Home Schooling and Socialization
For many, the term "homeschooled" conjures up images of children cooped up at home all day, unsociable, awkward, lonely. This is a misconception! In fact, homeschooling families typically have rich social lives, plenty of friends, and are actively involved in their community.
But be cautious! "Socialization" is not a synonym for "social life". Socialization is the process of learning the skills necessary for thriving in the community, for interacting with other people in different circumstances, and for knowing how to act appropriately in different situations. It is best taught by example, by adults who love and care about the child..
Serving as an Example
Children become socialized by observing others, and understandably their parents exert a particularly strong influence in their observations. A parent's example of how to behave across a range of settings is one of the most important factors in a child's socialization. This is a gradual, day-by-day process, where even seemingly insignificant interactions can have lasting effects. Guide your actions with love and mindfulness, and your children will do the same.
Not every child learns the same way, however, or at the same pace. Some children easily and naturally pick up on social cues; others struggle and need to be deliberately and kindly taught. Caring, patient parents who are willing to work with their child through thick and thin are the best mentors to teach social skills.