Any homeschooler would probably tell you that the question they are most frequently asked is, "What About Socialization?"
When learning that our family homeschools, people almost always ask if our children do things with other kids their age. My initial inclination is to blurt out a smart-aleck comeback like, "What? Do you think I keep my children in the house the entire time without any contact with the outside world? Honestly, do you really think I am that poor of a parent?"
For those of you who think that homeschoolers never leave their homes, here is a sampling of my children's activities from last week:
Monday: Curly Girl's soccer practice (She plays in a homeschool athletic league which competes against private schools in our area. Our team's record is currently 4-3.); Car Guy's soccer practice (He plays in a local rec league.)
Tuesday: Curly Girl to orthodontist; Kids and I took our rabbit to the vet; Car Guy's Cub Scout field trip to a local radio station; Curly Girl to Middle High Youth at church
Wednesday: Both kids had piano lessons at our local university; visited the library; Curly Girl had handbells rehearsal
Thursday: Apple Store field trip with our local homeschool group (This is a great free field trip, by the way. The kids were able to compose an original piece of music, the store staff burned it on a CD for them to keep, and the kids got certificates and free t-shirts.); History Club at our local museum where Curly Girl acted as docent for a tour of the historical park; Curly Girl's soccer game
Friday: Art classes for both kids; visited an observatory for nighttime sky-watching
Saturday: Car Guy's soccer game; Curly Girl hung out at the Y while her dad refereed several soccer games
Sunday: Entire family to church where we ushered at the contemporary service; Curly Girl's handbells concert
Note: The sports change according to the season. Summer will be all about summer swim league; Curly Girl swims competitively in the fall and winter; and Car Guy plays basketball in the winter.
My point is not look how much we do, even though homeschooling does provide us with the time to be able to undertake more activities than the kids could if they spent their entire day inside a building before completing several hours of homework each night. My point is: Look How Normal We Are!!! Regardless of homeschooling being the fastest-growing educational movement in the country, some people are still truly clueless about it. Homeschoolers are just like you; they just happened to make a different, but very viable and legitimate, educational choice than you may have made for your family. Honestly, you probably wouldn't like it if people drew broad, highly inaccurate generalizations about you and your family just because your children attend public or private school.
I am still fuming about a conversation I overheard (The people were sitting behind me at one of Curly Girl's soccer games. It was impossible not to hear them talking.) a few weeks ago between several private school parents. Since their daughters were playing against a homeschool team, I guess the parents felt empowered to nastily spout out every inaccurate fallacy that exists about homeschool children and families. It took every bit of self-control I had not to turn around and go off on these parents about the stereotypes they were spewing while informing them about the $20K I dropped at their school when my children previously attended their daycare when I worked fulltime.
So, back to socialization. Yes, homeschoolers leave their homes. Yes, we engage with the outside world. I personally believe that homeschooling allows my children to more authentically engage in the real world by being out and about in it, instead of cooped up in an artificial classroom environment. So there, that's it. I'll try to not stereotype you for your educational choices, if you'll please not stereotype me for mine.
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