities for them. Here are four ideas that you can try with your child:
Activity #1 - Field Trips with Co-Op Groups
You may or may not want to join a home school co-op group, but there still may be opportunities to participate in field trips. While the focus of the trips may be educational, they are also social activities. Your child may develop friendships that can extend beyond monthly or quarterly field trips. Some trips also focus on giving home schooled children the chance to socialize and you should try to take advantage of those as well.
Activity #2 - Family Fun Activities
Many cities offer family fun nights or activities that can benefit homeschoolers. For example, a local children's museum might sponsor a free or low cost family night and have activities for all ages. You may run into other home school families at those events, and your children can participate in the activities with them. This approach works well, especially if you're home schooling children of varying ages. Even toddlers can find playmates at these events. Check your local newspaper for event listings, but also check the websites of non-profit organizations and city departments, like your city's Parks and Recreations Department or the YMCA, for a list of ongoing and upcoming programs.
Activity #3 - Hospitality at Your Home
One of the best ways for your home schooled child to develop lasting friendships is to practice hospitality. Invite families to your home for a meal and entertainment. Delegate the task of planning the meal, preparing it or both to your child, depending on his age and capability. Your child can also choose a couple of games to play with the children who would be attending the meal. You can plan to do just desserts and tea if offering a full meal isn't feasible. You can also get creative, such as invite a family over for a picnic out in the backyard. Practicing hospitability is a great way to learn how to serve others, and your child can practice socializing one-on-one in an intimate setting. Many of the families you invite will in turn in invite your family over to their homes.
Activity #4 - Local Clubs
There are probably clubs in your area that might be of interest to your child. Joining a club that's centered around a hobby or interest can be a great social outlet for home schooled children. If you and your child need more time alone, or your child and your spouse could use some one-on-one time, then consider joining a club together. For example, you and your child might participate in quilters' guild, where they may be other moms with their children. Working on projects with other children in a club or learning new things together does create bonding opportunities. There's also time before and after the club starts for children to enjoy one another's company.
As a work-at-home mom, you may be overwhelmed with schooling and running business, so that planning social activities for your home schooled child becomes a low priority. Treat it like one of your school subjects, and allocate your time and money to it.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.