One of the major questions I get about homeschooling (even in my college interviews) is about my social life, or more pointedly, my ability to socialize. Before I go into that, let me tell you about my schooling experience so you can understand why I can speak so confidently about this topic. I have not been home schooled my whole life. I went to a private school from Pre-Kindergarten to the seventh grade. I attended public charter schools for eighth and eleventh grades. Therefore, the only school type I cannot speak on is boarding school which is not that different from home school.
With that in mind, I feel the meaning of “socialization” has been distorted by our society. When people ask me about my social life, I wonder what their definition of “socialization” is. Even though I am not around my peers all day, I am still socialized. I still have friends that I talk to and hang out with. What home school did for me socially was relieving the pressure of feeling the need to hang out or go do something with my peers all the time. It has empowered me to use the freedom of choice. In addition, I live in a community where I engage adults, children, and college students while still interacting with my peers. While there are home schoolers whose social lives are not that big, that is not always the case. During the ninth grade, my first year of home school, my social life was booming. I went to mall and movies with my friends, had sleepovers, and went to dances. It was wonderful, and guess what! I still do that now, just not as often.
When I entered the tenth grade, my social life with my peers essentially disappeared. It was not because I could not have one, I just did not have time for it anymore. My priorities shifted. Home school is not easy academically, at least in my experience. You are working all day, watching Teaching Company DVDs, doing your math lessons, taking extensive notes on every book you open. When you take it seriously, it is intense. Furthermore, I participated in activities that occupied my time during the week. As a result, I had to use my weekends to do work because I did things during school hours. For example, I volunteered at community organizations, I did horseback riding during the business day, I babysat for people in the mid-morning, as well as other things. As far as my social life with my peers was concerned, I still talked to people over the phone, I still hung out on the weekends, but it was not a priority like some people make it out to be. While I could spend my weekends with my friends and be fine academically, I chose not to. My job as a high school student is to do well in school, help out my family, and get into college.
If you have been home schooled your entire life or are a high school student who is not super popular, and believe that you are missing out on some cathartic experience by not having a huge social ‘peer’ life, think again. While I will admit I had some good times, it is not worth worrying about. What I found most important, as far as a social life is concerned, is having people around you that care about you and want to see you do well in life. If that means only having one or two good friends than that is far more powerful that 50 friends that could care less about what you do.
Well that is all I have to say about that. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Thanks!