7 Steps to Take When Your Homeschooler Doesn’t Want to Socialize

Guest Post by Melissa Batai

If you’ve homeschooled any length of time, you’ve likely heard people outside the homeschool community ask, “What about socialization?” These individuals think socialization can only happen in a brick-and-mortar school, but we know differently. Homeschoolers have many opportunities to socialize in homeschool co-ops, or homeschool sports teams, or church groups, etc. However, what steps should you take when your homeschooler doesn’t want to socialize?

Determine If He’s an Introvert or Extrovert

Before you take any steps, determine if your child is an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts don’t socialize as much; they recharge by spending time alone. Extroverts love to socialize, and they recharge by spending time with people. If your child is an introvert, she won’t feel the need to socialize as much as an extrovert—too much socializing can exhaust her. Keep this in mind as you decide how to proceed with your homeschooler who doesn’t want to socialize.

Verify A Mental Health Issue Isn’t Behind Her Reluctance

In addition to determining if she’s an introvert or an extrovert, verify a mental health issue isn’t behind her reluctance. Depression or anxiety can cause her to avoid people. If you think she might have one of these issues, you may first want to have her meet with a psychologist to work out these difficulties. When she feels better, she may be more likely to socialize.

Participate in an Activity as a Family

The first step to help your child socialize more may be participating in an activity as a family. If your child feels uncomfortable socializing alone, a family activity might make him feel more comfortable. One family in our homeschool group takes Taekwondo together. Another family sings in the church choir together. My best friend in high school was part of an outdoor group with her family. Every weekend they went biking or kayaking with the group.

Require at Least One Extracurricular

A happy medium for many parents is to require their children to participate in at least one extracurricular. That might be a sport, or a club, or a co-op. By doing this, your child is socializing at least once a week, so your child is getting out and mingling. However, asking the child to participate in one extracurricular is not a large demand. You’re still respecting his wish to not be involved in many activities.

Take an Outschool Class

Have you heard of Outschool? Kids up to age 18 can take online classes with other kids around the country, and in some cases, the world. Outschool offers hundreds of classes from academically-oriented ones like human anatomy to extracurriculars like drama, dance, art, and gymnastics. Your child can find a class based on her interests and interact with others from the safety of her home.

My kids love Outschool and take drama classes, join book clubs, and even take a few academic classes such as anatomy and physiology.

Make Online Friends

In older generations, kids had pen pals around the country. The modern equivalent to that is virtual friends. I belong to a virtual homeschool Facebook group, and parents are always asking if there are kids interested in talking with their kids.

My 11-year-old daughter has found three friends this way. We live in Arizona, but her friends she met online live in South Carolina and New York. She talks to one of her friends multiple times a day over Facebook Messenger. Don’t rule out these types of connections for your child.

Final Thoughts

Not every child needs to socialize with others every day. Some children, especially those who are introverted, may not need as much interaction as their extroverted family members. If you have a homeschooled child who doesn’t want to socialize, try some of these strategies to help her to socialize in a way that feels comfortable to her.