If you enjoy schooling your children at home and they are learning, there is no reason why you shouldn’t homeschool. Don’t give in to the popular misconception that in doing this they can’t cultivate and maintain friendships outside the home. Social isolation is one of the main reasons many parents who would otherwise consider homeschooling pass it up. While it may be slightly more difficult to think of ways to get your child into situations where acquaintances can be made, there are a few different options you can choose from:
In addition to teaching your child about teamwork and goal orientation, sports bring children together and friendships are forged. Being involved in sports also gives them common ground with other children and teenagers and common ground is the first step to making new friends. Sports will also help your child come out of their shell if they tend to be a little shy. There are different homeschool sports teams throughout the US and most major cities have at least one. If there isn’t one in your area but there are a lot of homeschoolers, you may consider starting one up. Another option is to speaking to your local ISD about their policies regarding non-students participating in sports activities.
There is a chapter of Girl/Boy Scouts in almost every town in America. This will give your homeschooled child the opportunity to interact with other children as well as learn valuable skills and moral concepts. If you are planning on going this route, I suggest getting to know the Scout Master well. Just as you would want to meet your child’s teachers if were they in public school, you will not feel safe leaving your child with a perfect stranger. Ask if you can sit in on some of the first meetings to get an idea of what they are doing. Once you feel safe, you should allow your child to attend meetings alone, being the only child whose parent has to tag along will make him/her feel isolated. If you just don’t think you can trust another person with your child, you could look into becoming a Scout Master yourself. Just be prepared to deal with other parenting styles than your own.
Okay, it’s pretty obvious. Most parents choose to homeschool their children for religious reasons. The lack of prayer in schools and the teaching of concepts which contradict most religious conceptions. So if you homeschool your child based on religious objections to public school, you probably attend church. There are some ways you can make church a more social time for your child. Bring your child to Sunday School before church starts. Most churches have Sunday School for all age groups and you can speak with the Sunday School teacher about the amount of interaction allowed during lessons. Most churches also hold church events. Make time to attend these with your child.
Remember, just because you homeschool doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. Getting out in public and interacting with other people is just as important to your child’s welfare and mental development as getting proper nutrition and having a safe home environment. You can’t protect your child from everything and isolating him/her from the outside world will only serve to warp his view and make it harder to forge lasting relationships in adulthood.