For centuries, children have learned socialization
within the context of their own family and community. Institutionalized
education is relatively new to the human condition. It is, and it always has
been, through the home environment, that children learn the vast majority of
their socialization skills.
Research supports this. According to
Home Schooling and the Question of Socialization by Richard G. Medlin,
"Home-schooled children are taking part in the daily routines of their
communities. They are certainly not isolated; in fact, they associate with--and
feel close to--all sorts of people."
He continues, "Home schooling parents can take
much of the credit for this. For, with their children's long-term social
development in mind, they actively encourage their children to take advantage of
social opportunities outside the family. Home-schooled children are acquiring
the rules of behavior and systems of beliefs and attitudes they need. They have
good self-esteem and are likely to display fewer behavior problems than do other
children. They may be more socially mature and have better leadership skills
than other children as well. And they appear to be functioning effectively as
members of adult society."
This and other studies support the irony of the
socialization issue in homeschooling that we have known for years, which is that
traditional schools are actually more on a path of de-socialization.
In traditional schools students learn to stay in a class to which they've been
assigned and are grouped according to age and academic level, and generally with
students from the same geographic area and socio-economic background.
So in a sense, as I like to say, many people are
homeschooling because of socialization reasons.
I remember my daughter, while she was in a
traditional school, getting in trouble because she wanted to talk to her friends
in class and the teacher kept saying 'We're not here to socialize, young lady."
The structure and reality of traditional schools are teaching students to be
passive and compliant, which can follow the children throughout life.
Children can learn to take abuse, to ignore miserable bosses or abusive spouses
later on. In a traditional school someone else usurps authority.
This is where homeschooling comes in. Kids
in homeschooling develop self-confidence and self-esteem; they learn to deal
with difficult people when they are developmentally ready. When
they are ready to go out into the world they know they have choices, a
foundation developed in homeschooling.
So, the big question in homeschooling
socialization is "Who do we want them learning life skills from? Caring
adults, or peers who don't know any more than they do?"
In other words, socialization in homeschooling
works better because children have more opportunities to be socialized through
the modeling of good social behavior by caring adults rather than through peers,
who do not know much more than they do. Parents give their kids the
skills they need to interact with other people and also have the chance to
protect their children.
Now what about the good stuff like Prom and
Graduation? Many non-homeschoolers ask if I feel that I am depriving my daughter
of these experiences. However, my daughter both participated in Prom and
Graduation—they were just not organized by the state or a school. Many states
and homeschool organizations have established proms and graduations for
homeschoolers and a homeschooling family can even create their own private way
to celebrate rites of passage.
Homeschoolers get to participate in organized
spelling and geography bees, math leagues, and science clubs that give them a
chance to compete academically; and swimming, soccer, baseball and other sports
also allow them to interact with their peers in athletic competition.
Even scouting, 4-H, and other activities are
community-based and open to anyone. In short, Homeschoolers are provided with a
variety of choices for socialization.
Because Socialization is so important,
would like to provide you with some useful ideas for helping your children find
Similarly, get connected with a homeschool co-op. A co-op is a group of
families that meet together to provide their children educational
opportunities. Usually the parents teach the classes and everyone
assists/lends a helping hand. Homeschool co-ops provide a way to enrich your
children's education and enjoy a little homeschool socialization at the same
Participate in less structured homeschool family get-togethers.
Get-togethers by definition are socialization experiences!
Go on local field trips with your children. Meet people in all walks of
life--broaden your children's horizons. Combine learning and socialization
into one activity.
Get your children involved in their community. Have them engage in
community sport leagues, scouting, 4-H, community plays, etc.
Similarly, inquire about volunteering opportunities. Volunteering is a
great way to socialize. There may be age restrictions, but some
organizations allow a parent to accompany a child volunteer.
Look into Camps. Camps are a wonderful chance for socialization.
children in an online school such as
addition to academics, Keystone provides socialization opportunities for
your all homeschooling children enrolled in their programs.
The Keystone community provides your children the
Be involved with the
Keystone's online student-produced newspaper serves as the voice of the
Keystone student body. Your children can work with other students, express
their opinions, and write articles to share with the Keystone community at
Student Association — The
Keystone Student Association enables like-minded students to join together
for discussions about personal experiences and ideas for improving their
local as well as the global community.
The National Society of High School Scholars
— Founded by Claes Nobel, this society is an extraordinary distinction for
outstanding students, and a great way to enhance your children's resumés/college
Join the Biology Club — The Biology Club will be a new addition
this fall for students who are interested in the subject of Biology and
science in general.
Be involved in Job Shadowing — This past February, many Keystone
students participated in "Job Shadow Month," during which the students went
on a job shadow and participated in discussions about their experiences with
other students and a guidance counselor.
Join the Photo Club
— Your children can get involved with other creative students who enjoy
capturing life with their cameras. Students share photos and submit their
best work each month for the chance to win the monthly photo club contest.
Keystone Blackboard System — Your children
can access discussion boards, tips for distance learning, information on
college and career planning, and much more.
- Interact with teachers and peers. Each online course contains its
own teacher-moderated discussion board where students are able to interact
with their peers, discussing things like their homework and class topics, or
their interests and hobbies. Keystone serves students all around the world,
and students can interact with other students from different countries and
cultures or even in different languages. The variety of students and
personalities in the Keystone program makes it easy to meet interesting
people with similar or different interests, which leads to a rich
interactive experience among the student body.
Here are just some examples of how Keystone
students have achieved socialization success:
Keystone student Corbin R. is actively involved
in his local Boy Scout Troop 71. Corbin recently earned Boy Scouting's highest
youth award, the Eagle Scout Award. Leaders of Troop 71 say that Corbin
"...has demonstrated outstanding leadership with the youth of the Troop."
Sebastian S. is a Keystone student from the
nation of Columbia. Sebastian plays tennis and is part of the Columbian National
Federation Team. Sebastian credits his Keystone education for giving him the
ability to practice and improve his tennis game, as well as run a small business
when not doing his schoolwork.
Emily recently graduated from Keystone National
High School. During her time with Keystone, Emily was able to create a schedule
that allowed her to practice ballet at the Dancing Arts Academy. Emily became an
accomplished ballet dancer, and was invited to compete in the Youth America
Grand Prix, an international ballet competition. After two and a half years at
the Dancing Arts Academy, Emily was offered a spot in the prestigious Kirov
Academy in Washington D.C.
Keystone encourages their students to be heavily
involved in their local communities, have jobs, perform volunteer work and be
involved in hobbies that expose them to new and interesting people every day.
It's Keystone's stance that there are many ways to help children socialize and
that once parents realize that socialization happens in many ways, most through
family and community interaction, the worry about homeschool socialization
About Our Sponsor:
is an online school for children in grades 6-12. Since 1974 Keystone has
provided flexible home-education programs for students around the world, and has
served over 200,000 students in all 50 states and in 70 countries. Homeschool
families choose Keystone because their programs adhere to the highest academic
standards while offering flexibility that allows them to blend family, life and
schoolwork on their own terms.