When it comes to homeschooling, nothing draws more skeptics and critics than the issue of socialization. As irritating as it may be to hear the questions, “but how will they have friends? Won’t they be lonely?” all the time, it is a valid concern. There are families who do genuinely isolate their children socially, whether it be for religious reasons, or simply not knowing what resources are available to them.

You’ve heard the horror story, the one where kids were found to be living in wretched conditions, having never met another child their age or played with anyone. Let me tell you right now, if you’re reading this post your child will not become one of those horror stories. The fact that you’re out there doing the research in an effort to prevent that, speaks volumes. So breathe, you’re in the right place!

Here’s the thing, though, and perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but kids in public school aren’t socialized just because they are in public school. Despite being together for 8 hours a day, you’re not allowed to talk for most of that, and sometimes lunch is only 25 minutes a day. Children aren’t developing very meaningful connections in school. All of that happens after school – generally off school grounds.

To that end, public school kids and homeschool kids all get their socialization in similar ways. This list could be used for a public school family as well, that’s how much our kids depend on these activities to make friends and connect with other people.

10 Best Tips to Socialize Your Homeschooler

I’ve compiled a fairly comprehensive list of ways to socialize your homeschooler below, but if you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to comment on this post!

Homeschool Co-ops/Groups

In many areas across the country, you can find homeschool groups, or even co-ops. A co-op is a group of families who chose to come together to teach their children. One parent might teach woodworking, while another might teach algebra. The homeschool co-op I was in as a child had some basics, but also had parents who taught creative writing, mythology, cake decorating, and Latin.

To find a co-op, you can check out Meetup.com for your area, or seek out Facebook groups dedicated to homeschoolers in your city. Make a post asking about co-ops seeking new families, and I guarantee you’ll find something for your family!

Sports

Community sports are one of the best ways to socialize your kiddo. Team sports especially, as they teach your child how to work well with others in a group. My kids are involved in soccer, and they have their eye on volleyball when the season starts.

I would look into your local YMCA, or perhaps your city has a recreation center for you to check out. This is another one of those that you can find some information on Facebook as well, so I would search “youth soccer [your city]” and see what pops up!

Scouts

When I was a little girl, I was part of a scouting group called Campfire. It was established before the Girl Scouts as a response to the Boy Scouts, and originally only girls were allowed in.

Nowadays, we have Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire USA (which is now co-ed), and several others. I’ll link to some of the more popular ones and you can check out their websites for yourself and see which ones might be a better fit for your kiddos!

Church/Youth Groups

This is not something I have any experience with, but most churches have youth programs your children could be a part of. I’d check with the program coordinator at yours if you’re not already involved.

Extracurriculars

Check around your town for music classes, homeschool choirs, gymnastics classes, book clubs. Museums very often hold classes as well, doubling as a way for the kids to learn something and hang out with other kiddos.

Playdates

Remember my suggestion to search for Facebook groups for homeschoolers in your area? That’s also a really great way to find families looking to set up playdates! There are some meetup groups in larger cities devoted to helping parents find playdates as well, but I would recommend Facebook overall.

4-H

Even in large metropolitan areas, you can usually find a 4-H club. From their website:

“In 4‑H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a lifetime.”

Summer Camps

Whether with a scouting organization, a local museum, or another organization, you can find summer sleepaway and day camps for your kids.

Check out this site, as they can help you local a variety of types of camps through a variety of organizations.

College Courses

Have a teenager who is 15 or older? You can, in a lot of cities, enroll them in classes at your local community college. This actually kills two birds with one stone, as you’ll be giving them some much-needed socialization, and you’ll be helping them to get their basics out of the way if they plan on going to a four-year university later on. Or, it could help them get a trade degree, which is just as valid and necessary as a four-year degree.

The Park

This seems simple, but it’s pretty vital! On weekdays, especially when school is in session and the weather is nice, take your kids to the park. I can all but guarantee you that if you pick the most popular park in town, you’ll find other homeschoolers there to spend time with! It could lead to finding a playdate buddy or even finding a co-op as well, so it’s well worth the try.

A Final Word

I hope this list has helped you brainstorm some ideas to help socialize your homeschooler. Remember that diversity breeds intelligence, acceptance, and respect, so don’t intentionally create a homogenous community for your child. Let them hang out with public schoolers, people of different races and religious beliefs. Just my $0.02!

Have some tips for socializing your homeschooler that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below to help other parents who are looking for some insight!

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