I am not only a homeschooler, but a mother—and a mother of one and only, an active and social seven-year-old, who has never been to a school.

She is someone who is often in grown up company, due to the fact that she learns at home. It is an important priority and obligation of mine to ensure that my child gets to socialize with other children of her own age, too.

So what is a homeschooling mother to do in a challenged position like mine?

Firstly, I myself have no siblings. So I know not only what boredom is, but loneliness, too.

Secondly, I have an only child. So history could repeat itself. Only with my child, I am educated and aware of what she might be experiencing and am I informed enough through my own experience to be able to create pure bliss and excitement for her childhood path.

One thing is for certain: If you are in a similar situation with your child, you don’t need to sweat it. There are plenty ways to get these little feet running races and playing ‘touchers’ with friends.

Here are a couple of tips you can use to keep that element of homeschooling balanced and ensure your child has the opportunity to build long lasting friendships with other children:

1. Rely on family – surely there is a cousin somewhere not too far who you can call on for playdates on a weekend. There is nothing more fun than having family (even if it’s ‘far along’ family) whom you might not even know. Get their number, if you don’t already have it, and invite them over for a braai on weekends. Call on that Auntie Sally’s daughter whom you never met—you know, that one whose mother is your late grandmother’s sister—and get connected. It’s called relating: something which needs to be our primary focus in life anyway. Even if it means packing up and going to visit them for a weekend or vice versa. Just get connected!

2. Check out your neighborhood and get acquainted with the neighbors who have kids. Ensure you do so while your kids are with you, so that they can become acquainted with the neighbor’s kid’s at the same time. If your child starts playing with them, and they realize that they like each other, they will soon connect and request a playdate—without you even needing to say a word about it! And if you don’t fancy your neighbors too much, well, then do it for the sake of your children. You will be thankful for it one day when you realize that you raised a child who is able to communicate on all levels.

3. Meet up with a homeschooling social group for weekly playdates. Just about every town and city has one! Or organize and arrange one yourself. If you live on the outskirts of a town and fuel is a bit much for the distance required to drive to these gatherings, then make it a twice a month outing with the kids and budget for it. Or, get connected with groups in your area and invite everyone on the group around to a nearby destination. These kind of gatherings allow your children to connect with individuals, and soon they will have a ‘best’ homeschool buddy that they’ll want to invite over for ‘sleep overs’. You do not always have to attend the big gatherings either, but simply connect with the mother of the friend and arrange that the kids play whenever it is suitable for everyone.

If you are on Facebook, then you can request to join Let’s Play, which is run by a homeschooling mother, Taneal Horring, who spends her spare time arranging amazing socials for homeschooling children. You can contact her on 078 580 4114 and join her Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/338208951066968

You can also get in touch with us at the S.A Homeschool Beat and we can direct you to a social group in your area. Send us an e mail to  and we will get back to you.

4. If you live in an estate or security village, look no further! We decided to relocate (not for socializing reasons of course), but when we made the decision to relocate, we considered this factor at large when we chose to make the move. Estates usually have lovely and big open play parks and children for kids to connect with and relate to. This option allows your children to socialize, with little focus or attention on your behalf. The other joy of this option is that you are in a secure village. It allows children to still play ball and cycle in the streets. The residents of security villages know this and are generally careful drivers, and residents look out for one another and their children; if someone is speeding or putting children in danger, fellow residents will soon call on them to drive slowly and consider the children.

5. Enroll them for extramural or sports activities, where they can meet new friends and naturally connect with others.

6. If you live far out on a farm somewhere, ask your helper to bring his or her child along for a playdate “every so often.” This could open up the opportunity for your children to start learning an African language first hand. What a bonus!

7. Remember that we live in a society where it is expected for children to socialize every day, with many friends. But also, ask yourself this question: Is that necessary?

If you have a look at the history of schooling and parenting, this entire “social concept” only came about in recent years. In the olden days, the children would wake up, go and fetch the eggs out of the chicken den, then go and milk the cows with dad. The girls would need to clean the house and help the mother bake bread and get lunch ready. Playing rarely ever happened because the neighbor’s farm was far away. If the children were lucky enough to have a helper’s kid living on the farm, then they practically became siblings. No mass-socialization ever occurred.

Yes, we are humans, and humans are social beings. However, we certainly do not need to socialize every day of our lives. I certainly don’t, and I happen to be one of the biggest social butterflies around! Am I lonely, because I see my friends perhaps once a week or sometimes once every second week? No!

But when I do, it is bliss, and do I enjoy and appreciate every moment of it— and this coming straight out of the mouth of an “only-child-turned-adult! And my child happens to have the same attitude.

So get out there and get going. And of course, happy homeschooling!

Curious to know more about schooling and the history of education in the 1800s and beyond? Here are some resources!

https://curioushistorian.com/schools-in-the-1800s-insight-into-the-life-of-a-pioneer-school-teacher

https://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/how-school-was-different-in-the-1800s/

https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/amersfoort-legacy-history-education-south-africa

http://www.theheritageportal.co.za/notice/new-book-new-acropolis-first-hellenic-school-south-africa

https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/amersfoort-legacy-timeline-1658-present