teacher and three preschoolers playing with wooden blocks

I received this note from a reader over at Little Natural Cottage’s Facebook page:


Hello there, I don’t like posting something that someone might find negative or offensive, but I do have a question.  I am not exactly what you would consider gung ho for home schooling, but I also know that there are a lot of aspects of public education that are a bit to be desired.

Question: do you think that homeschooled children will miss out on the socialization that  public schools offer? Just wondering if there are ways around that, and how to get homeschooled kids out there to make friends, etc.

 – Jo N



As a second-generation homeschooling mom, I  have heard “the socialization question” more times than I can count.



Can I be completely honest?  We homeschoolers usually get a little miffed by this question, perhaps because we take it as a personal attack on our claim that our homes provide the ideal atmosphere in which to raise thriving, well-rounded children.


Personally, I believe Jo’s question is a valid one.  I also believe it provides an opportunity to share a few practical (and Biblical) aspects of homeschool “socialization”.




Maybe you’re a homeschooling mother who tends to roll her eyes at the socialization question.




Or, maybe you’re like Jo and you honestly wonder if home education will stifle your children’s God-given need to engage in the real world and cultivate friendships outside the home.




Or, just maybe, you’re a skeptic who envisions homeschooled children as those unfortunate souls who sit in a dark room at a table with their fifteen siblings, unable to look an adult in the eye or thrive outside the confining walls of  their own home.




Whatever your perception and perspective regarding homeschooling, I want to share a little from my heart about home education and socialization.




Obviously, I don’t have all the answers.  I am just one woman with my own limited experiences, first as a homeschooled kid, and now as a homeschooling mother.




Over the next few days, I want to explore homeschool socialization with you.  I’d love to hear your ideas, questions, and experiences as we go.




{If you’d like to read more about my journey, struggles, and life lessons as a homeschooling mama, please take a peek at my new ebook, Homeschooling Day by Day.}





For now, tell me about yourself.  Were you educated at home or in a public or private school setting?




the Natural Cottage Mama

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13 thoughts on “Confessions of an Unsocialized Homeschooler, Part 1

  1. I spent all of my years in the public school system. Most of my time was spent doing busy work, which isn’t a good fit for my learning style. I’m a hands on learner, and only a few of my school years involved learning beyond worksheets and textbooks. The teachers didn’t monitor bullying, and I dreaded going to school every day of my 6th grade year. The other kids bullied me and I became depressed. Recess time was limited to once a day for 30 minutes, (kids aren’t designed to sit still for long periods of time). Now that I’m a mother myself, I hear that the public school system is much worse. Kids aren’t even allowed to wear cross necklaces to school, and the pressure is insane. Throw in common core and teachers violating parental rights, and homeschooling feels like the best option for our family. I plan to do preschool at home this year, and look forward to this series. I believe it will help a mom like myself who is new to homeschooling. I’ve heard the argument about socialization, but don’t believe it. My little girl has plenty of social experiences at church with AWANA, vacation Bible school and play dates with other children.

    Posted on August 25, 2014 at 9:56 am
    1. I don’t believe the myth of socialization either, Jessica. My husband was in the public school system most of his school years, and he is a very strong supporter of home education!

      Good for you! Many blessings on your homeschooling this year.

      Posted on August 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm
  2. I know that I’m quite late to this, but I just discovered this lovely blog and wanted to comment on this topic. My husband is a middle school teacher in a smaller school in a fairly well to do community. We decided to homeschool our children for numerous reasons, but the type of socialization that happens in public schools is one thing we wanted to avoid.

    I’d be very happy if my kids never knew what “slut shaming” meant, never had to experience “slap a– Fridays”‘, never had to hear and become desensitized to foul language (sadly my boys already are as they play football & have said how hard it is to not use what they hear all the time), never had to see girls dress extremely provocatively, and on and on.

    I may sound harsh, but I’ve heard so many things over the past few years that breaks my heart for these teens. This is a rural Midwest town and these aren’t the fringe kids. It’s the popular and successful students who are engaging in behaviors that are shocking. Having cell phones and internet with no accountability has created a culture for teens in which they engage in depravity as though it were completely normal. Parents are so ignorant and many don’t seem to care as long as their kids are still achieving academic, athletic, and social success.

    Peer orientation rather than adult orientation is like the blind leading the blind and they are heading right for a cliff. The last place I want my children learning social skills is from other untrained children.

    Posted on April 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm
  3. School has changed so much since I was in high school (age 51). If I was a high school student today I would beg to be homeschooled.

    I have been homeschooling my daughter since she was in the 3rd grade. Her 8th grade year she asked to attend junior high so she could experience it and play sports. It was awful! The teachers could care less about the students, the kids had enormous amounts of homework (some just plain busy work), she had to ride the bus 1 hour each way, and they made no accommodations for her dyslexia, ADHD, or CAPD. Most of the kids were trouble makers or bullies and the funniest thing of all is the students were not allowed much time for building socialization skills. They were not allowed to talk on the bus, not allowed to talk in the halls, they were not allowed to talk for the first 4 weeks at lunch, they were not allowed to talk in the morning at home room… So much for public school providing socialization opportunities.

    We finally pulled her out and started homeschooling once again. While she does her work online (Time4Learning High School courses–http://www.time4learning.com/homeschool/high_school.html) and is not around other kids during the day, she has more than enough opportunities for socialization via church, friends, family, co-op, support groups and so forth. And finally, I think the homeschool socialization situation is far better than any socialization she would have received at public school.



    Posted on August 22, 2013 at 2:51 am
  4. I think when someone asks about socialization that we should ask what they mean by that. If they mean getting into trouble and being an annoying child and teenager when around others, no I wasn’t like that. I went to public school until 3rd grade, then private school until 5th grade, then was homeschooled through highschool. While I was homeschooled I was able to make friends of my own age and participate in activities. Now I’m a successful business woman, wife, and mother.

    Posted on August 19, 2013 at 5:20 pm
  5. I went to public schools from Pre-K to 4th grade, then my mother homeschooled me until I was 15 when I decided to just concentrate on graduating and getting in to the work force. I hated public school due to all the usual ‘not fitting in’ reasons plus my religion, and being home-schooled was WONDERFUL. I schooled for half the day and read lots of books or played outside the rest of the time. I started my own little business (thanks to the internet) breeding bettas (Siamese Fighting Fish) when I was 8 and kept it going until I entered the “real” work force. I very much enjoyed the freedom to express myself that homeschooling allowed. As for socialising, I had no problem socialising with adults and enjoyed it. Amusingly, around the age of 13-14 (when I started working part-time) most assumed I was in my early twenties! I’m guessing due to a combination of maturity and the fact I was quite tall and did not care to dress with the styles of those my age, lol.

    Now looking back the only thing I would’ve changed would have been socialising with more of those my age. But then again, I’m a bit of an introvert and perhaps if someone pushed me more in to going to church camp and sports and such, it still would not have had an effect. Who knows. Now I’m married and hoping to have my own children one day, which I have no doubt I would like to homeschool if whatever country I settle in allows it!

    Posted on August 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm
  6. I went to public school K-12. I begged my mom to homeschool me my junior year, and she said no. Fast forward a couple of years and after a frustrating ordeal with my younger (by 10 years) brother and a “learning disability”, my mom jumped into homeschooling feet first, and it has honestly been that BEST thing for him. He EXCELS at every subject…he just needed to be in an enviroment where he could have the time he needed to blossom.
    My daughter started Kindergarten this year and my husband and I decided to homeschool. We have heard from so many people that we are going to ruin our daughter’s life…that she will lack social skills, be awkward, be “one of those weird homeschool kids”. We both knew without a shadow of a doubt that we were doing the right thing when in her first class of the day, she starts off singing “Jesus Loves Me”, saying her memory verses, and learning about how much God absolutely loves us, and bowing her sweet little head in prayer.
    Show me a public school where that’s being taught. 🙂

    Posted on August 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm
    1. Good for you, Sarah! Sounds like you’re off to a great start. Homeschooling is hard work but, as you have already shared, it is very rewarding.

      Posted on August 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm
  7. I’m excited to read this series! My mom began homeschooling me and my siblings but ended up putting us in public school when it was clear my brother had some learning disabilities and needed special help. My mom still considered herself our main educator, and took a very active role in our schooling. I hope to homeschool my own children someday
    As for socialization: I hear many people talk about day care and public school as so important simply for the socialization. None of my siblings ever went to day care, preschool, or even kindergarten, and we are extremely social. I find homeschooled kids are usually better able to socialize with all age groups, while kids educated outside the home tend to be better only with others their own age.

    Posted on August 19, 2013 at 10:45 am
    1. So true, Amy. Generally speaking, homeschooled kids are pretty adept at socializing with people of varying ages.

      I totally agree with you regarding preschool and daycare! My husband and I have chosen not to send our young children to these and they are doing just fine both socially and academically.

      Posted on August 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm
  8. I went to public school and sent my child to public school. We both survived but in this day and age I understand why some people want to home school their kids.

    I was one of those who wondered about the social aspect of homeschooling until I met other families who home schooled. They had programs set up with other homeschoolers such as clubs and other activities to help with the social aspect and these kids were well adjusted and just as social as those who went to other schools I also noticed these kids were higher academically. I am sure these were just a select few and there are many who are not as fortunate but everything has their advantages and disadvantages.

    I personally admire those of you who are homeschooling their kids. You are taking the responsibility of your child’s education to a different level. Good job!

    Posted on August 19, 2013 at 9:12 am
    1. I so appreciate your feedback, Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing.

      Posted on August 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm
      1. Your very welcome!

        Posted on August 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm