the big socialization question - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-03-2012, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi ladies

 

I haven't been on the boards for quite some time but I was active for quite a few years at one point

I am very on the fence about starting to HS my 3 DD's this fall (ages 5, 8&9) so you will probably see a few more threads from me on HSing :)

 

So one of the biggies when you talk to be about HSing is "but what about socialization?"

 

Now with 3 kids and a very tight budget how do you go about getting your kids socialized? Now I dont mean around people in general I specifically mean around kids their own age which I think is necessary for development.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

If I could sign them up for karate, dance, art, music, gymnastics, etc etc there would be less of an issue but for budget reasons I can't...


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Old 05-03-2012, 10:30 AM
 
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In many areas, homeschoolers get together once a week for an all ages parkday. If your area doesn't have an established one, you can try to get one started by inviting people to join you and your kids at a local park. It seems like people around here use yahoo groups for networking. You can also form "clubs" based on your kid's interests and invite people to join you.

 

When my son was younger, we'd go to playgrounds in the after school hours when there tended to be other kids his age (preschoolers and toddlers are at the playgrounds during the school day). It didn't result in any friendships but he'd get to run around with other kids and practice his social skills (introducing himself, asking if they wanted to play, etc). We stopped doing that because he'd get sad if he had a fun time with someone and realized he wasn't likely to ever see them again. But that might work better in a different area with a neighborhood park.


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Old 05-03-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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are you moving to a new place? do they already have any friends near where you live whom they could still meet?

 

I agree with all suggestions of 4evermom.  

if you have a local hs group that is the place to start.  we didn't and started a theatre club -it took a LONG time to get going and get a regular group together, but it has been really fun.

 

edited to add ... we are also on a tight budget and don't actually do any regular paid classes except some occasional ones with a fairly nominal fee from time to time.

 

try the public library programs too - you might even meet other hs'ers there.


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Old 05-03-2012, 11:02 AM
 
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Classes like gym and karate are overrated for the purposes of socialization.  Gymnastics has been nice for my formerly apprehensive daughter, but until you are fully immersed in team activities, trips out of town to meets, etc, the "socialization" has been minimal.  I say this mainly so you don't feel like "If only I had the money, this would be easier!"

 

I think you need to ask, what you want your kids to get out of being with other kids.  That's going to help to decide what is the best road to take.  Do you want playtime, really free playtime?  The a park day with a coop or something might be best.  weekends camping with a few families.   Time for play, but within a somewhat structured activity?  That theater group sounds fun for something like that.  You get the idea.


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Old 05-03-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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You can always hit the park right after school lets out. I've noticed a lot of parents hit the park after that 3pm mark.

totally hit up other homeschoolers, frequently there are co-ops, groups, play dates...etc... there are several weekly HS meet up groups in my area and we aren't even that big. Once you start to meet other homeschoolers it's easy to get 'in the know'

 

are you signing up for any sort of state funded HS program ? sometimes they have monthly activities in place, or there may be an independent HS group in your area that does events. and if you're a church/temple/other go-er that of course has its own social aspect. 

 

also what about 4-H if you want an activity? 4-H is only  20 per year and would give your kids some socialization as well as fun group and individual projects. You could also look into scouts, I'm not sure how much it costs so that may not work for you but I think it's one of the cheaper 'organized activity' options.

 

oh and don't forget neighborhood kids! soon it will be summer and they will be available to play with all the time but even during the school year they are home after 3 or so. :)


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Old 05-06-2012, 07:39 PM
 
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My kids have always been part of some activity (karate, dance, gymnastics, football, basketball, choir, scouts, etc), but most of their socializing has been apart from those.  My kids have a lot of neighborhood friends they hang out with (as a matter of fact, ds just came in from 6 hours of playing outside on the block with a bunch of kids).  Our homeschool groups have always been very active and full of kids their ages.  My kids have facebook accounts, cell phone texting, and video game chatting (xbox live) which allow more of a way to connect with friends (although I do monitor everything).  

 

Check with your libraries for after-school activities, scouts, playgrounds, youth choirs, community theater, or neighborhood sports teams (bowling league, little league, soccer).  I would get the local newspaper or parent paper and see what's out there to get involved in.  There are so many things that are free or very inexpensive.  


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Old 05-07-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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Start a very active Girl Scout troop. 

Church.  If you are not religious, Unitarian Universalists.  By nature, this is pay what you can.

Boys and Girls Clubs -- will offer free afternoon activities if you meet the income guidelines. 

Offer aftercare to some girls your girls' age after school -- make some money.

An adjacent city I know of offers need based scholarships for kids to attend rec classes if they live inside the city limits.

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Old 05-07-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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There have been some great replies already. I'd like to ask what type of socialization are you looking for? Do you want them just to get out to have some play time with other kids? As others have suggested the park after school lets out is perfect for that. Or are you looking to form some serious BFF's?

To be honest my experience has been a little rough with this ... I've found that most families are not willing and/or able to make free play time with other kids a priority in a consistent way. I have belonged to and joined so many things since I became a mom and the unless people were paying for it (and then felt forced to show up to get their money's worth) they never ever showed up on a consistent basis for playgroups and park days.

I'm on a few of the local homeschool yahoo groups. I've seen posts from disappointed moms and kids who drove a half hour for park day only to find they were the only ones who showed up that day even though others indicated they would be there. 

I'm not trying to discourage you and I'm not implying that anyone is trying to be mean or not interested in socializing but especially with homeschoolers, schedules and priorities vary so much it is almost impossible to find a group that can take time out at the same time as everyone else to get together to play. 

So if this is what you are looking for you might need to find/join/start a club or co-op.

Also, have you tried your local YMCA for classes? They do need based memberships where you may pay very little or nothing. In ours you get two free classes per family member (so each of your kids would get two classes each) every session and you pay the same membership price for a family whether you have one or ten kids. Sometimes your city or township or whatever has some little leagues or other things that are free or really inexpensive too. You just have to do some research and search around until you find something. 

I just want to add that I agree with a pp that classes -while fun and enjoyable- aren't necessarily the best way to socialize either. The kids are doing activities and not really interacting independently with each other. I don't really consider that socializing. My dd is not going to learn how to have a conversation with kids her age while running around in a circle and listening to a teacher direct kids to do this or that.

I've never been to a gymnastics class that really encourages hanging out after. They usually want you to leave right after so they can get ready for the next class. I've really only made a handful of acquaintances at years of classes and there's really only one friend we have made. 

Sorry for the rambling. As you can see this is something I'm still trying to figure out myself. In the end, I certainly wouldn't stop homeschooling over it. We still have lots of fun and are "normal". Well whatever that means ...lol.

It's also nice that you have three girls pretty close together in age. I'm sure they socialize with each other all day long. 


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Old 05-07-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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We do weekly park dates with other local homeschoolers. I found a few local groups on yahoo groups. We also get together at the library for game day during bad weather. We do field trips sometimes as well that are often free or low cost. My oldest is also in Cub Scouts which does cost but there is financial assistance if you need it which I am sure is the same for Girl Scouts. My kids also play with the kids in the neighborhood, at parks when we just randomly go, at the library, and tons of other places. They always find someone to talk to when we go out and it is not always someone there own age which I think is WAY more important then them being able to talk to another kid their age. 

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Old 05-07-2012, 12:26 PM
 
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I just want to throw out there that dd1 had her birthday party yesterday. She's only been homeschooled, but does take quite a few classes. The breakdown of her 20 invited guests was as follows:

 

6 cousins

5 homeschool friends (from a group we meet with biweekly)

8 neighbourhood friends

1 "class" friend (a girl she met at ballet)

 

You'll note that the single largest group was the neighbourhood kids...and she missed one (mentioned her, but I didn't have the list in front of me, and forgot to write down her name). She'd have invited nine, if she could have. There are also about a half dozen other kids she plays with sometimes that she didn't invite (mostly newer kids that she doesn't know that well yet). Socializing has never been a big problem.


DS2 doesn't do as well, but he has behavioural issues (probably special needs of some kind), which cause him social difficulties. I have a nephew with very similar issues, who is at school, and he has fewer friends than ds2 does.


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Old 05-07-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Lots of homeschoolers are on tight budgets, so there are usually cheap and free opportunities for kids to socialize.  Have you found any local homeschool groups?  I would start there.  I bet you will be surprised at your options. 

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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I agree with this. We've been having the same problem (with our son an unschooled only-child, age 9)

 

First, I just want to get it out there that "socialization" as usually described by school proponents, is highly overrated. In my opinion, that is. We have found that whenever we are out mixing with schooled kids, such as at the playground or museum or some other setting, we are shocked by their rudeness to each other and poor social skills. On the other hand we do have somewhat of a community here in our city, and in the circles we travel in, the kids are generally respected & have a good life, and as a result they treat each other pretty decently. It never ceases to amaze me how a school system can be all about power, coercion, hierarchy, and forcing people to do things....and then people are surprised when kids inflict the same on each other.

 

Anyway, that was my little rant.

 

Even though we have a nice homeschooling community, I was recently starting to feel like my son wasn't getting enough of one thing that he needs as an unschooler: long, relaxed periods of unstructured play with other kids. It's true what the others say: we sign him up for plenty of classes and he meets kids, but during the class they are doing class stuff, and afterwards they all rush off to the next thing. So this was bothering me. We don't have any kids his age in the neighborhood except just a couple who are girls and in the school system, so they are never around.

 

So I got online in our local online homeschooling forum and just put it out there that I was looking for kids my son could hang around with. I got a whole bunch of replies and have started to set up play dates with them. One has taken place already; they played for hours while the mom and I talked. I have two more set up: one at a local playground and another at the home of the family we're meeting.

 

I am seriously considering creating some kind of club or organization where ALL of us who are in the same boat came come together at a regular time each week so the kids can develop a little unschooling community of their own. Just hanging out. We used to belong to a small democratic free school with about 6 kids ranging from age 7 to 14, and it was awesome. Unfortunately that school broke up when we lost a member family, and I've sort of been longing for something like that for him ever since.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

There have been some great replies already. I'd like to ask what type of socialization are you looking for? Do you want them just to get out to have some play time with other kids? As others have suggested the park after school lets out is perfect for that. Or are you looking to form some serious BFF's?

To be honest my experience has been a little rough with this ... I've found that most families are not willing and/or able to make free play time with other kids a priority in a consistent way. I have belonged to and joined so many things since I became a mom and the unless people were paying for it (and then felt forced to show up to get their money's worth) they never ever showed up on a consistent basis for playgroups and park days.

I'm on a few of the local homeschool yahoo groups. I've seen posts from disappointed moms and kids who drove a half hour for park day only to find they were the only ones who showed up that day even though others indicated they would be there. 

I'm not trying to discourage you and I'm not implying that anyone is trying to be mean or not interested in socializing but especially with homeschoolers, schedules and priorities vary so much it is almost impossible to find a group that can take time out at the same time as everyone else to get together to play.

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Old 05-08-2012, 10:13 PM
 
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I have a very low income and get most of my kids activities paid for by their state-funded charter school. I also belong to at least 2 or 3 yahoo groups, which means 2 weekly local park days plus several other parent planned activities and field trips for various costs. When the charter school funds run out, I find other ways. I am currently doing work trade with the place my kids take circus skills classes because they love it that much.

 

My DS has one very close friend who he also skypes with and has weekly playdates with. My DD has a group of friends from various sources and attends a youth group 3 days a week.

 

I currently live in a very urban and liberal area, though, so there are a lot of options here for socialization. However, I have found many of the same activities in other towns we've lived in. Yahoo lists are a very good resource. Once you get involved with a yahoo group in real life, all sorts of resources become available. I've homeschooled in three towns now, and that has always been the case.
 


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Old 05-08-2012, 10:58 PM
 
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Our homeschool group has been a huge help with socializing. We have a park day once a week, there are other free activities hosted by the group (like the mother/daughter tea party a couple months ago), field trips to low cost places at group rates making the outings even cheaper, et cetera. Also, certain stores sometimes offer free classes for kids. Lately Home Depot has been offering free wood working workshops. We went to the last two. DD made a planter, a bird feeder, and made a couple new friends. Our local library also hosts a lot of free stuff for various age groups.

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Old 05-09-2012, 03:27 PM
 
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I've found that joining coops or homeschool groups is very helpful.  Coops tend to be great, because although they require a commitment, they generally are pretty affordable and you see the same people every week so it's easy to make friends and set up playdates.   If you can find a good homeschool group, that is good too.  Many have regular park days or open gyms or things like that, which are great for helping kids to make friends.
 


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Old 05-09-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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We joined the local 4-H group for about $30 this year. For that, the kids are able to go to a monthly archery class, a monthly art class (I sometimes have to buy supplies for that) and a monthly Lego group.

 

We go to free events at the library like storytime, Lego playtime and game night.

 

There are a lot of kids on our street that our kids play with after school and on the weekend. They also have friends at church that they see in Sunday School.


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Old 05-11-2012, 08:08 PM
 
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I don't have my own kid, but as a HS kid who survived, I can say how we were raised and socialized. First off, I'm the oldest of 6, so that's a party waiting to happen as is. Then we had cousins of all ages older than us all the time till I was 12. There were always church kids and activities (even though we only got to go to maybe 1/3 of the possible things going on), we had friends in and out, and learned to be polite to adults we were around. That was really it. None of us are backward, three have graduated college, one went to Vo-Tech and at 18 started his own business, which is now in it's 8th year. One apprentices for our Dad's business and one is working on his GED and planning to join the Police Academy with his dog soon. I think normal activities involving kids and people of other ages is plenty. It's real world stuff!


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