Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Homeschool Files: Tackling the Socialization Issue

The end of a school year always finds me excited about the next year and contemplating what worked this year and what we need to improve on the next. It's a little silly how excited I become. I mean, I was just counting down the days until the end of the school year and here I am calculating greatness for next year. I'm a little silly.

Our local homeschool group hosts a homeschool classroom tour each year. I wanted to volunteer our classroom, but my dear Brett said I had too much on my plate already. I love it when he saves me from myself. I've decided that I am mostly un-busy {I laugh}, so I'd like to share some homeschool thoughts over the next few weeks. This is often a time when parents are thinking should we homeschool, what does homeschooling look like, can we do it, etc...

I'd like to first address one of two comments that are said most often to me in response to us homeschooling. One is, "I could never do that." And perhaps that is true. I'll leave that one for now.

The one that gets my goose is, "What about socialization?"

Ya, what about it?

Ha. Seriously, let's look at the definition of socialization: the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status.

My initial thought on this is that those who ask about the "s" word do not really know what it means. They are thinking, will little Johnny ever get to play with another kid, what about sports, will they know how to stand in line, what about opening their milk carton and eating with a hundred other people...

{We homeschool, people, we are not recluses}

To be honest, I have to work on under socializing my kiddos according to the lay man's definition of socialization.

However, according to dear Merriam-Webster, even then I have to say that my children are quite socialized. Yep, they are well-rounded, seal of approval stamped, socialized children.

Think about it. In a traditional school, children are divided into ages/grade level. Some of those are further segregated into classes by gender. {I actually think in a school setting this is a good idea at certain times} The child also has to give his or her race often.

Let's glimpse into my boys socialization world.

The go to AWANA which is segregated my age and gender. Check.

They go to Sunday school where they get to live it up and stand in lines. Sweet.

They have dined in a cafeteria. Nice.

They have been involved in gymnastics. Good

T is on the swim team. Yep.

Now let's go deeper.

We get together with fellow homeschoolers and have fun days, science days, field trips...but, they also live their lives with me. Which means that some days they may have to go into an adult setting and know that it's not okay to throw a wild rumpus bash. Other times, we may only be around small children. This would mean they have no one to play with that are their ages. What then?

We were playing with some friends a couple of weeks ago and we had 8 kids, 2 yr olds up to almost 9 yr olds. And you know what? They all played and inter-mingled together wonderfully. An almost 9 yr old can play with a 4 yr old and giggle and have fun! 8 kids and no issues. Sounds like well adjusted and socialized kids to me.

We have neighbors who go to a traditional school and come over to play. They are just plain mean to my younger boys and do not include them in games. {I realize this is not true of all school children, this has just been our experience over and over again in our world. We only have one set of traditional schooled friends that show kindness readily} Homeschoolers don't get away with that. At least mine don't. We are a family unit and we are friends. Kindness goes a long way and we have to learn to make wise decisions.

Not only can my kids blend into any situation {usually. the post office and insurance office incidences are excluded here. yikes!} They do not recognize color or ability. We have friends with dark skin, olive skin, and light skin. We have friends who have all of their limbs, some that are missing one. We have friends who run and walk and some who have a chair to zoom around in. My kids have friends that are babies and friends that are 74 yrs old. Guess what. My kids don't make a big deal about it, and they have fun with their friends. Isn't this what society wants? A world who doesn't see differences? But a world that just sees a person?

If my kids can play with and enjoy anyone anywhere, I'd say they are more socialized than some adults. They have a great "knowledge of society" and they are receiving it by living a wonderful homeschooled life.

If you are thinking of homeschooling, don't let the dirty "s" word be an issue. If you are a homeschooler and think you are failing in the socialization area, think again. I bet they are plenty socialized.

Best wishes!

Here's a glimpse of socialized children. Aren't they cutie-pies?

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Monday, May 9, 2011

And So It Begins

I've probably written this post in my head a hundred times. I typed it up twice only to have it lost at the my own hands. Anyway, I somehow deleted it because I'm awesome like that, yo.

Here we are. The sun is up. The sun is yellow. {out you go, Dr Seuss--he plagues my sentences some days}

And it's Monday.
Not just any Monday.
It's the first Monday of our new life.

If you've not caught wind yet, we're moving. Yes, we're leaving Small Town. There are a number of reasons. I did list those reasons in one of the lost posts but I refuse to get emotionally involved again, so you get no explanation outside of these. {I say that with love}

Reasons to leave Small Town:
1. We want to be in a more rural area.
2. We want to be near family.
3. The severe weather around here stinks.

We had set a five year goal of meeting our desire to live more rural/have a hobby farm. We had planned to purchase land around here this year. BUT. But good ol' Mother Nature kept throwing kinks in that thought. Thank you, Mother Nature. {sarcasm applied to the last sentence} We are thoroughly fed up of tornado weather. While the area we are moving to is not immune to such happenings, it is less likely.

You see, we're moving to the mountains. Brett's mountains. Part of me is wanting to reach for a paper bag and do some deep breathing. Another part is completely okay with it and knows that the Lord has opened up some amazing doors. Who are we to not step through?

Brett's job had to transfer immediately because the position we needed opened sooner than we desired. Today is Monday. He started his out of town work this morning. He's staying with family near our soon to be home and will be returning on his days off.

You should know that I have two guns that I know how to use at the ready. Yes, Stella and Bessie are ready to assist at any time. I also have a gun named Bertha, that is just plain big and would be perfect for walloping someone over the head. With the Lord's protection and provision and the guns that Brett has talked me through, no yay-hoo is gonna shake down this house.

What? Am I the only one who prepares like that?

You should also know that Brett said this:
Brett: We need to make copies of the keys for when you lock yourself out of the house. We can give a copy to the Griffins since they are in town.
Me: What?
Brett: For when you lock yourself out of the house. Or the truck.
Me: Brett, you can't do that. I don't lock myself out of the house. Well, I've not done it in months. And if you send them to the Griffins and I actually need them...Allen will never let me live it down.
Brett: Ya, but they are in town and we trust them.
Me: {down-trodden head hang}

Self-talk: Please don't lock yourself out. Please don't lock yourself out...

The Rundown:
We're moving.
Brett's already on the move.
We'll move late summer.
We're renovating a house. A house with so much space! And wonderful wood floors. And we're going with an open concept! And, and, and...It's going to be a good thing.
We'll be in the middle of no where. Some people call it Newton County. Potato, potahto.
We'll be about an hour from Big City and about an hour and 45 minutes from Small Town.
Don't go mourning my departure yet. I plan on visiting.

I'm good with being alone during the day with my kiddos. That's what I do. Every day. I'm a stay at home mom and I love it. My issue is the evenings. That's Daddy/husband time. We love our Brett. I plan on filling my evenings with board games with the kids, reading, writing, no arithmetic, devotions, netflix {notice I put devotions before netflix}, dinners with friends...The list continues.

So, if you'd like to pray for our little family, we would be ever so appreciative. We're in transition. It's a good thing, different, but good.

There you have it. You are in the know. And I need to get ready for a play date.
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