“You’re homeschooled? Gosh, do you have any friends?” These questions and other ignorant ones like them, often made me chuckle. Although my words were polite, I often wanted to reply with a sarcastic comment, “No, I’m just a sad little loner. I go in my closet and cry every day.”
Being homeschooled during a time when homeschooling was less than popular brought several unwanted criticisms and peculiar looks. But my mom was determined, and by her sacrifice of time, we earned an education few in the public sector can compete with.
Over the last twenty years, homeschooling has mounted as one of the top methods for education. With homeschool organizations providing extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, and the arts, few can argue that homeschoolers do not receive the same opportunities as public school students. And although the benefits of homeschooling are speaking for themselves—higher academic scores, closer family ties, less socially destructive patterns—many still voice concern over the need for socialization.
Although homeschool groups and organizations were not as abundant twenty years ago as they are now, children still had the opportunity to make friends within the community. Growing up, many of my friends came from church or the neighborhood. Although I didn’t interact with other kids every day, my brothers and I became quite close, forming a bond in our family that normally doesn’t exist in public school settings.
Because I was so close to my family and learned how to relate not just to peers, I was able to carry a conversation with people much older and much younger than myself. Unlike many public school kids, I was not taught the “importance” of hanging out with your peers and age-range, but gravitated towards people for reasons other than age. Many homeschoolers do not feel intimated or “too cool” to talk to younger kids or adults, and as a result, the generational gap is less evident in homeschool families.
Of course, there will always remain those homeschool students who are “awkward” or not socially-adapted. However, if you merely glance at the public schools in your area, many home similarly awkward kids. Much of a child’s socialization etiquette comes from their own personality and their parents. Parents who take an active role, making sure their child is involved in activities in the community, are less likely to exhibit these “peculiar” traits.
Ultimately, homeschooling has the potential to more fully equip your child for all types of social interactions.