One of the concerns I have heard over and over about homeschooling is that kids don't have an opportunity to socialize with other kids. I guess homeschooling families can withdraw into their own little world and totally be anti-social with other people.... and there have probably been publicized families or stories that you can recall. But the reality is that if a family is in a community or church or just wants to give their kids opportunities to meet other kids, there are PLENTY of places and ways!!!
First let me share that I really think kids learn a lot of positive socialization from their parents and working together with their siblings. I strive to teach my children to be civil to each other and that has translated into their interactions with other kids. I have always been thankful for the children from our community that have made their way into our yard in the afternoons and have befriended my younger children. My kids can easily play with older and younger children! And when they aren't being shy, they will hold conversation with our church members, too!
We finally got to attend one of the first group get togethers of the homeschooling group that we joined this year!! Let me explain that being a part of this group is in NO way convenient for us.... all the local meetings are 45+ minutes away; which adds almost 1.5 hrs travel time into our busy days.
But I joined because I really wanted to have a group of homeschoolers to do field trips and activities with!! And I wanted the kids to know other homeschoolers and see that there ARE tons of other kids that "do school at home with their parents." And I look forward to the conversations and encouragements from other seasoned homeschooling families.
Yesterdays meeting was very relaxed.... we met at a SONIC, introduced ourselves to some of our age-group leaders and then the kids jumped into the all the fun going on on the playground. I immediately jumped ito conversations with other moms.... some first time homeschoolers, others who had 1 or 2 children already in college after being homeschooled!! What a blessing to be surrounded by some of these sweet and encouraging families.
AND BOY did my kids play!!! We stayed at SONIC from 11:20 to 2:15, playing, talking, eating, and more playing!! I thought they'd crash in the car but they were excited to learn some of the songs for AWANA...
Yes, as if playing at a playground with other kids wasn't enough socialization for one day. Last night was our first night at AWANA at a neighboring church.... I have been soo excited about AWANA starting. I've been a little hesitant about not attending my church on Wednesdays, but the AWANA program is soo strong in biblical teaching and encouraging kids to memorize Scripture. I figured if I could use my talents and interests to serve as well as bring my kids to a GREAT program then it would be worth it.
Anyway, AWANA went soo well.... my younger two were a bit clingy (I stayed with Chris for the 1st half and Andrea said Lydia stayed by her side the whole evening) but the kids participated in the activities, heard about God and His Word and were talking about the fun they had in their classes! Sounds like a great time to me. Pictures were taken and can be found on Andrea's flickr.
So yes, my kids are homeschooled. They stay and learn with me all day. But they are definitely getting plenty of opportunities to socialize because of activities and clubs that we have purposefully decided to participate in. And I am very thankful for the opportunities we have through our homeschool group and AWANA!!
Let me also say that there are TONS of other activities that give homeschoolers opportunities to play and socialize with other kids & adults... from community sports and music programs, drama clubs/teams, church activities, job opportunities and 4H! These two are ones we have chosen to fit the needs and goals of our family right now and I'm sure we will venture into other activities as the interests of our children are identified:)