It’s a valid concern; homeschooled teens and tweens need to socialize more than we do sometimes.
I used to joke that if it was left up to me, I would prefer to stay at home instead of ever going to a field trip. After being around other homeschool moms or families for a day at a fun field trip or homeschool event, I always felt very differently.
Homeschooled Teens Socialization
Then, I realized I should have worried more about socialization at the teen and tween years. It’s important to have your kids around other kids when they’re in the younger years;; it teaches your kids to not just focus on self. On the other hand, the teen and tween years have very different needs.
Now that two of my sons are grown, I know that my husband and I are their best friends. But my grown sons have best friends that came from outside of our family as it should be.
Homeschooled teens and tweens need friends outside their family. It’s essential and natural to a child’s development to have friends outside their family.
6 Benefits of Homeschooled Friends
Looking back I know that my kids received many benefits from having homeschooled friends.
Oh yes we have other friends that were not homeschooled, but being a close friend is different.
While we joke a lot about in our homeschool lifestyle, friends are especially important to teens and tween.
Look at 6 benefits of having friends:
- When my kids had a friend with our similar lifestyle it made homeschooling the norm;
- It taught my kids about what is true loyalty – it’s not blindly being loyal to a person who is deceptive to their parents and others around him;
- Finding friends with similar likes and hobbies as my kids encourages passionate lifelong learning;
- My kids learned how to listen to others and be interested in them – who wants to be around a person who talks about himself only or shows no interest in what others are doing;
- My sons learned how to be generous and share not just their things, but with their personal time; and
- Friendships helped them to avoid being lonely.
12 Ways Homeschooled Kids Socialize
One/ Host a LAN party.
I know, I too had to ask my kids what it was when they got invited. But it’s a gathering where a connection is made for multiple game playing. One friend had a router for connecting all of the kids’ games so they could play together.
Grab the pizza and the teens will have fun! The thing with this is that they can play the game and do just a bit of talking. It’s a great icebreaker. This is especially good if your teens or tweens are hesitant about being around others.
Kids love games and many ages can play together. Get one or two of your kids to make some brownies and have everyone bring a board game they like and let them enjoy.
Side note: At times I’ve had to set a minimum age for ones to attend just because I didn’t want them to feel too baby-ish. Most homeschooled teens are inclusive of younger kids so teens and tweens together had fun. But there were times they just older ones close to their age.
Three/ Movie night OR movie afternoon.
Depending on everyone’s schedule, my teens did a lot of movies in the early afternoon because it wasn’t crowded. You know as homeschoolers we’re ready to have fun a lot earlier than the public school schedule. After the movie and depending on the group’s budget, they may grab supper and continue visiting.
Going in the afternoon made for a longer period of time and they still were home at a decent hour. This matters if you have new drivers like I did and I no longer went with them.
Four/ Nature Hikes.
Depending on the weather, any time for a tween or teen is a good time for a hike. Barring absolute flooding, my boys were always up for something outside although I may not have been. Normally it doesn’t cost a lot either.
Five/ Escape Rooms.
If you don’t know what they are, I bet your tween and teens do. The first time my boys did one, they were hooked. But it’s a room that has clues (items) left in it and as a group you have to solve the riddles to get out of the room.
Some escape rooms are at libraries, others places are theme parks. Just google escape rooms near me. Again, it’s a great activity for a group to do as they work together to solve the riddles and mysteries to get out/escape the room. They’re timed, but depending on the room it’s normally like a few hours.
Six/ Ballroom dance group just for homeschoolers.
Although my boys were NOT aboard when I formed the dance class, they needed an extra half credit for fine arts. This was my solution. I would have never guessed that they would have loved it as much as they did all the while telling me they were NOT doing it.
We got other boys and girls to make couples and met up once a week. All the teens had a great time. It matters too who are the instructors. We had young and hip instructors and all the group were homeschoolers. My boys have great memories from this once a week meet up.
Seven/Skating (Ice or Roller).
Whether you decide to rent out the ice skating rink or rolling rink or just skate at the park, the kids love it. One group I know said to bring mini wheels and some brought skateboards too.
Eight/ Laser tag.
My boys all loved laser tag. We always met at games rooms so that the kids could have a variety of things to choose from.
Bowing is another great way for kids to have fun and talk. The more the merrier is best. My boys loved doing this because they could actually talk with their friends instead of just being in a movie and not really having time to visit.
My boys also loved theatre. It’s a great way to be around other adults. One year we actually put on a performance of Shakespeare at our co-op. So whether you have a theatre night in your homeschool group or go see a play, kids love it.
Eleven/Form a 4-H Club.
Ask your local 4-H office how to set up a club, but they’re fairly easy. We were part of one for enrichment and electives. Each month the kids would decide if they would learn photography together or sewing.
Twelve/ Park days are still cool.
Tweens and teens don’t mind meeting up at the park too. Normally it’s never too crowded during the day unless the public school had a field trip planned that day.
That has happened plenty of times to us. But the kids just visit with each other and enjoy their lunch.
As parents we would bring our curriculum to show each other for the new year and the tweens and teens would bring their games or music. They loved just hanging out with each other.
I remember one time looking over at the huge group because they had a huge roar of laughter. They were arm wrestling. I’m telling you, just provide a place that is fun and they’ll talk and make friends.
There is NO shortage for homeschooled tweens and teens to socialize. These are just the EASY ways I listed for you. Most of these things don’t require much time to host or get together.
What things does your homeschooled tween or teen like to do with other tweens and kids?
You’ll loves these other tips and articles:
- Socialization – A Homeschool Hallucination?
- Homeschool Hangouts & Socialization Situations
- 100 Ways to Silence the Homeschool Naysayers (Maybe!)
- How Do I Socialize My Homeschooled Kids? Are We Really Talking About this AGAIN?
- A to Z List: Middle and High School Homeschool Electives
- Foolproof Tips To Homeschool Friends Co-oping (And Staying Friends)
Hugs and love ya,