100 Ways to Socialize Your Homeschooled Teen

Overview: Homeschool socialization doesn't have to be any more of a thing in high school than it is at any other age. Here are 100 ways to make it happen!

Someone corrected me about my wording recently. She defined “socialization” as “the process of learning to behave in a way that is acceptable to society.” So, she asserted, instead of discussing ways to “socialize” our teens, what we should really be talking about is ways to provide “social” activities for our teens.

She probably has a valid point.

But here’s mine in return: lotsa people use the word “socialization” as a negative buzzword when it comes to homeschooling. So whether we are aware of the correct definition of the term or are confusing it with just being social, I think we still must realize that the outside world needs to be educated on both.

Homeschool socialization becomes a worry again in high school, although it doesn't need to be. Here are 100 ideas for how to make it happen!

Socialization, or just being social?

What the concern seems to be is that teens won’t be socialized OR social if they are homeschooled. They won’t be socialized because they won’t have sufficient opportunities to practice being social — see what I did there? lol — so they won't learn how to behave acceptably with peers and others. Actually, they won’t be able to be social AT ALL, because they’ll be stuck at home all the time.

Either or both, really, is where the concern lies, so I don’t think we need to get too nitpicky about the term we’re using. The world outside of homeschooling just doesn’t understand either way, and we might buy into what they’re saying because we aren’t used to thinking about things any other way. My job here is to dispel the myths and give us practical ideas to work with. So let’s do that.

We all know — or if we don’t, then let me help, lol — that discussing whether homeschooled elementary or middle school kids are “socialized” is actually pretty silly. Kids at that age who are homeschooled are no less able to converse or interact than kids from brick-and-mortar schools. In fact, they usually have more opportunities to be social with people from all different stages of life, rather than being segregated into age groups. They also don’t have the negative influences that can often be found by being forced to spend time with kids who have difficulty with self-control or who are just plain not nice.

Yet even though we understand that about our younger kids, we can often think our teens need more social-ness (there, is that a decent compromise? lol) than they used to when they were smaller. And frankly, I think that might be true.

I personally believe that teens DO have a larger need (or maybe just a desire, but it’s a strong one) for relationships and interaction, especially with other teens. They want friendships. They want to get out of the house. They like activity. They get bored easily. They crave discussions with people their own age about movies, music, clothes, electronics, airsoft, whatever. Their younger siblings just don’t cut it for this purpose anymore. And the parents are just embarrassing, lol. They (WE) don’t know much these days, am I right? :-)

So what do we do about this? If we want to homeschool high school, we can be worried that our kids won’t get the socialization OR opportunities to be social that they need to be well-rounded individuals. We're concerned that if we don’t send them to school, they won’t learn how to interact with other teens, or to navigate boy-girl issues, or to find that one close friend like the one we used to have. (If we had one. Did you? I did not, and I turned out fairly ok. So why worry about it? Just sayin'…)

Related Reading: Opportunities My Teens are Missing Because We Homeschool High School

The good news is that this is a very fixable issue, one that we don't need to be overwhelmed about. If homeschooling high school is important to us, then we can find a way around this concern — and I'm here today to do just that! My job, as I see it, is to ease ALL the fears about homeschooling high school. This is one we can take care of pretty easily.

Homeschool socialization for high school – how to make it happen

One thing may be true, and that is that mom may need to put forth some effort to bring about homeschool socialization during the high school years. If the teen does not have enough naturally-occurring interaction with other teens, then mom may need to take some initiative.

Look around in your area for clubs, sports, volunteering opportunities, places to work, etc. that your teen might be interested in. Maybe facilitate something yourself, if you see a gap and are willing to fill it. Reach out to other moms of teens. Organize a group for skating or to go to a movie. Offer to drive your teen to where they want to go, if they are unable to get themselves there.

Related: How to Easily Start a Teen Homeschool Co-op

But don’t feel guilty if you can’t do everything. If facilitating is NOT your cup of tea, don’t feel like you have to. There is enough going on out there in this world for your teen to do that doesn’t run you ragged or take you too far outside your comfort zone. I live very rurally, and I’m a fairly lazy person — and if I can give my kids social opportunities, then so can just about anyone!

Sometimes we do have to evaluate if our comfort zone needs adjusting; for instance, I do have to be willing to drive an hour each way to co-op once a week, when I would of course rather only drive much less. But other times we can legitimately say no and look for something that fits the needs of ALL of us better.

What are some possibilities for the types of homeschool socialization — or social — activities that your teen might enjoy? Well, I might just have a few ideas. *sly grin* *like a Grinch grin* *except GOOD ideas, not wonderful, awful ones*

100 Socialization/Social Activities for Homeschooled Teens

I asked the members of my Facebook group, It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School, to list what their kids do for socialization/social activities. Surely there is something on this list that would fit your kid, something that you can handle making it possible for them. Take a look:

  1. tech club, IT club, robotics, STEM challenges club
  2. local library events — gaming, teen advisory board
  3. team sports — all kinds!! Football, softball, soccer, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, etc. — even curling, roller derby, and water polo were mentioned. There are local homeschool teams, travel teams, or recreational leagues; in some states they can participate at the public school. Sports are basically everywhere in some way, shape, or form.
  4. individual sports — gymnastics, track, cross country, swimming, bowling, archery, fencing, surfing, power skating, tennis
  5. getting a job, whether only during the summer or part-time year-round
  6. church activities — youth group, worship choir/band, drama team, Awana, handbells, Royal Rangers, youth retreats, Bible quiz team, missions trip, Young Life, lunch after service (lol)
  7. summer camp — whether as an attendee or a counselor
  8. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Venture scouts (co-ed)
  9. roller skating, ice skating
  10. 4H, also dairy and livestock judging
  11. classes at the local craft store — art, cake decorating, sewing, knitting, crochet
  12. homeschool co-op classes and activities
  13. martial arts of all kinds
  14. dance — swing dance, ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom
  15. clubs built around a school subject — history, science, geography, math
  16. community theater — acting, stage hand, sound, lights
  17. clubs built around an interest — chess, books, writing, board games, Dungeons & Dragons, rock climbing, ukelele, Rubik's cube, welding
  18. activities built around shooting — airsoft wars, nerf battles, paint ball, laser tag, gun range
  19. dual enrollment
  20. yard or field games — kick the can, flag football, ghost in the graveyard, frisbee football, capture the flag
  21. recreational swimming at community pool or beach
  22. mini golf
  23. hosting a foreign exchange student or Fresh Air Fund kid
  24. fall fest, hayride
  25. group texting, Skype, Google hangouts
  26. teen events at homeschool conference
  27. political activism
  28. dog training (including service dogs), dog showing
  29. bingo
  30. working the family business
  31. X-box live, online video games
  32. homeschool prom
  33. leadership programs — Toastmasters, Teen Pact, Kiwanis Key Club, Beta Club, Patriot Academy, Trail Life USA,
  34. 5K runs
  35. study groups
  36. mock trial, speech and debate
  37. community education classes — Spanish, photography, sign language
  38. field trips
  39. park days
  40. Science Olympiad
  41. escape room
  42. bonfire
  43. going to a movie
  44. meeting for ice cream or coffee
  45. yardwork party
  46. car wash
  47. U-pick apples, berries
  48. going to a museum, aquarium, historical site
  49. star gazing, comet watching
  50. hanging out at the mall, shopping
  51. science labs for school
  52. classes at the zoo
  53. Civil War reenacting
  54. boating clubs — rowing, sailing
  55. group travel
  56. participating in parades
  57. carpooling
  58. horseback riding lessons, equestrian team
  59. gym membership, exercise classes, yoga
  60. career night
  61. National League of Junior Cotillions
  62. going to a video game arcade
  63. making and selling a product
  64. “extreme” sports — indoor sky diving, parkour
  65. hosting a food-based activity — ice cream social, potluck dinner, chili cook-off, tea party, progressive dinner, mystery dinner, make-your-own pizza, Christmas cookie baking/exchange, picnic
  66. jumping at the local trampoline center
  67. ziplining
  68. fishing
  69. biking, mountain biking
  70. vegetable gardening
  71. geocaching
  72. scavenger hunt
  73. hiking, wild edible foraging (just be sure they know what they're looking for! Yikes!)
  74. river stomping — I'm not sure what this is, but it sounds fun, lol.
  75. sleepovers
  76. music lessons — piano, violin, guitar, voice, drums, basically any instrument you can think of
  77. community youth music groups — orchestra, band, choir
  78. making videos
  79. American Heritage Girls
  80. YMCA — classes, sports, whatever else
  81. Department of Conservation youth activities, nature/environmental progam at local farm
  82. teen military clubs — Sea Cadets, Civil Air Patrol
  83. Police Explorers, Fire Explorers
  84. being a penpal
  85. volunteer work — library, humane shelter, soup kitchen, food bank, senior center, crisis pregnancy center, Sunday School/VBS, Ronald McDonald House, wildlife refuge, petting zoo, babysitting for women's event, post office, fire station, community service projects
  86. camps based on a particular interest — space camp, art camp, music camp, sports camp
  87.  inviting another family over for board games, card games, lunch, dinner, a movie — whatever!
  88. acting lessons
  89. babysitting, pet sitting
  90. community youth Bible study
  91. cheerleading
  92. meet to run, walk, or do an exercise video
  93. online classes
  94. attending a concert, sports event, musical, rodeo
  95. having a party — costume, birthday, halloween, Christmas, graduation, end-of-school-year
  96. crafting get-together — stamping, Christmas ornaments
  97. trick-or-treating, Christmas caroling, Easter egg hunt
  98. phone texting, social media
  99. snowboarding, skiing, sledding, snowball fights
  100. just hanging out! Not to be overlooked, lol.

Phew! And there you have it, 100 ways for your teen to spend time with other teens, or at least with people outside their own family. They will get socialized AND be social, lol! AND you can count many of these for credit! How about that? Woot!

Related Reading: Planning High School Electives for Your Homeschool

Homeschool socialization doesn't have to be any more of a thing in high school than it does at any other age. It may take a little more thought and effort to make it happen, but with all of these ideas to work with, don't let that worry you! Pick one or two and see if they pan out. If not, there are plenty more to choose from!

P.S. This post is actually an excerpt from my new book, which will (hopefully) be out in early 2019! Stay tuned! If you don't want to miss it, subscribe to my emails by grabbing the 100 Ways to Encourage Your Teen in the right sidebar. Then you'll be one of the first to know when the book is ready! UPDATE: It's published! See it here: Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School – Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation.

It's Not That Hard to Homeschool

1 thought on “100 Ways to Socialize Your Homeschooled Teen”

  1. Hello! I was wondering what you meant by the “something that fits the needs of ALL of us better” part :)

    Do you mean it as letting them drive to their co-op by themselves or just flat out refusing them to go?. You mentioned that you live in a rural area, so how did you deal when your kids wanted to do unstructured activities with their peers?


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