I’m sure that most homeschoolers have thought about or have been asked about homeschool socialization. And I’m also sure that most families have an elevator speech memorised as a way to placate sceptics and to assure them that their kids aren’t antisocial monsters. But this post is not about justification. Or about agreeing with the notion that homeschooled kids are not socialized. It’s more a way to process and work through my feelings about the subject.
Homeschool Socialization – Our Family
I wouldn’t describe us as the most sociable family. This is partly choice and partly circumstance. We live in a small, quite conservative town. And have not made a lot of friends since moving here four years ago. Even though we love living in this picturesque place surrounded by beauty and nature, we sometimes miss being surrounded by more diverse people. Obviously if we made a bit more effort, we could make more friends. So this brings me to another point that makes socialisation a bit more difficult.
Homeschool Socialization – Our Kids
Our kids are special needs and they are twins. This is a double whammy in terms of socialization. Firstly, we selfishly fear meltdowns and being judged by others that can come along with going to social events. And secondly the kids are less able to and less interested in, interacting with other people. They can sometimes struggle to communicate. And are also much more interested in playing with each other than with other kids. And the same was true at school.
Homeschool Socialization – Homeschool
We decided to homeschool our kids for a number of reasons. We kept the kids in school for a whole year. But it was traumatic. And there was not a lot of socialisation that went on there, despite kids in their class trying to engage with them. In the end, they were othered anyway because it was difficult for the school to deal with them. It was easier to keep the kids apart with their facilitator. So school was no better with providing socialization.
Since we started homeschooling, we have become a tight knit family. It’s been great to bond and to really get to know each other. Obviously, it’s not all sunshine and roses. It can get claustrophobic as my husband and I both work from home. But generally, it’s pretty awesome. It’s almost like we don’t need anybody else.
Homeschool Socialization – Is it Necessary?
I do realise that we are humans and that we live in societies. And that children need to learn social skills. And I sometimes feel a pang of guilt thinking about how we need to expose the kids to more. But at the same time, I feel that forcing them just isn’t the way to do it. As we’ve learnt in the past, they just need their own time to do things. And forcing them to do things can cause real trauma. This is not what I want for my kids. And is it so wrong to want to keep our kids close?
This post hasn’t done much to answer the homeschool socialization question. But I guess the moral of the story is that you can do what you need to do. If socialization is important, then socialize. If it isn’t, then that’s ok too. I think that providing your children with a supportive, loving family life is the most important thing in the end. What better way to prepare them for life?