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How much? How often?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm expecting to take my son out of his two-morning per week pre-K program, and I want to make sure that I have a few other activities lined up as he has become accustomed to going out to see other children, and I also expect that he will miss the easy-access to his agemates. I've also read to expect this - that he'll miss the easiness of having little people to play with.

I've read a lot about homeschooling and socialization, and have been very reassured that socialization, rather than a problem, may be a primary reason TO homeschool. I know that there's no one-size-fits-all tactic, but I was hoping that some of you would share a bit about how and when and generally how often your children are with other children - in play, classes, groups you organize, whatever it may be. Through all of the homeschooling testimonials I've read, I get mostly (good and helpful) information about approach, successes, effects, ... but not much about the actual rhythm of the child's week or month especially with regards to socialization.

Any and all sharing of your thoughts will be much appreciated!
Thank you,
post #2 of 8
I was in exactly the same position - I pulled dd out of a 3-morning-a-week preschool. dd is a social butterfly-type, so I knew I had to work really hard to make sure she had plenty of playtime. The first week was the hardest for all of us. One thing that helped was hiring an older neighbor girl to take dd to the playground two afternoons a week while I hung out with the baby. It really helped with the transition to being home all the time.

Our current schedule, after about 7 weeks of no preschool, looks like this: Mondays, home with mom, maybe playdate with a friend but nothing regular. Tuesdays, home with mom, again, possible playdate but who knows. Usually there is a playdate at least one of Mon or Tues. (home with mom might also mean a trip somewhere or the library or whatever but it means spending time with me not with friends). wed morning, always home with mom, afternoon violin lessons, sometimes playdate after violin lessons (around 3:30pm). thursday - usually playdate with friend, evening group violin lesson. friday - spend all day with friend while moms clean each other's houses (ala finding your tribe). also dance class with same friend that afternoon. if the playdate is with one of my good friends, it might last 4-6 hours, if it's with a more casual friend, it's usually around 2 hours.

we use a curriculum but we're unschoolers at heart which means at this age (5yo) play and real life are the main curriculum. next year we'll probably add brownies and maybe gymnastics, depending on $ and time.

does this help?
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Yes! Thanks, Erika. I appreciate you taking the time to share
this. I've noticed that it's not always easy for me to predict who
will match up for the best playdates. For example, we know two
girls, both of whom happen to be only children, who are super
playdates in that our children get along great and do well initiating play without much strife and rarely an argument. On the other hand, there are children who - because of the mix with my son, I suppose - exhaust me. I've also found that I'm so often the hostess but rarely receive invitations, especially with neighbors. I think many folks are just very busy, and also many people seem to feel that their child gets enough play time at school/daycare. In general, I've found homeschooling parents to put a lot of effort into social times for their children. Well, we have to. Thank you, again! Your time with your daughter sounds wonderful.
post #4 of 8
My kids are three and five.

Mondays -- home

Tuesday -- homeschooling group -- park day that last about 4 hours

Wednesday -- pottery class through Parks and Rec (play with kids afterwards)

Thursday -- library story time

Friday -- dance class through Parks and Rec (play with kids afterwards)

We are having trouble with playdates right now because we recently moved to a new city and the few friends we have here are very busy. Our schedule seems to be just right for my 5 year old, and a little overwhelming for my 3 year old. She loves all the activities, but I think that they add up to just being more than she is ready for right now. We are going to drop story time for a while and see if it gets better. (She is falling apart over little things that don't usually bother her).

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Linda. It's good to read about your weeks with your girls. Where I live - in Northern Colorado - most park&rec classes stop at age 3 because of funding, I've been told when I asked. But, we do have a Parent-Child Mud class that we took and enjoyed. One thing I like a lot about rec center classes is that we've met a more rounded set of people that way - from different economic levels especially. We haven't really met people to have playdates with, as it seems most of the children we've clicked with are very scheduled. But, I know we will.

We have a similar situation in our home with our son (4 1/2) crying over what seems to be to be little things. I've sort of pulled back from activities a bit, and we've slowed down at home. (Meaning mostly that we go out in the car in the mornings or afternoons but almost never after dinner. Both of our boys just need time playing and especially rough-housing with their Daddy right now.)

Thank you!
post #6 of 8
We are also unschoolers "at heart" (which means that is the driving philosophy and practice BUT we do some paperwork and "assigned" stuff, mostly math, spelling, writing. But it is by demand of the learner, so imo, it is still unschooling
Today, for example;
my son got into magnets, and we got out his science encyclopedia and read together about them for a while. He drew in his sketch book for a bit, then we went to the thrift store. He explored the place, and went home with a copy of "A Light in the Attic", which he has been reading all afternoon(and is now, aloud, whether we are interested or not, lol!)
Yesterday, we did some multiplication work, read together and alone, went the park for a few hrs and played in the rocks(and encountered many insects and "sticky stuff all over the slides and rocks") This morning, the paper carried an article which answered our questions(what kind of insects are theses? What is all this sticky stuff? (I had suggested that it was some type of "discharge" from insects in the trees, which it was, as it turned out; Giant bark aphids).
We are waiting on our minivan to be repaired so we can make a trip downtown to the zoo/museum/etc. (usually at least 3 times a mth, either just us or with others)
Our schedule is really flexible. Some weeks, we don't "socialize" at all outside the family. Others, we have 2 or 3 excursions/get togethers. I actually initiated a hs group in my area with the goal of meeting others for social stuff; still getting going.
We had him in karate twice a wk at the Y(where I worked until 4 mths ago), and plan to enroll him in it privately this yr as he loves it).
Also, basketball via the Y last yr(possibly again this yr; must buy a membership, now
I am looking into acting classes/participation; our local theatre should offer such a program if they don't. I am going to find out about strarting such a program if it is not already available. The other options are so far away!
Rollerskating once a wk(sometimes with another hs friend, but honestly, they go on "Christian music night" and we'd rather not! But we compromise for their sake
IME, despite all this stuff, there tend to be gaps (like the holidays) when he gets antsy to do more/see others more. But he is pretty demanding in all respects, and requires a great deal of stimulation to feel "satisfied" as a rule! So I temper my "guilt" with realism, lol! (I have a 2 yr old, so that restricts us some, and wears me out some more
ITA that, as John Holt said, "If there were no other reason to keep your kids out of school, the socialization they receive there would be reason enough." Sorry, but most children I know in such settings are not the friends I would choose for my children; very trend/marketing driven, shallow, generally isolated from parents/family/themselves. JMO.
I do not believe that near constant "socialization" with peers is nec. or beneficial; in many cases, such segregated conditions result in pathological conditions (teasing, pecking order, bullying, peer pressure, etc). Whereas being able to interact with others of all ages is a wonderful thing not often cultivated in our institutional settings. A few days a week is plenty, imo and exp.
But we are often pushed to think otherwise. Kimberly, mom to Forest, 9 and Lily, 2 (BTW, IMO as a former preschool teacher for 10 yrs, 5 yrs old is WAY young to worry about either academics or socialization in any formal sense! Just take him with you and engage him/allow him to engage the world around him, incl. people of all ages. He will be more capable than most of interacting with those his own age and others!
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I like that quote from John Holt, Raven. Thank you! I'm reading "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" right now - super, I definitely recommend it! - and the author often quotes Holt.

I too am a bit hampered by a littler one. My 13 month-old has a compromised immune system, so we are careful to go to outside places or places where we can quickly escape anyone who is hacking unduly. I also have to be sensitive to his needs to nap, roam, and nurse (won't nurse in public, a shy guy).

Karate and your Y sound fun. I had looked into a Tae Kwon Do class and was impressed when we went to observe. But I didn't follow up. One thing I've realized is that the energy dealing with going to and fro school, preparing, working through issues, and supporting the teacher has made me so carefully guard our alone time. The result is that we haven't been getting out to park days or doing other regular activities. I've been remiss here, and I'm regretful.

I agree with you, personally, about not pushing socialization and academics. I know that I worry about the social stuff because I was so shy growing up - still am, I've just learned how to push myself to get out and connect with others and take risks. My son is much like me in disposition in some ways. About the academics - I would never push it, especially in his case. He pushes himself, and I'm often getting out messy projects or encouraging we go outside to get him away from his self-imposed work. He's taught himself to read and write. He writes books, poems, makes art stuff, and reads science encyclopedias. He designs buildings and machinery all the time. He's also super, super sensitive. I know homeschooling will be great for him academically - particularly a more unschooling, unit-focused way perhaps.

Another thing about social development I was sort of thinking about is that maybe it's a real advantage for boys to be homeschooled as the "boy dynamic" I see in most school settings is so powerful and aggressive and fierce that it pulls in gentler boys until they either succumb or shut down parts of themselves just to survive and be accepted. At pre-K, the boys play with each other as do the girls. The teacher says this happens in all classes she's observed. I like that homeschoolers tend to be less gender-geared. But, that's a whole new topic!

Thanks for responding!!!
post #8 of 8
IKWYM ! (in more ways than one
The year our son spent in school(1st grade, and only because I HAD to go back to work ft at the time), we had very little time/energy left to do much of anything as a family/outside of school. It was a constant strugle to get him up, ready, there, volunteer 2 days a wk in the class (as much as we enjoyed it), get home, do whatever "homework" stuff was required, get ready for bed, start over. VERY hectic and tended to squeeze out a lot of other stuff. Sometimes seemed almost intentional; fill their time to the point most if not all of their "education"/activity is school centered!
Also, I didn't like the ways he changed during that yr; became self conscious for the first time, more materialistic/trend driven, exposed to cilques and bullying, began to consider learning in any form "Hard" and "work", etc. And of course, by the time he got home, he was exhausted and/or wired, starving, etc.
It is a delicate balance, trying to provide enough activity/variety/interaction without sacrificing your life to "stimulating" them I pers. allow for a certain quantity of "bored" time(totally undirected/alone/figure out something to do); as a child(and as an adult) I benefited a great deal from such time, and so many today are just at a loss to fill such periods. Totally "other directed".
All in all, I find it a lot like schooling in one respect; some days, you feel really good about the day you/they had, and others, you feel guilty they are not "getting enough". It balanced out, imo.
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