First off let me say that as a homeschooling mom you know that socialization comes in many forms for your kids. A trip to the grocery store, interacting with the next door neighbor, at church, talking with the waitress at your favorite restaurant, getting new rubber bands at the orthodontist. They are learning to interact with people of all ages, professions, walks of life on a day to day basis. You child doesn’t have to sit in a school room full of 25 other kids where they are not allowed to talk or interact all day to learn socialization. That is one of the big myths of the “Why kids should attend public school” argument. They are not sent to school to socialize, they are there to learn. Which can be done at home just as well.
Children are generally exposed to socialization everywhere they go from the time they are born, it is a part of everyday life. Grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors, clerks, servicemen, etc. These are important interactions for your child to have on a regular basis and interacting with adults will make up the majority of their life, since adulthood is much longer than childhood.
However, if you are looking for ways for your child to socialize, decompress, and have fun with people of their own age and size there are plenty of opportunities out there as well beyond a brick and mortar school. Children are often naturally open and friendly, they can make quick friends in most situations. I know mine will walk up to strange kids at zoo’s and store’s and strike up a conversation. Even if your child is more shy, exposing them to various situations will still teach them the most basic of social skills.
Here are some ideas for getting your kids out and about around other kids in public settings:
- Field Trips
- Hands on Children’s Museum
- Theme Parks
- Homeschool Co-op’s
- Playground visits
- Library Storytime/Book club
- Vacation Bible School
- Chuck E Cheese
- The Beach
If you can’t find any co-op’s or playgroups in your area and you know at least a couple other homeschooling moms consider starting up your own. It doesn’t have to be be a super structured group, just make a plan to get together weekly or biweekly. Alternate who supplies snacks and activities to keep it low key for each of you.