Finding a Social Life for Your Homescholed Child
If you have decided to home school your child, you have already proven that you are willing to make a deep commitment to your child's education and well-being, but as a parent, you know that this involves more than just teaching him or her about the state capitals! One of the results of being home schooled is that your child will not have a lot of interaction with children his own age, and you may worry that this may leave your child unprepared in social situations. While this can certainly be a problem, there are many reasons to consider it an opportunity instead! You'll be able to monitor your child's social interactions a bit more closely as well as teach the basics.
For fun with peers that is also educational, take a look around at the youth groups in your area. The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America are both organizations with a strong focus on service to the community and if you are in a more rural area, you might have a local chapter of 4-H nearby. These organizations have very set philosophies on certain things, among them religion and sexuality, so if this is a concern, do some investigation. Even if their views do not necessarily match your own, this is a good opportunity to speak with your child about them and discuss coping with a world that does not match the one he has always encountered.
If your child is younger, you may wish to arrange playdates with neighboring mothers. Not only is this a good way to get your child involved with other children, this will be a terrific opportunity to get to know your neighbors as well; your child might not be the only one missing interaction with his peers! You can get things started by heading to the park to speak with other parents there. Be social and remember that one of the best ways to teach social skills is through example.
If your child is a bit older and you volunteer anywhere in town, this might be a good way to get your child involved in both service opportunities and with other people. A library or an animal shelter might be willing to let your child help and the experience will introduce your child not only to new people, but also to new worlds.
For children who are ready for a bit of independence, take a look around for summer camps. Day camp might be best for shy youngsters, while overnight sessions for up to three weeks may be suitable for slightly more brash children. There are a variety of camps that are available, whether your child is interested in horseback riding or mountaineering. During the normal school year, there are plenty of community classes; suggest karate or pottery, anything that you think might interest your child.
There are lots of ways to find social opportunities for your home schooled children; the solution might be as easy as looking in the phone book!