The REAL Problem with Socialization

It’s the inevitable question every homeschooler will be asked. “What are you going to do about socialization?” It’s a common myth that homeschoolers are weird and unsocialized.

I'm not talking about the myth and the misconception about socialization. I'm talking about a REAL problem with socialization.




Let’s face it some people are socially awkward. No matter what educational setting they choose.

But, I’m not talking about the myth and the misconception about socialization. I’m not talking about being socially awkward. I’m talking about a real problem that we need to recognize. It’s just between us homeschool friends. We have a REAL problem with socialization.

The REAL Problem with Socialization

Socialization is hard. There I said it.

Socialization doesn’t come easily for many of us. But we all struggle with loneliness at times.

This is not a special problem for us because we’re homeschoolers. It’s a problem because we’re human beings. With a heart that longs for connection.

I think connection is so important that it’s the title of this blog. I see several common scenarios that leave us feeling disconnected. (Read more about the purpose of this blog and how it came to be.)

#1: The “Right Fit”

Finding kids your kids get along with…and moms that you get along with.  And finding activities that interest you and your kids. The struggle is real.

For me, it seemed easier when the kids were younger. I could load them in the car with just about any activity. Going to the park, or a field trip, or a class. They were okay with it. But, when they got to be teens, the activity wasn’t nearly as important…as “who’s going to be there?”

You may have tried a variety of meet-ups: co-ops, support groups, and field trips. You start to feel like Goldilocks. This one’s too cliquish. That one’s too chaotic. Too big, too small, too loud, too quiet. Nothing fits right.

Finding a homeschool group the fits "right". The struggle is real!

#2 Labels and Buzzwords

We’re looking for those who are “like-minded” or “open-minded.” Unschoolers, Charlotte Mason, Classical homeschoolers. Christian, inclusive, or secular.

In some ways these labels can help define the group’s mindset. These terms can help us find a good fit. But, not always.

Maybe you don’t even want to try them, because they’re “those kind” of homeschoolers. You already know they’re not going to fit, before you even try. Even though they say they welcome anyone.

#3 Introverts, Depression and Chronical Illness/Special needs kids

Just getting out of the house can be exhausting. I feel ya. Some days are hard. Sometimes just getting out of bed or getting dressed is all some of us can manage.

Seems like it gets worse in the winter. Especially in January. The daylight hours are shorter…and it feels like a month of Mondays.

Maybe you signed up for an activity. The idea seemed good, but it turns out to be too much after all and you just drop out. It’s easy to convince yourself that no one missed you anyway.

#4 Conflicts

I always say, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered there will be conflict.” We should never be surprised by conflict. In the homeschooling community where we have lots of strong, independent-minded personalities–we’re bound to rub each other wrong. From time to time.

And when some conflicts bring out the mama-bear in us to protect our kids. It’s on! All over social media.

With CAPS LOCK ON.

May as well, burn the brige after that, because you’re never going back there.




#5 Trust Issues

I’ll admit I have more than my fair share of trust issues. I have baggage from previous hurts. Letting people into my “circle” is hard. Many of my closest friends have gone away or moved away. They’ve taken a piece of my heart with them. And I’m not even sure I have any heart left to give sometimes.

Maybe you have trust issues too. Maybe you’ve been hurt before. Maybe you’re new to the area…and this place and these people don’t feel like home. How can they…it’ll never be the same as your old homeschool friends.

It’s hard to trust again. It’s hard to give others the benefit of the doubt. Or give another chance after a conflict. It’s easier and safer to close yourself off.

So What’s the Solution?

The root cause of all of this disconnect is a fear of being vulnerable. Our culture suffers from low-grade disconnect. It’s not a unique condition of homeschoolers.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~Brene Brown, vulnerability researcher

Connection isn’t possible. Until we risk being vulnerable. And that’s why it’s so hard for us. Our entire culture is suffering from it.

Vulnerability is not the weakness we think it is. It’s at the core of difficult emotions like fear, shame and anxiety. But, it’s also the birthplace of joy, love, belonging, empathy, faith and creativity. Brene Brown explains in this Ted Talk.

So, the REAL problem with socialization is when we’re disconnected from each other. The solution is taking the risk to be vulnerable.

If you feel disconnected, let’s talk.
Tell me about it in the comments or email me privately.

Looking for a local support group?


About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I'm here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!

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