Socialization of Home Schooled Students

It’s been such a busy summer in our homeschooling world! I’m finally catching a breath to sit and write a bit and fill you all in on some of our adventures and our life.  I’m going to be trying to answer some of the questions I get from readers from time to time.  So many parents are showing interest in homeschooling and have lots of questions.  Each family is different and many times parents feel inadequate to teach their children at home.  I promise, if I can do it, most anyone can!

One of the concerns interested parties are sure to voice immediately, is in regard to socialization.  How do children who get homeschooled build their socialization skills?  Honestly, research shows that children who are homeschooled actually have an easier time of socializing in the world in most cases.  This is because homeschooled students are typically exposed to people of all ages throughout the school year.  For example, on library day, my kids might spark up a conversation with an elderly gentleman sitting nearby during reading time.  On budget building trips to the grocery store, they encounter all types of people and interact with them on a regular basis.  For us, this seems to give our children ease in most social settings because they already have experience doing life with other people from all backgrounds.  In fact, some research shows that homeschooled children excel above traditional school children in social skills.  Michael Brady, who researches social issues between homeschooled and public schooled children said, “There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence that children socialized in a peer-dominant environment are at higher risk for developing social maladjustment issues than those that are socialized in a parent monitored environment.”

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Graduating From Home School

This is a blog post written by my friend, Angela Jacobsen.  My kids are all still young so I wanted to give a perspective about homeschooling older children as well.

One topic that many people are confused about when it comes to homeschooling their children is making sure that the child/student has enough credit when it comes time to graduate and go to college.  Furthermore, exactly how does a homeschooled student have a graduation?   Does it look like a traditional graduation?  What about prom?  Prom has been one of the most important moments in a high school student’s life for many years.  Do they have to miss out?

I was just as confused as everyone else when I first started homeschooling.  My oldest was nearing his senior year and we wanted to be sure that he wouldn’t be losing any credit by homeschooling and would be prepared for college.  Through friends sharing their knowledge about their own experiences with homeschooling, I was able to get most of the information on the topics of my concern, quite easily.  There are numerous sites online regarding the subject of homeschooling.  Hundreds of moms share their experiences with homeschooling their children in order to make it easier on new moms who are starting on this adventure.  They are usually quite candid about their failures, as well as their successes.  On many of the sites, there are resources listed to help parents considering homeschooling connect with organizations that advocate for homeschooling.

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How to Make it Happen

When I first started homeschooling last fall, scheduling the day was my biggest challenge.  Parents ask me all of the time how I balance the teaching workload for three kids, cook meals for my family, keep all the laundry clean, and keep the house work done. My husband works for an IT service provider Birmingham AL so he is hardly ever available to help out. While scheduling all those things is the biggest challenge I face in homeschooling, it can run much more smoothly than some people would think!  

At the beginning of the school year, I develop a lesson plan for the year.  Of course, at times this plan may change, based on how my children, or students excel.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling really.  If a lesson plan needs to change because a student is not catching on as quickly, I can amend the plan and spend extra time on a subject with them and then move on.  Of course, I do this for each of my children as they range from 7 to 17 years old.

Every evening, I review my lesson plan for the next day.  I always schedule at least two extracurricular activities for the students each week.  So, Mondays will be full of basic studies, and then on Tuesday, we might go to the library, and then follow up with the kid’s sports practice and dance.  I’m always running across town for one child’s drop off and another one’s pickup.

I find that a steady schedule, as much as possible, really benefits my children.  They seem calmer and at more at ease when they know what to expect for their school day.  Of course, we have to rearrange things on our plan regularly.  But,  that in itself works so much better than the public school mandated lesson plan. 

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Outside the Classroom

Many folks ask how my homeschooled children get to participate in extra-curricular activities.  It’s really as easy as doing some research, making calls, and then plugging the activities into our day.  There are endless possibilities in the community for students, whether homeschooled or not, to connect with others and have access to the arts and athletics.  But for us, volunteering is really the greatest experience for our children.

At first, I didn’t expect the reaction from them after serving in our botanical garden’s CASA garden.  This garden is planted every spring by a group of Master Gardeners at our local botanical garden.  Its purpose is to help feed the elderly and home bound.  Although I personally enjoy gardening and raising food for our family, I expected the kids to complain about the heat and hard work, and to try to do as little as possible.  Boy, was I wrong!  They actually enjoyed learning about soil and planting food from the older gardeners.  The kids seemed mesmerized each time we volunteered by how much a plant had grown since our last visit. 

When It was harvest time, the kids became competitive and each would proclaim that he would bring in the biggest bounty in the shortest amount of time.  Communication and self-discipline were areas that I could see growth in the children.  I’ve always said that having a garden is like having two infant children in the home because of all the attention it takes.  However, for the right person, it’s something that ignites passion.  I’m teaching my children how important it is to know where their food comes from.  And, nothing is as rewarding as going out back to pick fresh herbs and veggies that are chemical free, to cook a meal.  The community garden is another way they can learn about growing their own family’s food in the future.

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Our Crazy Schedule

mini van

I feel like I am busier than ever since I began to homeschool my three kids this fall.  There is so much more involved than the original thoughts I had of just teaching them math, reading, science, and history.

I want to make sure all three kids are exposed to the non-core classes so each week I am driving the kids around town so they can attend music classes, art classes, and exercise classes.  The thing I didn’t take in to account is that they would not all be interested in the same type of classes.  Hence, this is the reason why I am chauffeuring the kids all around town.

My youngest child enjoys a mixed dance and music class and, also, a drawing art class.  My older two kids take piano and guitar lessons, pottery class, and yoga class.

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A Lesson in Electricity

birmingham's best electrician

We live in an older home, and although we have done some updating throughout the years, it always seems like something is breaking or going wrong.  For instance, the other day during reading time all the lights in the classroom started flickering.  It was bright and sunny outside so I knew it wasn’t the weather causing it and none of the other lights in the house were flickering.  I waited for my husband to get home hoping that it was an easy fix, but he’s not exactly the most skilled handyman so he just shrugged and said to call an electrician.

I’m the type of person who likes to do a lot of research and investigating before I hire just anyone to come into our home and do work, so I set out to find the best electrician Birmingham AL had to offer.  I found a company that had a lot of great online reviews and when I called them the woman who answered was so friendly and polite and said she would have her best technician at our house within the hour.  Talk about fast service!

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The Land of the Free

washington dc

I was talking with a friend the other day when she mentioned that she recently returned from a trip to Washington, DC.  She was so excited as she described the interesting sites that she visited, that I decided we should plan a trip there, also. 

I am well aware that many public and private schools participate in field trips to our great nation’s capital.  I believe, as a homeschool parent, that a trip there would be very educational and beneficial to my kids, too.  One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can schedule the trip when it is convenient to us and not when it’s convenient to a traditional school calendar.  I love having the freedom to do what we want, when we want to do it and a trip to the nation’s capital will give me the opportunity to teach my kids about some of the history of how our country became the “land of the free.”

There are so many sites I want to show the kids.  We will plan to visit several Smithsonian museums, including the Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Holocaust Museum.  We will also plan to visit Arlington Cemetery and, hopefully, will be able to see the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.  Of course, we will also see several of the national monuments.  I hope we can visit the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.

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Exploring New Places

grocery store lessons

There are so many things I adore about homeschooling my three children.  One of the things I like the most is the flexibility we have in our schedule and the relaxed pace we are allowed to keep.  We have time to not only study particular issues or subjects, but also take field trips together to provide for a more hands-on experience.

For example, when we study math or finance, I assign the kids a budget and a list of items we need to purchase at a store.  Once we arrive at the store, this lesson allows them to price compare, learn about sale items or discounts using percentages, and decide if they have the funds to cover the expenses.  I have found that a lesson like this one teaches different focuses of math, and also teaches them a life lesson about budgeting money.  For some people, this is not a lesson that is easily acquired.  I think many adults have had little opportunity to actually apply lessons they learned in school to real life situations.  Perhaps that is the cause of so many individuals who are facing personal debt.  I cherish the chance to teach my kids the lessons that could affect them for many years to come.

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Setting Us Up For Success

homeschool supplies

When we first made the decision to homeschool our three children, the first query we needed to answer was where to set up the kids’ workplace.  My husband tried to be helpful, but I ended up telling him I would take care of it all.  I guess I am a little bit of a control freak when it comes to certain things.  Since I was going to be the one in charge of all of the schooling, I wanted everything set up the way I wanted it to be.  Looking back, I should have let him help me more because I became pretty overwhelmed during the planning and preparation process. 

I could transform the playroom into a makeshift classroom, but I didn’t really like the idea of all of their toys and distractions being in the same room where they need to concentrate on their lessons.  I also didn’t like the idea of setting up their workspace in their bedrooms because I believe schoolwork should not be in the same vicinity as their resting place.  So, as much as I disliked the idea of transforming our dining room into a home classroom, I decided I had no other reasonable choice.  My main hesitation was not having the dining room available for formal dinners, but I knew creating a productive learning environment was so much more important.

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Welcome to My New Blog!

If you’ve come across my blog, I am still in the process of putting it all together.

I’m a homeschool mom to 3 crazy kids so I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to anything else!

Check back soon for an update!

-DeVon