In 2012, it was reported that more than 1.5M American households have homeschooled children, growing from 850K three years prior, and this number continues to grow. There are a variety of reasons parents and caregivers make the decision to homeschool their children. Whether it be the desire to provide an education aligned with their family’s religious beliefs, cater to their child’s special educational needs or to offer an education their local school system may be lacking, homeschooling has presented itself as a viable option for those with the resources required to do so.
One of the most important skills parents and caregivers actively work to introduce in a homeschooled child’s life is that of socialization, or the ability to interact in social situations. Many people carry the misconception that homeschooled students lack the ability to develop and maintain normal relationships with other children, but nothing could be further from the truth. If your family homeschools, these tips can help you ensure that you child has an active, fulfilling social life:
- Sign them up for public school extracurricular activities. Keeping your child active in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs and organizations helps them to build essential character skills such as self-esteem and confidence. In Michigan, homeschool students’ ability to participate in public schools’ extracurricular programs varies by the school district, so contact your local school for details.
- Join your local homeschool group. Michigan has a number of support groups created for homeschool families. These organizations serve as a resource for parents looking to connect with other families on topics such as academic and teaching advice, while connecting children with others their age to create meaningful relationships outside of the classroom.
- Give them a leg up. If you have a student sophomore aged or older, many of Michigan’s local colleges offer them the opportunity to take college courses. Grand Rapids Community College, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Lansing Community College are but a few Michigan colleges that offer dual enrollment for homeschooled students.
- Get them involved in the arts. Arts and culture connects young people in a great way! Sign your child with their local theatre group, encourage them to take on learning a new instrument or participate in classes at your local museum.