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#1 of 23 Old 09-27-2010, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been thinking about starting homeschooling next year. My kids will than be in 5th and 3rd grade.
They really want to do it, our neighboors are doing it and a couple other family we know.
My question is concerning the social aspect.
I am wondering if we just surround ourself w/people we get along well easily, choose who our kids will be around all the time, people who think like us, if they are not missing an opportunity to grow in relationships that could be more challenging, being exposed to people who are more different. Like you do in public school.
My kids are doing well in the public school so far. They don't always like the teachers and they get bored but isn't there a benefit to learn to deal w/that.
When they grow up and go to work they will have to deal w/all kinds of people and not always enjoy it.

I can definitely see the benefits of homeschooling and am excited about the idea but would like some feedback regarding this aspect.

thanks!!
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#2 of 23 Old 09-27-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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I've got a K and 2nd grader in public school and I'd say my biggest concerns about homeschooling (which I really think I want to do but I'm scared) are pretty much what you mentioned. I'll be reading along.
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#3 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 12:23 AM
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I think maybe it can be like that when your kids are younger, but as they get older it's really the opposite... because they're not limited to one school building for 8 hours a day (and often after school activities in the same building with the same kids), they can be off doing things all over the city, with lots of different people. So, each week my daughter attends a community college, plays rugby with a team of adult women from all different backgrounds, sits in on a class at an elite private university, volunteers at an aquarium, and babysits for our landlords. She is with all sorts of people, of all ages and backgrounds, and she pretty much gets along with everyone....

 
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#4 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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I am wondering if we just surround ourself w/people we get along well easily, choose who our kids will be around all the time, people who think like us, if they are not missing an opportunity to grow in relationships that could be more challenging, being exposed to people who are more different. Like you do in public school.
We all surround ourselves with people we get along well with, (Doesn't everyone? That's what makes them friends.) But we all also run into people we find difficult--it's just that we're not forced to be with those people all day every day as one would be in a classroom. My kids have always come into situations where they needed to work things out--classes, playgrounds, parties, volunteer and work situations, clubs, camps and just every day interactions in the world.

I have not chosen my kids' friends for them. I suppose it depends on the make-up of your schools but the people my kids interact with are far more diverse than they would find in our local school.

They have been to classes where there were other kids who annoyed them, they've had some instructors that they've liked better than others. They've found that some librarians are wonderful and some are gruff. Some neighbors you can ask a favor of and some won't even wave to you. Dinner parties at our house are always full of political and other debate because we have a pretty diverse group of friends ourselves. There are all sorts of opportunities for social interactions--school isn't the only provider of them.

The difference between this life and school is that my kids have the ability to decide for themselves if it's worth it to continue. We talk about what they can do when problems arise, and how they might better handle interactions. But by hsing, they have the same power that we as adults have--in the end, they can decide if the activity/person is worth the trouble or not. If a teacher is boring, they can come to their own conclusion--if the class has some value to them, they might continue, or they might choose another option. Just as we adults can choose to continue in a job with someone we dislike if there are enough other benefits, or we can choose to try and improve things, or, if the discord is bad enough, we can choose to work elsewhere.

I'm finding now that my dd is quite serious about evaluating her college professors--she has a clear idea of what she values in an instructor and is discriminating in her choices so that she gets the best experience for herself. I think there's a lot of value in being able to do that!

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#5 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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I am wondering if we just surround ourself w/people we get along well easily, choose who our kids will be around all the time, people who think like us, if they are not missing an opportunity to grow in relationships that could be more challenging, being exposed to people who are more different. Like you do in public school.
Well maybe, if that's your tendancy and your schools are incredibly diverse.

Our local schools are almost all white suburbia. My kids get a lot more diversity *not* spending their days there. We hang out with people in different social sets, and spend time with people of different ethnicities, on our own time. Our teeny, tiny appalachian pentacostal church provides more diversity (ethnicity, abilities, etc) than the local elementary school, in a setting that allows for spending more time with and developing deeper relationships with those who are not the same as us. As a family, it's not our habit to seek out only those who are just the same as us, but to seek ways to connect with anybody who comes across our path. That results in a wonderfully diverse circle of friends and aquaintances.

Thus far, we have yet to find a family who thinks exactly like us and agrees with everything we do. The majority have pretty huge differences. Currently all my children's friends are *not* homeschooled, to begin with.
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#6 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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I'm sure if you decide to homeschool you will want to spend time with people other than your neighbors and the couple of families you already know! You are only limiting your children if you isolate yourself, it doesn't sound like you would do that.

DD is 5 and she's dealing with many of the same issues kids in school deal with. A bossy kid in our circle of friends, being excluded by her favorite girl in sunday school, rough language at the playground, a coach who prefers boys in gymnastics...that was just this week.

Again, she's only 5 and she already has a coach, a sunday school teacher, 4-H leader, storytime librarian, nature guide at the local preserve, moms in our playgroup, extended family, and countless other adults she's exposed to regularly. She has far more exposure to other adults than she would have in school.
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#7 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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My kids are doing well in the public school so far. They don't always like the teachers and they get bored but isn't there a benefit to learn to deal w/that.
I do get what you're saying but believe that children can pick up the skills to do that when they are presented with a situation where to get what they want they have to deal. I just don't think the outcome of most full day schools can be worth the price you mention above.

At heart I really disagree with two things about school: The curriculums and the inefficiencies and (for bored kids) indignities of group education.

My 2nd grade daughter spends about 18 hours a week under other teachers / coaches and has regular (most 2-3x a week) contact with far far more children than she would if she was in public school.
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#8 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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I am wondering if we just surround ourself w/people we get along well easily, choose who our kids will be around all the time, people who think like us, if they are not missing an opportunity to grow in relationships that could be more challenging, being exposed to people who are more different. Like you do in public school.

thanks!!
Oh, you mean like adults do all the time?

We homeschool. To me, the kids are learning to deal with others in a way that will suit them for the rest of their lives. Yes, they can choose NOT to interact with people if they homeschool, but like any other person on the planet, they will (and do) come up against people with whom they disagree, who hold different truths, who are challenging. Even better, unlike school where there are rules about disagreeing/fighting/bullying (and so interactions become sneaky, vicious and cruel), they have to learn to get along with those people without a false overlayment of rules and expectations. Like I have the opportunity to do, they can walk away from those people, or they can argue their cause, or they can just ignore it.

You should know that homeschoolers aren't isolated. That we meet people of all races and creeds and beliefs, in classes, in travels, in life. That's a very common misconception about homeschooling.

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#9 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 10:15 AM
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Plus, I don't think it takes 13 years to learn those skills. I don't think it takes 13 years to learn anything taught in schools.
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#10 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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We all surround ourselves with people we get along well with, (Doesn't everyone? That's what makes them friends.) But we all also run into people we find difficult--it's just that we're not forced to be with those people all day every day as one would be in a classroom. My kids have always come into situations where they needed to work things out--classes, playgrounds, parties, volunteer and work situations, clubs, camps and just every day interactions in the world.

I have not chosen my kids' friends for them. I suppose it depends on the make-up of your schools but the people my kids interact with are far more diverse than they would find in our local school.

They have been to classes where there were other kids who annoyed them, they've had some instructors that they've liked better than others. They've found that some librarians are wonderful and some are gruff. Some neighbors you can ask a favor of and some won't even wave to you. Dinner parties at our house are always full of political and other debate because we have a pretty diverse group of friends ourselves. There are all sorts of opportunities for social interactions--school isn't the only provider of them.

The difference between this life and school is that my kids have the ability to decide for themselves if it's worth it to continue. We talk about what they can do when problems arise, and how they might better handle interactions. But by hsing, they have the same power that we as adults have--in the end, they can decide if the activity/person is worth the trouble or not. If a teacher is boring, they can come to their own conclusion--if the class has some value to them, they might continue, or they might choose another option. Just as we adults can choose to continue in a job with someone we dislike if there are enough other benefits, or we can choose to try and improve things, or, if the discord is bad enough, we can choose to work elsewhere.

I'm finding now that my dd is quite serious about evaluating her college professors--she has a clear idea of what she values in an instructor and is discriminating in her choices so that she gets the best experience for herself. I think there's a lot of value in being able to do that!
Wonderful post!

Jessica, wife of Marc and Momma to Nikolai (10) and Nathaniel (9) and Olivia (3).
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#11 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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How often, as an adult, do you seek out relationships with people you cannot get along with? How many times have you called someone you really do not like to go out to lunch with you? If the answer is never, then when do you expect the children to do it?

Really, the whole idea of forcing kids to be around kids they cannot stand, including bullies, comes from the fact that public schools are a government business. They cannot exactly sort classrooms according to interest and religion and politics and such. So placing kids in a group together regardless of compatibility is simply a matter of logistics. Really, all the kids tend to come from the same neighborhood or area so they often have a lot in common. My children, in the public schools, have always been around mostly same race, same income, same educational background for parents, same goals in life children, all the kids liking the same sports, playing in the same playgroups and playgrounds as babies, going to the same places, driving the same cars, etc. The boys all look so much alike, with the same hair styles.

Get the idea?

In the public schools, even if someone breaks the daylights out of you, breaks your glasses, tears your clothes, throws you to the ground and stomps on you, you are still expected to pretend to be friends.

If you want your children to get that kind of socialization, you need to model the behavior yourself. Go to a place where people are very different. Try a homeless shelter or just political group that is complete opposite of you, or just a neighborhood very different from yours. Go out of your way to try to make friends and then start going out and doing things with these people. I am sure you will not have much trouble finding people from a homeless shelter who would be willing to go along with you. You can call a local probation center and see if you can volunteer to take a few convicts under your wing and bring them home and spend a lot of time with them, include them in your family life. Next time you are out in public and someone zooms ahead of you to steal the parking spot you just spent ten minutes waiting for, get out of the car, and get their number so that you can socialize. Next time someone jumps ahead of you at the check out line or insults you for breastfeeding, take those chances to socialize with people you do not get along with.

I am not being ridiculous, this is all what you want your children to do. You feel your children need to learn how to socialize with people they otherwise would not socialize with. This is how you would do it as an adult. This is how you teach your children to do it. Not seeming like such a great idea, does it?
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#12 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all for your replies.
Of course it makes a lot of sence. I just don't know how much I'll be able to do having also a now 10 months and 3 year old to take care of.
I guess that's why when my mom came up with this concern I started to doubt myself. I am struggling just to keep my head above water, having enough patience w/my kids, being sleep deprived and just exausted.

Anyway, I'll cross the bridge when I get there, I'm just preparing for the idea...

thanks for making it a little clearer!
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#13 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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I think the social aspect is one of the things that makes homeschooling better than public school. Rather than being inside a schoo building all day with people your own age, kids get to go out in the real world and interact with people of all different ages, colors, religions, etc.

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#14 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 06:36 PM
 
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Of course it makes a lot of sence. I just don't know how much I'll be able to do having also a now 10 months and 3 year old to take care of.
I guess that's why when my mom came up with this concern I started to doubt myself. I am struggling just to keep my head above water, having enough patience w/my kids, being sleep deprived and just exausted.
Well, yeah. Most of us are with kids at those ages. But your 3 yo is not on the brink of filling out college applications. You have *plenty* of time to let your little ones grow a little, get a little more sleep, and sort out a workable family routine. And during that time, you can do simple stuff, like taking them to the library, sitting on a bench in the park and letting them play, etc. That was pretty much the extent of my children's social life (outside of family) until my oldest was 5-6. He learned to play with all different sorts of children because there was always someone new at the library or the park.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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Once you actually start homeschooling and the kids are with you while you run your errands, you will find that just being in the community will give them access to much more diversity than they would experience sitting in a classroom all day with only kids born in the same year.

Today at the library my ds interacted with a group of young adults with high special needs, as well as watched how I conducted myself with an unrealistic librarian who told me we needed to wait in the check-out line to drop off our books individually before going through the library to pick out new books and waiting in line again to check them out (the drop off book bin doesn't get scanned in time so our account looks full even after we've returned all the books). I gently explained our situation (we have a 3 year old who has a difficult time in line the 1 time, let alone twice) and that her expectations were not very child-friendly or honestly, mom-friendly.

Ds and I discussed the situation and he made some observations, as well as absorbed how to handle situations by speaking up for yourself while remaining respectful.

Afterwards, we walked past a construction worker digging a ditch with a tractor in 100 degree heat. Ds talked about what a difficult job that would be and why he would choose that job. We discussed the benefits/negatives of his situation.

And, in science class this afternoon, my ds will interact for an hour with kids from our city who come from different situations (some are schooled).

It really isn't an issue at all for us.
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#16 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=cappuccinosmom;15893454]Well, yeah. Most of us are with kids at those ages. But your 3 yo is not on the brink of filling out college applications. You have *plenty* of time to let your little ones grow a little, get a little more sleep, and sort out a workable family routine.

They are not the ones I am thinking to homeschool right now but my 7 and 9 year old. Next year..
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#17 of 23 Old 09-28-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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Maman, I can assure you that it will just take a few weeks of getting practice and finding a routine that works for you. I also homeschool my 7 yo and 9 yo, with a 15 yo, 13 yo, 11 yo, 10 yo, 4 yo and an 19 month old. If I tried to sit down and plan something, it would never happen. But when we start things, we can slowly move more and more into what I want to see.

They learn so much about socialization from spending time with each other, kids of differing developmental stages, likes and dislikes, and with their siblings friends. A bigger family will make it much easier lol!

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#18 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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I just don't know how much I'll be able to do having also a now 10 months and 3 year old to take care of.
I've been thinking about this lately because SO many of the concerns expressed on this board lead back to the fact that the poster is either pregnant or has little ones to care for.

It is OKAY to slow down, change your routine and take time to accommodate the new addition/little one.

One of the benefits of hsing, imo, is that kids can be more involved in family life. Having a baby or little one changes how we live--it just does. And that's okay. You may do less and go to fewer places for a while, but the little ones will not, obviously, be little forever and your older kids won't be ruined.

When I had a little one around, we'd sometimes share childcare with another family--one of us would watch the littles and the other would take the older kids to an activity. Or, I'd bring crayons and paper or some other portable activity and play with the little one while the older kids participated in a class. Sometimes, we'd find a library or park nearby so I could drop the big kids off to some organized thing and then go do something else with the little one. Sometimes, we just didn't do something until the little one was older.

We've encountered plenty of life events over the years that caused us to change what we're doing, or to cancel activities or otherwise adjust--either temporarily or for the long-term. It's more than "okay" it's just life.

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#19 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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uh-oh, the "s" word.

i personally find that homeschooling offers far superior socialization than brick-and-mortar school. school creates an artificial society, and is in fact the cause of many of the "normal" behavior issues we see in school-age children today.

read the book The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling by Rachel Gathercole

it is an entire book based on the question of socialization. absolutely fascinating. give it to your mother to read, too.

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#20 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Again, thank you for replying.
multimomma I noticed that you are expecting #8, I don't know how you do it,and homeschooling all of them?
You are a super hero!!

It is good to read all your feedback, thanks for the book recommendation.
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#21 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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I don't think it takes so many hours in a week or so many kids in a class to learn these sorts of skills. And I feel that the giant size of public school classes and the schedule of the day here makes it hard for kids to really socialize at school.

My daughter is doing a one day a week class, and I think she gets some of the same skills- these are not all kids she chose to spend time with, and there's a group of them, and she takes direction from the teacher. But, they're also a group of 10, not 25, and they're a span of 3 ages instead of all exactly the same age. She learns from being the youngest and moving up with new kids and some familiar kids, each year until she's the oldest.

I do think this setting *is* different from her one day a week, 90 min. a day physical activity classes, or a playdate, but even this sort of classroom structure is not hard to find in homeschooling if you feel that it's a valuable experience. We do summer camp, which is much the same too, but it's again smaller classes and more time for truly social experiences rather than heavy hitting academic ones.

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#22 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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we have a core group of friends that dd knows and sees often. and she doesn't always get along, but when there are issues, a parent is there to intervene quickly instead of a teacher not noticing adn having a bad situation go on for months.
and we also have very similar situations as other pp. i think that the fact that when something does happen, we can talk about it afterwards, there is a parent to intervene, and it is a small setting, means it is a situation that she can actually learn from. being stuck in a class with kids she doesn't like, a teacher she doesn't like. what does she learn there excedpt to buckle down and that resistance is futile cause there is nothing you can really do to change a situation at school.
i think it is funny when people say that kids will learn how to deal with those situations at school like not liking other kids or bullies etc. cause how can they change anything? what exactly are they learning? except to accept their lot in life.
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#23 of 23 Old 09-29-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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DS is an only child, so social interaction was DH's big concern. DH works from home and I WOH 2-3 days a week.
Last week our social interaction was like this

Monday; DS and I went to the library, grocery store, the park and Pet Smart. He spoke to various adults at all the places and played with two 5/6 yo kids at the park. He went to his after school program from 2pm to 530pm. The kids at the program range in age from 5 to 13, he attended his martial arts class there. I picked up him and his best friend and we met another family with two kids for dinner at a local restaurant for kids eat free night.

Tuesday: We met another HS family with 3 kids at the park for lunch and a hike. He went to piano lesson for 45 minutes and played with his friend next door for an hour or so.

Wednesday: I worked, DS hung out at home with the dogs while DH tried to work. DS talked to the plumber, mailman, and our elderly neighbor. From 2-6 pm he went his after school program. Played with his friend next door for an hour or so.

Thursday: DS and I went apple picking with HS friends, then went out to lunch with them and to Borders. We tried out a new home school activity in the evening while DH was at class, decided it wasn't for us.

Friday: We ran errands as a family, DS went to his after school program and went home with his best friend's family. He ate dinner there and I picked him up at 9pm.

Sat and Sun: I worked, DH and DS went to visit my ILs. DS hung out with his 6 cousins (ages baby to 15 years old), aunts, and grandparents. He saw the rest of his extended family at a family party on Sunday.
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