Homeschoolers and the “S” word: Rich opportunities for relationships

In two recent posts, I have been talking about the question “everyone” wants to ask about homeschooling:

“What about Socialization?”

Let me share some of the fabulous ways home educators answer that in their actions.

  • As mentioned previously, our kids are involved in an average of 5-6 outside activities.  The term “car schooling” was coined to reflect the focus on continuing the academics on the way to all the outside social activities.  I and others caution moms that they don’t need to cover everything they think the kids miss by not being in the public school, but generally the error is on doing too much than not enough group involvement.
  • We do have less time needed for school work, so there is much more time for drama and sports and music and volunteer work and . . .
  • For several years, I invited a mom and kids over for lunch every week–many different families over the years, and some came frequently.  The whole families became friends and continue to be close even after 20 years.
  • A special class or group or club for just about any interest has probably been developed or accessed by a homeschooler who wanted that outlet for her kids.
    How about award winning sports and drama and speech teams, dance troupes, music ensembles, proms, art classes, foreign language  and math and science  and spelling competitions, career exploration, youth-in-government programs, literacy volunteers, health care aides, scouting troops, 4-H clubs, honor societies, and mission trips, just for starters.
  • We can create opportunities to get to know those with unusual interests or those in ordinary occupations by setting up a field trip or dinner invitation to interview the person, shadow him in his job or hear him speak about his passion.
  • Co-op classes are extremely popular, and may be a group of parents who each teach a certain class from their expertise, or currenly working professionals who instruct in their fields.  The classes may be highly academic or may focus on the special interests and extra-curricular subjects, and students get a small classroom experience.
  • Many families and home school support groups make good use of the community resources such as parks and recreation classes, sports programs, cultural events, and volunteer programs.
  • When my girls were in high school, we created and ran a Teen Night–mainly for homeschoolers, but many brought their public school friends.  Every other week for four years, we had 5-35 teens at our house for a multitude of fun and crazy activities.
  • Homeschooled students can be found talking to just about anybody–young or old, at the store or playground.  Often they are sensitive to include those who might be left out, and they know how to befriend those who are different.
  • When the family has a home business, the students generally are involved at a young age and are learning key principles in business management, customer relations, organizational skills, office skills, and money management.
  • Some students will even begin their own enterprise as pre-teens or teens, and many of them have leadership roles in their jobs and other involvements.
  • It is becoming commonplace for home educated teens to take community college classes concurrently while in high school.

Well, I could go on.  Writing this list brings back many memories of our family and many other families I have known.  I encourage the skeptics to look around when they are out in public places.  You may be surprised to find homeschoolers more often and in places you might not expect.

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