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Question: We are seriously interested in homeschooling (3 children--ages 4, 2 & 7 mos) but are worried about lack of outside socialization i.e. friends for our kids. Do you have any insight and or recommendations on the "socialization subject"? Thank you in advance.
Answer:

Dear Mom,

Let me assure you that the issue of socialization is one of the best reasons to homeschool your little children. Socialization or shall I say the lack of it is not a concern for parents who choose to homeschool. First and foremost many, many homeschooling families find wonderful outlets for their children through church, homeschool cooperatives and outside activities such as dance lessons, gymnastics, sports, etc. However with homeschooling you are able to carefully select those activities and outside interests that best suit your needs and situations unique to your family. Many families find that they are able to find a delightful circle of friends that complements their own family. The activities they enjoy such as camping, hobbies of all kinds -- and so much more that to try and tell you all the outlets available would make for a very long list -- are creative and worthwhile.

I have homeschooled my children all through highschool. They are involved and engaged in wonderful outside activities including sports, lifeguarding, and 4-H. This is not to even begin to list all the events that they have participated in with regard to church activities.

As your children mature and you begin to feel that a few selected playmates would be appropriate you will be able to introduce these to your dear children through many creative outlets. Most parents take this slowly and add activities and companions with discernment and care. This is the great joy of homeschooling. I do not think that my children were ever starved for peer group fun. In fact there have been many times when they had so many outside activities that I felt it necessary to curtail some of the extra curricular activities in which they were involved.

Let me just say that the word 'socialization' seems to be the one topic that most people who have not fully explored the benefits of homeschooling turn to when they are trying to list the cons to this wonderful lifestyle. However, the lack of socialization is truly the least of concern for parents and their children alike.

Continue to pray about your concerns and ask that the Lord show you ways to overcome the challenges that you feel you may face. Speak with other homeschooling families in your area and allow for some time to visit with them and listen to their collective wisdom with regard to the area of socialization.

I admire you very much as you are asking questions and carefully exploring the homeschooling lifestyle. This is good and shows that you have your children's best interests at the heart of your concerns. The Lord will honor such thoughts.

Let us pray together a Hail Mary this afternoon for all those children that may have been exposed to hurtful and harmful language, images, and behavior borne of their being in the presence of those who do not understand the true nature of children and the innocence with which each is created in God's image and likeness. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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