The hot topic of developing social skills and being home educated is an area of concern for those opposed to home education. Some critics say that parents are trying to shelter their children. They argue that a home school environment is limiting to a child’s social interaction and detrimental to their growth and development. There are some studies that have proved this wrong.
Having social skills can be defined as skills used to interact and communicate with others, to assist the status one has in the social structure and other motivations. Social rules and relations are made, communicated, exchanged and changed in verbal and non-verbal ways. This aids in creating the social complexity useful in identifying outsiders and intelligent breeding partners. Developing this process is called socialisation.
It is said that socialisation is one of the advantages of attending state/other types of school – that this is THE place for children to pick up social skills that help him/her survive. The ONLY place (how narrow minded can you get!). The truth of the matter is, that at school children can only interact with their peers. When a child is placed in to a competitive environment, i.e. a public/private school they often lack the confidence to hold conversation. They display hardly any genuine interest in topics of conversation and don’t know how to interact with people of various age groups, let alone their elders. They are taught to fear their elders and listen and obey. There is a punishment and reward system and often the child’s true nature is quashed.
At home the social environment is a lot more natural. A child’s life begins by imitating their parents. Therefore children will pick up the qualities they see in them. At home there are constant positive reinforcements. Thus, a home-educated child is better equipped with the tools needed to get by in the world. Children who are home taught are more aware of the purpose and implications of what they are learning. Much more intelligent questions will be asked and more accurate observations will be made.
At home children are protected from the often detrimental influences of their peers. Of course if kids love school great, but lots of children feel abandoned when they are left at school. They may be embarrassed or ignored at a ‘normal’ school, being at home strengthens their self-esteem and sense of security. Home-schooled children often turn out to be better balanced and well rounded as they progress into adulthood. If you are worried about your child socialising with other children, there are support groups and other families you can get in touch with who home school. Check the ‘net out for local home school groups in your area. Education Otherwise is a good place to look for groups in your area in the UK. Not sure if yahoo groups still exist since Facebook got so big, but thats where I first found the sometimes elusive home educators I’d only ever heard about but never met 10 years ago. And then i found a group on Facebook and it kinda snowballed from there. Some groups are closed on Facebook though – you have to be invited in if you are known to someone within the group and if you home educate or are intending to. Your child can also be enrolled in youth clubs, brownies, guides, playgroups, swimming lessons, tennis, badminton etc. These are great places to make new friends with similar interests.