DD per the school district is set to start K in fall. Registration is Thursday. I have always planned on homeschooling her. Everyone around me (except DH) though is telling me school is the best place for a social butterfly. I get this CONSTANTLY.
- I know DD would love school. Or at least K. I'm not actually opposed to putting her into K really. I know she would love it.
- She isn't asking to go to school
- We are planning on a whole bunch of fall activities for her. I know I can meet her social needs without school. I know how silly it is to think socialization only occurs within the 4 walls of a school.
- She has many many many food intolerances. Wheat makes her not grow. I'm not sure that at age 5 I'm comfortable with her being in a wheat environment. Eventually I'll feel comfortable with it but 5 is very young when the reaction is that severe.
So, how do you homeschool your social butterfly? Help me with what to tell friends/family about the socialization issue. It seems EVERYONE is telling me I'm going to harm her if I don't put her into K because she is so social. And if you think K is the best place for a social butterfly please tell me that as well.
Thanks in advance everyone!
My DD is a super-extroverted, loves to talk to anybody and everybody type kid as well.
It sounds to me like you have her social needs taken care of. If your family asks the ever-so-popular "What about socialization?" question, you could always tell them about all the activities she is involved in, invite them to come along and actually see for themselves that she is socializing. If it were my family, I would explain to them that sending her to school would actually be harming her ability to socialize because, kindergarten is not like it used to be...they expect a lot more seat work, have shortened recess and there is a lot less time for socialization in school. Ask them "Don't you remember your teachers saying 'you're not here to socialize'?"
For my DD, just taking her to the playground or the library makes her happy. She seems to make a friend wherever she goes. We still go to our homeschool co-op, park days with the local homeschool groups, etc., but generally just being around people in general has satisfied my DD's social needs. My DS, on the other hand, would be happy to only see kids once a week LOL.
Also, with your DD's food intolerances, I wouldn't want to put that amount of trust in the school to make sure she doesn't get exposed to the things that could harm her!
Anyway, just my 2 cents, but I think being able to supervise our children's social experiences when they are so young and impressionable is one of the best gifts we can give them. Throwing them out into the "Lord of the Flies" environment at such a young age and having them learn "proper" socialization skills by being in a room full of other 5 y/o's all day does not sound like the best idea to me when you think about it.
Good luck with your decision and stay strong and confident when it comes to your family! She is your DD and it is your responsibility to raise her and keep her safe and healthy!
The socialization question about homeschooling always makes me chuckle! If I wanted it to be so, my kids could be on the go with friends or groups every second of every day. Really. We are involved in a homeschooling group, but we also have a craft group and a library group that meets weekly (those events always turn into playtime after the scheduled activity). Between those scheduled things, kid swapping with friends, field trips with the homeschool group, and random playing with neighborhood friends after they get home from school, it is a STRUGGLE to have some down time at home!
Unless you happen to know some people right now who are going to homeschool, the key is probably getting involved in an active homeschooling group. From there, you will meet friends who mesh especially well with you and your children. After that, all should be well!
You are doing better than me. It makes me want to scream. Do people think I keep my children under a rock? I'm surrounded with people who are so opposed to homeschooling that they think I will actually harm them by homechooling. I know a college professor who is extremely anti-homeschooling because he says every single former homeschool student in his class has no idea how to work in a group or speak in class. Now, I can't even begin to tell you how wrong that statement is on a variety of levels. I was public schooled and had no idea how to work in a group or speak in class.
I think this is more of a problem with the people I surround myself with. My DH is telling me to stay strong and stand my ground and homeschool and just drown out all the nay-sayers. I wish I just had the perfect response for them. I KNOW my children will grow up just fine without public school. It's convincing everyone else that is the problem.
It also makes me wonder if I'm the only one who gets truly bizarre responses from people when they find out I'm going to hs. Like, "how in the world will your children learn to stand in line???" It makes my head boggle.
My dd is crazy extroverted and has a ton of energy. She had a blast homeschooling for as long as I could keep up with her. She participated in several homeschool co-ops (sometimes at the same time), took various homeschool classes and joined local activities, and saw a ton of friends every week. It was actually pretty easy to homeschool her -- she had a strong sense of her own direction, I just had to follow along!
An average week during her "K" year looked something like:
[Monday] homeschool co-op at children's museum (nature and science classes, gardening, literature, etc.), social time with fellow homeschoolers 10am-3pm
[Tuesday] French exposure playgroup or Five Senses activity 10am-noon, homeschoolers' playdate at a park for 4-5 hours, picnic lunch, family errands, Twilight Tales storytime at the library 6:30-7:30pm
[Wednesday] rotating schedule of local activities (Mad Science, Kids Can Cook, Preschool Dance, etc.) 10am-noon, afternoon playdate or hike with local friends
[Thursday] children's museum 9am-noon, farmer's market, maybe some friends over to play
[Friday] Earth Scouts 10am-noon, socializing afterward, drama class 3-4pm
She either told us what she wanted to do and we looked into it to see if it was feasible (like the drama classes) or we presented her with some experiences and she picked which ones she wanted more of (like Earth Scouts and French). Personally, I found it sometimes tiring, but always joyful. We had a lot of fun.
the *hilarious* p[art of that is....my experience has been that the "social butterfly" actually fares REALLY POORLY in school. Because...school is not a place to socialize. You can't talk in class. you can't talk in the hallways (at many schools these days). At best you might be allowed to talk at lunch and at recess. MAYBE if you have a special like gym. But that's it. Any other time..you are DISCIPLINED for talking in school!!!!
I simply don't understand the "socialization" argument. Or the people who make it. Have any of those people ever BEEN to school? Did they go to some rare schools where kids chatting and hanging out and playing with friends was WHAT they did during the school day? Because i remember getting yelled at for talking. I have gotten more notes home from teachers than i can count for our older kids for things like "talking in class".
I think the socialization argument is the hardest one to dislodge, and the easiest one for doubters to cling to.
My aunt is convinced that dd1 is really missing out since she's not in a school. I think for people of that generation (over 50 especially), they don't realize how different school is, especially in the early elementary years. They don't know that Pre-K is what they did in K, and that K is hard-core first grade. They don't realize that recesses, PE, wiggle time, naps etc. have been decreased or phased out. Heck, I've a friend whose second grader didn't have recess until the school day was OVER. How can a kid socialize and wiggle with that sort of set-up? We have public-schooling friends who are struggling with their public school's policy of _not talking at lunchtime, at all_. So, when is all this 'socialization' that kids are supposedly getting at school? Maybe half an hour or 45 minutes of recess in the entire day, the rest of the time to be following teacher directions? For a day which starts at 8am and isn't over 'til 2:30 or 3:30 (not counting bus time)?
So the first step is to remind them that school isn't what it used to be.
Second, let them know what your child is doing for socialization. For us, when dd1 was in K, that was:
Swim lessons 4 days/week (1 hour/day, mixed ages)
Art class (grade-specific, 1 hour/week)
Play date, Wednesday - 3 hours with some other homeschool kids
Library/play date, Thursdays - 3 hours with a group of friends
Church class, 1 hour/weekly
Monthly stuff: Cloverbuds (4-H, 1 1/2 hours once a month - activities and learning stuff, kids 5-8)
Seasonal stuff: Gardening classes at the local nursery (weekly, 2 hours/week, mixed ages of kids), lasts 2 months
We don't even do that much, but we've a good mix of structured and unstructured socialization time. This doesn't include random friend playdates (which typically happen a couple times/week on top of the above), nor does it include social time with her cousin, nor does it include all the visiting she does with Grandparents, elderly friends, random acquaintances that she knows well by now (clerks at stores etc.).
So if a public-school kid gets 4 1/2 hours of recess (max) per week, and POSSIBLY is allowed to talk at lunch for 15-20 minutes -- might be in soccer or some other activity -- I'd say my K kiddo's social opportunities stack up well against that.
There is this built-in cultural bias here that 'socialization' means 'spending time exclusively with a group of 20-30 kids the same age as you.' And that's not realistic. It's not even normal for our culture, let alone our species; we only started doing it historically here this past century. My grandma and even my mother attended one-room school houses with mixed grades of students (mom only for a few years). This is a recent phenomena and it's not the way humans spent most of their existence. Frankly, for much of our history, kids grew up socializing in groups of cousins or fictive kin, with 2-4 at most in age groups (infant, toddler, young child, child, adolescent). This from my perspective as an anthropologist. So, this 'ton o'kids the same age' set-up is recent, it has not basis in our longterm development. And it's pretty simple to provide one's kids with that exposure without having to put them in school. And once they're out of school, they will never again be in an environment were everyone they're with is within the same 1-4 years of age. Not at work, not at church, not at anything. So it's not necessary.
If you know you can meet her needs, then don't worry about it. One answer you could give is that we plan on homeschooling, but if I ever feel that it is not meeting DD's needs, then we'll look at other options. That sort of leaves it open--and honestly, pretty much all homeschooling parents I know do look it at like that.
We actually do struggle with meeting the socialization needs of our older kids, because they are very very extroverted, and DH and I are not. We have to really make an effort (which is uncomfortable for both of us) to make sure that *their* needs for socialization are met on a daily or weekly basis. DH and I are both homebodies--and perfectly happy with the company of our family and close friends. This year, they are both in public school--and we still have to go out of our comfort zone on a regular basis so that they have more opportunities. What we've realized is that sending them to public school really didn't change their needs for socialization outside. Yes, they made more friends--but their needs for outside socialization are pretty much the same as when we were homeschooling. I think it's because as another poster stated, there really isn't a lot of time at school these days for socialization. For my kids, it's basically lunch and recess... so they still require extra time at the park, at friends' houses, etc.
My DD is a super active extraverted social butterfly :) We tried school this year for a few months to help her make friends. She got in trouble by the teachers for talking too much and distracting the other children. She wasn't really allowed to be her social self at school and sometimes they'd take her recess away because she was so social in class. Honestly, I think being home allows her to be more social. She goes to Girl Scouts, Sign Language Club, and sometimes I'll take her to the school for recess with her friends. She has sleepovers, talks on the phone with friends and family, and hangs out with other kids (not the same ages) in our homeschooling community (which isn't big or very active, but we do meet once in a while).