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Old 07-20-2012, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am entering my first year of "real" homeschooling with my almost-five-year-old (I also have an almost-two-year-old). There are two homeschooling groups in my area, and I need help deciding whether to do just one of them or both!

 

Here is the scoop on the two groups:

 

The first one: is in my town. Does academic as well as fine art activities. Meets weekly. I've attended a meeting and was very impressed and felt warmly welcomed. We are already officially signed up with this one.

 

The second one: is a short drive away. Does art, music, and physical ed activities. Meets every-other-week. Got a less warm vibe at this meeting. We are not signed up yet.

 

While it may be obvious that I favor option one, I am actually still considering option two as well. My primary reasoning is that I worry that one day of social interaction with other children is not enough. Is my thinking skewed? Is one day enough? Or is two days too much? 

 

As a side note, I should add that I'm not crazy about both of these groups being "programmed" activities; I'd rather one of the days be just about free play and interaction. Theoretically I could just host a playdate at my home once a week or every-other-week, but most of our regular playmates are going to school or have recently moved away. (It's a low population area.) So I could host one, but literally only one child may come.

 

I hope to get some good advice on this forum! Everyone who I've asked in person gives really polite and vague answers like, "Oh, I don't know. Whatever you think." "Yeah, I know, it's a hard decision." "Well, you'll be fine either way." !!! Those are kind words, but really not helpful!  

 

I know from experience that you Mothering friends offer solid advice! Thank you!

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Old 07-20-2012, 02:56 PM
 
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Personally, I'd stick with the one you like only.  Then make it a goal for yourself to invite one family from that group for a playdate every other week.

 

The other group will still be there if you decide you need more. 

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Old 07-21-2012, 12:47 AM
 
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I'd start with one and see how it feels. Just because I like to take things slowly and feel my way around. But some people like to put everything in the hopper and see what shakes out as good. Also, most hs families go through periods of needing more simple and quiet time, and of needing more connection and activities.

 

Our family finds it helpful to have some programmed activities. We do a handful, and get different (not necessarily academic) things from each one. Time in a somewhat formal setting has also fostered friendships (child and mama both) that have led to more informal activities. Even though we do much of the formal learning at home, it has been great to see children working together in a group--seeing how different children approach a math question, or hearing how different people feel about a book or character, or seeing everyone produce a strikingly different clay sculpture. (I'm selective about what we do in groups, because of my own highly opinionated take on learning and also b/c of my individual children's quirks, but the format itself done well IMO has a lot of offer.)

 

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Old 07-21-2012, 08:53 AM
 
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Are they both something where you have to go every week? Can you mainly go to the first one, but then pop into the 2nd one once a month or every couple of weeks when you feel like you need more interaction?

 

We just do one homeschool coop that we usually go to every week, but not always.  Dd also does another class during the week and sometimes storytime.  When we have all 3, we feel really busy, but 2 things a week is usually fine. 


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Old 07-21-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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We haven't found a HSing coop yet, but I don't see why you couldn't host some free-play days with some of the families from either group, if you feel you want that.

 

I'd go with the one you feel comfortable with.  If it ends up not meeting your needs, then find something else.


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Old 07-21-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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My general experience is that it's better to get really involved in one group, and make good friends, then spread yourself too thin by being involved in a few groups but not making as good friends in either one.

 

I would probably try the first group and see if you could take it upon yourself to organize more free-play activities or opportunities for social connecton.  Maybe see if you can organize a park day every other week, or invite a few families over for playdates or be willing to head up a monthly club of some sort (ie. lego club or american girl club, or hiking club or roots and shoots) whatever your kids are interested in to make friends with similar interests.  In my experience, most homeschool groups are more than happen to members volunteer to plan park days or clubs or field trips or whatever.    
 


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Old 07-21-2012, 11:51 AM
 
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I'd say go with just the local one for now. My rule with new activities is only to add one thing per season. If it turns out to be not enough, or to be the wrong thing, then add or change things up next year, or next season/term at the soonest. Adding too much at once runs the risk of overwhelming the family, and if the overall vibe and flow of your family life doesn't seem optimal, it can be hard to tease apart which of the several things you're doing is too much or the wrong fit. 

 

As for "enough social interaction with other children," your assumptions may be skewed by the way society has normalized school. My kids needed very little such time at age 5. They got plenty of socializing with parents, siblings, extended family, neighbours, community members, etc. etc.. At age 5 socializing with children close in age was just one small component of their overall social experience and it didn't need to be a large proportion.

 

My kids' social needs gradually grew throughout their elementary-aged years, but I found that their interest-based activities increased gradually as well, so that they were meeting lots of kids and developing friendships and social activities naturally out of those activities. I didn't have to contrive opportunities for them to get social experiences.

 

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Old 07-21-2012, 02:13 PM
 
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My ds will be 5 in aug and he would/will need more than one day of seeing kids. He probably sees other kids 5-7 days per week right now. So one day a week would not fulfill his social needs/desires.

But sometimes (like right now) that may be a playdate with one other kid as opposed to an organized activity.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

My ds will be 5 in aug and he would/will need more than one day of seeing kids. He probably sees other kids 5-7 days per week right now. 

 

All kids are different. But how much organized social activity do you need to add to a child's current routine just because they reach school-age and are officially considered a homeschooler? Maybe I misunderstood the original poster, but I was assuming that she had an almost-5-year-old who has been unofficially learning at home and presumably has a social life that is suiting him or her already. Neighbour kids, cousins, siblings... I was assuming there had been adequate natural socializing thus far and the question was mostly how much to add in now that the homeschooling had become "real," i.e. the child is KG-aged. Personally I wouldn't add in more than one new thing at a time.

 

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Old 07-22-2012, 06:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

All kids are different. But how much organized social activity do you need to add to a child's current routine just because they reach school-age and are officially considered a homeschooler? Maybe I misunderstood the original poster, but I was assuming that she had an almost-5-year-old who has been unofficially learning at home and presumably has a social life that is suiting him or her already. Neighbour kids, cousins, siblings... I was assuming there had been adequate natural socializing thus far and the question was mostly how much to add in now that the homeschooling had become "real," i.e. the child is KG-aged. Personally I wouldn't add in more than one new thing at a time.

 

Miranda

Yes, but many of those playmates may now be unavailable, or less available, as they head off to full day kindergarten.  My children only have one sibling and no local cousins, so found themselves a bit bereft of friends, except on weekends.  Since then, they've made a number of homeschooled friends through orgainized activities.

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Old 07-22-2012, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, everyone! I really appreciate the advice! I have decided not to the join the second group. I will make a concerted effort to plan playdates with new friends from the first group, and I can reevaluate midyear and join the second group then if we feel we are lacking. And if he misses his old friends, we can do an occasional weekend thing with them.

I am stressing no more! Thanks! 

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