Homeschool & Socialization “De-buffed”

One of the biggest worries new homeschool parents face when it comes to deciding whether or not to homeschool is literally the simplest area to accomplish. I was worried about it too when I first started homeschooling over 20 years ago. Back then, homeschooling was new and the choices we had were a lot fewer than the choices you have now. It is so much easier to homeschool now than when homeschooling first began in the 1980’s when government schools introduced bussing to California Residents.

The fact of the matter is; teaching, learning and social skills are so much more easily taught and far more effective than government run schools right down to socialization. One reason it is easier and more effective to homeschool is because homeschooling is no longer new and trendy. The homeschool movement has grown so large and is currently growing at a phenomenal rate that families have made homeschooling part of everyday life. The other reason it is easy is because of the resources that are available today that were not around 20 years ago. But the third reason homeschooling is easier and more appealing is because parents take an active role in the children’s education including teaching them social skills and socialization.

You see, just about every family joining into the homeschool realm has thought about or like you worried about if their kids will have friends. The fact is, in my 20 years of homeschooling experience, there are plenty of parents who feel the same way and so they seek ways to having their children interact with others. That is why homeschool groups form. A homeschool group is a collective force of parents who want to band together and give their children all that school is lacking. Field trips, play dates, park days and special classes are all to be found when you join the right group. The parents who participate regularly in these activities benefit the most.

Many groups have parents who participate over and beyond. Like me, they know when they put together group events that their children benefit so they share their talents. Last year I wanted to teach fire safety to my children. Although I had great ideas, the most effective way to teach fire safety was to teach a group of kids. Because I was teaching a group, not just my own, I was able to get all kinds of free teaching materials, pamphlets, flyers, school work, puzzles and so much more. We even had the fire department come with a fire truck. The class was amazing and full of core families that share the same homeschool vision and family values as we. The class had over 30 kids in different age groups. If that is not having social interaction, then I don’t know what is.

Here is the misconception:

When your child goes to government school, you drop them off. They head into a school with hundreds of kids. They are exposed early in life to all of types of kids. Because there are so many children and so many choices, your children will likely choose two or three friends and stick with that. So, although there may be a lot of choices, children will choose to be with a few that they find interesting. Although in the younger years the types of kids they are exposed to vary greatly, they are still mildly affected by their peers. Therefore, children may choose friends based on values and morals not necessarily in line with you and your values. You are not there to guide your children to play and hang out with other like children. In Government schools, we allow our children to be in charge of their own peer group.

As children grow they become more open to the variety of people they are exposed to and are more easily influenced. That is why so many parents cannot understand why their child is now on drugs or dressing inappropriately. Children can “hang” with the dregs of society and it’s all good. They can be friends with the gays, hoods, jocks, and preps, whatever. The reality is: Government schools teach tolerance for their social skills. That is it! They do not teach social skills. In fact, the whole, what about socialization comment shows how ignorant we have become about teaching socialization. In my book, teaching our kids about socialization is teaching them to live like communist. Have you ever noticed that the government schools have this on their agenda?

What can you do? First, join a group. Find a group of homeschoolers in your area that hold some of the same values. That way you know who your children are interacting with and that those children and their families hold the same values as you and yours.

Next, attend functions! If you are only going to attend one or two things, your children are not going to benefit as greatly as if they were to join several things. In our group, we have regularly planned play dates. Twice a month the families of the group have an event where they can bring the kids together to play. They make this Play Time part of the curriculum to establish consistency and a core group for their kids.

Finally, get involved. Don’t just leave the activity planning to someone else. If your kids are in need of a field trip then plan one. Better yet, plan one for the group and your children will have a slew of friends joining them. They will have Friends that YOU know and trust.

Final point: Yes, at an early age, I monitored my kids. I put them with the friends that would benefit my child's growth. I taught them social skills, which is different than socialization. My children are far more respectful, disciplined, well-spoken and socially adjusted than the kids they know who government school. Typically, my kids, an 18 and 20 year old, get annoyed with the speech and slang of their peers. They have discernment when it comes to people and they look for people to hang out with who are like minded. I was able to give them that skill because I taught it to them rather than left it to chance the way most parents leave it to the government to teach. My other two, 10 and 8, have lovely wholesome relationships with a core group of friends. They can carry on intelligent conversations with adults and are respectful and well behaved. They are being taught how to have discernment and understanding without being taught tolerance. They are happy, smart and well-adjusted kids as are most homeschool kids we know. My experience has shown me that this is true for most homeschooled kids.

The whole social question has been "de-buffed". Ask just about any homeschool family and they will concur. I leave you with this thought; I was sitting a P.E the other day and I was approached by two college students who were doing a research paper at the park. They asked me “Is it a school holiday or something? Why are there so many kids at the park?” I replied it is our homeschool P.E. class. You see we have a homeschool family who is into physical fitness. They wanted to teach their kids P.E and thought well if we can teach our kids then we could teach a few more so they started a P.E class. It is now 5 years later and they have 3 classes and over 200 students. If you cannot find a friend in 200 kids, you have a problem.

Lisa Dingman is a homeschool mom of four children and the founder of Success In Home Biz. With her business, Lisa focuses on helping people gain financial independence while still spending time with their spouses, homeschooling the children, or continuing to work at their present jobs while uncovering the road to financial freedom.

Lisa also has a website called Homeschool Now. If you need help in your homeschool journey, her 20 years of experience can help you. Homeschool Now, Mom teaches you how.

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