One of the biggest questions we, as homeschoolers, are asked is about the socialization of these children. I understand the concern if someone is not familiar with how most homeschools work. If your perception of homeschool is Mom and children at home all day doing paperwork and seeing no one that would be a problem. Most of us do not work that way.
As stated in an earlier post that kind of gives an idea of our schedule you can see that we are extremely active and busy. Our children interact with various people in many settings:
1. Obviously at Home: The family interactions. Learning to get along with each other, to respect their parents and even greeting the UPS man sometimes. O.k, I threw that in for fun. Having friends of all ages in, Bible Studies, hosting those without local family for Holiday meals and often in between.
2. Church: We encourage our children to interact with people of all ages at church. Ours is one that does not have a children's church because we want to worship as families. I understand that not all feel this way and that is fine with me. We have enjoyed watching our children develop relationships with the elderly and the young toddlers underfoot while also enjoying those their own age.
3. Co-op: Our co-op goes a long way to promote friendships among the young people. They share in classes, field trips, fun activities and many, many play dates and sleepovers....or sometimes wakeovers. While you have your occasional cliques forming, it is neat to see that for the most part the kids are considerate of each other and kind.
4. Part time jobs: Many homeschoolers, when they are old enough, begin working part time. This allows them the opportunity to meet and greet those in the work place and begin to learn skills that will help them to determine what it is they would like to do with the rest of their life.
5. Kids in the nieghborhood. We are the house to be at. I love to have the children here. One, I get to know them. Two, I know what is going on. Lately, though, Chelsea has been spending a lot of time at another neighbor's house who shares our values and is good to check with me about activities. At this home Chelsea interacts well with the younger brother of her friend...undoubtedly as a result of her never being taught that she shouldn't play with younger children. She has always been encouraged to care about everyone around her.
6. Volunteering: Getting the kids involved politically, in the neighborhood, or painting a gym at the local youth camp. There are many, many things to allow them to give back to the community. They meet many awesome people in the process. Each year our guys go to Philadelphia to pack food baskets for Thanksgiving handout. This event is held in a Korean church and peoples of all cultures are participate. It is an awesome sight to see and be a part of.
7. Youth Group: This has not been my favorite part of my boys socialization. I am finding that the young people coming in to the youth group have a very different value system and while, our youth leaders make an effort to keep things in control there is a very different atmosphere when you take most adults out of the equation. Maybe it is just me...and I am weird...but I really prefer my childrens' biggest influence to be someone other than their peers...This is controversial, I know. Would you care to share any experiences, either way?
I am sure that if I just thought for a few seconds more, I would come up with more ways our children are socialized. We lead very full and busy lives...sometimes too much so. I am thankful for the opportunity to pour ourselves into our children over these few years and rejoice in the support and assistance from those around us.
Blessings on your day.