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Social Opportunities...opinions wanted

526 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  onlyzombiecat
Alas there are social opportunities in my area! Now is the decision of deciding what exactly a 5 year old can handle (including mama) and what to pick.

Id love to know your thoughts especially if you have been involved in any of these organizations or in something similar.

DD will be in: Awanas, Sunday School, and one sport of choice, usually swapping Ice Skating and Swimming. That is something 3x a week.

I only have one area I want to fill right now, and its social interaction. She wants a friend terribly, and in the sports she meets girls, but they are usually concentrated on not drowning, or falling on their butt. So I want something that is more focused on social and interacting with kids her age, instead of in sundayschool/awanas where a teacher leads the group.

Our Options:

Homeschool Co-op: (meets every Monday for 3 hours, choir, gym, and a theme, bugs/insects this fall, all kindergarteners) This would get expensive, since I have to "enroll" my other children in their preschool/nursery, and be active each week myself.

Pony Club: Splits kids in a group of 5-8 year olds for a 12 week long session to teach about equine (her passion), and then has mounted/unmounted meetings 1-3x a month, depending on season. They suggest horseback riding lessons on the side as well, horse ownership not necessary, and some places allow leasing of horses/ponies that we can check into. This is very costly for us, but not unmanageable. And she LOVES horses, we also own horse (not trained yet) that it would be great for her to learn more, and again shes passionate, the biggest hang up is the cost, I would need it asap and just dont have it. I thought it started in January, but I had an old brochure, that was last year.

Girl Scouts: I think most know about the girl scouts, they have meetings and divided by age, they also do activities/field trips so to speak to earn badges. Ours seems to be really active, but it really wont be until shes 6 that she can get the most out of it (next year), the 5 year olds seem to be limited in meetings, but they still have them, and still do stuff and the kids are her age.

I think thats it... anyone have any thoughts, opinions, ideas? Since all of these are year long memerships I want it to be something she will get a lot of use out of an be able to find some friends, and ofcourse enjoy herself.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by spicensnail007
Girl Scouts: I think most know about the girl scouts, they have meetings and divided by age, they also do activities/field trips so to speak to earn badges. Ours seems to be really active, but it really wont be until shes 6 that she can get the most out of it (next year), the 5 year olds seem to be limited in meetings, but they still have them, and still do stuff and the kids are her age.
Would she be a Daisy this year? One of my DDs was a Daisy and loved it. Their meetings were a blast-- they played games, sang songs, and made friends. They had a pizza party, went to a movie together etc. Rather than earn badges they earn petals to a flower -- each petal relates to one of the GS values -- such as being friendly and helpful.

You say that you are mostly looking for a social outlet, and that she couldn't get the most out of scouts until next year. These two statements don't really go together. Daisy scouts is a social outlet! The big difference between Daisies and GS is that the activities for Daisies require less fine motor skills and the girls don't sell cookies, but they are equally social.

We don't go to church, but aren't Awanas and Sunday School social outlets as well? May be you could help her nurture friendship there by inviting one of her friends over for a playdate after church or something like that.

The Pony Club sounds like it would be a bit like swimming and skating in that it might not be much of a social activity, even though it sounds fun and very enriching.
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It would be Daisies, I had thought the Girl Scouts was the best choice, and had planned on that, but someone locally said that the Daisy Scout Leader didnt do things as actively as the Brownies did, and did meetings on her whim, when she felt up to it. I guess I should of put all of that into it. I would like to drive down and actually speak to someone about this, because e-mail has not been a good resource for information from our local unit. She did confirm the meetings are not regularly scheduled, like once a week, or necessarily once a month.
Sounds like Daisys might be the best social thing. If the leader is the same (usually different each yr w/ Daisys since the mom/leader goes up to Brownies) then you could be a co-leader to get things more regular as far as mtgs.
Daisys is an easy level to volunteer to lead and really fun.

Is there a homeschool group that you could access and just organize some girl playdates? It's free and easy

good luck
Ann
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Quote:

Originally Posted by spicensnail007
DD will be in: Awanas, Sunday School, and one sport of choice, usually swapping Ice Skating and Swimming. That is something 3x a week.

I only have one area I want to fill right now, and its social interaction. She wants a friend terribly...So I want something that is more focused on social and interacting with kids her age, instead of in sundayschool/awanas where a teacher leads the group.
Couldn't you just invite some of the kids from these activities to your home for playdates? They'd already have something in common, and then you wouldn't have the conern of a regular committment being too much.

Have you presented the options to your dd? What's her opinion on the activities you've offered?
[B said:
Pony Club[/B]: Splits kids in a group of 5-8 year olds for a 12 week long session to teach about equine (her passion), and then has mounted/unmounted meetings 1-3x a month, depending on season. They suggest horseback riding lessons on the side as well, horse ownership not necessary, and some places allow leasing of horses/ponies that we can check into. This is very costly for us, but not unmanageable. And she LOVES horses, we also own horse (not trained yet) that it would be great for her to learn more, and again shes passionate, the biggest hang up is the cost, I would need it asap and just dont have it. I thought it started in January, but I had an old brochure, that was last year.
Pony Club can be an excellent experience, but in my experience horseback riding is one of those skills that can come along a bit easier if you wait until a little older than 5. Sort of like how you can work on your 4 yr. old forever trying to teach them to tie their shoes and after 2 years they finally pick it up. Or you wait until they're 6 or so and they pick it up after one lesson. There are exceptions to every rule and there are some kids who ride very competently at 5. I teach horse back riding and my own daughter, who absolutely loves horses, is only now really riding independently at 7 1/2.

So, I might put PC off till next year!
Marti
My thought is that if you intend to homeschool over the long term there is a lot of value in getting to know other homeschoolers in your area. It helps to have a support system - folks to encourage you when you are down, someone to switch off babysitting when you have a doctor's appointment, homeschooled kids for your kid to know for many years. The way that happens doesn't necessarily have to be in a co-op and it doesn't have to be this year, but at least for us having those contacts has been really important. We aren't big group people so we didn't stick with that for long, but the folks I met there were important.
The homeschool co-op and pony club sound like they are both structured and not the pure social opportunity which you were looking for. Girl scouts might be best for developing lasting social relationships since your dd could be involved with the same girls each year if she sticks with it. Even if they don't meet every week it could still be enough to get to know the other girls.

I personally would just invite children for playdates from the activities your dd is already involved in and not look for another group or activity. Having 3 structured activities per week sounds like plenty for a 5 year old already.
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