Ah, the age old question of homeschooling and socialization. There are many ways to address this concern (or not, if you aren’t concerned). In our state we are required to provide some sort of physical education. I think this is a great area to get in some healthy social interaction as well!
Are there other great ways? Sure, but you didn’t come here today to read a book, so we’ll keep it short.
1. Kids are engaged in healthy activities
Sticking kids in a room and calling it socialization isn’t the healthiest option out there. The best relationships are built on healthy common ground. What a great way to build that healthy interaction through exercise! Our bodies have rights upon us and we are required to care for this gift from Allah, so why not have fun with friends while we’re at it? Some sports require team effort and coordination – another important life skill!
2. Healthy level of competition
Each of us has to learn how to be a respectful winner, and a gracious loser. For some kids this is easier than others, and some coaches emphasize it more than others. Still, it is an area we can work on with our kids using sports as an experience to refine these important skills.
3. Repeated interaction with the same people
Where we live, there are many activities available for homeschoolers. We can visit the science museum for a class one day, go to the art museum for a tour another, and the library for a program the following week. All of these force us to interact with others, but how many people do we really get to know? When we are involved in a sport, we are normally interacting with the same group of people week after week. We’ll encounter some people we really enjoy, and some we don’t. Such is life, and yet another important skill.
4. Interaction with various ages
Most sports are either divided into skill level, or age range, but typically not exact birth year. Even if the age range is three years, kids will tend to find someone to look to as a mentor, and have others look to them as a mentor. This exchange is healthy both for self esteem and development, but also responsibility! As we get older, we don’t keep friends that are only our specific age, so grouping kids in such a specific way is artificial to how we interact as adults.
5. Respect authority
It’s good to have someone other than mom and dad as a person of authority. Coaches are normally respected right away by kids given their position as the instructor for improvement. Respecting authority is very important, and in our society I would argue it is slipping away all too fast. I’ve witnessed many in my team while I was supervising that did not know how to treat someone as an authority with respect; everyone was simply their friend and nothing more. Bringing kids to an activity where they need to learn from an experienced individual or team allows them to have role models at a young age and grow a respect for someone other than mom and dad.
No matter whether your kids are involved in community education sports for fun, or compete on a national level, there are many benefits to their involvement in sports! How have sports impacted your lives, or your kids lives?