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Last week I attended an event that was held at my church. The evening was for parents who are considering or currently choosing to homeschool their children. Pastor D, one of our pastors spoke to a room of about 70 parents about her experiences while homeschooling her five children, who are all now grown. The question was posed, “Do we want my kids to be normal?” Pastor D’s response was, “I don’t think so.” and I have to agree.
I want my family to be set apart and do things differently than mainstream society. Children should be God dependent instead of peer dependent and the only way we can see to that is if we encourage our children to desire to be different than the majority of their friends. If we live a life that goes with the grain how can we expect our kids to choose righteous living? Pastor D expressed and reminded us that our first ministry is our family with these scriptures from Deuteronomy 11:18-19:
18You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Pastor D discussed the ups and downs of homeschooling and the (little) opposition that she received from people that knew her and her family. Her decision to homeschool her children and her willingness to support families who choose the same has most definitely influenced many of the families at our church. We have a large amount of families who choose to homeschool, most choosing to homeschool through the high school level. They love sharing tips about teaching methods and curriculum and offering encouragement and I enjoy doing the same for you.
I recently shared why my family is choosing homeschooling. Something I did not address was how to socialize homeschooled children. I stated that it is one of the first questions I get after I answer people’s question of “Why are you homeschooling?” It is almost guaranteed that someone who is unfamiliar with homeschooling will express their concern for the possible lack of socialization. And I get why.
How to Socialize Homeschooled Children
Be The Example
Children learn how to interact with others by modeling the adults in their lives. How do your children see you interacting with other adults? Teach how them how to respond in social environments, encouraging them to say “hello” and smile when someone speaks to them. My oldest daughter likes to act shy upon meeting people, whether a child or an adult, while my youngest is always ready to say hello. Before going to an event or playdate, I, in a nice way, coach them on how to respond to people, especially adults.
Consider Participating in A Community Activity
Look for local organizations to get involved with and allow your children to actively participate. Maybe a sport or hobby, something your child is interested in so they can be around children their age. There are attractions that have programs specifically designed for homeschooled children. In Columbus, the Columbus Zoo & Zoombezi Bay, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Museum of Art, and I am certain more. We have chosen to have our girls participate in a ballet class. The 30-minute class, a couple times a week, allows them to interact with little girls their age and take instruction from someone besides their parents.
Be Intentional and Find a Co-op
Find families that have similar interests and morals and schedule play dates. They do not have to be homeschooled children A homeschool co-op is simply a group of homeschooling families that support one another and help to educate the homeschooled students. Some, like the co-op I am involved with, offer supplemental classes for the students, volunteering to teach the classes, and take field trips together as one big group. Co-ops allow students to learn together and interact with children who have a similar educational experience. Often co-ops are connected to churches or private educational institutions. Simply searching “Homeschool Co-ops in (YOUR CITY)” will help you to find your local co-ops.
After hearing Pastor D speak and share her experiences with homeschooling, I was beyond motivated. She reminded me of the beauty that will come as a result of spending the quality time with my children and being an integral part of their education. Our kids do not have to be “weird”, instead, they can and will be set apart.
The one that rocks the cradle rules the world but also, the one that trains the brain rules the world. -Pastor D
If you are considering homeschooling, what are your concerns?
Already homeschooling? Share some tips for us newbies!