The world is your classroom. Don't just teach at home. This is my number one rule as a homeschool teacher. Keeping my kids in public often has been the best method of keeping them social, hands-down. The kids and I learn in many different places. Parks, museums, the grocery store, the library, the post office, and so many more places in your city can all be your classroom. This enhances social skills, as well as helps provide a very diverse and well-rounded learning experience. Many homeschoolers follow this mantra. For this reason and others, some homeschooled tweens may actually have a more balanced daily social life than those in traditional schools.
Attend community events and other social gatherings. Most communities will have something going on just about every day. Also, remember that family gatherings provide great social experiences as well. Attend as many family and friend hosted gatherings as possible. If no one is hosting events, throw your own and invite as many people as you can handle. Look in newspapers, school listings, community bulletins and websites, and more to keep up with what's going o in your area. Attend as many of these gatherings as you can. Like the 'world is your classroom' mantra, this is much the same, as far as providing a well-rounded social atmosphere for your homeschooled tween.
Involve your homeschooled tween in sports. Athletics can be a great way for your tween to meet some new peers who have similar interests. Organizations like the Boys and Girls clubs and YMCA offer sports programs for tweens who are both homeschooled and in traditional schools. Your tween may be able to join sports teams from schools in the area, depending on your state's regulations and those of the school district. There are also leagues just for homeschoolers, church leagues, and other local leagues that anyone can join. Allow your tween to choose the sport that interests them the most.
Join a homeschool group. Most areas have groups and organizations created just for homeschoolers. Some involve sharing teaching duties, others may involve field trips and gatherings, and some may be a combination of both. Do your research and be sure to look for one that not only fits your preferred option, but also fits your educational style. Many homeschooled groups are geared toward a specific method or religion. For instance, you may find an unschooling group, a Christian Montessori group, an eclectic group, and more. It's important to know what a group is about before you join to avoid disagreements or heartbreak later down the road.
Invite your tween's friends over regularly. Just like any other tween, homeschooled tweens want to hang out with friends and relatives of their age group. Invite friends over whenever possible to help keep your homeschooled tween socially active. Slumber parties, friend fun days, and cookouts are also a good idea (when you can handle it) because this creates a larger social setting.
Keeping homeschooled tweens social is really about finding a variety of social and public activities to keep your tween busy with. Because homeschool is so versatile, it's actually quite simple to keep homeschooled tweens social. With some styles of homeschooling, it may just come naturally.