For many parents, homeschooling your children is a means to protect your children from an out of control society. For some parents, it is simply a path to a better education. Still for others, it is the answer for a child with specific disabilities or handicaps. Whatever the reason, we live in an American culture that puts a premium on extroverts and social abilities. Homeschooling can be everything you want it to be without having the socially awkward stereotype apply to your student.
Put your teen in a variety of social situations and educate them on how to handle them.
I remember that my greatest fear as a child was being lost in a grocery or department store. Any time I was shopping with mom and she would send me to go get milk or something, I would emphatically explain that she wasn’t allowed to move. This went well into my teens. Some personalities will have more to learn socially than others, but it’s important to recognize that this is actually a skill that comes with experience.
There are plenty of ways to expose your student to social situations. Homeschool cooperatives are a wonderful way. Sports, volunteering, and everyday social situations are great opportunities. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you take the time to actually coach your child on how to handle situations that come up.
Shelter them from wrong. Don’t shelter them from people.
Plenty of homeschooling parents make the mistake of isolating their children in their homes. The opposite can be a problem too when the child doesn’t develop relationships with parents and siblings. Finding a balance is important. Whatever desires and talents your student has, they can be met through different opportunities outside the home. No parent would want to expose their children to dangerous or compromising situations, but there are plenty of Christian opportunities as well. When you get your student into the world, not only are they able to learn skills but they learn the attitudes necessary to change the world.
Insist on friendships outside the home.
Good friendships are extremely important. Having good friendships outside the home are just as important. Having an identity is necessary to any well rounded student. Having an identity that means something is almost impossible if their identity is simply rooted in who their family is. The knowledge, ideas, concepts, and beliefs that we are trying to have our homeschooled students realize are so much bigger than family dynamics. It truly is important to prepare your student to grow and not simply be dependent on their identity as a family member.
Homeschooling takes work. A lot of that work takes place outside of the classroom. When you do put the work in, homeschooling can be a vehicle to accomplish anything that you want it to.
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