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Topic: Please share some of your child's "social experiences"

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Subject: Please share some of your child's "social experiences"
Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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In another thread a person thinking of homeschooling said that HSers don't talk about the social aspect of homeschooling much.

I know most of us may be sick of being asked about "the S word". However how about we all chime in with some examples of our children's "social experiences".

I look forward to reading the variety of your responses. I'll post my reply separately from this intro post. Thanks.

Date Posted: 5/11/2009 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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Hi, My children have been HSed "since birth" meaning they didn't go to daycare or preschool or schools for grades K and up. My boys are presently in grade 6 and 3. This is a little long as I'm touching on eleven years of HSing.

In the toddler years I was in a stay at home mom support group and the weekly playdates began when my oldest was 15 months. Playdates also occurred when I moved here and had neighors who were SAH moms w kids same age so we did playdates wen my kids were aged 4 and 1, that continues to today as schedules allow. We used to do a lot of excursions to children's museums etc so my kids saw stranger kids and interacted with them.

In the K grade for older son I had thought we'd stay socializing mainly with schooled kids but they were too busy from all day Kindergarten plus numerous extracurricular activities so I had to find HSers in the area to make new friends with. (Homework became an issue in grade 2 and above so that hogs schooled friend's time from after-hours play.)

HS families usually all the siblings play together so w playdates w 2-4 families we could have 8-14 kids together to play of mixed ages and genders. We met at each other's houses.

We also have a local HS park day once a week to play for 2-5 hours (however long you want). It is at a playground with ball fields and bike paths and hiking trails. Kids play w imaginary play, running games, on the playscape. Tweens play Pokemon or YuGiOh or chess. Girls seem to like to sit and talk. Kids ride bikes and scooters.

We have always done various HS classes with other kids w paid teachers, art, music, science, history etc. These are usually at a museum or art studio or held out in nature (science nature class). We look for classes that are quality and then we usually get our friends to take classes with us so our children who are friends can be together.

We do a HS ski program an all day thing x6 weeks in the winter. Lots of social time there. We do a HS experiental nature class 6 hrs a week x26 weeks a school year, more social time all day hiking in woods and talking and laughing while learning.

HS co-op's are growing in popularity in my area and those are usually 4-6 hours long of classes and play time and lunch together for social time with HS kids.

Additionally my kids have done some community sports. They have done Scouts since they were old enough. They have done summer day camps in community and with scouts. They do scout sleepover camp in summer too.

My kids have done religious ed at church for years mixing with kids from public and private schools of various types (religious, private-secular).

My kids have been in boring classroom environments with a teacher in charge. So they get that experience too.

My kid's best friends are private and public schooled. Those parents seem more willing to do drop off playdates on weekends so we can have long playdates (6-8 hours or even sleepovers). Sadly their closest friends who are HSed are so busy we can't see them as much as we like.

My kids socialize with schooled cousins, extended family (aunts, uncles and grandparents).

The last thing my children are is unsocialized. Unsocialized to me does not mean isolated (we are not isolated either). To me unsocialized means a person doesn't know how to act right or best, is lacking etiquette or is mean, is too scared or shy or rude to say hello to a person, introduce oneself, cannot make eye contact, treats newcomers with arrogance or ignores them or various other things. The kids I know who do all that are school kids from all different towns who I know through me being related to them, from the neighborhood, from community sports, from Scouts and at church.

I struggle to not over-schedule us with outside classes and events so our lives are not crazed and hectic. What I mean to say is we could do more and more stuff with other people but we are trying to keep a certain level of harmony and calmness in our family. LOL.

Date Posted: 5/12/2009 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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I've HS'ed my son for 6.5 years.  His sister has always been in public school.  Here are things he's done, been involved in, taken, etc. - past & present - not complete because I'm sure I'm missing some:

  • Classes at the zoo (since 18 months) - at age 5 they were straight "homeschool" classes
  • Summer camp at the zoo
  • HS classes at the children's museum (and was asked to be a junior volunteer)
  • HS classes at the science center (and was asked to serve on a steering committee)
  • Cub Scouts...now Boy Scouts (with a goal of achieving Eagle rank by age 14)  In four months he'll have obtained his first four, of seven, ranks
  • Math Olympiad
  • Online Academic League
  • Contig (competition math game)
  • HS ice skating
  • HS bowling
  • HS P.E. classes at the Y
  • HS Swimming lessons at the Y
  • Art classes at the Y
  • HS art classes at a local "mud" studio (clay, ceramics, glass)
  • Church activities
  • Church camp
  • HS co-ops
  • Community running teams:  Cross Country (fall), Indoor Track & Field (winter), & Outdoor Track & Field (summer)
  • 5K (3.2 mi) races
  • Volunteer work for missionaries
  • HS chess club
  • ...and so many field trips I could never list them all.

What is nice about our field trips (and I just remembered this when driving by the zoo today) is that we spend as much time as we want to.  We really study the exhibits, talk at length with the docents, ask for educational materials, so on.  We're headed on a vacation to some National Parks next week and my son will do more Junior Ranger programs at the parks.  On the way there, he'll study the lesson plans for the parks in the car.

But back to field trips...my son gets so sad when he sees B&M school kids on a field trip.  They just fly through museums, learn very little, and can't wait to have lunch or play/run around.  They don't really stop and read, explore, experiment, etc., because they're on a strict time schedule.  By far the most upsetting one was the time we went to the botanical garden to tag a monarch butterfly.  DS got his own butterfly and worked 1:1 with the docent for quite some time. They had a lengthy discussion about butterfiles and other insects.  Then we went to the butterfly garden and spent over an hour taking photos (one of which earned him that center's photo award that year).  As we were completing our time for the butterfly events and moving on to the rest of the gardens, a huge group of school kids came, sat down for 5 minutes to watch a docent tag ONE butterfly and briefly talk about the Monarch Watch program.  The kids were rowdy and disrespectful and my son just stood there in shock.  Then they hurried through the butterfly garden and returned to their bus.  It broke DS's heart to have to see kids exposed that way, not the way we do field trips.

Subject: I couldn't agree more (w/ the above)
Date Posted: 5/17/2009 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 3/16/2009
Posts: 20
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This quote from Christine, "Unsocialized to me does not mean isolated (we are not isolated either). To me unsocialized means a person doesn't know how to act right or best, is lacking etiquette or is mean, is too scared or shy or rude to say hello to a person, introduce oneself, cannot make eye contact, treats newcomers with arrogance or ignores them or various other things.", is exactly my definition of  'unsocialized' too. 

We have a remarkable group of hs friends who have grown out of a co-op I joined when my boys were 3 and 1.  I truly have yet to see a more well-behaved, considerate, compassionate, and well-mannered bunch of kids.  My boys are each other's best friends - and that is a *good* thing!  When do you usually see a public school 2nd grader asking to play with a kindergartener?  When does a K'er usually experience the kind of graciousness and mentoring it takes for my 2nd grader to be his brother's best friend?  I think it's beautiful and sweet to see them so closely bonded together.

As for social outings or playdates, here's the rundown:

  • Co-op every other Friday afternoon (multi-age hs'ers)
  • group homeschool PE at a gymnastics center w/ a gymnastics teacher (multi-age hs'ers)
  • homeschool ice skating (K-12th group free-skate; the olders help the littlers of their own volition)
  • Field trips w/ groups of hs friends on Friday afternoons that there isn't co-op (multi-age hs'ers)
  • recess at my dd's school Friday mornings (11 am - it's a montessori K-8th school w/ early-out Friday; 2 entire classes of ea. grade having recess together at once, playing soccer/basketball/playground/tag/etc. together)
  • TaeKwonDo 2x/wk w/ a mix of kids - some hs, private, and public school
  • indoor & outdoor soccer, dep on season, w/ a mix of kids but mostly from public school, same-age range
  • outdoor play w/ neigbor kids in afternoons & on weekends - multi-age public school kids
  • cell group (multi-age kids), church (multi-age active play - we let them play for at least 30 minl. after church is out), and just plain old regular having friends over to play (scheduled playdates or having family friends over for dinner) at least 1x per week, usually hs friends.

That's just our current activities.  Awanas is on break for the summer and will start again in the fall, and we've taken part in many other groups and classes (art, Spanish, library programs, Dept. of Conservation programs, etc.).  We'll also be adding the Jr. park ranger program this summer.

When my older ds was in public school for a year, he was around other children more but got to socialize far less than now.  They had to be quiet and not interact during classtime, then they were only allowed to talk softly after they'd finished their lunches, and recess was only 30 min.  My son has only encountered rudeness, name-calling, cursing, teasing, etc. from our public school neighbors.  Most of our hs friends have trained their children closely and carefully not to treat others poorly.  When a situation has arisen w/ certain hs friends, it gets resolved because the kids know they have crossed a line.  It's different w/ our neighbor kids b/c it's as if they are just used to all kids being rude and crass, they just think it's normal and therefore trying to correct it doesn't do much to help.  I'm not making a blanket statement over all hs and ps kids, b/c I know there are all kinds everywhere.  There were a few genuinely nice children in my son's ps class.  This is just my experience.

Just my 2 cents for whatever it's worth. :)

Last Edited on: 5/17/09 3:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/17/2009 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2007
Posts: 158
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I've had to cut out activities because I was tired of running around too much, LOL!  We definitely don't lack for opportunity. We don't even bother to participate in the sports or co-op programs that are available because I don't want to commit that much time to one activity. 

1-2 times per week DD is at ballet; once a week DD and DS go to rock climbing, Sundays they go to church.  Fridays we have the option to go to a 3 hour playgroup but usually skip because the kids would rather be out at grandma's "farm."  Two times a month the rock climbing place offers early entrance to homeschoolers and a discount for climbing, the roller rink does the same several times a month.  The first Thursday of the month admission to the Children's Museum in town is free.  Then there's the archeological site- Angel Mounds that has festivals, etc. several times a year, the zoo, yard sales- don't forget that adventure!   We've also done art lessons in the past.  Other options include swimming lessons, kids' programs and camps, and participation in ongoing charitable activities.  Oh- and playing with the neighbor kids. 


My children love to meet people and even my 3 year old will walk right up and introduce himself to new kids.  They have some opportunities to see the same people and some to meet new people, but enjoy them all. 

Date Posted: 5/18/2009 7:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2007
Posts: 127
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Our kids are at church at least 2x a week, in swim lessons, in homeschool co-op, have play dates constantly.  We're always going somewhere.  They do not lack for social experiences.

Dawn H. (DABACF) - ,
Date Posted: 5/18/2009 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2005
Posts: 348
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Among the many things listed, I feel my children are also learning to be social when we run errands. From around age 4 or so, I have been teaching them to politely ask the adults around them for what they need, such as a specific flavor of jelly at the grocery store or a book at the library. If they are unwilling to ask for themselves, they do not get it. It usually does not take more than once of arriving back home without before they overcome that "shyness." :) They also place their own order at the restaurant. Now my oldest 2 go out witnessing and street preaching with their Dad, so shyness is rarely a problem around here! This of course is in addition to attending church, gymnastics, soccer, swimming lessons, nursing home visits, history classes, babysitting, a young women's group, etc......they are quite comfortable with any age group.
Subject: HomeSchooling sounds awsome.
Date Posted: 5/18/2009 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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I'm thinking seriously about homeschooling my grandson, Jiovanni is an only child, he is high functioning on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, shy,but not timid, very sweet, intelligent, has some language problems, but does very well with his friends, We live in a neighborhood where children don't play in front of their houses.I call them the Children's Secret Society of B.P. lol. No cousins and one half sister 4 years older than he. So It's up to me to create heaven on earth for him. I have looked up the homeschooling organizations in my area,on the internet, I'm not very impressed. Although I havn't gone to any meetings yet, so I can't for sure say how it is, really. So far I've come up with two Organizations and it looks like I might like one. I've never heard of a coop before. I have no idea where to find one. I know there must be thousands of homeschooled kids in this big city of mine, but from the internet it looks so scant. I have thought of just outright asking the public school for contacts and resources. So brazen of me. lol.  I am having a hard time picturing how to start making social contacts for Jiovanni with kids that are homeschooled. Finding play dates with kids that he meets from a swimming class or something like that is no problem. I just really want him to have a regular group of kids that he meets with weekly or more just to socialize and have fun where he can make long term friendships or somethings like that. He sure could use some long term friends.  Any suggestions. Your posts have been so inspiring I know we'll find our way. But from where I stand it sure looks intimidating.

Thanks for your inspiring stories,


Date Posted: 5/21/2009 7:09 AM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 26
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I have found it much easier to find what is out there, once you are "in the group" and in the thick of it.  There is a lot of informal networking that happens at functions/playdates/meetings.  Different groups have different purposes - be aware of that.  For example, I "participate" (I use the term loosely) in two groups.  One is primarily social - their emphasis seems to be field trips and scheduling social things - I could stay plenty busy with skate day and swim day and field trips - but I've really dropped back significantly - it just isn't a good fit for us.  The other group is a co-op - this has been such a blessing!  The co-op meets 3 times a month (for junior/senior high students - the elementary children meet just twice a month).  Basically, all the moms work together to run "classes" - these tend to be enrichment type for the younger crowd - for the older crowd this year was a Worldview Class and Chem. Lab with drama.  Next week is drama camp - the students will be performing The Merchant of Venice

My experience has been that homeschoolers (at least in my area) are low-key, as to not incur the wrath or hassling of the school district..  If you are planning on pursuing it, start letting people know - when you go out during the day, keep your eyes open for families out and about, Vacation Bible Schools, Churches are also great places to find other families.  Check your state's homeschool organization (google - "State Name homeschool organization), tis the season of convention!  This is another resource for meeting others and learning.


Subject: Thank you
Date Posted: 5/21/2009 7:19 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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It's true, once your in the thick of it, it is easier to network. Keeping my eyes open is a good idea. Never thought of that. You have good ideas.


Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.




Date Posted: 5/23/2009 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 2,800
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We have actually had to cut back and weed out things, there are so many to choose from! We do Keepers scouts and a group class or co-op, homeschool gym class, a field trip group, chess club, and gymnastics class that we do with other homeschoolers. The children belong to 4-H club for all children, and the family goes to church and square dances together with people of all ages and educational preferences. In the past, the children have also participated in Saturday art classes at the local university. There are many, many more opportunities available that we do not partake in.

Homeschooling has a large, large network that seems to be "underground" in a way, because it is not widely publicized to general audiences. Once you break in through a general network, like a local homeschooling friend or a state or local organization, you are likely to find more opportunities than you know what to do with.

What state are you in? Maybe somebody here can get you connected.

Subject: North Miami area in Florida
Date Posted: 5/23/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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I am beginning to see where you must be right about an underground. Although there are organizations listed on the net and co-ops, I'm sure there's much more available that is not publisized. i have contacted someone at my church for information, as well. I live in the North Miami area in Florida.

Thanks for your help and everyone else here too.


Date Posted: 5/23/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/28/2009
Posts: 1,247
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We are homeschoolers in Clearwater area of Florida.

When we moved to this area, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of information the school system gave us on local groups, curriculum aides, sites to buy/sell curriculum, state groups, etc. However, not all areas are this diligent in helping us out! =(

We moved here from Venice, FL. and that area was "you are on your own" refused to give any info. New area gave without my asking.

That said, I dont know if this will be any help to you, but this is a link to one of the sites (State, not County, that has many links, information, help, etc)


They even gave me a list of homeschool year end evaluators which was a big help to us.

ETA: Here is also a link to the Florida School Book Depository, if it is of any help.


Also, I have had much luck in finding local groups by searching my area on Yahoo groups. I searched by city and county and came up with alot of groups that way as well.

I dont know if I helped much, half asleep. lol. But I hope I made some sense. Best of luck to you and your Grandson. We started Homeschooling our son this year, he is ADD and learning disabled. Sometimes it is tough, but I wouldnt trade a minute for the world. His self esteem has risen so much since I have been teaching him! =)

Last Edited on: 5/23/09 10:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1