Homeschooling your child is a popular option for many families, especially so in recent times with current public health concerns. However, it’s important to keep in mind that homeschooled students may not receive the same amount of social interaction they normally would if attending regular school. Here are 5 ways to help your homeschooled student develop their social skills!
1. Involve them in extracurricular activities. Encourage your child to participate in group activities where they can interact with other kids that share common interests. Popular options involve team sports, dance classes, martial arts training, and other physical activities. Unfortunately, some of these options may not be available right now due to social distancing requirements. However, there are still many other clubs and activities that can be done remotely – online gaming, writing groups, book clubs, and more!
2. Consider pod learning. Pod learning seeks to address the issue of decreased social interaction in homeschooled students by placing students in small groups (known as pods) to learn and interact with one another. This can still be done remotely, and it’s an effective way to retain the benefits of homeschooled learning while also allowing kids to grow together and work with others. Pod learning also allows parents to choose the other students in their child’s pod and have the ability to select other families or neighbors they are already close with. To learn more about pod learning, check out our blog “Pod Tutoring Guide for Parents.”
3. Spend quality family time together. Most core social skills are introduced at home, and children that have strong relationships with their families are more likely to develop these valuable skills at an early age. Plan family outings where your children have a chance to explore their environments. Museums and libraries are wonderful options – but if those aren’t available due to health concerns, a nature retreat or a hiking trip is a great choice!
4. Ask them open ended questions. Always ask your kids open ended questions about their day, what they learned about, and how they’re feeling. Asking open ended questions encourages your child to think critically about their own emotions and formulate a response that conveys their thoughts and opinions. Most importantly, asking your children thought provoking questions shows them that you take an active interest in their daily lives. Finally, asking open ended questions creates a conversational starting point that can help children to develop valuable social skills.
5. Help them find a creative outlet. Social skills (and communication skills, for that matter) are not always verbal. Many people are best able to express themselves through creative or expressive means, like music or art. Parents can help their child to find a creative outlet that interests them and encourage them to pursue it. Having a creative outlet does wonders for building self-confidence and a sense of personal identity, all of which contribute to the development of positive social skills and mature thinking.