It’s no surprise that homeschooling is becoming a more popular choice for many parents across the UK due to the recent pandemic. With there being many benefits to educating your child at home, it can also be easy to overlook things such as the development of their social skills. In a school environment, kids have plenty of opportunities to interact with their friends, teachers and other members of staff, which helps them learn how to behave and cooperate socially. When this isn’t how they spend the majority of their day, it’s important to find new alternative ways to develop your homeschooled child’s social skills.
- Join a Local Homeschooling Group
Meeting other people in your local area that also homeschool their children is a great way to strike up friendships and provide a wonderful opportunity for social time for your child. We recommend starting up small clubs together that suit your child’s interest. You could even take it in turns hosting a science experiment class or a storytelling session once a week with a few other children. Just make sure you are adhering to Government guidelines in your local area and adhering to the rules depending on which tier your area is in. This way your kids get the chance to safely mix and interact with others and learn how to be social in a group.
- Focus On Regular Family Time
Children that are educated at home will have limited interaction with others, meaning it’s a great idea to fill in the gaps by having regular family time. In fact, this time can make the biggest contribution to their conversational and social skills- so schedule it in if you have to! We recommend eating dinner together (without TV or phones), going on family outings outside or enjoying a family board game night.
- Get Your Kids Involved In Extracurricular Activities
A great way for you kids to develop social skills is to socialise with other children. We recommend encouraging your kids to participate in group activities outside of your homeschooling environment where they can spend time with other children that have the same interests. Great ideas include team sports, youth groups, music clubs, martial arts training, dance classes, art clubs or kids book groups. We know it can be tricky at the moment due to social distancing, however lots of these groups also offer remote options too.
4.Enrol Your Child In Online Classes
Even though homeschooling has plenty of benefits, we think it’s also a good idea to enlist your kids in an online class or two so they won’t miss out on the social and interactive learning experience. Luckily, there are online classes for most anything at the moment - just take your pick from anything ranging from singing lessons, acting lessons to calligraphy class. This opportunity to interact with classmates while learning new life skills will provide a great opportunity for your child to develop socially.
- Seek Volunteering Opportunities
For older children that are being homeschooled, a great way to encourage the development of their social skills is for them to volunteer their time. Every month try to find out what volunteer opportunities are available to your child in your community. Whether it’s being a library volunteer, tutoring younger children, mentoring or helping out at a food bank - it will not only be a rewarding experience, but your child will also gain social interaction with people they don’t know.