What you need to know about Homeschooling and Socialisation
by Marc Ries | Oct 10, 2021 | Homeschooling 101

The most asked question when people hear you're homeschooling.

When it comes to deciding whether to homeschool, parents, family and friends all want to know, “But what about their socialisation?” It’s a question that can often be a very contentious issue.

Generally, the folk who are questioning you mean well and most of the time, their question comes from a place of genuine concern. That said, let’s jump into what socialisation actually is and is NOT, and how homeschooling contributes to healthier socialisation than mainstream schools.



This post is adapted from the first episode of the On The Marc Homeschooling podcast — click here to listen and follow!

Common misconceptions about socialisation

Bear in mind that when it comes to debating socialisation, it is possibly the one topic on which there is the MOST ignorance and misunderstanding out there. Let’s review some of these assumptions and misconceptions when it comes to the issue of homeschooling and a concern for their socialisation.

Myth 1 – Homeschooling means hardly any / no socialisation

This is a bit of a storm in a tea-cup. I can’t help smiling whenever this question is raised because it’s almost as if people think that because you are going to homeschool your child, you are ipso facto also going to keep them locked up in a cupboard for the rest of the day!

The reality is that a homeschooling day is very often just a mainstream school day in reverse. With mainstream, your child is at school, perhaps with some of their friends, in the morning. They are often at home in the afternoon. Conversely, with homeschooling, your child is at home most mornings, but in the afternoons, they can visit and play with friends, do extra-mural activities, play sport, etc.

Naturally, the development of friendships and the opportunity to play and interact with others is important for a child, whether they are homeschooled or not! But in my humble opinion, far too much is made of this issue when, a play date every once in a while, coupled with the socialisation opportunities provided by extra-murals, sports, church youth activities and the like, are more than sufficient to healthily socialise your child.

Myth 2 – School is a great way to socialise a child

There are many flaws in thinking that a mainstream school is the “ideal environment” in which to socialise a child but for now, let’s just unpack 3.

1. The school classroom is arguably the single most unnatural environment for your child in terms of promoting significant social interaction. Once a child leaves school, it is unlikely that they will EVER again be in a room for a large portion of their day where everyone there is of the same age and – as is the case in some schools – the same gender!

2. Have you ever noticed that when children meet for the first time, their first question to each other is almost always, “How old are you?”

The reason is that they have been programmed by their school environment to determine a pecking order! Why? Given the potential risks and dangers associated with older and more mature students interacting with younger and less mature students, schools require children to ONLY socialise within a limited age and grade-level range. This type of horizontal socialisation severely hinders a child’s comfort with a broader age and grade level spread, making it hard for them to socialise vertically (an essential life skill in adult life and the working world)!

3. If you think about your mainstream schooling experience, would you say that ALL the children who finished school alongside you were perfectly socialised human beings? The obvious and honest answer would have to be, ABSOLUTELY NOT! How could that be? After all, they all went through mainstream schooling didn’t they!?  

Research applauds the social skills of homeschooled children

If you do your homework, you may be surprised to discover that independently conducted, scientifically valid research has proven beyond any doubt that: *
  • Homeschooled children are very well socialised! In fact, the research indicates that they are often significantly better socialised than their school-going peers.
  • Homeschooled children are often substantially more mature – reaching the IML
    (Independent Maturity level) – at a much younger age than their mainstream peers.
  • Homeschooled children also demonstrate a healthier sense of self-esteem and display strong leadership tendencies, when compared with their mainstream schooled counterparts.


How and why are Homeschoolers better socialised?

In contrast to their mainstreamed peers, most homeschooled children have far more opportunity to socialise vertically within a broader spectrum of ages, from tiny babies to grandparents and everything in-between. They are also not forced into age and grade level groups, so they do not think in terms of – nor see a need for – a pecking order!


Interestingly, research also shows that after graduation, approximately 70% of homeschooled children become community leaders and entrepreneurs, employing others, and contributing positively to the economy of a country, as well as being strong men and women of God.

The family unit is increasingly coming under attack, but homeschooling is a wonderful God-given way of restoring strong family bonds! In the nurturing environment of your home, your child can develop poise, confidence, self-esteem, and independent thinking, away from the institutional peer pressure to conform that is mainstream schooling — all while being equipped to deal with all aspects of socialisation in our diverse society.

 


At Love2Learn we are passionate about bringing life to learning, seeing families restored and generations impacted. You can reach us by email with a question of your own, at info@love2learn.co.za, or download our FreeHomeschooling Handbook” by visiting www.love2learn.co.za

May God Bless you with wisdom and discernment for the journey that lies ahead.


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