My kids have friends of all ages. They are able to have conversations with people of all ages on numerous topics due to them being exposed to living in the real world. One of the major critiques most homeschool moms hear is about how it seems impossible to socialize our children.
Questions homeschool parents here most often.
I mean how many times have you been asked a variation of these questions?
When do they get time so socialize?
When do they get to spend time with kids their own age?
How will they ever make friends?
How can you handle being at home all the time?
How homeschoolers make friends.
At the park, zoo or museum on a random day. " Hey, want to be friends?" My kids will ask a random kid as they run about and play. "Sure!" then they all run off and play together finding more friends as they move along. They wave bye sadly as friends leave and excitedly run up and invite the new arrivals to come join the fun. Pretty soon kids of all ages toddlers to tweens and all abilities are all interacting and playing together.
This doesn't and can't happen in the public school. Kids are segregated by age and sometimes by their disabilities from each other. They even have seperate playgrounds to ensure no interaction between the age groups happen. That is just not how the real world works. This is unnatural and restricts their ability to interact with people of only their own age, specific area or ability.
Homeschool children have opportunities to make friends from all walks of life. With the invention of email having a penpal is easier than ever. It also is an opportunity to work on typing, grammar and punctuation skills. See I told you we can use anything for learning opportunities. This is also great in teaching kids intrapersonal skills when they go into the workforce. They know how to communicate with people of all ages and backgrounds they also have the self confidence of being able to communicate with strangers or those they don't know well.
Think about your own friends network. If you are anything like us we have friends of many different age ranges, backgrounds and ethnicities. That is how the real world works so why should kids friendship networks be any different. When you interact in the world you meet people from all walks of life. You gain skills that will stick with you for life.
Schools don't want socialization
Think back to your school days. How many times did you hear the phrase "We aren't here to socialize!"
So when I hear this argument about socialization it kind of makes me confused. I mean my kids were in public school for a while and they had no time to talk to friends during the school day.
Think back to your own middle or high school days or better yet ask a local middle or high school student how much time they get to "socialize" between classes. The average time between classes across the country is 4-5 minutes. That is all the time they get to go to their lockers for new books as backpacks in several areas have been banned thus making them carry everything in their arms, go to the bathroom, get water and get to their next class. School Boards often meet to discuss how to further limit the time in between classes to cut down on interactions between classes. I mean it seems like schools really don't want kids to socialize let alone go to the bathroom or be hydrated.
I mean when in real life are you locked in a room with thirty plus people exactly the same age as you from exactly the same neighborhoods and the only people that aren't are the ones who are in power and control your every action. This type of disparity seems to cause some children to have problems speaking to adults. They often avoid eye contact or speaking altogether when around people whom are not peer aged.
When you interact with people from different areas and different ages you gain perspective you may not have previously had. It benefits all parties to interact this way because it allows younger generations to appreciate age and the lessons that are acquired with a long life and for the old to appreciate youth and remembering what is was like to still be curious about the world. Living in the world rather than be cut off from it allows children to grow in ways they haven't in a very long time.
When we homeschool our classroom is the world
Ask most homeschool parents and they will tell you we are not at home very often.
Once you decide to homeschool a lot of the rules go out the window. When you homeschool the world is your classroom and the learning opportunities are endless when you go out and live in the world. Most of us choose to homeschool to get away from the confinement of four walls and a desk for hours and hours a day. If we were going to stay at home all day locked away from the world we could have just left them in public school.
Homeschooling opens the door not just for learning opportunities but for socialization opportunities as well. It's a beautiful thing to witness and to see all the connections they make everyday with everyone everywhere they go. It makes my heart happy to know the confidence they have in themselves to be able to go up and talk to anyone about a variety of topics. They teach as well as being taught as they live in this world as it was meant to be lived in.
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