Tuesday, 28 March 2017

What About Socialisation? How Will Your Homeschooled Child Make Friends?

This is normally one of the first questions that I get asked by people when I say that I homeschool, especially because our daughter is an only child. How will she make friends? Won't she be lonely? What about social skills? How will she learn to work as a team?? So I thought I would share with you a bit more of an in depth response to the dreaded but valid question of socialisation!



How will she make friends? Our daughter has plenty opportunities to make friends and even more importantly than childhood friendships she is learning to form meaningful relationships with a huge range of people of different ages. Yes she has friends, she has made friends through our community, her extracurricular activities and of course our homeschooling community. For instance we will be attending a group activity with our homeschooling group where there will be almost 90 children and 40 different families attending. We find things that our daughter is interested in and we try to facilitate ways she can pursue them. It's normally when you find something you like to do, you find people who like to do that too and through a shared interest you bond and create a meaningful relationship based around that.

Won't she be lonely? This is a pretty complex question, to me being lonely is an emotion that most of the time has nothing to do with how many people you are in the company of. Being lonely to me is the result of not forming those meaningful connections with people that you enjoy being with. Our daughter has plenty of opportunities for social interaction. Be that with peers every week at her activities, with family and friends, social functions etc. We try really hard to have an open dialogue with our daughter and if we see that her social wellness is not being for filled we will look at other ways for her to for fill those needs. We spend a lot of time talking about feelings, being able to recognise our own feelings and understand the feelings of others. I feel very confident that should feelings of loneliness arise we will be able to support our daughter and be able to help identify ways we can make her feel more for filled and confident.

What about social skills? How will she learn to work as a team? Our daughter's social wellness and ability to relate and work with other people is very important to us. If we look at how children learn to work well as a team the first 'team' a child encounters is their family. Our daughter knows that our family is a team and we each do our part to make our family and home a happy one that functions well. This involves working, cooking, jobs around the house etc. We each have our part to play in making this family team work well together. Like I have said before our daughter has many opportunities to have social interaction. We are teaching our children valuable social skills by letting them pay for their own transaction at a shop and talking to the shop keeper, telling the bus driver where we are going, having conversations with family and friends, playdates with friends, playing team sport etc. Our daughter has no problem relating to others and finds social situations very comfortable so this is an area we are not concerned about. Every child is different and if this was a concern for us we would make sure that our child has plenty of opportunities to practice these skills.



So there is the topic of what we think about social skills. I didn't want to compare public school and homeschooling in this area because I think all of these questions can be asked of both, it shouldn't just be assumed that because a child is in a room with 26 of their peers that all of their social needs are being met. The truth of it is the social needs of a children are different depending on the person and the same goes with adults. Some people thrive in social situations and find socialising really easy, other people are more reserved or shy. Neither is right or wrong we are just all different! It is making sure that the individuals needs are met that is more important than how many people they are surrounded by each day!

Tell me what you think!
Remember there is not right or wrong, just a difference of opinion!

Find other posts about homeschooling here Our Homeschooling Journey
or check out some of these posts
5 Minute Playdough
Gunny Sack Garden
Tim Tam Brownie Recipe
On Our BookShelf- The Great White Man Eating Shark

Robin xx



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