Even with all of the trips to the park and visits to the library, one of the biggest struggles we face is how to get adequate socialization as homeschoolers. There are plenty of events all around us but there isn’t much time to connect with the same group of kids unless you join a co-op. But friendship is essential to all growing kids and it’s our job to help them create those connections so they don’t feel alone in this big, scary world.
But forming friendships doesn’t have to be hard or scary. It will take some effort, though. If you’re looking to create lifelong friendships, be prepared to put some thought and time into it.
We’re sharing our favorite ways to make sure your family socializes as homeschoolers! Here are six ways to socialize as homeschoolers.
1. Join In
The simplest way to socialize as homeschoolers is to join in on local activities. If you choose a co-op, the hard work is already done for you. But there are hundreds of other options out there, too! From Girl Scouts to local zookeeping classes, there’s always a program that allows you to get to know other families. If you’re like us and homeschooling on a budget, try to find affordable groups that don’t require more purchases, later in the year. We pay under $20 a year for our kids to participate in 4H.
2. Make Socialization Routine
It’s easy to connect with people you see time and time again. Try hitting up the library at the same time each week. If you know the park is busy during a certain time, head there at that time every day. By making it a routine, you’re more likely to have time to form bonds with other families who frequent the same places.
Celebrations are a great way to make friends. You don’t need to wait until your kids’ birthdays to make new friends! Try inviting friends over for ice cream to celebrate the first frost of the season.
We like to celebrate National TV Day by binge-watching educational YouTube and Netflix shows. (We’ve even created a list of our favorites to share with you!) No matter what you do, kids will enjoy celebrating, whether it’s a mainstream holiday or just a cooky but fun celebration!
4. Make Socialization Happen
A lot of families complain that it’s hard to socialize as homeschoolers. But here’s the thing: YOU can make it happen. If there aren’t a lot of activities around, take the initiative to start your own.
Whether you want a weekly meetup or just a field trip, it’s simple to get started. All you need to do is decide on what you want to do, make the arrangement then spread the word. The easiest way to do that is through local homeschool groups or Facebook pages.
When my kids were getting antsy for some socialization, I called all the homeschool families I knew and invited them to a kickball game. All we needed was a few supplies and the local baseball field. The kids love it and I’m so happy we took the initiative to make it happen ourselves! If we’d waited for someone else to set it up, we’d still be waiting!
5. Use Facebook
Guess what! You likely aren’t the only family struggling to socialize as homeschoolers. There are probably a lot of homeschoolers in your area that would love a reason to meet up and let the kids have some fun. But sometimes you don’t know WHO to invite. That’s where social media comes in. A quick search for “homeschool” will bring up several local homeschool groups in your area. Join them then find ways to connect with other families.
6. Plan Wisely for Socialization
It’s easy to plan a field trip for your family but try to think bigger. If you want to invite others, pick times and places that kids are genuinely interested in. Although we enjoyed our tour of the local newspaper factory, the kids were quickly bored and too young to care much about it. Be sure you pick something fun and creative that kids will enjoy!
There’s no denying that it can be tough to socialize as a homeschooler but with a little effort, it’s totally worth it!