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I've been lurking around here for a few weeks now and thought since you all seem so nice and supportive, I would come ask a few questions.
We're considering homeschooling our daughter. My DH isn't sure he's comfortable sending her to the public schools here and almost all the private schools in our area (that we could afford) are religious, which we are not. My DH and I are both eager to learn more about homeschooling, are liking how flexible the day/school year can be, how we can tailor her education to meet her needs, etc.
My biggest concern is the typical one - socialization. We are not planning on anymore children, so our daughter will be an only child. Like I mentioned, we're not religious so we don't belong to a church community. We have enrolled her in a dance class in the past, and are planning to continue that as well as gymnastics or any other activity she becomes interested in as she gets older. We also hope to encourage some volunteer experience as she gets older as well. I hope she'll make friends in these types of situations; I just worry that I would do a disservice to her by keeping her at home with me. She's already on the shy side and doesn't like to share.
I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, experiences with this aspect of homeschooling. Are there other social situations I can expose her to that I'm just not aware of? While I want to give her the best education I can, I also don't want her to feel too lonely, ya know? Thanks so much for anything you can share.
"Socialization" doesn't mean learning to sit in a room all day every day with kids whose birthdays coincidentally fall within 1 year of your own or learning how to stand in line, and it doesn't take 13 years to learn those things. It means learning how to communicate with others on many different levels. Homeschoolers learn to communicate with a wide variety of people. For example, my son is in a homeschool bowling league right now for kids aged 3 to 18, and it meets at the same time as the retirement community's league. He talks to old people all the time and has no problem doing so. His best friends all range in age from 4 to 7, and although he has several friends who are girls, he gravitates toward boys just like any 5 year old boy would. They talk about all the typical stuff boys talk about ... Star Wars, the latest Lego mini-figure they've acquired, killing bugs with a stick, etc. Not weird at all.
You can join homeschool groups in your area (secular or all-inclusive), attend co-op classes, attend classes at a science center or rec center, attend special events at museums, and things like that. Some libraries (like ours) have storytimes for children up to age TWELVE, not just age 4. You can find art classes, drama clubs, chess clubs, lego clubs, summer camps, etc. You can go to a public place during normal school hours, look around to see if there are any kids who are obviously school-aged, and talk to their parents, because they're probably homeschoolers. There are a zillion ways to find friends, and once she finds a few that she really likes, you can have them over for playdates more often than the common ground in which you first met.
She can still have neighborhood friends who are public schoolers, too.
She would probably get better socialization at her dance and/or sports than she would in a brick & mortar school. She would automatically have at least one thing in common with the other kids. Also, taking her to the park would give her playing socialization. Some areas have homeschool gym in some areas, facebook has localized homeschool groups on there that sets up field trips, and so on...
If that's your only con in the con list, I'd say give it a try.
We have a lot of social time built into our week. She does German dancing on Tuesday nights, Wednesday is gymnastics and Thursday is park day/co-op. We also have playdates several times a week with friends. I have found that we have a lot more time for playing/hanging out with friends because our schedule is flexible and we don't have homework or busy after school schedules because we do a lot of classes during the day that public school kids do after school/on weekends.
I also plan to look into some classes through the park & rec - that's a great way to meet kids who have similar interests.
Alison - Mom to: Augustus (2) Maximus (3) Eleanor (5) Reid (6) Evelyn (8) Lucas (12) Christopher (14)
Thanks so much for those links. I really do love the idea of my daughter being able to interact with people of all ages through various experiences and outings. I was always one of those kids who preferred hanging out with the adults!
My DH has also said that by being in dance or sports or whatever, she would have that common interest with other kids that could lead to friendship.
I suppose I simply needed a little reassurance. The more I read up on everything, the more I am loving the thought of homeschooling. I really appreciate your input!
My son is and always will be an only child and we are not religious. He plays outside with the neighborhood kids from 3-7 every night. He has opportunities to do community art class, cooking and dance for low cost or free. He can participate in lego league, boys book and chess club through the library. The ymca has sports, and karate if he chooses. There's a science club, band and co-op that are inclusive meaning they let us join. There's community sports as well as boy scouts he's allowed to partake in. Community plays are also an option but he is to busy playing with his friends to join any other activities currently. He joins the co-op on field trips and projects but not for classes this last semester. I feel he has far more opportunity to make friends without a time crunch than he would if he was in public school.
If you have any local museums or Zoos a lot of them have classes also.
Honestly, my kids likely get the least amount of "socialization" going by the definition most have for the word, lol. They are what most would consider the "hermit type". Even though in reality they *aren't, most people would call them that.
We have one little boy next door they can play with. Other than that, there aren't very many children that live anywhere near us, except for a couple that I do NOT want my kids around-for many reasons.
They don't participate in any local activities because they're all way too expensive. The library only does preschool and under activities. Anything for kids in K and up is just beyond rediculous pricewise. There's a local arts center literally around the corner from us. I would love to enroll the kids in it but ALL of their activities require at least $30 per kid, per activity(this is the min. for a one time only activity) and up to well over $300-$400 for the longer activities. It's absolutely nuts. Very few families that actually *live in the area can participate in anything here because no one can afford it. Even the cub scouts wanted money for nearly everything and weren't willing to budge at all. I know not all dens are like this though. I don't know what their problem was they only had a few boys to begin with and after seeing the costs they lost three more this past fall(including Leo). I'm looking at ways to possibly get Leo into another den down the road sometime when I have better transportation and the ability to be there with him. None of the local dens will take in a boy who doesn't have a parent with them at all times-I really hate that, it's not reasonable at all. In the church I grew up in(though not active anymore) they took any and all boys/young men who wanted to join, friends were welcome and the scouts program was amazing. It's not like that here
Right now though my transportation is sketchy at best. I don't drive, don't even have a license and probably never will. There's no public transportation here either, and I hate it. Where we used to live we had the bus and it was awesome.
We have a situation that tends to fall out of the realm of "typical".
That said, my kids get plenty of socialization, even more than their ps peers in most cases. Part of that is because even as babies/toddlers they've always gone everywhere with me, I'm just odd like that. Very common misconception that children need "friends" their own age for this. Socialization is more about teaching children how to behave/act/present themselves in public situations and out in the world, beyond the confines of their own home. Even when they were in school they never saw any of their school "friends" outside of school. Many kids these days don't. Had they remained in that school they'd see even less of them because ALL of the k-6 kids in the district(approx. 7 elementary and 1 intermediate schools' worth) would be in one campus setting. They intend to split children up to better "mingle" them. So they would have been with a ton of children they've never met before, hundreds and hundreds of them. With less teachers on staff, and more children for those less teachers to be responsible for...it's bound to do more harm than good, imo.