Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Homeschooling Encouragement Part 2: SOCIALIZATION

So, you want to homeschool? AWESOME! I honestly believe anyone can do it, especially if you have a library card and a pinterest account! (Read this post first if you are still unsure about whether or not you can do it.)

But what about socialization. That is a sting word I hear ALL THE TIME! Yes, my kids are educated at home, but there are a ton of ways they can learn how to interact with other people. And honestly, my favorite part about homeschooling is the fact that all my kids are very comfortable around a variety of ages, not just other 6, 5, or 3 year olds. That's right, I'm arguing that homeschool kids are possibly BETTER SOCIALIZED than public school kids. How can that be? Because on a regular basis they are interacting with kids and adults of all ages.

Here are some of the places we go to socialize and learn how to behave around other people:

The grocery store: seriously. People always look at me like I'm crazy when fall rolls around and I still have 3 monkeys hanging out of my grocery cart. LEARNING OPPORTUNITY! "Kids, staring is rude," the Mama Laws family smiles and waves and is always polite. This is also a great chance to work on small talk. I personally hate small talk, but there are some people who have the gift, and waiting in the grocery store checkout line is the perfect place to practice. And if we go to Walmart we get extra practice with that "no staring, no pointing, no talking loudly about other people who seem different" rule. Public school kids? They're stuck at school being told to sit down and be quiet and if they are lucky they get 45 minutes of recess in which to practice these things.

Church: At our church we have attend a meeting all together as a family, and then break up into children, men and women groups. So during the family meeting the kids get to observe people of all ages, and often get great examples of how not to behave. We get to greet elderly members who are lonely and grateful for a hug. We get to wave at the littlest members (and try really hard not to make funny faces to make the babies laugh...because that would irreverent and inappropriate at church). Because YES there is a time and a place for certain behavior, and my homeschooled kids WILL learn!

The playground: Especially during the summer months, this can be difficult. Oftentimes different organizations let their summer camp kids play at the playground so there are kids up to 12 years old running around like banshees. We get to learn to speak up for ourselves, not get pushed around and be kind and patient at the same time.

Playdates with other homeschoolers: playdates often end when kids turn about 5, because they go off to school. For homeschoolers, playdates continue throughout the school year! And the best part is that homeschooling friends have older siblings and younger siblings and they all play together!

Classes at _______: my kids have a charter school they get to take afternoon classes on M,W and F. Other towns have co-ops and older kids can attend certain classes at the high school or junior college. While the kids attending these classes are usually all about the same age, it is another opportunity to socialize that most homeschoolers have access to.

Our amazing homeschool group of kids 3-18!
Extracurricular activities: the Bear takes gymnastics classes with girls in an age range from 6 to 9. And Buddy takes martial arts with boys 4-7. And Squeaker will start a gymnastics class this fall. This is a great way for your homeschool kids to meet other kids, figure out how to make friends, and enjoy stuff that isn't math and reading. The Bear and Buddy are also both doing summer camps (a soccer camp I put on for them and their friends, and a dinosaur camp and animal camp that the zoo sponsored).

As you can see there are tons of opportunities for your little homeschoolers to get out of the house, make friends and learn how to talk with people of all ages. If you'd like to read more, I found this great article on Parent at the Helm, enjoy! And one of the first mommy-homeschooling-bloggers I ever read was Kris Bales from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She is hilarious, totally real and has this great post to encourage you!

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