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The Importance of Socialization for Your Homeschool
Hi, everyone. This is Penny from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland. You can find me over at Ourcrazyadventuresinautismland.com.
Today, I’m going to talk to you about that dreaded question, “What about socialization?“.
Typical homeschoolers get this question all the time from everyone because they think that you can’t socialize your children if they are not in public school. If you happen to have a special needs child like we do, we have one with autism, you get this question probably every time someone speaks with you about homeschool.
I like to answer the question kindly because you have to be kind to everyone. What I did was I came up with a post on my blog, Nine Places to Work on Social Skills — places like the library, the grocery store, story time, anywhere you go pretty much you’re working on some sort of socialization. What works well is that if you look at people and you say, “Well, I like to socialize my children with many different ages so that they’re able to talk to many different people.”
If you happen to have a special needs child like I do, then my answer to that is that, “Logan is developmentally not his age level, his chronological age. He’s 21 now, but developmentally, he’s about 12 or 13, so homeschooling allows us to let him socialize with other kids who are 12 or 13 so that he can fill in those social gaps.” Then people think you have it under control and that you’re really thinking of it, and so they sort of back off.
My best piece of advice to you though about socialization would certainly be not to even worry about it. If you go to church, if you go to the library, if you go to the grocery store, I mean, if you leave your house at any time during your life, your children are going to get socialized.
The only time we only talk to people that are the same age as us is when we’re in school. I can tell you that I don’t walk around and ask people their age before I talk with them. I just talk with them. It’s a great idea that you just say, “Hey, they’re learning how to socialize with all kinds of people.”
It’s not something you even need to worry about because my kids are weird, but they are not weird because they’re unsocialized homeschoolers. They’re weird because they’re my children, and I’m weird, so they had no chance anyway to be normal, whatever that happens to be.
Just take a deep breath. Do not add socialization to your homeschool routine. Do not even worry about it. I can tell you, as a mom who’s approaching the end of her homeschool career with her very last child in 11th grade and having graduated one, my kids are pretty well-socialized, and I’m pretty much an introvert. If I can stay home, I will, but they’re still pretty good kids and pretty socialized. Yeah, they’re weird, but we’ve already talked about that. They’re weird because they’re my kids.
We tend to harp on things that only homeschoolers harp on. Nobody who has a child in the public or private school system worries about their child getting socialized, so why should we as homeschoolers worry about getting our children socialized?
That’s my tip for you homeschool moms — to not worry about socialization.
If you happen to have a special needs child and you do need to work on social issues because, let’s face it, if you have a child with autism, you will have to work on social issues, then there are many places to do that. First, find their developmental age so that you’re working on social issues at the right age range. Second, you could go to fun places: the library, story time, the grocery store, church. All of those things you can work on social issues at. Don’t fret about it, don’t lose sleep over it, don’t get gray hair over it. Just know that your kids will turn out socially fine.
When someone ask you that question, because they will, you can just smile and say, “Ugh, my kids have a better social life than I do,” and that usually makes them laugh and walk away.
Thanks for listening to me talk about socialization. You can find many ideas for social tips on my blog, ourcrazyadventuresinautismland.com, and have a great day.
Penny is a Jesus loving, homeschooling mama who blogs at Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland. Based on her own personal and often difficult experiences with autism, she hopes to educate families affected by autism on how to navigate their world from pre diagnosis to adulthood with hope, encouragement and frugality. You can also find Penny on Facebook and Instagram.