Friday, November 12, 2010

LRH - Thoughts on Social Interaction

I receieved the following question via a Yahoo group for HSing:
"I'm a former elementary school teacher, so I feel comfortable with the teaching part of homeschooling. But I am concerned about the social aspect of it. So I'm trying to find local homeschooling groups and clubs to get my kids involved with.  ...  And the more research I do on homeschooling, the more I realize that it's what's best for all of our kids."
I think it's wonderful that she's decided to HS!  Here is the response that I gave reguarding the social aspect of homeschooling:

As a HS grad myself (nearly 20 years ago) and a HS parent – my standard response to the “social question” is: “We used to have trouble with our socializing, but we’ve buckled down and have it under control now!” One of the biggest responses you’ll hear from HSers is that traditional classrooms are an artificial social environment. It is the only time in your life you’ll be with people who are exactly your age! A MAJOR benefit of HS is that our kids are learning to interact with all age groups, play with their own siblings and other friends’ siblings, both younger and older. In fact, I’ve had people tell me “I can tell your (11 YO child) is HS, because he plays so well with his 2 YO brother”. Proud momma moment!

We lean toward unschooling and natural learning, so it isn’t a leap for us to also seek organic social activities. For us this means:
  1. family
  2. church
  3. outside sport/enrichment activities
  4. community/charity involvement

 We have not yet joined any HS coops, although many HS friends swear by them! It can be another “artificial environment” if it is the only social club you belong to. We value diversity and welcome the opportunity (most of the time!) to discuss the choices that people make and the consequences therein. Another reason I’ve eschewed the coop route is that they can create immense pressure (especially on new HSers) to “measure up” and “do it right”. There are many wonderfully organized HS parents out there, many with large families, who serve as encouragement and examples. It can be intimidating, though, to those who have other styles for their HS.
Welcome to the wonderful world of HS – You have a great journey ahead of you! I always try to remember that if something doesn’t work, I didn’t fail, the method did. It helps keep me (mostly) sane.

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