It’s the most legendary question that homeschoolers get asked.

I remember being a kid and my parents getting asked, as a first reaction, from everyone they met who had yet to understand this radical new way to educate children. (In front of me, no less, as if they could see through my eyes a profound lack of socialization.)

(Then again maybe it was not my eyes but my overly bushy eyebrows. Thank goodness for tweezer school.)

25+ years later, homeschooling is legit mainstream and even downright trendy, but I, now a homeschool mom, still get asked this question. Regularly. It’s as if some people are convinced that the only place children can possibly experience socialization is within the confines of an education facility, that place that they’re required to spend a good amount of time quietly at their desks. Most people aren’t quite as angry about the issue as the commenter I mentioned yesterday, thank goodness, it’s usually asked with more of a sense of bewilderment and confusion. But it is definitely still asked.

So, I present to you, one of the many ways the children get socialized.

We finish school by lunch nearly every day and often sooner, because homeschooling is, assuming there are willing students involved, dang efficient (might be the main reason I’m a homeschool partaker – so I don’t have to spend evenings doing homework in between dinner and bed. That’s right – I homeschool because I’m lazy.) As such, if it’s a pretty day, which is often the case in Alabama, we set out on an outdoor adventure to fill the rest of our school day – counting as PE, Science, often history, and sometimes even socialization.

I have a text group called “Homeschool Network O’ Last Minute Adventure*” that I try to remember to message before we head out. Sometimes it’s too last minute and no one can join us. Other times, we have multiple families join us, as was the case at Moss Rock Preserve last week.

We had a hiking baby,

Hiking kids-fresh-out-of-being-toddlers,


Baby again, totally photobombing,


Some seriously skewed boy/girl ratios,


(Ratios that Noah might have enjoyed quite a bit,)


And a giant.


Seriously does this picture not make Ali look like a female Fezzik? I mean it.

(Anybody want a peanut?)

They built pulleys to help them climb up forest hills,


Crowded into mystical rock holes,


Practiced their serious faces,

Their silly faces,

And brushed up on their photobombing skills.


They explored waterfalls,

Graffiti Enclaves like the hippest of hipsters,


Climbed rock facings,

Fished with sticks,


Had moments of quiet reflection,


And invented Splash Photography.



So, the answer is…adventuring together. This is how the children will get socialized.


* If you’re local and a homeschooler** and not a psychopath and want to be included in our Homeschooling Network O’ Last Minute Adventure, please do let me know. 

**You only have to be a homeschooler because we usually go during school hours. We’re not weirdos that only socialize with other homeschoolers.

26 thoughts on “But How Will They Be Socialized?

  1. I wish I lived closer too! Or somewhere other than a frozen tundra. I would consider homeschooling if we lived in a different area, where we can get out more. I have a bad case of cabin fever now, and I couldn’t imagine trying to educate two little ones on top of that!

    Does your church have a homeschooling group? Ours does and lets them use the gym and amphitheater for plays, etc.

    1. (Sorry for the late reply – my snow chasing got my schedule all wacky.)

      Yes – our church does have a homeschool group! It’s great, and there are lots of classes, educational groups, and activities in town as well.

  2. I went to “regular” school for all 12 years, and I think it might have actually made me ANTI-socialized. Pretty serious bullying in middle and high schools really took a toll on me, and made me much less outgoing than I had been when I was younger.

    Side note: Those girls might be barely out of toddlerhood, but they have already perfected the art of side-eye.

  3. Fun! I don’t get asked that very often. But maybe it’s because we live in a small town and homeschooling is pretty common and accepted…in fact I think the people who DON’T feel kind of guilty. At least several of our friends from church have indicated that they feel that way.

  4. Not only all you mentioned but also their neighborhood friends and all the church activities. Your kids are very socialized.

  5. Oh my word, I get asked the same thing all the time! To top it off, I am in the even weirder category of only having ONE child and homeschooling. People still ask me if I’m going to have more children even though my daughter is 13. So I usually tell them that I don’t like children, :-) I have to say that we have never had a lack of socialization, if anything we had to turn down activities! :-)

    1. Hey! Sorry for the late reply. Our snow chasing got my email answering all out of whack.

      Yes – we’re part of the cover school at our church – SMICA. We also have a preschool homeschooling support group – Premiers. It’s great for new homeschool moms or prospective homeschool moms. Let me know if you want more info!

  6. Didn’t finish my thoughts! My sister and I were homeschooled for 2 and a half years- I attended public school before that through 5th grade. My cousins lived in a bigger city and were part of a large homeschooling group, and my sister and I begged my Mom to homeschool us, too. We lived in a small town with practically no other homeschoolers, though. I went back to public school just so I could be in the band and have friends. With so many more opportunities outside of school for homeschoolers now, I don’t foresee socialization being an issue for my daughter. My husband and I have always agreed from the start that we want to homeschool our kids.

  7. I’ve been asked this question PUH-lenty of times during my long and illustrious career of “sorta-halfway-homeschooling” one kid for less than a year!

    I often wonder exactly what people mean when they say, “what about socialization?” Do they mean “social ACTIVITY?” Because as your pictures clearly (and beautifully) show, we get plenty of that…arguably more than conventionally schooled kids because, as you said, we finish our schoolwork and then we live life!

    Or do they mean the fancy-schmancy definition of socialization: “the act of adapting behavior to the norms of a culture or society?” (thanks, Google!) Because if they mean the latter and not the former, I’m not sure how much I want that! I’m much more interested in seeing my kiddos look like THEMSELVES than like whatever is considered the “norm” in a randomly selected collection of 20+ similarly aged children.

    To use another Princess Bride reference…

  8. We hear the same question. I think it is kind a funny now. We live in Birmingham as well. We would love to partake in some adventures one day. I have three girls (9, 5, 3).

  9. TANK TOP IN JANUARY??!! I am so jealous right now.
    And yes, we get that question too. How it is considered good socialization if kids are only comfortable interacting with kids their exact age?

  10. I find it really bizarre that people place such an emphasis on kids only socializing with other kids their same age. That’s what actually really “anti-socialization” about regular school. It’s not as if in the real world people ever only have to get along with people their own age. Homeschooling allows you to socialize the kids with a much broader range of people.

  11. I was homeschool up until the 6th grade and this question always makes me laugh. We had a homeschool group we were active in, we were involved in multiple church activities, we got together with friends…we were plenty “socialized”. Even though I now live halfway across the country, I have lifelong friends from my childhood.

  12. I was home schooled. I was never asked “how do you get socialization” when I was a kid. Now that I’m an adult it’s the second question people ask me when they find out. Because, seriously!, they can’t tell that I was homeschooled! I guess that means I didn’t turn out to be so radically different from everyone else. The first question is something like, “What? Really? You were home schooled?”

  13. We homeschool and we are military, so when my husband was deployed for a year we tried out the local public school (6th grade, middle school). I was volunteering at school one day when I overheard an exasperated teacher say to a group of girls in the hallway, “School is NOT the place to socialize!” Oh. my. goodness! I could hardly keep from laughing out loud!

  14. I don’t homeschool but can totally see the appeal. Sadly I doubt my patience level would tolerate a full school day each day with my kiddos. I try to stay highly involved in PTA so I can make sure our school has more interesting activities than just tests.
    My husband used to be judgmental of homeschoolers for their social skills because of a girl he knew as a teenager. But I’ve known kids who go to public school who are entirely backwards in their social skills too. It has taken a lot for my husband to recognize that homeschooling is not a bad thing, especially with all the co-ops and groups you can join.
    Bravo for staying strong and awesome for your kiddos!

  15. I wish I could take the plunge to quit working and homeschool our daughter! This post is a great example of one of the many ways homeschooled children have advantages over “regular” school children!

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