For most home schooling parents, their child’s development of social skills will be a central concern. In a mainstream school environment, children are usually taught in a large classroom which provides many opportunities to interact with fellow classmates of the same age, plus adults like teachers and teaching assistants, as well as children of different ages at break time. To replicate such opportunities of meeting new people, including adults and children, within a home school education, parents who are home schooling usually arrange a wide range of activities for their children to take part in outside of the home environment. This article looks at the various options available to home schooling parents to provide socialising activities for their child.
Local Home Schooling Support Groups
There are a myriad of home schooling support groups running up and down the country in the UK, and these can offer many benefits to home schooling families. In the context of this article, an important benefit of a home schooling support group is that they offer social opportunities to children (and parents!) who can get out of the house and meet people who may share some interests, since they are experiencing the same education system.
These children are likely to be of a wide range of ages but can help children to not feel ‘alone’ in their method of education, and act as a supportive environment to make new friends. These support groups may also have other benefits, for example organising trips to local educational establishments or events, such as a museum or exhibition or speaker – the group visits may also involve discounts on entrance tickets etc. For parents, home schooling support groups will also offer the opportunity to share teaching and learning advice, borrow resources such as textbooks which one family’s child may have grown out of but would be perfect for your own child, talk through difficulties or unusual home schooling situations, and generally avoiding isolation issues that may arise in home schooling, for parent and child.
Other Ways to Encourage Social Activities for Children: Extra Curricular
It is a good idea for home schooled children to join clubs that offer activities that match their interests, or offer new activities that a child has never done before but may gain confidence and enjoyment by doing so. Most areas have a huge range of extra-curricular activities on offer, from sports like tennis and football squads or lessons, to youth groups that might be held in a local hall, to music classes for any instrument you can imagine, and dance groups such as ballet or jazz.
By joining these groups, your child will be able to enjoy a new extra-curricular interest or encourage a current passion, as well as simultaneously meeting new people who share those interests and might become new friends. It is likely that many of these children will be educated in the mainstream education sector, so it might be a good idea to talk through the possible questions your child will be faced with before beginning a new club or class.
Another Way to Encourage Social Activities for Children: Community Service
It can be a good thing for home schooled children to get involved in their local community by volunteering his or her services to those who would benefit from them. This might mean visiting a local nursing home or hospital, helping out at a religious organisation or shelter, or offering his or her own skills to others who need them, such as reading to a blind person – this will boost a child’s confidence as well as teach about charity and help develop social skills by meeting people of all different backgrounds.