One of the most common questions families ask when considering online school is “How will my student develop social skills?” Experienced online school families tell us that it’s really not an issue. Instead of socializing with the same 30 or more classmates each day in a traditional school, online school parents can create a socialization plan that is tailored to their child’s interests and needs.
Let’s face it: For some kids, having socialization linked with education can be problematic. The social butterfly might focus more on friends than on learning. Extremely shy or introverted children may find peers so intimidating that they don’t ask questions or participate in class discussions.
Once you realize that school and socialization are no longer linked, you do need to do some planning to ensure your online school student has opportunities to make friends and build social skills. But Connections Academy® families assure us that there are lots of fun and rewarding ways to do this. The suggestions we gathered can help you start your planning!
Making Friends at Online School
I have created a Facebook group for local Connections Academy and homeschool families so we get together for events.”
We plan to connect with classmates and attend field trips.”
– Amber C.
This is our first year. We will be taking part in field trips and joining clubs to socialize and make friends.”
– Monique Z.
My son is very excited about the extracurricular activities through Connections Academy. He is looking forward to community events where he can meet peers face to face!”
– Kelly D.
Making Community Connections
Some local libraries are great places to meet people. Our local library has some activities that allow parents and children to mingle: book club, group painting, guest speakers, etc. Some events are age specific and others are for all ages.
We live in a rural area, so it always takes some effort to ‘meet’ people.”
– Sharron E.
We participate in 4H activities and in children and youth group activities at church! My boys have plenty of socialization.”
– Regina S.
Our family does activities at the local library, parks, wildlife refuges, church, community events, and Scouts!”
– Amber W.
Making Friends While Exercising
This is our first year, but we do have some plans in place to continue with sports outside of school in order to make connections.”
– Jennifer C.
We joined a local karate class.”
– Wendy R.
Sometimes we go to open swim nights at the high school with people of various ages. And the town closest to us has a group that meets every week to walk on the ‘rails to trails’ paths. People can also volunteer to work on maintaining the trails.”
– Sharron E.
We go to kids’ club at the Y. We are able to interact with kids our age and exercise.”
– Daniela P.
Stay Connected to Local Schools
Go to local events like picnics and sports events for the local school.”
– Claudia W.
“We go to recess at my daughter’s old school across the street so she sees her friends from her grade.”
– Elisa K.
Working Together to Serve Others
“Volunteer work is a great way to meet others in the community. It forms a great foundation for friendship because you are helping to make a difference together.”
– Cynthia S.
“I recommend church youth group, YMCA sports, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.”
– Rachel K.
“I would volunteer at soup kitchens and humane shelters. Always ask if you can help another person.”
– Charmane S.
“Volunteer at local animal shelters . . . you can meet other volunteers and also a new furry friend.”
– Lori B.
“Start volunteering at local nursing homes.”
– Jennifer C.
“Our family already volunteers with Girl Scouts teaching archery, and we volunteer to work with smaller children at church. We volunteer with Project Lifesaver to help train firemen and police officers on how to work the tracking devices for autistic and Alzheimer patients. We also help with delivery days at the local food pantry.”
– Wendy R.
With a bit of planning and creativity, online school parents can create a custom socialization plan that ensures each child has opportunities to form friendships, develop social skills, and have fun!
To learn how your child can enjoy the benefits of personalized online learning, visit the website for Connections Academy online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit Pearson Online Academy ’s website.