Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 2: Socialization, the dead horse of homeschooling

The most frequently asked question of homeschoolers seems to be "But what about socialization?". Every homeschool book or article I have read so far has covered it. It is the dead horse of homsechool according to most of them. Yet as a new homeschooler I find it to be valid.

I do worry about his social needs and how he will fit into society as an adult as well as now as a child. So keeping that in mind, as well as the need to raise his poor self-esteem and self-image, I am looking for positive social outlets for him.

Homeschooling gives such a flexibility to allow as much or little socialization as you want, I am finding it easy to load up my calendar with activities that ordinarily we would have had to skip. We have always loved field trips and classroom-less learning. I have been known to pull Nic from school for an activity like bundling up the kids to watch the state groundhog wake up on Groundhogs Day to witness firsthand if he sees his shadow. It's a nice feeling to know that we can do these activities without falling behind schoolwork or being in trouble with the school board for unexcused absences.

Our first field trip came this week courtesy of the Zoo Homeschool Academy, a program I did not know existed until a friend told me. We decided to give it a try. Kids were separated by grade level into small groups of around 8-10 and went off to learn with 2 zookeepers while parents and younger children were free to roam the zoo. The 2 hours passed quickly with Sydney and I enjoying the animals and our friends. I saw Nicholas with his group once, and he looked content. When I picked him up he was beaming! My friend Lori was there with her homeschooled brood as well and said something like "Wow, I've never seen him like this" - yeah, that would be HAPPY!! He said he had an awesome time with "Mr.Bill" and the group. They learned all about mammals and even did a craft. He wanted to explore the zoo some more so we stayed until they announced that the zoo was closing. The whole time he was reading signs, asking me questions, and carrying on conversations with zookeepers stationed at specific exhibits. He even got to go rock climbing and reached the top by himself! I feel confident that our zoo trip was quiet the social experience.

Sports is another option for homeschoolers and I am lucky that his county basketball team is full of buddies for Nic, kids that like him for who he is. I only wish the season could last longer! He has 6 boys within a year of his age to play with for 1-2 practices a week + a game. The entire team also came to his birthday party and you could tell he felt on top of the world to have everyone who loves him around him at once. I hope to help him continue these friendships after the end of the season, and also hope that next season will find him on a team with some of these same friends.

Our calendar is filling up and its easy for me to rearrange some of our learning units to include these trips and activities. Nicholas' learning style seems to be hands-on and auditory, so trips are right up his alley. Crowds create a lot of noise, and for my sensory overloaded child this causes problems focusing, so weekday trips are also a plus for that reason. I think the rest of the year will bring lots of knowledge and fun!


Little Miss Bossy said...

You are amazing. Seriously, I envy your determination and ability to do so many amazing things! You're honestly giving him such an amazing thing by homeschooling him!! I'm so glad you are my friend :o) I loves ya!

Mrs.Mom said...

Thanks girl!!! You give great tips, I like having you in our corner :)