Saturday, August 27, 2011

Socialisation Opportunities For The Homeschooled Child

I did not write this article but I think it makes an important point. Enjoy.

Socialisation Opportunities For The Homeschooled Child

Author: Melissa Murdoch

Perhaps the biggest concern your family and friends will express when you tell them that you are going to homeschool is how your children are going to learn to socialise with their peers if they are not in school. This is a common fear, and it can be valid in some cases, but for most of the homeschooling families that I know, or have met, it is a misplaced fear.
There are several ways to ensure that your child has every opportunity to develop into a well-adjusted member of society, with friends of many ages. And this interaction doesn’t necessarily need to involve a single school district, school or overbearing teacher---I promise!
Study Groups and Communal Learning:
With homeschooling becoming a popular and more main-stream choice, a lot of churches have begun welcoming homeschooling groups to come and use their facilities. Fortunately, these homeschool groups are not hard to find. You can Google the subject and get many good results, or also check in with your state homeschooling association to find local groups in your area. Online homeschool forums are another excellent place to connect with other homeschooling families and to find those who homeschool near you.
If there isn’t a current homeschool group in your own area, consider starting your own. Hang flyers on community boards, churches, and any place where people go. See what sort of a response you get. Homeschool groups can vary from a list of contacts for support and socialising, to a formal structure where families meet at set times. They are handy for advice, support, friendship, and the sharing of skills. If a parent is proficient in a particular area, they may want to run a class for several children on that topic. It also becomes a cost-effective option to create small groups for tutoring in specialised subjects such as sports, chemistry, biology, manual arts, maths, physics, etc.
You can participate as much, or as little, as you wish with your homeschool group, but you will know how to get into contact with other homeschooling families should you ever want or need.
Extracurricular Activities:
Today school districts no longer dominant the extra-curricular market. There are a lot of community based organisations that your child can participate, and socialise, in. Joining these groups allows your child to make friends, learn a skill, keep fit, and sample different activities to find their own interests and talents. If you have a local homeschooling association, this is a great place to start. Homeschooling parents are usually well-researched into what is available in their local area. Other families, community centres, even the local council, are all good places to find out what activities are available in your town. If your town has a directory, this is even better.
Keep in mind, however, that most school districts will (for a fee of course) allow your child to participate in sports and music etc. Feel free to explore that option in addition to exploring private schools and community colleges in the area who will, for the same small fee, allow you to drop-into their activities as well. These are also great resources for extra classes you may need help with as well, so keep that in mind as a note.
Other Events:
Don’t forget to utilise bookstore events, library events, and any other children/teen events to socialise (and treat!) your child or teen. Look for postings and newsletters to find these. If you don’t ask you may not know that your local community centres, for example, holds a year-long sporting program, as well as arts and crafts lessons. Many towns also have a theatre group, where your child can participate on stage or behind the scenes.
  1. Also, there is nothing to say that you can’t ask for a written or oral movie review when they return!
In conclusion, there are a variety of socialisation resources around you if you spend the time to look. The result is that you will find a place where your child fits in and has fun. That is something every loving parent wants for their child.
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About the Author

Melissa Murdoch has a passion for life span development and education, and believes wholeheartedly that a healthy society begins at home.
For further information on how to get started in homeschooling, please visit

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