I remember when our family first made the decision to home school. It had taken several months of praying about the decision and talking to other home school families getting their advice and we also talked to family members and friends. Most were excited for us and the journey we were about to take if there was a concern they expressed it was when are the kids going to see their friends? For some reason, people with no experience with home schooling seem to have this view that home schoolers stay locked up in the house peeking their heads out only in the dark of night. If you are thinking of schooling at home or if you know a family close to you thinking of it let me help you out with a little knowledge about the average home schooled child and their socialization.
While the socialization for a home schooled child might be different then a public school child the need is met. This is a fear that is legitimate that friends and family might have for a child that they feel might be leaving a conventional form of education study with the social factor built in. Depending on the age of the child the opportunities that are available for the child to learn and socialize are great. Following are a few places were socializing can happen for the home schooled child.
If there is a YMCA in your community there is probably a weekly home school gym day. The kids come in and play a variety of sports with other home school children in the community, friendships and gym class can be taken care of in one car ride to the Y. An art museum or pottery shop might offer classes for home schoolers where children of different ages and even mom and dad can become involved in projects exposing the family to the arts and at the same time introduce them to other families who enjoy the same activities. 4-H is a great activity to involve your children in. There are so many different activities available in 4-H that you can probably find something that each of the kids in a family enjoys and can become involved in. Specialized clubs, such as computer, art, chess, even specialized sports teams such as soccer and hockey are available in larger communities. Music is also an important element for most home schooled families, young children starting out in kinder music offered through the Y to private lessons as the child grows older and then joining a home school band or community orchestra.
Older kids can socialize with others in different age brackets as they work perhaps with the elderly in their church, or help out in junior church. Jobs also offer socialization to teenagers as they gain experience dealing with the public, with their peer group and with the boss. A lot of the time things come full circle for teenagers as they step into roles of teaching younger children at the same classes they use to attend when they were younger children.
At one time perhaps socialization might have been an issue when home schooled families were more afraid of how society would react to the lifestyle they chose. But today, it would be very hard to find home schoolers shut up behind their doors with no social contact with the outside world.