Mythbusters: The Teenage Homeschooler’s Social Life/
Mythbusters: The Teenage Homeschooler’s Social Life
Contrary to popular belief, the homeschooled teenager has “a life!” In fact, most homeschooled high schoolers have so many options for activities in their high school years that they have to choose among them. Since, so many non-homeschoolers think that homeschooled teenagers lack the “awesome” socialization that they are receiving at their public schools we’d like to take a moment to help “bust” this myth and others like it!
1) Myth: Homeschoolers don’t get to participate in high school type athletic events.
This is definitely an outright myth. Homeschoolers often get the opportunity to participate in public high school events (if they want to), but they also have opportunities to participate in their home school events as well. Many high schools have now opened their athletic departments to homeschooled students. This makes it easy for homeschoolers to have the same athletic opportunities. Yet, most high school homeschoolers are involved in local co-op organizations. These homeschool co-op organizations will often hold fun high school events similar to the ones held at public schools. There are many co-op athletic teams that are able to participate against public athletic teams, and thus “Homecoming” events as well as “Prom” are more than possible.
2) Myth: Homeschooling will make my teenager unsocial.
Ahhh, yes another very sad myth. Typically, if a teenager was very social in “regular” school, then once they enter home school they will still be social. Just because a child is homeschooled doesn’t change how they interact with other people. In fact, many homeschoolers that have made the transition from public high school to homeschool during their high school years, continue to remain friends with those that still attend public school. Friends are friends independent of where one attends classes. The up-side of this is that homeschoolers get to choose those that they socialize with. This eliminates requiring students to socialize with all students of their age/grade. This inevitably allows them to avoid bullies, drugs, and other degrading influences during this very impressionable time of life. Although many non-homeschoolers see this as restricting, homeschoolers realize it for what it is – freeing!
3) Myth: My homeschooler won’t be able to participate in “rite of passage” events like typical high schoolers.
This myth is wildly proliferated. However, participation in “rite of passage” events simply depends on your teenagers’ choice to participate. If they want to take a senior trip, they can plan a trip specifically tailored to their own individual tastes. There have been several homeschoolers that have planned a complete European tour for their homeschool senior trip. From most teenagers’ point of view this is way better than having to cater to the whims of hundreds of other peer’s wishes. Not to mention that most homeschoolers participate in homeschool co-ops (cooperatives) and these often organize all of the same high school events that would occur at a large school.
Senior shirts, class rings, and Senior day are just a few additional examples of the opportunity for individuality that homeschooling presents – students can have more influence on how they want these events to happen in their lives. Homeschool groups usually take the time to get their Seniors involved in many of these special events! In the opinion of the high schooled students that were interviewed, choosing class rings as a homeschooler is “awesome!” Again, the opportunity for individual tastes and expression can be manifested in ordering your own class ring that fits your home school experience.
As you can see, the homeschooled high schooler has every opportunity to particpate in typical high school events and even ones similar to those held at public schools. Homeschool support groups are often invaluable to homeschoolers, and co-ops are widely available across the country. These groups are helpful in making a safe and welcoming place for the homeschooled teen. These groups support the parents in making transitions as well as helping in teaching areas in which some parents are uncomfortable. Homeschool groups are usually very helpful in providing a social base from which highschooled homeschoolers can broaden their social horizons and still have all the “traditional” high school experiences that many find important.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been an education professor for over 17 years. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 9-15) in a sweet tea sippin’, wrap around porch sittin’, sweet southern Georgia town. Jamie is also a contributing author at Online Education for Kids and MomSCHOOL