One of the biggest concerns for many homeschoolers is social skills (other than figuring out the curriculum and how to do it all). Providing opportunities for their child to interact with other children has also become more challenging as a result of the pandemic. After all, public schools have these scenarios built in, whereas homeschooling families must be more proactive.
Although it is a fallacy that homeschooled children lack social skills, that doesn’t imply that homeschooling families, whether old or new, can’t benefit from certain ideas to keep their children socially engaged (especially during COVID).
Why are social skills important: Ideas for staying social during COVID
We don’t yet know the entire impact of COVID and the resulting quarantine, isolation, and stress on a generation of children (and adults) and their socialisation and mental health.
“We do know that physical limits and interpersonal connections have altered and will most likely continue to change,” said therapist Lisa Choi, M.A. “These cultural alterations produced by a global health crisis may cause social skill skills to appear very different in a decade.”
1. Connecting with family
Remember that your family is made up of people who offer you a variety of social and emotional signals! “Previous research has indicated that a solid parent/caregiver connection is one of the most important variables in children forming positive peer relationships and managing emotions,” Choi added.
Navigating sibling and parent relationships can give you a lot of practise dealing with peers and adults in general. You can model dialogues and conflict resolution with siblings or one-on-one with your youngster.
Because of her concerns about individuals not wearing masks, writer Marie Bentley Shaurette’s 10-year-old hasn’t attended any of his co-ops or activities since March 2020. “Fortunately, he has three adult siblings with whom he interacts.” “Kids don’t have to be among other kids their age to ‘learn to socialise,'” Shaurette explained.
2. Errands and living life
It’s a little simpler to bring the kids along while you go about your everyday business now that the world is opening up a little more. “As homeschoolers, our kids engage with people in everyday scenarios, from post office employees to the contractor who comes in and out of our home during a remodel,” Shaurette continued.
Online and in-person activities for social skills
Of course, family is crucial, but children also need to engage with other trusted people, instructors, and classmates. “We were COVID wary because our kids are now doing choir, science, art mornings, park days, and other activities,” says Jacqueline Cromwell, a homeschooling mother of four. “There were virtual game evenings, Bible studies, and a high school graduation in person last year.”
Here are some online and offline ways for your kids to be social.
3. Social media apps for kids
Whether it’s a social media app designed specifically for kids (such as Club Penguin, PopJam, or ChatFoss) or one that has been modified to make it safe for kids to use (such as Facebook Messenger for Kids), social media can be a fun way for kids to chat, learn how to use online spaces properly, and virtually hang out with friends.
4. Online classes
Outschool, a charter school, and more ad hoc classes offered via Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams are examples of online platforms that enable sociability. Whatever option you pick, your children will be able to attend lessons alongside other children and families and will have the opportunity to meet classmates during the interstitial periods before and after class.
5. Form a pod
You may do what Sally Kim did with her kid when the pandemic was in full swing. “Every other week, we’ve been hanging out with another like-minded family at their house,” Kim says. Find families and schedule regular get-togethers so that your children can become acquainted with one another and form genuine connections with children with whom they can converse in between playdates.
6. Community classes
A parks and recreation department can be found in many local communities and municipalities. If you’re comfortable with face-to-face interactions, these sessions can introduce you to a lot of local kids. Perhaps you’ll meet another family with whom you can schedule a regular playdate!
How to improve social skills by joining groups and clubs
While classes are a great way for your child to meet new people, you may also enrol your child in organisations such as 4-H, local homeschooling groups, and, depending on your state, even clubs at your local public school.
7. Field trips
You may arrange field trips to nearby factories, the fire department, or even city hall through a homeschool co-op, Facebook group, or simply knowing a few homeschooling families. Your children will not only learn about their neighbourhoods, but they will also have the opportunity to make new friends.
8. Clubs offered by virtual class platforms
Mom-of-two Crystal Turnau began utilising Outschool to find COVID-safe social engagements. Turnau explained, “The site offers virtual classes and groups for a variety of interests.” “For instance, my 15-year-old is a member of an anime/manga social club and a collaborative RPG class for LGBTQ kids and allies.”
9. Team sports
Become a member of a local team sport such as Little League or Mustang Soccer. Team sports, though they might be costly, can provide many opportunities for children to mingle with other children their age while also learning a sport.
- How can homeschoolers socialize?
Homeschoolers’ Favorite Social Activities
– Become a member of a local homeschool support organisation.
– Consider taking dance instruction.
– Participate in gymnastics.
– Become a member of a basketball team.
– Participate in a homeschool co-op.
– Discuss the possibility of homeschoolers participating in extracurricular activities with your local public school.
– Consider taking music classes.
- Do homeschoolers have social skills?
There has been a lot of research done on whether or not homeschooled children are well-socialized. The majority of this research concludes that homeschooling does not hinder children’s social skills development as measured in these studies.
- How can I make homeschooling more fun?
This year, try one or all of these ideas to make homeschooling more enjoyable.
– More games should be played. How about a game of strewing?
– Incorporate music into your plan. Make a habit of listening to music first thing in the morning.
– Make a mess with your art.
– Play around with words.
– Hands-on Kits and Crafts
– Field trips are a great way to learn more about a subject.
– Together, watch documentaries and films.
– Cooking should be incorporated.
- How can homeschooled kids make friends?
Visit kid-friendly attractions while the majority of the children are at school.
Visit a neighbourhood playground, library, indoor play area, children’s museum, or other gathering place for youngsters. If there are school-aged children present during regular school hours, they are almost certainly homeschoolers.