I was really interested in my classmate Hayden’s post about homeschooling and socialization. I have posted on here before about the fact that I was homeschooled from kindergarten through eighth grade, but I thought I would discuss the homeschool/socialization topic since that is one of the biggest concerns with homeschooling. Hayden made a lot of good points about the fact that a lack of socialization can be a problem facing families who decide to homeschool. I think the first sentence of the article he posted is wonderful because when people found out I was homeschooled they would immediately ask two questions: did that mean I did school in my pj’s (absolutely never, but some of my friends did get to) and did I have any friends (yes! both homeschooled and not). I totally understand why people asked this! For people who haven’t been homeschooled it is a strange concept and since so much, if not all, of children’s socialization was done in schools, from classes to sports and extracurricular activities, it makes sense that it would be hard to understand how kids who aren’t exposed to that environment get to interact with peers and develop those necessary life skills.
I am going to explain my experience homeschooling and socialization, but I also acknowledge that homeschooling varies GREATLY and pretty much everyone has a different experience and feels differently about it. So with that, here goes:
I loved being homeschooled. I am the oldest of five, and my family is very close-knit so I enjoyed being able to stay home when my siblings were babies and be able to play with my brother in the backyard in the afternoon and do our morning readings sitting next to the four of them, and I think being homeschooled helped foster that relationship with my siblings even more. So although it wasn’t a class of twenty of my peers, I wasn’t alone with my mom all day. I don’t know how it works with only children.
My family was also involved in a homeschool group. This was a group of homeschool families with children of a range of ages. We did field trips. A lot. It was one of the best parts of homeschool in my opinion. When we were doing natural science we would go to the museum of natural science with a bunch of other kids and we had to stand in line and were told to be quiet and got in trouble for wandering off just like I am sure happens on field trips with traditional schools. We had gatherings at family’s houses at least once a week (probably more so the moms could complain about us, but they said it was so we could see our friends). I remember learning to play red rover and that weird mob game there. It was great because we would talk with kids in higher grades and they would tell us that the math we were taking wasn’t really as hard as we thought it was, just WAIT until we get into their grade, and we would tease the younger kids but also take care of them and act like their mother’s.
I was also involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities– I was in the Junior Master Gardener club at the city arboretum, I played basketball and soccer and briefly swimming and softball, I tried the violin (my mom was not a fan of the practice it required when she had sleeping babies), I acted in plays through the community arts center at least once a year, and I went to Sunday school classes and volunteered through my church. All of these activities involved other people, kids my age, not my age, and adults, and they taught me how to interact with people and make friends and respect authority and develop who I was in association with the world around me.
I could say so much about homeschool because it is such a huge topic, it was my life for nine years, and I watched my mom pour everything she had–time, money, stress– into doing her best to raise us the way she thought best. However, I will end it there for now since I am trying to stay on the topic of socialization.