Why Play Dates are Important for Homeschooled Children

Many children are homeschooled by parents. For whatever reason, parents have decided that their children would be better being taught at home instead of in a school system. Unfortunately, this means that socialization is not the same for these children. Socialization is very important for children, including those that are in homeschooling. Play dates with other children can help provide socializing that is needed.

Children develop the necessary social skills through interactions with people, both adults and other children, on a daily basis. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Play dates are one such way to provide your child with the exposure to children within his or her own age group. A play date can take many forms.

While peer interaction is a vital part of growth and development, the type of interaction is also important. Standard play dates involve one or more additional children gathering in a location that is agreed upon by all parents, such as a home. Children are allowed to play and interact while being completely supervised. They learn sharing, manners, and more while being guided by parents.

Another type of play date is similar to a field trip. A group of parents can agree on a time and place to visit with the children. Museums, state parks, and sports parks are good suggestions. The children are able to interact with each other in a public place and possibly learn something at the same time.

Socialization of homeschooled children is just as important as children in school systems. Many educators believe that homeschooling presents more of an opportunity for parents because of the schedule differences. Children in school systems are stuck in classrooms for hours without the ability to talk and act freely. There are designated times for these activities, but often not enough. With homeschooling, lesson times are less which allows more time for other activities, such as play dates, sports, and groups.

Play dates are an important aspect in ensuring that homeschooled children are not secluded, awkward children. Although constant adult interaction helps with manners, it does not always help children learn other aspects of social life. Things such as sharing, respect, conversation, and responses to situations only come with interacting with other children on a regular basis.

Without socialization, any child can be withdrawn and not have the abilities necessary to live a productive adult life. They are not able to differentiate between positive and negative peer influences, and they do not generally have the ability to carry on a normal conversation with people. While school systems do not always provide an optimal environment for socialization, there are at least a few opportunities for children to interact with peers. Homeschooled children should not be considered different and need the same opportunities, which makes regular scheduled play dates a great way to accomplish this.