“There are tons of reasons for homeschooling. And I truly applaud you for taking the leap. However this picture, and online learning in general, concerns me about the adequacy of opportunities for socialization. Are we as a society moving our children away from face to face interactions in favor of technology-moderated human interaction?” – a friend.
The above comment came today as a response to a photo I posted of SuperHero Bee working on the computer. Well actually he was sitting in front of the computer for about 3 minutes (long enough for me to take his photo). It was orientation for a Lego Club I enrolled him in. The Lego Club meets once a week in the afternoons. He builds and communicates with others via webcam. I thought it would be a great opportunity to work on his computer skills as well as have fun building legos. Legos are fun. I love Legos myself. This month’s theme project for the club is snowflakes and next month’s club theme is Ancient China. March is Knights and Castles. April is Playgrounds. How cool is that?
Back to the topic at hand. Socialization.
This comment came from a friend so I didn’t really get upset about it. Shocked at first, but then I realized that this was the very first time someone in my circle of friends questioned my decision to homeschool. The sting of that realization is still burning and to be brutally honest, it hurts a little. Again, I am not mad, but hurt because it came from a friend not an outsider.
Socialization in school is a joke. That I know this will tick off a few people. It is though. Please wake up to the crummy American public school system. We think our kids have all this awesome social activity with their cute little friends at school and that is hardly the case. The typical day in a public school here in Georgia (both civilian and Department of Defense, which by the way DOD schools have high ratings) goes something like this:
- Bell rings
- Student sits down and does not speak as the teacher is speaking
- Copy work and school work is done silently
- Lunch is in silence on most days because the cafeteria gets too loud.
- P.E. meets once a week now, not every day.
- Outside activity is daily for 25-35 minutes IF the weather is permitting (no gym time).
- Computers are used daily and frequently for classwork, again no talking.
WHEN and WHERE is the SOCIALIZATION?
Kids do talk and have their free time but it is limited. If you send your child to school thinking that they are making tons of friends, think again. School is probably the worst place for socialization. Bullying is growing rapidly in schools and the faculty isn’t doing much to curb it. In fact, the news portrays a very dark portrait of school bullying with suicides and drop out rates. School
School is made for learning. If you make friends, you make friends. If not, oh well. It is for learning.
Children interact socially when they participate with others OUTSIDE of school. My children socialize by:
- Cub Scouts – we meet once a week and our weekends are filled with camp outs and pack activities.
- Co-Ops – “school” for homeschooled children with field trips and fun stuff.
- Church- We are members of a Mega Church- Wednesday Nights Service.
- Church- We attend Saturday nights for service instead of Sundays. Our kids programs are MASSIVE.
- Church- We are in a small group that meets on Fridays. Kids, Kids, Kids.
- Neighborhood Kids.
- Play Dates – Friends that we have known for years.
I think he has plenty of socialization. More so than he would ever have in his public school. That is us though. We are an active family. We are busy, busy. My kids are Three Busy Bees.
Now why do we homeschool? I have been holding back on this one because of my husband’s job. However, I find that this is probably the best time to discuss our decision.
Homeschool was not an over night decision. We were unhappy with the public schools in the entire county in which we live. Private school was our next option. The minimum was about $10,000 per school year (ouch), per child. We were okay with that. Education is very important to us, so we were going to make it work. While at a volunteer meeting at church one night, I asked a friend about private schools (she went to a private school and her children went to the same one she did). To my surprise, they were now homeschooled. Homeschool? We discussed it further and then time went by. Marty and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that it may be a perfect opportunity to lay the foundation we wanted our kids to have.
We prayed. Then prayed some more. I believe God answered with a fat yes after we had some issues at the school (not with our son, but in general). He always guides you where you need to be according to Him, it is just the listening that we fail on. I wasn’t failing this time. As for Marty and his job you ask. Well my husband is a contractor. Oh man, I said it. Other than my inner circle, I have never said those words. I guess it was always assumed though. He does government contracting overseas. We left behind our life in the Special Operations community (Ranger Regiment) after 12 years. With his deployment schedule, he would never see our son. Well, not with the public school schedule of : Bus Pickup -8am and Bus Drop off -5pm. Bed time is a few hours later. It isn’t worth it. Plus my husband’s job isn’t considered one that can have excused absent days, only active military. Homeschool it is.
I love my kids. I love spending time with them. They go on vacations with us. We take them to celebrate our anniversaries and birthdays. They are not excluded. Half the time they end up in our bed and we don’t mind. One day, they will grow up and I will miss them more than words can describe. So for now, we homeschool. And I love it.