View Full Version : New to all this...

08-27-2010, 12:45 PM
Hi all - My son is only 2 months old so I'm just in the "checking it out" phase at this point but homeschooling has always appealed to me and I'm definitely leaning towards it. My one concern is about socialization/independence. I'm worried that being home with me all day won't give him the social skills he needs to make it in the world. I know that most homeschoolers have extra-curricular activities but just wondering specifically what you guys do? How often do your kids go to these activities, do they go alone or do you stay with them, etc. Do any of you think that homeschooling has stunted your kids social skills in any way?

08-27-2010, 03:28 PM
I think most homeschoolers will tell you that homeschooling helps your child's social skills because they're not under all the negative influences of school socialization, where you're only allowed to associate with kids the same age as you and all kinds of exclusionary behavior based on gender, race, money and everything else tend to worm their way into most kids' experience on a very common basis. With homeschooling, kids interact with people (not just kids) of various ages more often. In my experience, they also do so in small communities more often, instead of in huge schools where they don't know half the people they're interacting with.

My kids have a ton of extracurricular activities. Probably too many, lol. They do soccer in the fall, t-ball in the spring, art classes with other homeschoolers, park days with our homeschool groups, Destination Imagination, and one does music and the other does ballet. All of these bring them in contact with other kids and families of various ages. The most important thing we've done though is two small groups - one is four families and the other is five. We choose a theme and do activities around it together, plus field trips and so forth. It's partly about the academics - the kids learn a lot - but it's mostly about having close friends and fostering those community skills. These two small "co-ops" have kids who have been a regular presence in my kids' lives and will continue to be for years to come. We adore them and get so much out of being so close with them.

08-27-2010, 03:54 PM
My son is 4.5. He has been doing TaeKwonDo for over a year- normally 3-4 times a week. He also did 3 separate 8 day sessions of swim lessons this summer, and he starts Monday in Dance/Gymnastics once a week (will go down to 2 times a week for TaeKwonDo). We also volunteer with a sea turtle conservation group so are with other volunteers during meetings and parties or when a nest is hatching (and with the oil spill response have had even more opportunities to get together).

Also, he's not home with me all day. DH and I both work, so DS spends part of every day with caretakers. One day a week he is with his honorary grandparents, our next door neighbors. Twice a week he is with my mom, and twice a week with my MIL and her mom who is 94 (neat multi-generational experience for him). We do his more formal lessons in the mornings, evenings, and weekends, though he is learning from everyone all the time.

I get nothing but compliments on his social abilities. He introduces himself politely to new people on his own volition, has fun playdates with kids from his activities and neighbors, and is comfortable around all ages.

I will be looking into 4-H, team sports, and our local YMCA's homeschool PE program when he turns 5, to see what he's interested in.

08-27-2010, 04:10 PM
What about the fact that homeschooled kids are pretty much with their parents or supervised by their parents all day every day. Do you guys think that negatively effects them in any way? Like maybe they won't develop a sense of independence or ability to make good decisions on their own? Not saying I think this is the case with homeschooled kids, just a concern of mine and want to know if that's the reality of it or if I don't need to worry.

08-27-2010, 05:09 PM
My children spend time with people of the ages of 80 to 0 most days. They aren't in a room of only 2 or 4 year old. My husband has a job in the real world, and the people who he works with and the customers have a huge range in age. I can't imagine a company with only 51 one year old male employees, and all the customers the same age. I have many friends, they are not all 41.

I know a bit drastic. But I see the world as a whole lot bigger than a public school classroom, where children are segregated in similar age groups. When my child walk out our door, which we do tons. They can converse, play and share with just about anyone they meet. I love that !!

Unless you are locked in your house 24/7/365 and never have visitors of any kind, I think you will get a chance to socialize ! If you go to the Library on a Tuesday, most likely the kids there are homeschoolers too. Or to the park on Friday morning. Play dates are wonderful, as well as art classes, dance, sports & etc. There are many businesses that are opening up for homeschoolers during the days, just another way to bring in some more cash !!

I wouldn't sweat it, most likely you will have way more socializing going on than you need !! ;-)

08-27-2010, 05:22 PM
I just talked to my son on the phone, he is at the airport with his grandparents to pick up my niece. He told me there are a lot of security people, and he wants to talk to them and find out about their job, so was going to go introduce himself to one that wasn't busy. I told him that was a great idea.

He did something similar when a US Fish and Wildlife agent was helping with a turtle nest move, and learned all about that job and that person.

Again, not even 5 years old. Most kids his age seem reluctant to talk to adults, in my experience.

Oh and I forgot to mention in my previous post that DS goes to most all of the children's events at our library, which are weekly, and has his own card and checks out his own books. If he needs something he asks the librarian for help. They think he's awesome!

08-28-2010, 12:46 AM
I agree with what most of the other posters have replied. I'd also add that one of the reasons I took my daughter out of public school was because of the negative socialization and bullying that was happening there. I saw my daughter go from a very happy outgoing child when she started school in kindergarten, to a very unhappy, withdrawn child with numerous somatic complaints by 5th grade because of the various cliques and bullies in the public school she attended. That was when I decided to pull her out and educate her at home. I think she'll be happier with that-she certainly seems to be so far.

You've got plenty of time to look into the various styles of home education, the studies on social skills and academic achievement, etc. and to get advice and opinions from homeschoolers and other types of educators. Look at your local schools and how they perform, how much of a problem bullying and other social problems are at them. See what extracurricular activities are available for home educated kids in the community. Look at all sides, see which fits your needs and your child's needs, and take your time making the decision.

Welcome to the site.


08-29-2010, 07:06 AM
What about the fact that homeschooled kids are pretty much with their parents or supervised by their parents all day every day. Do you guys think that negatively effects them in any way? Like maybe they won't develop a sense of independence or ability to make good decisions on their own? Not saying I think this is the case with homeschooled kids, just a concern of mine and want to know if that's the reality of it or if I don't need to worry.

Well, it would be a concern if the parent didn't love or even like his/her kids, then ya, having the little twerps around all day getting in your way & grating on your nerves would definitely be a drag. Better for the parent to send their whinny little brats off to school to let a bunch of strangers raise them for ya and so they can learn about things like how to beat up the weak kids for fun and amusement (& profit), how to back up the whole school's sewage system by stuffing the nerd's PE clothes down the toilet, what a swirly is, how to steal from the faculty lounge, new dirty words from the graffiti wall in the bathroom, that smoking is cool, and it's okay to have sex in the bathrooms.

But, most parents do love their children and some even like them and even a few enjoy their company. Now from this set of (loving-liking-enjoying) parents you will find the parents that homeschool their children. If you have ever been around homeschooled children then you will very quickly discover their great sense of independence because homeschooling parents encourage and reinforce this independence. Homeschooled children as young as age 6 are able to self-teach their daily materials to themselves with little or sometimes no help from the parent. Can a warehouse educated 6th grader to that? No. They sit with all the other lemmings waiting to be told what to do and don't know what is expected. A homeschool child will already know both. This is because of the close connection between the parent/teacher/facilitator and the student/child. This relationship is very much beneficial to the student. Greater self-esteem, greater independent ability, higher academic achievement, all in a safe and nurturing environment.

Bottom line, worry if you are sending your kids to the warehouse ed system. If you plan to homeschool then this is not a concern.

08-29-2010, 12:13 PM
What about the fact that homeschooled kids are pretty much with their parents or supervised by their parents all day every day. Do you guys think that negatively effects them in any way? Like maybe they won't develop a sense of independence or ability to make good decisions on their own? Not saying I think this is the case with homeschooled kids, just a concern of mine and want to know if that's the reality of it or if I don't need to worry.

As with mommykicksbutt's response, I think it would depend entirely on your parenting methodology. If a child is not under the supervision of his parents then he will be under the supervision of someone. Are you concerned that perhaps a teacher would be more qualified at the task than yourself ? That would be a reasonable concern but having my own daughters in public school (in Canada) lead me to conclude that the opposite is true.

As with other homeschoolers I am of the opinion that public schooling does far more harm to a child's social skills than good. I also observe that the family is the natural environment in which a child is raised in the absence of outside interference. That does not mean that all families are a suitable environment for children, however.

The fact that you are concerned for your child's individual well-being suggests to me that your child is in good hands. If you want your child to develop independence and self-sufficiency then all you need to do (and I realize this is easier said than done) is to instill those values in your child with the appropriate parenting methodology.

To answer your question regarding extracurricular activities: I have two daughters who are very artistically inclined. They both take dance classes and piano, and one of them is in vocal lessons. My advice is to find outside activities that match your child's interests. Before you (and your child) know what your child's interests are, experiment until something pops out.

08-29-2010, 09:43 PM
I have a 7 & 8 year old and 7+ acres of property that I regularly kick them out of the house to roam. They're hardly under my feet all day, every day. I think you're mis-understanding how children cultivate independence. Children do not become independent by their parents forcing them to manage out on their own. They grow in independence when their need for security is met.

When it is, the child is more willing and more able to reach out and explore his world, knowing that Mom & Dad are always solidly behind him - his safety net if he reaches too far. Homeschooled children typically have a stay at home parent who is there 'with them' all day, but I would hardly say they the parent mico-manages the child's life and activities.

I would also say that homeschooled children are more willing to explore and experiment within their environment because they're not subject to the rules and regs that govern every action as they are in an institutionalized school setting. Even getting up to go to the bathroom or sharpen a pencil requires permission before proceeding - homeschooled children don't have that drilled into their heads and are more likely to go after what they need. Homeschooled children are also not subject to or as affected by peer pressure the way the school children are. They don't have the "Lord of the Flies" type culture that children segregated by age and left largely to themselves in most interactions the way that school children do. I would say that homeschooling increases their ability to make good decisions for themselves.

It's just a different dynamic altogether. You've got plenty of time to research :)

08-29-2010, 11:15 PM
Everyone here has given excellent and true advice. Homeschooling will not guarantee you an anxious free, completely independent child, but I do believe it gives you an excellent opportunity to show your child a truer picture of the world and how to interact with it in general. Some of my girls were more independent than others at different ages, but they are all confident independent people. What is so great about homeschooling is that we spend the time together developing relationships that, while not always perfect (2 of them are teens) is open. When the girls go out on their own with something and have a concern or question about anything they have seen, they come to me and discuss it. I don't think we would have that if they were in school. In fact, I think they do better socially because the are not as bogged down with peer pressure. There is still some, but I am often quite pleased when they look at their contemporaries and comment on how stupid they are acting.