4. Real-world Socialization
Wait—homeschooling and socialization go together? YEAH, they do! Along with offering flexible ways to equip students academically, homeschooling is also an open opportunity to equip students interpersonally. Why? Because rather than conditioning kids to interact mainly with same-age peers, homeschool lifestyles definitively integrate interactions across multiple age levels. There’s still plenty of room for peers, but within a wider social landscape.
For example, along with peer-based activities like homeschool gym class, field trips, play days and art club, my own homeschool experience also included regularly volunteering with seniors, visiting hospital patients, teaching art to younger kids, or connecting with a godly older mentor from the field I wanted to study.
By the time I reached college, homeschooling had well conditioned me to benefit from non-peer interactions, whether with professors, mentors, pastors, landlords, or adult church members.
This kind of multigenerational socialization is especially essential for two reasons. First, building relationships with non-peers gives students a valuable foundation for interactions in the “real world,” where workplaces, churches and communities probably aren’t—or arguably, shouldn’t be—composed of entirely same-age peers. Second, cross-generational relationship is foundational to cross-generational mentorship.
And after graduation, as I travelled interviewing Christians students in 17 countries about what helped them keep their faith at university, I discovered just how critical cross-generational mentorship is. In fact, across all the cultures I visited, godly older mentors turned out to be among the most important assets a Christian young person can have.
How to equip yourself:
Actively cultivate cross-generational relationships throughout your homeschool lifestyle! If you’re a parent, you can develop a family culture that loves meeting, serving, befriending and learning from younger kids or older adults. If you’re a student, look for ways to interact with people outside your own age group. Find godly older adults and ask them what they’ve learned about walking with God. Bring them your tough questions. Let them pray with you. Ally yourself with the multigenerational Body of Christ!
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