Many parents remain apprehensive about homeschooling because they think it will render their child socially isolated. It is a legitimate concern if you are a new home school parent and not acquainted with other home school families in the neighbourhood. No parent wants to see their child sad, bored, and not having any exposure and interaction with kids their age.
Homeschooling doesn’t advocate for a socially secluded life for a kid by any means. If you have met homeschooling experts and proponents, you would know that they strongly believe in a community where homeschooling kids can thrive collectively and make friends with each other.
If you are frightened by the thought of your kid sitting by the window staring out with sadness as a school bus drives away with joyful, chirpy children, keep reading. Here, we will discuss how you can help your homeschooled child make friends.
Become a Part of a Local Home School Support Group
You will find it almost impossible to help your child make friends if you are not part of a home school community. Therefore, the first thing you can do is search for all the home school support groups operating in your area. Internet will be your friend in doing this search. For example, if you are in Manchester, run searches, like “homeschooling support groups in Manchester” and “homeschooling community in Manchester.”
This simple Google search will give you valuable information about all the small and large homeschooling groups and communities in your area. Sift through their websites and social media pages to find out more about how they operate. Look particularly at their social activities because that’s where your kid will be able to make friends.
Being a part of a homeschooling support group will effectively help you carve out opportunities for your child to meet people of their age and become friends with them.
Arrange Joint Classes for Home Schooled Kids
Scheduling joint classes with fellow home schoolers can enable you to provide adequate socialisation opportunities for your child. You can set up collaborative classes once you connect with other homeschooling families in your area. Tell them about why you want those classes and why it is essential for all those kids to socialise and make friends. While arranging those classes, you need to be mindful of a couple of things.
- Pick the right subject/plan for the joint class. For instance, a combined class for maths or grammar lessons might not be a good idea. Do not teach subjects centred on textbooks in collaborative classes. Instead, arrange those classes for things associated with fine arts. Having joint classes to simplify scientific concepts through fun presentations is also a good idea.
- Ensure the combined classes have active participation of kids, both with the home school teacher (you or other parents) and each other.
- Refrain from organising too many joint classes. It can interfere with your and other parents’ homeschooling schedules.
- Also, make sure you don’t arrange a collective class here and there, and then forget about them for months. Having a weekly or fortnightly (if it is several hours long) joint class will ensure kids don’t have to start over and over again with each other.
Schedule Outings in the School Timings
It would be helpful to take your children to all the child-friendly public spaces in your region. It can be a museum, library, playground, or any indoor playing area. Search and ask around for the places where children visit the most. Once you know what places to visit, take your child there during regular school hours.
If you find other kids with their parents there, there are strong chances that they are homeschooling families like yours. There is no harm in asking the adults accompanying the other kids, whether they are home schoolers. Having these outings in school timings will be great for many reasons.
- You will provide the needed outdoor action to your home schooled kid.
- You can extend your network of homeschooling parents
- Your child can make new friends
Encourage Pursuit of Hobbies
Playing sports, participating in performing arts, etc., opens new avenues of socialisation. Therefore, you need to have a very encouraging and positive attitude towards your child’s hobbies. If you notice they take more interest in particular activities, provide them with more opportunities to fulfil their passion. This will improve their academic progress and will result in socialisation which will also help them to make friends.
Ensure They Remain in Touch
If you want your kid to develop friendships with other homeschooling kids, you need to be regular with everything we have discussed so far. No one can make friends without meeting the same people regularly. During all the social engagements, notice what companies your kids enjoy the most. Then, try to make more and regular plans with those homeschooling families where your kids can meet each other several times a week.
Assess Your Kid’s Social Tendencies and Help them Accordingly
Lastly, it helps to know and understand your child’s personality. Are they entirely introverts or extroverts or somewhere between them? Do they usually remain withdrawn at the beginning among stranger age fellows and then eventually start mingling? Which sports do they like to play? Knowing this information will allow you to organise their social activities in line with their personality type.
Before we round off this article, one more suggestion is don’t try too hard to help your child make friends. Making friends involves an organic, free-flowing, and willing interaction of both parties. If your kid doesn’t want to socialise at the moment, don’t enforce it on them. It will do more harm than good.
If you need any help with home school resources, get in touch with Home Education Shop. You can find all the relevant homeschooling stuff on Home Education Shop, from teaching resources to learning activities. You can also subscribe to HES’s informational newsletter and get a free eBook to learn about how to start homeschooling in the UK.