Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tips for Homeschoolers, Day 3: Socialization

Socialization. It is the big, scary word that hovers over our heads. "How will your child learn socialization skills?"

Well, truth be told, children learn socialization skills from socialized people, not from other unsocialized people. In other words, a child will learn better behavior skills with mom and siblings, under most circumstances, than in a class with one adult and 30 children who are "learning socialization".

Besides, home schoolers have lots of ways to help their children experience "socialization" learning in more closely monitored situations:

  • Sunday School and church youth groups;
  • Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, or other organizations for boys and girls including 4-H; 
  • Home school group co-ops;
  • home school support group field trips; 
  • sports teams  

In our school years, my children and I:
  • visited a dairy farm;
  • went roller skating, ice skating, skiing; 
  • attended Denver Pops (Denver Symphony program for tots);
  • took gymnastics and ballet lessons; 
  • participated in co-op craft classes;
  • hiked in the Rockies and saw wild dahl sheep and mountain goats;
  • went to White Sands, NM;
  • went to Disney World;
  • visited elderly in nursing homes;
  • took horse back riding lessons;
  • worked with llamas on a llama farm;
  • took violin/flute lessons; 
  • played soccer/volleyball;softball;
  • participated in President's Physical Fitness program;
  • participated in Missionettes and Awanas; 
  • hiked the C&O Canal; 
  • visited the White House;
  • went for a ride on a pontoon boat;
  • went to a glass-blowing factory;
  • went to Denver Zoo; Denver Museum of Natural History; Denver's Children's Museum;
  • went to Smithsonian Museums of Art, Natural History, History, Air and Space;
  • went to the Ben Franklin Museum, Ben Franklin House, Liberty Bell;
  • visited the Washington Monument;
  • visited the National Zoo in DC, the Catoctin Zoo in MD, Sea World in FL;
  • visited Mount Vernon, Valley Forge;
  • visited New York City; 
  • visited Plymouth, MA;
  • visited Ft. Christmas, FL; 
  • visited Jamestown and Williamsburg; 
  • visited Manassas and Stone Bridge;
  • visited Stone Mountain, GA;
  • visited Gettysburg and Harper's Ferry; 

  • participated in 4-H; 
  • participated in Keepers at Home, Ambassadors, Gems, and Boy Scouts, Boy Scout summer camping trips; 
  • participated in Civil Air Patrol; 
  • visited Maine and stayed at a blueberry farm and picked wild blueberries; 
  • visited Prince Edward Island and the haunts of Anne of Green Gables;
  • visited Chincoteague and the haunts of Misty of Chincoteague; 
  • visited Assateague and the wild ponies; went clamming;
  • fished off Assateague and Chincoteague;
  • visited lots of light houses; 
  • went to Space Camp in Titusville, FL; 
  • went to Groton Connecticut and visited submarine; 
  • on a separate trip, camped on The New Jersey;
  • went to Boy Scout camporee at New Market, VA;
  • set out luminarios for Christmas at Antietam Battle Field;
  • went caving in Virginia;
  • visited Cabbage Patch Doll Factory in Georgia (?); 
  • participated in local and regional spelling bees; 
  • participated in science fairs and history fairs; 
  • took Biology, Anatomy, Latin, Spanish, Chemistry and Geometry as outside classes;
  • took history, literature and composition, and art as co-op classes, another child took co-op classes of PE, chemistry and metal working; 
  • took on-line classes;
  • took a Landry Intensives class on Biology labs (dissections);
  • took a 4-H class on nutrition, another on vet science, another on electricity and built a jar lamp, yet another on dog training; 
  • marched in local 4-H Parades, Labor Day Parade, Independence Day Parade, St. Patrick's Day Parade; 
  • assisted at Andrew's Air Force Base open house; 
  • went on mission's trips to Mexico; 
  • went to Europe with co-op, visited England, Rome, Greece, Paris... 

So, in truth, the advice I would give about "Socialization" that I would stress most strenuously is:
Be extremely selective in what you opt to have your children participate in!
If you are not careful, you can find yourself spending your life on the go. When you evaluate later you might find your children are not where they should be in math, reading, spelling, etc. (Don't ask me how I know...) School at home can take much less time that at the government institution, but learning occurs best when teaching in foundational subjects occurs daily. Many children learn best without a lot of distraction, as in sitting in a quiet home.

In our home, for our sanity, we generally allowed two outside non-church activities per child, if they were the same like 4-H or Gems, or one per child if they were different, like one child took violin and one took flute lessons. Nevertheless we often did too much. Only two children, for certain years, yet there was 4-H Dog Training and Gems Monday, youth care group Tuesday, 4-H Wednesday (once a month meeting), worship team practice Thursday, adult care group Friday, weekly violin and flute lessons during the day, co-op on Wednesday and Friday, special needs classes and Spanish on Tuesday/Thursday... My youngest couldn't potty train til age 3-1/2 because I was always in the car! 

Then there was drivers' training and an outside job for the older one... I was glad when we started to pare back on our activities. Then our older ones started driving to their own activities. And now there is only one student and only one child in our home. With only one we can do more, but we are still careful. Right now it is Boy Scouts Monday, CAP Thursday, and a college class Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Again, be careful. It takes a lot to home school. There is a balance to achieve between academics and outside activities and field trips. If you can't still manage housework, laundry, meals and dishes, adjustments need to be made. Sometimes it means your kids aren't doing enough chores... Which is my topic for tomorrow!

I invite you to get a fresh hot cup of your beverage of choice and then peruse these other blogs that are also participating in 5 Days of Tips for Homeschoolers:


  1. Great post. Love all the great pictures. Our homeschoolers are too social! LOL!

    1. Thank you! It was fun going through all the old photos -- a stroll down memory lane. Just wish I had them scrapbooked. Photos in disarray in a copy paper box and old photo albums. ::sigh::

  2. Isn't it surprising how much we "unsocialized" homeschoolers can wind up doing? LOL I think it's great advice to be selective about what we participate in. There are tons of opportunities, but we can easily run ourselves ragged if we feel like we need to try each and every one. We've been there too - with lots of field trips, but short on written work and academics, so I've learned to be choosy and set a better balance.

    1. My 2nd daughter proofed my posts for me. (She's 26.) She enjoyed the trip down memory lane. Like a true sibling she counted photos of herself and said I put more of her sibling in than of her. She also hadn't realized we'd been to Harper's Ferry twice, once when she was 7 and again when she was 11. "Oh! Was that trip to the same place?" The fire station building where John Brown took his last stand.

  3. I love this! Our problem isn't sitting at home under a rock all day. It's usually that we have way to many things to do. :-)