Hi everyone, I have another Homeschooling 101 post for you.  Today we’re talking about that dreaded word… SOCIALIZATION!



One of the first questions I am asked regarding homeschooling is…

“What about socialization?”

I almost hesitate to even include this topic in my series because of it’s sheer silliness. But I know for new homeschoolers, the issue of socialization can be one of their main concerns.

Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s define socialization.

According to the dictionary, socialization is defined as a process whereby an individual acquires the knowledge, language, social skills, values, and behavior to conform to the norms of a group or community.


Regarding Homeschooling and Socialization

Studies have repeatedly shown that homeschoolers on average outperform their public school peers, not only academically, but socially too. Homeschoolers tend to have more self-confidence as well. They are also shown to score approximately 37 points higher on standardized achievement tests than the public school student average. (Statistics taken from www.hslda.org.)

So clearly homeschooled students have continued to show academic excellence through their scores.

But what about their ability to succeed as adults?

Many fear that by choosing to homeschool their children, they will by default isolate them from the outside world. And in turn, raise children who are not prepared for adulthood.

Due to sheer circumstances, the public school environment tends to lend itself to encouraging students to conform to their peers. Conversely, homeschooling parents focus more on teaching their students responsibility, character, service, compassion, and other essential life skills that will benefit them in their adult life.

Since homeschooling parents are more able to focus on social and emotional characteristics of their children, youth are more likely to model the behavior of their parent. Public schooled students more often emulate the values and conduct of their peers. With more parental involvement in their upbringing, studies have indicated that homeschooled students show less behavioral issues than those in the public school system.

Another advantage we have as homeschoolers is the freedom to tailor our curriculum. We have the opportunity to expose our students to education through field trips, hands-on learning tools, and pursue things that interest them more freely than their publically schooled peers.

We also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of community groups, clubs, and sports activities. Things like church youth groups, Awanas, local clubs, art classes, book clubs, science clubs, homeschool co-ops, physical education classes, local community groups, and dozens more, are all excellent ways for homeschoolers to avoid the issue of being socially isolated.

As homeschoolers we are not required to chain our students to desks all day. Instead we can experience the world around us more freely. This flexibility provides the homeschooled student with a well-rounded and balanced educational experience.


Your Part in Socialization

Now, I realize that I can spout off statistics to you all day. But the socialization of your student will ultimately come down to your commitment as a homeschooling parent. While all of these wonderful opportunities are available to most homeschoolers, as a parent you will be responsible for getting your students involved in the various activities and experiences that are available to you.

I have to be honest; at the beginning of our homeschooling journey I too was concerned about the issue of socialization. Since then, I’ve learned that socialization is a myth at best. It’s usually an issue that is brought up by those who aren’t fully educated regarding homeschooling, and those who don’t support the concept.

Due to my fear of raising un-socialized children, during our first year of homeschooling I enrolled our children in a variety of groups, and extracurricular activities.

My husband and I affectionately refer to this time as “the year we over-socialized”.

Since then I’ve learned that it is okay not to participate in every single activity out there. We’ve paired down our involvement to include only the things that make sense for our family, and activities that are of true interest to our children.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that our kids are doing just fine. They get along well with others, are good at working as a team, and are able to successfully interact well with people of all ages. They are also more self-confident and don’t usually worry as much about what other people think.

After 7 years of homeschooling, I still struggle with self-doubt, and I still worry about my children’s future. As a parent, I don’t think it would be any different regardless of our educational choices.

But God has been good to show me bits and pieces of how we are eternally affecting our children through our decision to homeschool.

While our daily life isn’t always blissfully free of behavioral issues, I can see glimpses of the people that they’re growing into. I have witnessed positive character traits emerging, and I can rest knowing that they’ll be well prepared for adulthood, and eternity.


All that to say that “socialization” is honestly a NON-ISSUE. So let go of your worries homeschooling moms and dads, and just enjoy the time with your children.


Looking for some fun additions to your homeschool journey? Here are some extracurricular options to help get you started.

  • Keepers at Home: www.keepersofthefaith.com
  • Contenders of the Faith: www.keepersofthefaith.com
  • Science Clubs
  • Book Clubs
  • Literature Clubs
  • National Competition groups
  • Team Sports
  • High School Sports (Most local high schools offer spots to homeschooled students who qualify.)
  • PE Classes
  • Homeschool Co-ops (Search your local area and “homeschool group” for a listing.)
  • Civic Organizations (Fire Stations, Libraries, hospitals, businesses, etc. usually offer tours for homeschool groups.)
  • Local Museums
  • YMCA: www.ymca.net
  • Dance, music, art, ceramics, and drama classes via your local community education center.
  • Field Trips
  • Reading programs
  • Community theatre
  • Community volunteers programs
  • Chess clubs
  • Computer club
  • Speech and Debate clubs

For more detailed information regarding homeschooling and socialization visit the HSLDA Socialization webpage.


For more information on homeschooling check out my Homeschooling 101: A guide to getting started!



  1. Thank you for this post. We started homeschooling last year, but due to having a new baby 4 days after the school year started, we didn’t “socialize” much. I was stressing about doing more stuff this year and was getting a little crazy. Thank you for easing my mind about this.

  2. We have just started our 3rd year of homeschooling. I decided I wanted to homeschool when in college I observed my soon-to-be-husband and my roommate, both homeschooled. They were both so smart! It was awesome. While the rest of us were learning how to study on our own, they already knew.

    Now, that we have homeschooled a bit and have been involved with other homeschool families, I would also like to address this issue. There is a bit of a difference between homeschoolers and public schoolers when it comes to socialization. First of all, homeschoolers are incredibly independent. We, as a group, value our own time – not so much the people who depend on us. What I mean is, even if a homeschooler is “committed” to an activity they may or may not show up, with or with out the required materials.

    Also, homeschooled children seem to rely on their parents a lot more than public school children. When homeschoolers work on a craft, they will often leave the area a complete wreck for mom to clean up. Public schoolers tend to realize they need to clean their own art areas.

    Another area to mention is sometimes a bit obvious. The outward adornment and/or habits. When my roommate went to college, she didn’t realize it is a little weird to wear the same shirt days on end. Sure it is clean, but really just put it away for another day. Other habits that are easily squashed in public school because peers help you understand what is acceptable include: nose picking, dress, using deodorant, etc. Families seem to be a bit nicer and more understanding than the society homeschoolers will inevitably encounter someday.

    Obviously, we love homeschool as we are doing it again this year. However, when I was researching this topic, everyone points out with glowing terms how wonderful homeschool children are. Homeschooling is NOT the answer, here, folks. It is parents who love and teach their children with all their might.

    1. Hi Ann,
      I think its important to note that all of the things you mention here aren’t necessarily a direct result of being homeschooled. (Though sometimes it can seem that way) But instead I think they are personal choices on what the parents choose to enforce at home and what they do not. Meaning that not ALL homeschoolers are sloppy dressers or more dependent upon their parents. :o)

      1. Ann, I know a number of children who do all of those habits that are public schooled, totally a parental influence 🙂 Also, I have never met so many young junior high aged boys willing to hold my baby for a minute while I struggle to find a soother, or diaper, than in the Homeschool circle. Love it! It’s kids, getting used to all ages, and not just their own. Those are my observations 🙂

    2. Oh and just to let you all know that there is hope, my children are very much in charge of their own messes, my six and eight year old boys have been doing their own laundry for about a year now. I haven’t touched theirs since I taught them how to dispense detergent and operate the machine. Just reinforcing the point, it’s all in the parenting. There’s hope!

    3. Ann, This is really a parenting issue & not homeschooling issue. I know families like the ones you are referring to both homeschooled & other schooled (private or public).

      My husband and I were both public schooled but our home lives were so different. My mom was a perfectionist with OCD, we never did anything for ourselves because when we tried we were scolded & told it wasn’t good enough. My husband on the other hand was raised by a single dad & he could cook, clean, wash clothes, work on cars all by the age of eight.

      I started off being the type of mom my own mother was but quickly realized I didn’t want to raise the type of son my mom had raised who were in their 40s & unable to care for themselves (except for the brother who joined the military). My first year of marriage my husband had to teach me how to cook, clean, care for our baby, manage a bank account & he even helped me nurse.

      My kids are all very young 8,6,4&2 & they all clean up after themselves. Even the two year old. Actually the younger they are the better they are about demanding that things stay & be cleaned up. My two year old will often remind her eight year old brother to clean up after himself. My kids each have chores. Including cleaning their own rooms and two months ago the older two begged my husband to have me teach them how to wash their clothes (they’ve been asking me for two years but I wouldn’t teach them) my husband told me I really needed to allow them to learn this skill now that they desperately desired it. Just yesterday my eight year old washed, dried & folded his clothes & his four year old brother’s clothes then put it away. My six year old had to be told to stop washing clothes Friday because she was washing, drying & folding every piece of close she could find & I wanted her to go out & play.

      I often have to tell my kids to stop changing out of clothes because they’ll change outfits 2-3times a day if I allow it. My kids all have their own perfume or cologne and are diligent about putting it on, as well as showering. This goes along with having been taught not to belch in public, scratching their privates, passing gas, the need to wear deodorant, etc…

      As far as being somewhere on time & bringing what is required, again that’s a parental issues. My husband would be so embarrassed it if we were “on time” for something as “on time” to him means “late”. If my kids aren’t prepared with their supplies he’s humiliated. He reminds them to bring what they need, it’s their job to gather their things & not to forget them when it’s time to come back home.

      My husband and I teach in the children’s ministry & find 10yr olds walking in to class 15minutes late with no bible & with a baby doll under their arm. Then the same child who doesn’t know any worship song by memory even though she’s been coming to church since she’s been born is disrupting the class to sing Frozen songs while standing on her desk & that’s a public schooled child with an over bearing mother who treats her like she’s 5. We have kids who literally climb the walls & talk non stop as we are trying to conduct a class, who refuse to sit or quiet down or do any of the work. These are children who go to private school, have a nanny & who’s parents laugh when you tell them their kids are completely rude & obnoxious. I have stories for days. My point is, at the base of things it’s almost always a parental issue, rarely a kid issue.

      Homeschooled kids are no weirder than their parents.

      Natalia Fernández-Pérez
  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m a work-at-home mom, and I am thankful that I get to stay with my kids and not send them away all day. We started using your LOTW a little last year and full swing this year (my oldest turned 4 in March) and we supplement with another program as well and are doing great! At four, my daughter reads at about a 1st grade level, she can write most of her letters, she loves puzzles, and all of this without too much “structure” and I don’t try to “force” her to do school work, but when I know she shows signs she is done, we try one more time and then are finished for the day.
    With all of that, we don’t get out much. Since I work from home, I have to be near my computer at all times and sometimes my phone just doesn’t cut it. We did have our oldest in ballet, but haven’t put her back in as she struggled a bit. Many people from my family know that we are homeschooling, and for the most part they are supportive. I was asked about socialization during a family bbq and I looked over at the group of children, seven kids, ages 2.5-10, and I said “Well, she seems to be fitting right in with the other kids.” My husband’s aunt looks at me and says “Oh, you mean the one that hid behind her father’s leg for the first half-hour?” I pretended to not hear what she said. What four-year-old that hasn’t seen someone in almost a year wouldn’t be a little shy? I let doubt creep in for just a minute, and then I saw both of my kids playing, sharing toys, playing tag, going on the big kid swing, they will be just fine!

  4. Loved your article! I was home schooled most of my life, graduated college, got a job, married basically a social success lol

    One funny thing to add to the “socialization” discussion is some people are just awkward. There are plenty of people who are socially awkward at public school too. But if people find out someone who is home schooled is socially awkward then suddenly it is “because” they were home schooled.

    1. This is so true. I went to public school my whole life and confess to being socially awkward and quite shy around new people. My daughter who’s never set foot in any type of pre-school/day care/school environment can make friends wherever she goes. She is great with other kids of all ages.

  5. Home school is not deprivation from socializing only fewer acquaintances in my opinion its better for children during their developing stage to drive their attention to something new in order to excel and come out in their comfort zones.

  6. So well written! Thank you! Socialization has always been a non issue for us too. I have to refrain from laughing when I am continually asked about this. After all, what do kids in public school get in trouble for all the time? – socializing!!! 🙂 It is really an ironic thing. Our kids learn to socialize vertically with all ages and that is just one of the many reasons we heart homeschooling!!!

  7. I was homeschooled, but I like to think I turned out ok in terms of socialization. 😉 Despite being a stay-in-and-read type, I have many close friends from a variety of backgrounds. In fact, I think homeschooling helped me build confidence in lots of social situations, because I got to know people in a lot of different contexts, rather than just school.

  8. Thank you! I am fighting a battle to homeschool my children when all others say going to school is best. Socialization is one of the points but I’ve been trying to say if you can interact best with your family, then you can interact with anyone. Thanks for reaffirming my belief!

  9. I hate that many think public school is the answer to socialization. For various reasons, after two years of homeschooling we’ve started our kids in public school this year. In working toward an IEP for our son, his teacher asked if he could handle being around other kids. Um, we didn’t hole up in our home for 2 years. We were in a home school group, did field trips, went to library activities, etc. Furthermore, my daughter keeps coming home telling me about rules in school…that she was “bathroom monitor” the other day, because you’re not allowed to talk in the bathroom, so someone has to tattle on the others…you’re not allowed to talk in the bus room while you’re waiting to go to the classrooms, etc. So…they can only socialize at recess and lunch…and lunch is only 25 minutes, so you can’t really socialize or you don’t get your food eaten. I’d say public school socialization is not what it’s cracked up to be.


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