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Socialization Smocialization

by Christine@TheAums on September 20, 2012 · 26 comments

Over the past year, there’s been a welcome shift in my homeschooling journey that I want to share with you. I’m not so much becoming a spokesperson for homeschooling as I am becoming more outspoken about my personal experience.

For the longest time I kept mum about my little homeschooling secret. See, I’ve been homeschooling since my kids were born, so it’s not something that automatically started or changed when they turned “school age.” And really, before the age of 5, not too many people worry about what your kids are doing hanging around with you 24/7 so I didn’t feel the need to broadcast the news if I didn’t have to. I mostly wanted to avoid engaging with anyone who disagreed with my parenting choices and homeschooling beliefs.

But around 5 and 6 years old, it’s inevitable that the world wants to know what grade your kid is in- the dentist, the man behind the cash register, the woman walking her dogs, the grandparents, the in-laws

And upon hearing they’re homeschooled, it’s even more inevitable that they are going to ask about socialization.

No. Not really. First, I had 4 kids under the age of 5… a mini-daycare or preschool, if you will, or basically my own social experiment. Second, it was relatively easy to maintain friendships with the kids my kids grew up with, the families I found connections with when I became a mom. But soon, those kids were off to school, after-school activities, homework, and class parties every other weekend, so naturally, play dates became few and far between.

So I started venturing out into real homeschooling territory…not sure what took me so long in a town that is beyond rich with homeschooling resources and organizations. I joined a homeschool Meetup group as part of my New Year’s resolution and the rest is history. Within a matter of weeks, I’d met so many wonderful homeschooling families that I can hardly keep up with our new friendships, and my kids are making bonds like I’ve never seen before, with a variety of ages.

The first meetup we attended was at a park, and at least ten other families showed up. I said to my kids, “You see all those kids out there? Well, they’re homeschooled, too.” Speechless, their jaws dropped to the floor and their eyes opened wide. Geez, did they have to look THAT shocked? It was as if I’d been keeping them in a dark corner of the closet memorizing math facts and this was the first time they saw the light of day. I guess they’d be squinting then, but  you get the picture…there were more families just like us, and lots of them!

Since that fateful day, this group has become near and dear to my heart, and one of my greatest homeschooling resources. On top of frequent play dates and educational field trips, we have family picnics and Moms Night Out! It’s no longer just homeschooling. Never was actually, but now I can truly call it community schooling.

I’ve become soooo jazzed about my kids’ education I want to get them lunch boxes and backpacks! I want to sign permission forms and join the PTA! I want to have my kids pass out Valentines and do Secret Santa! Wooo!

Ok, got a little off track there, but this group does make me want to shout from the rooftops, “We homeschool and we’re proud!”

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandi September 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm

This is a great post, Christine! I really would love to homeschool Ayva, but having just one child…I just worry that I’m not enough for her. Your kids are awesome, by the way.
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Christine@TheAums September 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thank you, Brandi! Ayva is welcome to drop in anytime ;)

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Dawn @ The Momma Knows September 21, 2012 at 8:28 am

I think that’s awesome! It’s funny how it’s accepted to have our kids with us when they’re young but not when they’re older. We have homeschooled since forever (heading into our 14th year of actual homeschooling) and I always have to laugh when people ask about socialization… not that they do very often any more. It’s pretty obvious my kids are socialized when they start talking to our questioner and asking their own questions. :) I always tell people “If you chould see these boys’ schedule you wouldn’t ask that!” Also, I think you just reach a point where homeschooling and lifestyle become enmeshed, and you don’t really think about it any more. You become confident in the way you DO LIFE that you don’t second guess yourself or even get defensive when the questions come. It’s nice, isn’t it?
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Christine@TheAums September 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

I’m getting there slowly, but you give me so much hope, Dawn…14 years of homeschooling! I do love how my kids are comfortable and vocal about being homeschooled. They continue to be my best teachers and role models.

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Leah September 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

I feel the same way! So thankful for the meetup group that’s made it so easy to find supportive friends for not only my kids, but for me! And loving the community learning. We’re So lucky to live in such a beautiful place that has so much to offer for homeschoolers! I’m now having to reign myself in and not accept every field trip, play date, etc, too much socialization would be more the problem now!
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Christine@TheAums September 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

Tell me about it, Leah. They should really be asking us, “Aren’t you worried about OVER-socialization?”

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Katherine G September 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm

That is so awesome!! I actually thought about home schooling my son but being a one car family I was concerned about socialization as well. I know there are groups in my area but wouldn’t be able to make it to the meet ups. I think that if we would’ve had a second car when I was considering it I would’ve home schooled him and his sister in a minute.
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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I can understand how hard that would be. For now, our lifestyle allows homeschooling and I’m thankful, although aware that the flexibility might not always be there.

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Candi September 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm

I remember last year when I first met you at the pool and you said you didn’t really tell anyone about homeschooling and I thought, “Wow, she should totally tell everyone because homeschooling 4 kids is very impressive!”. It’s funny how there is this whole homeschool world here that is so amazing, but I never knew existed until we jumped into it.

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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Our neck of the woods really is an amazing place to homeschool…so glad to be a part of it and to have met you!

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Kate September 22, 2012 at 8:51 am

Wow, good for you! I think it’s impressive, something to be proud of, because it sounds like your kids obviously have a good balance of education and socialization. I recently interviewed a woman who homeschooled her five children, yet she still commented that she thought she could be a more involved parent!! Sometimes we need to see ourselves through other people’s eyes ;-)
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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

So true! Especially through our kids’ eyes!

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Debby Pucci September 22, 2012 at 11:38 am

Thank you for your sweet comment on my For Your Tears blog. I first read your about you on the sidebar and laughed at your great sense of humor. I so admire parents who homeschool and I’m thrilled you found a wonderful support group. Have a great school year.

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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

You’re welcome! And thank you for stopping by here!

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Miz Dinah September 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

My daughter was an only child until last year and she begged me for 4 years to be homeschooled. She is an introvert (and a smart cookie — all As and Bs) and just does not want to socialize unless it’s on her terms. She is happy being at home with a relaxed schedule and just a couple of friends. The transition to high school was just too much for her. When I say homeschooling I mean ministry-provided curriculum, not going out on my own. I need the structure and she needs to graduate!
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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm

So great that her needs can be accommodated!

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Runnermom-jen September 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I think that’s awesome. It’s so great to have a group to belong to and call your own. I loved your kids’ reaction when you showed up at the park…too funny :)
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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm

It really is great…kinda like the blogging world, right?

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Jessica September 25, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I haven’t found a group like that yet (I also haven’t been looking) but I do hope one day to find more kids that are homeschooled so my kids don’t feel so alone.
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Christine@TheAums September 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I first joined a yahoo group, then a meetup group, and finally a Facebook group to find my fellow homeschoolers. Maybe check out renohomeschooling.com?

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Rebecca Rider September 29, 2012 at 7:56 am

That’s awesome!! Glad you found a community! :)
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Christine@TheAums September 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thank you, Rebecca!

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Shay September 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

Stopping by from SITS – love this post! We’re also homeschooling & the most asked question we get is ALWAYS about socialization. It cracks me up because we’re part of a group also and it keeps us *very* busy…sometimes too busy, I think! ;)
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Janice October 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

That’s so great that you’ve found a homeschooling community. I, on the other hand, haven’t. Well I suppose it might be because I haven’t really been looking either. Ahem.

Anyway, it’s so hard to make mom friends. I’m a little intimidated, you know? I only have my 3rd grader homeschooled right now, so i’s not too bad. She goes to Taekwondo, Piano, and Religion class at church, so she has a few friends – but she only sees them when she goes to those classes. And I’ve never really met her friends’ parents.

What a bummer that you live pretty far from me, otherwise, I might be more inclined to jump into your homeschooling group… Someday maybe, I’ll find one that fits my family. I’m hoping anyway. ;)
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Christine@TheAums October 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm

It took me a little while to find homeschooling families that I clicked with, but having them in my life is priceless! I wish the same for you and your family, but if you’re ever in Santa Cruz I will make you an honorary member of our group :)

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