socialization for homeschooler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 09-14-2010, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So how do you address the socialization part? I found an online charter program that I like very much however I am very concerned about him not getting enough socialization. DS is very personable and friendly and loves being around other kids his age.
The program offers monthly organized field trips but I am thinking that he needs interaction at least twice a week or more.
How do you engage your child socially? Do you have co-ops with other homeschool moms and organize activities with the kids?
I hope that I posted this ? on the right board. If not, please redirect me.
I appreciate any feedback you can offer.

Lindsey: wife to Noah, Mom to Ethan 5 and Jonathan 2,  Baby Boy #3 due May 2012, 7 angels

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#2 of 18 Old 09-14-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Well for my preschooler, we do library story times twice a week and play dates once a week, We also do the book club and other events at Giant Eagles Eagles Nest which they do about every 2 weeks. There are also other things at my older kids ps like a scarecrow festival, art show etc..

hth!

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#3 of 18 Old 09-14-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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moving to Learning at Home and Beyond

 
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#4 of 18 Old 09-14-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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In some areas, homeschoolers meet at the park once a week for a "parkday". Try doing an internet search for yahoo groups + homeschool + your town. That's how most homeschoolers find each other around here. My local group did not have an established parkday, unfortunately. I tried to start one up but that's hard when no one knows you and you only have one child. So I went to parkdays upward of an hour away for a year. Then, I tried starting a local one again without success. Next, I tried another neighboring group's parkday. Got tired of the drive and tried starting a local one again. By this time, I actually was starting to get to know people and the parkday took off. In addition, my ds formed one friend at one of the far away parkdays with whom we exchange visits. So, we have 2 solid things a week plus random monthly activities that we learned about through the yahoo groups..

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#5 of 18 Old 09-14-2010, 11:41 PM
 
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I have to say that I work really hard to ensure that my kids get enough socialization with other kids, esp since we live out in the boonies, lol.

We're part of two co-ops, go to chuch, go to wed night chuch activities and I'm thinking of doing either Cub Scouts OR 4H with them. I thought there was something else that I was looking into. Now, it slipped my mind, lol. Oh, not to mention inviting friends over to play and hoping the do the same, lol.

It's hard work sometimes, but to me, worth the effort.
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#6 of 18 Old 09-15-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I worried about this too since DD is an only child, with no cousins, living in a neighborhood with no children (horrible schools).

She's 5 and would have started K this year in public school. The last of her friends all started K last week and we're having NO TROUBLE at all with getting enough social time.

She's in sunday school. I make sure we're there every week and that we attend every activity we can for families or children. She has a couple of good friends and many casual friends at church. If you don't go to church you can do the same with a civic group, volunteer group, community farm, firehouse volunteering, any time of group that fosters family/ community.

We have a playgroup. Some of the kids we've known since DD was about 18 months. We don't see all of the kids every week, but we make sure to keep the contacts going. Yesterday we hosted a playdate/ lunch here. We did school in the am and then played with friends for hours. It is harder once friends start school, but with careful planning you can continue the friendships.

We have gymnastics once a week. Library storytime once a week. Daisy scouts will be starting in a few weeks, and we found a homeschool 4-H group. We did join a homeschool co-op that meets once a week, today we're going to an orchard.

I have another mom's group that I organize with childcare we do twice a month. DD goes to a playroom with other kids. This year I arranged it later in the day so half day Kindergartners would be available, not just toddlers.

It takes work. It takes organization, but people are out there, opportunities are out there.

I am finding that it's easier to make the homeschool connections now that DD is school age. When she was 3-4 it was harder to find organized homeschool activities since she was too young for most of it. That's when we focused on building the friendships with families with similar values/interests.

I also organize a mom's night out for a group of mom's with children DDs age. We go out once a month. We found a place that lets us sit for hours. It's counter service so people can get a cup of tea or a full dinner, and can come and go when they need to. Building the friendships with the moms makes it easier to maintain the friendships for the kids. I'm finding that works in the homeschooling community as well.

I had to push myself out of my comfort zone to build a network of friends for myself and DD but it's been worth it.
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#7 of 18 Old 09-15-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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DD is an only child and is basically a first grader. These are her activities:

Mondays
- weekly homeschooling co-op (very small and with kids ages 6-14) focuses on drama/storytelling
- 2x monthly bookclub at library (homeschool and schooled kids)

Tuesday
- weekly activity based homeschool group (mostly kids 4-8)
- yoga (to be added if I ever remember to sign her up again)

Wednesday
- weekly activity based homeschool group (mixed race/cultures, ages range from preschool to teen)
- 2x monthly homeschool girl scout group (mix of Daisy, Brownies, Junior, Cadet)

Thursday
- weekly horseback riding
- 1x monthly homeschool art appreciate class at art museum
- weekly optional park playdate with other homeschool group

Friday
- weekly cheerleading class (part of another homeschool group's enrichment classes) (until end of Oct.)
- weekly clay class (wheel-throwing and hand) (homeschool and schooled kids)

Weekends
- We get together with friends nearly every weekend

Days she is home, she meets her best neighborhood buddy at the bus stop (right in front of our house) every afternoon for fun and frolicking.

I am personally exhausted by her schedule, but she loves it!

Holli
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#8 of 18 Old 09-15-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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My ds is very social too, he really craves interaction with other boys, he also really seeks approval from them, which I'm not crazy about- I think this could be a big problem for him if he were in public school. Anyhow, we too live in the boonies, no kids around for miles and miles- he does love to socialize with our older farmer neighbours, he will sit at their kitchen table and ask all kinds of crop and farming questions of them! He and dd are always asking if we can visit them every time we go for a walk. In the winter we meet up with the Christian Homeschool group for a weekly skating at a public rink we rent, my ds LOOOVES this time of year! We don't do too much else with them but I am hoping to become more involved on certain families we really click with. He recently spent an overnight with one of the homeschool families who we are old friends with but they live 40 minutes away and our boys haven't had much contact- they really clicked and my ds had more fun than ever, slept in a tent in the backyard, fishing, paddle-boating, bike riding, smores over a bonfire, etc- and all with more than enough parental supervision to make me feel comfortable (I'm overprotective! ). We are also very active in our church and his favorite day of the week is Sunday because of Sunday School! Same with dd. Other than that, they spend a lot of time playing together, I take them to the park and library often but they are usually empty because everyone is in school.

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#9 of 18 Old 09-16-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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First of all, "socialization" is very different from "socializing". It sounds like you're talking about "socializing" - which means hanging out with others. Socialization is the process of acquiring social skills that are necessary to interact with others in our society.

Secondly, kids don't necessarily need as much socializing as we think they might, even if they appear to really crave it. Just as a comparison, kids will crave and beg for chocolates and potato chips and pop and most would gladly eat it all day every day if given the chance. That doesn't mean it's the best choice for them. It's a hard concept to grasp, since our society is SO entrenched in the "playing with large groups of same-aged peers is absolutely necessary" mindset, it's hard to even consider the possibility that maybe it's not only unnecessary, but perhaps even potentially harmful.

I'm not saying it definitely IS harmful. I'm just saying that, just because a child wants something doesn't necessarily mean it's good for them; so we should evaluate whether it actually is okay before giving it to them; and that should apply to socializing as much as to anything else.

To understand the potential negatives of too much peer socialization, I really, really recommend "Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers" by Neufeld and Mate.

Again, this isn't to say that you should AVOID socializing, far from it! But it's really not something where we have to WORRY about our kids getting ENOUGH socializing. It's like candy, sort of... it's fun, it's enjoyable, but you don't need to overdo it.

Through most of human history, kids spend most of their time interacting with a wide community of people of all different ages, there weren't large groups of same-aged peers to spend so much time with and it wasn't seen as a really, really important thing.

Most homeschoolers find that the socializing that happens naturally, with neighbours and family and through various activities, is plenty. I wouldn't join an activity JUST for the socializing, but it will be a side benefit of activities you will join anyway. Getting together with other homeschoolers whenever possible is also great. Not so much because it "meets a need for socializing", because as you can probably tell I don't think that need is very strong or very real. It's more because it gives kids a kind of home base, we all want to feel we belong in a group (it seems hard-wired into humans) and not just be outsiders. If you're the only homeschooler you know, you feel like an outsider. A group of homeschoolers gives you a place where you feel at home -- even if you don't actually get together all that often.

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#10 of 18 Old 09-16-2010, 02:00 AM
 
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i love love LOVE this book on the Social Benefits of homeschooling: http://www.amazon.com/Well-Adjusted-...4613380&sr=8-1
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#11 of 18 Old 09-17-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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I just wanted to add a little something as an adult who was homeschooled for part of her education. I really enjoyed the things that I learned from my mother (who was my main teacher) and spent a good deal of time with neighborhood children etc... I also knew several other children who were homeschooled and saw them periodically. I was exposed to a variety of social settings (including play groups, girl scouts, etc...) and for the most part, my experience was excellent.

If there's one thing that I would stress from my own experience it would be to make sure your child has time socializing WITHOUT YOU THERE. As wonderful as homeschooling can be, the danger is that your child is getting everything from you. Their education, family life, and even social life is all tangled up together. Every person (and every parent) has strengths and weaknesses. If your child spends all their time with you or in situations facilitated by you there are bound to be gaps in their skills because there will inevitably be gaps in your skills. The homeschooled kids that I knew who were isolated (or had awful micro-managing, hovering parents) turned out to be poorly adjusted adults. Their parents think they're wonderful and well adjusted but their peers do not.

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#12 of 18 Old 09-17-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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AFAIK my parents don't make a particular effort to "socialize" my two youngest sisters (HSed)... but they get heaps of opportunity to do it anyway. Mondays, handbell choir (range of ages, some HSed kids); Tuesdays, a coffee and craft group at church (older people) followed by homeschool choir (50+ kids, range of ages), plus art class for one sister (small group of HSed kids her age). Not sure about the rest of the week - oh, church on Sunday, and the odd playdate. One sister visits me most Saturday nights to watch movies. She was also in a chamber music competition earlier this year, which meant weekly practices with her best friend and another girl. Both sisters' music lessons - piano and cello - are solitary right now, but have been group lessons in the past. One sister's doing some Polytech taster courses as well - computer graphics and cooking, I think - with kids her age.

Admittedly they wouldn't do most of this stuff if it weren't for being into music. But they are, and your kid will probably be into something - sports, art, drama, animals - that leads naturally into activities that include kids (and adults, perhaps).

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#13 of 18 Old 09-17-2010, 05:12 AM
 
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FWIW My son is 10 and homeschooled but I work in the public school and traditional school isn't 'social' . School is mainly quiet, orderly, and focused most of the time. Kids sit in rows or pods and socialization is really kept to a minimum except for 20 mins of lunch and 20 mins of recess. The idle chatter is a myth.

My son has been homeschooled from the start (well there was that semester of kindy which was a huge mistake) and he is doing just fine. He loves drama classes, art club, library time, the dog park, the manager at the local diner we frequent way too much LOL, over the years he has really developed and tried tons of new things. He is not an overly social person and while he knows many many people he does not have alot of good friends. He is ok with that and Im ok with that. DS prefers to be online chatting, he takes classes from johns hopkins kids program, or chatting via email to a couple dog friends.

DS prefers 'older' kids that he meets at classes and camps which are great for the enrollment time but no so great for just hanging out... oh the problems of a gifted/talented child LOL

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#14 of 18 Old 09-17-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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This has not been an issue for us. If anything, we've had to carefully pick social opportunities or we'd never be home to do school.

Our children do these "social" things:
Play with friends and neighbors at our home and theirs
Occasional field trips
Interacting with other children and adults at the library
Organized homeschool gym (winter) and park days (summer)
Church Sunday School
Vacation Bible School
Once-a-week afterschool program at church

Primarily, though, their socialization is in the home with parents, siblings, and relatives. This has been an excellent foundation for all the activities listed above.

I really don't see why this is such a big issue. When I was in school (public and private) we were constantly told "School is not for socializing! It's for learning!" and punished for talking to each other during class. If class-time is for learning, and other times are for socializing, I don't see why we can't do that at home.
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#15 of 18 Old 09-17-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

Primarily, though, their socialization is in the home with parents, siblings, and relatives. This has been an excellent foundation for all the activities listed above.

I really don't see why this is such a big issue. When I was in school (public and private) we were constantly told "School is not for socializing! It's for learning!" and punished for talking to each other during class. If class-time is for learning, and other times are for socializing, I don't see why we can't do that at home.
Socializing and socialization are two different things. I was very lucky to have a strong family life committed to having quality time together and the installation of values. However I am also very glad that my mother prioritized time away from her and the rest of the family for me. The skills that I picked up for dealing with all kinds of different people (whether those differences were racial, religious, or socio-economic) was invaluable.

Socializing means hanging out. Socialization has more to do with learning to deal with and interact with a wide variety of people including those that they might not choose to if left to their own devices. Chances are your children are not going to grow up and live with you. The world is getting more and more global (whether you're talking about higher education, the work force, or ever increasing diversity in neighborhoods) and keeping your children's social activities restricted to things that revolve around you and your interests (like church, your friends and their children etc...) greatly reduces their chances of learning to deal with those who are unlike their own family.

Like I said before, I have known some children who were homeschooled and whose parents did NOT prioritize a diversity of experiences (meaning activities that did not include and were not connected to their family). Many of them are ill equipped to deal with the adult lives they are now trying to lead.

I'm not trying to scare anyone and I certainly am not an authority on all people everywhere . Just thought I'd relay my own experience in the realm of homeschooling.

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#16 of 18 Old 09-18-2010, 12:43 AM
 
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Socializing means hanging out. Socialization has more to do with learning to deal with and interact with a wide variety of people including those that they might not choose to if left to their own devices. Chances are your children are not going to grow up and live with you. The world is getting more and more global (whether you're talking about higher education, the work force, or ever increasing diversity in neighborhoods) and keeping your children's social activities restricted to things that revolve around you and your interests (like church, your friends and their children etc...) greatly reduces their chances of learning to deal with those who are unlike their own family.
You know what's funny?

My children have *far* more diverse experiences with the things I listed that you view as "restricted" than they'd have going to the local public schools. My homeschooled children have had more diverse experiences, and a more diverse range of friends than I had at their ages, or at later ages even. I was public/private schooled.

You're assuming our friends are all just like us, our church is full of people just like us, and our interests and activities are limited. Going to school in a building every weekday with the same teachers and the same peers is just as socially restrictive. Unless someone is moving their kid every year or two, they're going to settle into a nice, comfy niche of familiarity in school.
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#17 of 18 Old 09-18-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
You know what's funny?

My children have *far* more diverse experiences with the things I listed that you view as "restricted" than they'd have going to the local public schools. My homeschooled children have had more diverse experiences, and a more diverse range of friends than I had at their ages, or at later ages even. I was public/private schooled.

Primarily, though, their socialization is in the home with parents, siblings, and relatives. This has been an excellent foundation for all the activities listed above.

I actually never brought up public (or private school). My original post only iterated that diverse experiences are important. When I was homeshcooled my mother made the point of providing me with activities out of the house that were in no way related to her.

Regardless of how diverse your church may be, I'm guessing that all who attend are Christian. Knowing that other religions exist and having direct experiences with those who practice them are not the same thing. Finding ways for homeschooled children (and actually children who go to public/private school in less diverse places) to experience the world outside their family and parent's choices is something that I think proves valuable later in life.

Of course there are some communities in which diversity is lacking across the board. In these areas it can be hard for children to have varied experiences and gain perspective during their formative years no matter what their parents orchestrate. It sounds like you all love your children and are doing the best you can with them. I was simply stating that for me, the diversity issue (and diversity can me so many things, most important among them things that the child is unlikely to experience with their family in daily life), was an important thing that my mother incorporated into my education.

To the OP, the town in which I grew up had county sponsored extracurricular events (such as swimming, dance, arts and crafts etc...). The classes weren't particularly expensive and scholarships were available for families on public assistance. I was always involved with a class or two (from 5 years on) and found it was a great way to meet all kinds of different people.
Your local YMCA or county parks department may also have various age appropriate activities for children.

Good Luck .

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#18 of 18 Old 09-18-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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i have to say i agree with you G&G. we homeschool and i agreethat the "socialization" process (meaning learning how to deal with people, rules for behavior, etc) should be done by the parents/family, not by a school. but i also agree with you that kids need time away from parents to practice these rules and behavior. that when they practice this behavior it isn't with me standing beside them but by themselves in the real world. dd is only 4.5 now, but i would love when she gets older for her to be abelk to ride her bike to the library by herself, go to a friends house, wander around a fair by herself. i tyr to get her in 1 activity a season that is just for her (dancing, gymnastics, etc) and i want her to feel comfortable dealing with strangers and the world in general. i also want her to feel confidant that she can handle lots of situations without me. i encourage her when we are at a store or library to approach the librarians or clerks by herself with her questions, not usingme to ask the questions. she feels very comfortable doing that and jsut today at the library she stayed in the kids section and i walked to the DVD's i was near enough that i could hear her but she thought she was alone. she obviously couldn't find a book she wanted, so seh went to the librarbians desk and asked if they had that one in this particular library (we have 4-5 that we visit and we have not been to this one in about a year) the librarian showed her where it was, seh said thank you and found a seat to read it. i love that she doesn't feel she needs me to hold her hand to talk to strangers. i love that she has that confidence at 4 years old. when seh is older i will absolutely encourage her to do more stuff on her own.
the book, "protecting the gift" really lays out WHY it is so important for kids to be confident in public situations - to know how to ask for help from strangers and to encourage your kids to practice this behavior at a young age.
anyway, sorry for my long story- my point is- i agree with you G&G.
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