Homeschooling: Friends are Important

First, I don’t believe all the hype propagandized out there about homeschooled kids lacking social skills. In every area of involvement that we’ve had with non-home educated children, 4H for example, my kids have passed the “friendly” test with both the adults and the kids. What’s more, my oldest (only one in 4H) has never been inhibited about speaking or singing in front of groups. The truth is, social and anti-social kids exist in both arenas. Personality and life experiences combine to create confidence or reticence.  

My husband’s uncle recently told me his brother’s take on the socialization argument. This man and his wife homeschool their children, and firmly agree that their kids aren’t socialized to the world’s standards.

They aren’t drinking, smoking and having sex–

With that said though, I do want to emphasize the importance of providing a social outlet for your homeschooled children. What a boost it is to be a part of a home school co-op, or to have weekly plans with another homeschooling family. Even participating at the library’s story hour, or in a church club, such as Awanas, provides an energizing much needed to keep everything from deteriorating to ho-hum status. Just as science, history, music lessons, etc all deserve a place in your children’s weekly lesson plan, so should “social life”. Think about it this way, what is the real appeal of public school to most homeschooled children? The socializing! So provide it for your kids from a young age, and they’ll never see it as a “lack” in their educational experience.

More soon on the topic of friendships and young children…

22 thoughts on “Homeschooling: Friends are Important”

  1. Im in the process of getting an exemption for My Trier
    I laughed at the last person whom mentioned this myth about homeschooled kids lacking social skills. I think it was an important person too but i couldnt help myself. It is just that a myth!!! and I told that person that.

    I think its far better for all if they arent “socialized to the world’s standards.” Its one of the main reasons Im getting My Trier out of it this year. Its not only drinking, smoking and having sex. My biggest fear with My Trier is that he has ADHD and does things impulsively and follows the leader. My biggest fear is that he is going to get himself in HUGE trouble if he stays in the public system.

    I look forward to being part of the local home school group. Its another thing I have to remember to do. Thanks for the reminder. I had contacted last year but I need to do it again now we are closer to making this a reality. I sent in my exemption yesterday.

  2. I’m glad your laws allow you to be exempt, Jen. How is your Trier feeling about the whole process? It’s nice that he’ll have more time with his little brother. Do you get to choose your curriculum, or does the local school system keep pretty close tabs on what you guys get to use?

  3. I know very little about home schooling, although I’ve had students in the past who were home schooled. My assumption would be, as you said, that a social life is what you make of it! It sounds like your girls are very social!

  4. My question, Mary, is ‘how do you cope with the very different academic aptitudes of the children in the family?’ Are there children who benefit more from almost totally ‘mom-teaching/hands on’ care and others who can grab an online curriculum and run with it? How on earth do you keep the children from feeling they are being compared with a ‘quicker to learn’ sibling? How do you stimulate a visually oriented child so that math and science realities can be grasped without them ‘feeling slow’and secretly comparing themselves with the quicker learners?

  5. Colleen, would you say your students were a good mixture of both outgoing and quiet? I’m curious as to your impression of them. :) Don’t worry about hurting my feelings!

  6. Great questions, MM, things I’m facing as I type! I try to be careful not to compare my two school aged girls at all, except in angst to my hubby when they’re not around…one is extremely motivated, super easy to homeschool…while the other one drags her feet and and really struggles. I think part of it is my fault for letting some attitude mismanagement get the best of me when she starts complaining about math, her least favorite subject.

    With my visual learner, we often make home-made booklets that reinforce the science concepts…and she adores science experiments. I think visual learners might be more challenging to me because of all the extra planning it takes to be prepared to teach in this way.

    Any added input on MM’s question would be appreciated!

  7. I think it depends on the individual child and parent. I was really good with certain subjects and would delve into them no problem, without prompting from my Mom. Others, though, would last me way longer than needed. My sister was alot more self-disciplined at that time, though, and didn’t need as much of a push from Mom to get through the courses.

  8. I am homeschooling my three youngest children, and my oldest goes to a Christian school. I think people just like to cut down what they don’t know about. They tend to think if you do something that is not the same as the majority, then it is not as good. I believe that homeschooling does not affect social skills. My girls love people, and they love playing with their friends. I once wrote a poem. Children are the seeds of our nations, much as the sun helps a young seed to grow and blume, so does God’s word for the young soul, so nurish them and help them grow, for you will reap just what you sow. You get what you give, and as a mom, I give all I have. It is the best job in the world. Hugs. Juli

  9. Geri, did you ever feel bad that you weren’t as self-disciplined in getting your schoolwork done? I don’t think my 7 year old compares in this way yet…she doesn’t seem to anyway. Of course, she’s only 3 years into this homeschooling gig! 😉

    Jen, I’m so glad. Being able to choose what you teach is half of the reason we homeschool! I love being free to enrich our studies with the backbone of our Godly heritage!

    Juli, it is, isn’t it? We’re so blessed and privileged to have children, and to be their moms! I think the best friends for our children, are their siblings. But having that interaction with others is great too, especially the reinforcement of being with other Christian homeschooling families. Not that we can’t be salt and light to unbelieving friends as well, say at 4h or ball games. I think having a social community to back up your family values is priceless.

    Your poem is rich with truth! I love picturing my children as seeds and reaping what I sow. I often have thought of them as arrows, because of Psalm 127:4, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of your youth”…thanks for sharing your poem here, I think if we moms could keep that truth close to heart, our focus wouldn’t always be straying to the “what-if’s” of life. The ones that sometimes plague me, anyway!

  10. One of the years I did it I had one course that I left off and then it was summer. I DID feel bad then when I was rushing to get my course done and everyone else was out playing. LOL you can tell her that maybe and maybe it will help speed her up-for a few days at least anyway. Like I said, though, my Mom was working then and I didn’t have much in the way of encouragement until it was too late. I still can’t believe how much of a procrastinator I was. Sometimes I still put things off but never like that! I was the type though that liked to move slowly through things at my own pace; maybe your daughter is like that too?

  11. That sounds a lot like her. I’ve just gotten her over the habit of doodling all over her worksheets. She’d waste an hour doodling when just a little bit of “applying herself” would have her done with the problems in 20 minutes or less. By the time she’s sick of sitting there, she and I both are fighting for patience. And I sure don’t want to still be doing school at 5 P.M.! Plus, she’s a great one for leaving her work to pursue distractions (playing with her little sister!). She’d just rather do anything than school, which is a first in this house, and rather disheartening! I keep telling myself, this too shall pass! And in the meantime, I need to get more creative with her subject load.

  12. Have you tried some sort of reward system? I know it’s awful to bribe your kids but sometimes if you set up a system where (say the work is set in chapters) if she does one chapter a week then she can have a movie night on Friday. But involve all your daughters so then it’s fair. If they each accomplish the amount they are supposed to in a week then they can have a movie night with popcorn and treats. But if anyone works over the set-upon amount then they get to choose the movie (otherwise you can choose it). LOL I can’t wait for my time to come because if LO takes after me at all I have my work cut out for me! Let me know what ends up working for you…I would love some insight!

  13. I think you have a great idea, Geri…I may end up doing that or a variation, whatever I can think of that will appeal to this particular daughter of mine!

    She tried hard today, and did pretty well. Baby steps, right? Her older sis came to her aid and they took off on reading together (reading is my 7 yo’s least favorite subject, I think she has a bit of dyslexia) which gave me a breather and still got the job done. I’m so glad they work together so well…

  14. That’s great! Reading is really hard for alot of kids, especially with dyslexia. That would make alot of sense if she’s got it; it would make it very hard to want to learn. I had some friends who had it and they would get so frustrated and not want to do the work because reading was such a challenge. But at least (sometimes) it can be overcome, expecially since she is still so young, it may be something she can outgrow. I was shocked; my little brother (8 now) was always having such a hard time learning to read and my Mom thought she was going to have to send him to a learning class-he was doing really badly and when he would read out loud to her could not sound out the words and was distracted with every little thing. This Christmas when I was there my other brother (19) gave him a Harry Potter (one of the huge ones!) and he was already well into it, plus he had also gotten another huge novel from the same brother. I looked at my Mom and asked “can he really read that?” because the book is probably at least 500 pages and I wasn’t reading that thick of books till I was at least in high school and I have always been an avid reader. My Mom laughed and said “yup!”. I guess she went into his class to discuss his reading with his teacher and the teacher kinda gave my Mom a funny look when she expressed her concern. Turns out when the whole class had been tested the previous year in school he was a grade ahead of everyone in reading. My Mom was in utter disbelief. I guess since there is 7 people (and a dog) in my family and there was so much going on (since me and my sister don’t live there anymore, people are always coming and going, and that house is such a busy place that my little brother just wanted to be doing what everyone else was doing and so was easily distracted. So hopefully your daughter is just distracted with your busy household and that’s why she’s having a tough time. I found homeschooling especially tough for the fact that me and my sister would want to play more than do school and since my Mom was working it was alot easier for us to do that. LOL-we’d go out on “picnics” and spend an hour just preparing these extravagant lunches to prepare then spend a half hour walking through the forest to find the “right spot”, then take forever eating…by the time the picnic was done we would have done no school and it was time to go home!

  15. That’s amazing about your brother, and I can just feel your mom’s relief at the teacher’s pronouncement! I appreciate you sharing that. I know 7 yo is very active and more people-dependent than my oldest. So it could be that reading just isn’t her cup of tea. However, I told her yesterday that I was going to begin pushing her to read aloud more unless I saw her making more efforts to read to 3 yo, etc. She used to do that a lot more than she does now. So this morning, on her own, she got down a basket of books and read 7 of them to our youngest!

    Sometimes I think we mommies get too worried about these things. I have a feeling that 7 yo will be an avid reader by the time she’s 10. She really enjoys books on tape and being read to. I’ve read before about how some children are just slow bloomers. Have you ever heard the story about the farmer in Alaska who spent all winter preparing the hard ground for spring planting? The frozen ground was awful to work, backbreaking labor. He noticed in March that his neighboring friend, also a farmer, was just getting started plowing his fields over and with the spring thaw having softened the ground, his job was so much easier. This story was for the benefit of moms like me who sweat it when all of their kiddos don’t learn at the same speed. I can fight and struggle with her lack of reading skills, and push her at it till she really hates it, or back off (as dh told me to do!) and when she’s ready, she’ll probably skip right to the thick books. Especially if I can find one that really sparks her interest. Thankfully, she can read, we just have to be really patient as she does so. She has a great memory, and can spell at her age level. So it’s not that she’s behind all other 7 yos, it’s just that my oldest was beyond this at age 6, so I’ve been wondering if it was my fault, what I could do better, etc. Make sense?

    Have to tell you that today the girls and I decided to make an incentive chart. For every special thing they do that I don’t “tell them to do”, they’ll get a paper “pepperoni” of their own to put on a big paper pizza. When the pizza is full, we’ll celebrate by going out to Pizza Hut with their Book-It’s, and then follow lunch up with an ice cream treat at Dairy Queen. They love the idea. I told 7 yo, that one way for her to get her pepperonis would be to keep a positive attitude during schooltime and really apply herself! Thanks for giving me the idea of rewarding her. The girls are really excited. :)

  16. That’s a great idea!! I know that definitely would have motivated me when I was homeschooling-I’m a sucker for cappuccino skor blizzards! And Jack & Jill Sundaes…and pretty much everything else on the DQ menu!

  17. Jack & Jill Sundaes? That’s a new one on me! I love anything with Skor bar in it! That’s been my favorite candy bar since childhood…mmm.

  18. Mmm, sounds de-lish! I love Peanut Buster Parfaits and Moolattes. Cappuccino Moolattes. Good thing ice cream doesn’t tempt me when it’s cold outside. And it’s snowing like crazy out there right now!

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