Traditionally the biggest concern that comes to most people’s minds when they consider homeschooling their child is whether they will get the socialization that the children in public schools benefit from.
The picture we have in our minds are buck toothed children with unkempt hair in bib overalls and bare feet looking at the floor every time someone speaks to them.
And yes indeed, this general concern was prevalent in the homeschool community, (although not quite to the degree I illustrated), so families did something about it: homeschool support groups.
Will my home schooled child be socially challenged?
While many children do well and learn social skills in a healthy household, there are many types of people in the world these days. There are numerous cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, racial backgrounds, etc. and probably more so now than ever before.
It’s one thing to teach acceptance of diversity in a classroom setting, but another one altogether to practically implement these principles. A child may be instructed to love others unconditionally, and not prejudge people based on how they look, but when they get their first job and the employee in the cubicle next to them has bright blue hair and a nose ring, how will they respond?
Truly these things can be difficult to learn in a home school environment and do take experience in the real world along with the instruction from the parents in order to gain the skills necessary to exhibit the productive behaviors we would like to instill in our children.
Some things are just better in groups
What kind of activities will you base your children’s physical education around? While running and exercising are good methods for helping your child stay in shape, there’s nothing like team sports to put it all together in a practical and fun context.
And then comes the end of the school year. All the kids are talking about the prom, where it’s gonna be, who’s going to be there, and even later in life, who are they going to bring to the big dance? There is no way around it, no matter how wonderful and loving your home environment may be, you’re not going to be able to pull this one off without being part of a larger group.
Will they ever get out of the house?
In our day and time with all the electronic access our children have, it’s already difficult to get them out of the house. When friends come over, instead of going outside to play a game of scratch basketball, they may well be playing some version of it on their X box.
Instead of getting outside and pretending to be a treasure hunter seeking the Holy Grail, there inside watching someone else live out their fantasies on YouTube.
You get the picture, pardon the pun. It’s already difficult enough to get our children out of the house after school and on weekends, we don’t want them to spend the rest of their lives indoors as well. And it doesn’t have to be that way!
It’s a great big world out there
There is life beyond the education process, and at some point our homeschoolers will be thrust into it. We all want to do our best to make sure they are prepared for that transition and don’t have additional challenges on their plate at that point.
Whether they go to college or into the workforce, they are going to have to work with other people and the skills necessary to be successful in that regard only come by experience.
Yes there are bad influences as well as good, and is much as we like to shield our children from those things, at some point they’re going to have to deal with them. And of course, it would be much better for them to work through those challenges while they are still under our tutelage so that we can impart the wisdom we’ve learned in our journey through this world.
Homeschool support groups are available
Thankfully we’re not the first generation passing through the uncharted waters of homeschooling. Those that went before us recognized the challenges listed above and many more that are not so easily recognizable.
And for all those reasons it’s not too hard anymore, in basically any state of the union, or any region or city to find a homeschool group close by.
In the small city of Columbia Missouri, we were part of a wonderful group of several hundred homeschoolers of all ages. There were events for every major holiday, and activities in between. And oh yes, of course there was the prom at the end of the year as well.
Please give your comments and provide your input on this subject that we all may benefit from the collective wisdom gained from the homeschooling parents of our generation. Thanks!