Socialization and Homeschooling an Only Child
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Donna Conner, author of the book Homeschooling Only One, continues to share her insights on homeschooling only one child. If you missed the first post of this interview, be sure to check it out. Donna answered why homeschooling is still a great educational choice for only children. Today, we will continue our interview with Donna and explore the age-old question of socialization. Enjoy!
Homeschool Passion: Donna, the socialization question is a big one for homeschooling in general, but I’m sure it’s amplified when homeschooling only one child. How would you respond to the ever-present question, “What about socialization?”
Donna Conner: Socialization is just as large a “bug-a-boo” to those with one child as it is with other homeschooling families—almost a non-issue. We just have to be a bit more proactive in giving our child opportunities to interact with other children. They are truly “socialized” already, just by their close proximity with their parent(s) in all the normal everyday activities and places that have to be attended to. There are plenty of opportunities to come into contact with people of all different types (and ages) at church, in the grocery store, at the doctor’s appointment, at the bank, at the post office, on walks in the neighborhood or in the local park’s playground. How we have to be proactive is to provide play dates and opportunities to be with, to play with, to interact with, and to socialize with children of all ages.
Large families have built-in peer groups, where children learn to work and play with other children. If a parent of an only works with their child, learning to share has already been taught (almost to a fault, at least in my own experience). But through practice, or actual interaction with others (children their age, younger or older), they must learn to walk out this skill. That’s where the fine tuning of such skills requires the parent to be proactive and provide the opportunities. This can be within a homeschool group, a co-op class, outside classes (museum, art, etc.) and play dates. It still isn’t that big of a deal, but as parents of an only, you have to keep your eyes open and facilitate what your child needs.
Next time, Donna will share the biggest challenges with homeschooling and only and give valuable tips for how to overcome them. Be sure to check back.