~ Note: I wrote this to be a Facebook post but it ended up so long that I moved it here. I'm not particularly eloquent and there is a plethora of blog posts and articles that deal with this topic. This is just what I wanted to tell my loved ones about socialization. ~So last week, I started posting a little about how homeschooling works for us. Today I want to mention socialization. The first question people tend to ask when they find out someone homeschools is, "What about socialization?" I have lots and lots of ways I could answer that question but today I thought I would just give you a glimpse of our schedule this week and let you judge for yourselves.
Monday: Homeschool Co-op - We get together with about 30 other families and hold classes all day. The kids range in age from newborn to teenager. There's somthing for everyone and each kid has a group of friends that they get to hang out with.
After co-op is scouts for the boy.
Tuesday: World Cultures Day at the library. I started this group that gets together once a month and the library and the kids have the opportunity to do presentations on what they have learned about the month's country. We usually have 5-10 families participate. After the "official" meeting, we usually hang out in the kids section of the library for a couple of hours. The moms talk, the older kids hang out together, and the little kids play with the in-house toys.
Emmy works part time at a local fast food and I dropped her off before our meeting and picked her up after.
Wednesday: Eli babysits a couple of kids in our neighborhood two days a week for a couple of hours each time. They LOVE him and ask their mom every day if he's coming.
I dropped Emmy off at work again.
Miri had a doctor's appointment in Salt Lake. She's diabetic and has to do one of these every three months. She gets checked out and then has the opportunity to ask the doctor any questions she has. She usually does have questions and they have a good talk about her disease. Then I take her out to lunch where I let her choose and order her own meal. She's not afraid to ask the server for whatever she needs. (Like I was at her age.)
Then I picked Emmy up from work.
In the evening, there were the youth activities at the church for the older kids.
Thursday: This morning we had a homeschool Valentine's party with about 6 other families. It was mostly for the younger kids but the older ones went and played with the littles anyway. The kids were able to play together for about 3 hours.
This has been a particularly busy week for us but it's not uncommon for us to have this much going on. Co-op runs all through the school year except December. We plan on having World Cultures year-round. In the summer, there are park days at least 3 days per week with 10 or more other families. We also have group field trips at least bi-monthly, mom's support group every month, a monthly board game day at the library, a monthly teen activity, monthly trips to the swimming pool and the local "funplex." There are also opportunities for dance, music, art, and swimming lessons. And when a mom in the homeschool community sees a need for something new, we fill it. I'm starting a monthly polymer clay group that will include teens and adults; other moms get together and do book discussions, crafts, and discuss specific homeschool philosophies.
So, the next time you ask a homeschool mom, "What about socialization?" and she rolls her eyes, don't be offended. She just knows that the real problem with homschool socialization - for many of us anyway - is not overdoing it.