Why Play Dates are Important for Homeschooled Children

Home-schooling has many benefits for children as they are learning in a unique environment which is geared especially for them. They can avoid some of the drawbacks of mainstream schooling such as bullying or being treated as one of many instead of an individual. It is vital, however, that home-schooled children have play dates with peers their own age too for several reasons. 

* Social skills

Although children who are schooled at home can pick up social skills by watching others, by reading books and through communicating with their family it is also important that they have play dates so that they can put social skills into practice with people their own age. Through having play dates children can learn about important social skills such as recognising when a friend is upset, sharing their toys, talking about what they enjoy and apologising if they have done something wrong. These skills are vital for later in life when children become adults and need to function in a healthy and social way in the working environment.

* Have fun

Although siblings and parents can be immense fun there is nothing quite as fun as playing with friends your own age and being able to look forward to seeing these friends. Play dates for home schooled children can enable them to let their hair down and have fun. Sometimes the home, if it is the learning environment, may feel as though it is a constant class room and so play dates can help break up this and give children the chance to act their age and unwind.

* Learn through play

Children can learn a lot of skills through play alone. They can create their own worlds, use their imaginations to make up stories, enact various plays and scenarios and this can help to give children broad minds and open their minds up to the world around them. Interacting with children their own age will help them to expand on this through play and they will learn to be accepting of others and develop as an individual through play.

* Independence

Play dates can enable home schooled children to be independent of their parents. It is important for children to begin finding their feet and not constantly being in the presence of their parents. Usually children are able to learn independence through attending school but those who are schooled at home may find that they struggle to do so because their parents are always present. Play dates can enable a home school child to play with children their own age, away from their parents and they will learn to make decisions themselves, react in an appropriate manner without having a parent present and soon will find that they have an independence they would not have otherwise.

 Being home schooled can feel like an isolating experience if children are not given the freedom to interact with other children of their own age. They will learn a lot about themselves, how to be independent, the importance of turn-taking and sharing as well as many other skills which they will require throughout life. Most of all children will learn to have fun which is very important. Play dates, therefore, are important for children who are schooled at home.