Homeschooling and Socialization

The common misconception about homeschooled children is that they are socially under-developed. This is simply not the case for most of these children. Homeschooled children are still part of the school district and are therefore allowed to participate in field trips and sports. Another way homeschooled children can socialize is through play dates.

There are many benefits to allowing homeschooled children to have play dates:

*Self-Confidence

Play dates are a great way for children to develop their self-confidence around their peers. Play dates can achieve this by eliminating social stigmas like cliques and bullies. Children can learn to play together and interact without pressure from a structured environment like a school playground. 

*Equality

Play dates can teach homeschoolers that they are are not alone; that there are other children being homeschooled just like they are. Play dates allow homeschooled children to talk to each other about school as well as things that interest them. One of the things play dates can teach them is that they are no different than any other other child. This last one is important because it can help eliminate feelings of isolation.  

*Exercise

This one is obvious. Play dates allow homeschooled children to run around and play. Most homeschooled children get a form of exercise as part of their school day, but to the child, that can feel very similar to a gym class in traditional schools. Play dates let them run off their excess energy, in a way they will enjoy.

*Diversity

Play dates offer homeschooled children to experience other kids and the way they do things. It can teach them tolerance and to appreciate different types of people (cultures, religions, race, etc.). This advantageous because play dates can introduce these things to homeschooled children in smaller, more controlled situations. Traditional schools also offer diversity, but sometimes how children in mass group settings react to the diversity, is not productive.  

*Relaxation

Play dates offer homeschooled children a break from the home classroom. It is a time they can relax and have fun with kids in their same situation. They can laugh and play without pressure from traditional school playground situations like bullying or having to fight for playground equipment. Another reason homeschooled children can relax during a play date is that they are playing with kids they want to play with. There is no angst over how to make friends.

Play dates are a terrific way for homeschooled children to develop necessary social skills. They are also good for helping build self-confidence and experience a diverse group of kids who are also being homeschooled.

There is nothing saying that a homeschooled child and a traditionally schooled child cannot have play dates. Children can meet and make friends in many different ways: church, parks, sports and public swimming pools just to name some examples.