Because I was a public school teacher before I began homeschooling, I don’t get questioned about whether or not I can teach my children. In fact, I often hear “Well, of course you can homeschool. You’re a teacher.” The merits of being a “trained” teacher before homeschooling…or not…is a topic for another day.
I remember the first time I brought up homeschooling. My husband and I had been discussing the idea and we were getting closer to the decision we eventually made to go forward. I casually mentioned homeschooling to someone we see a couple of times a year, not letting on that it was something we were even considering. Whoa, was I in for a surprise! I learned a great deal about their homeschooled neighbors who were “weird” because they were quiet. That was the first time I realized how concerning the topic of “socialization” is for anyone who is outside of the homeschool community.
Because of this conversation my husband and I set out on our homeschooling career determined that our children would be “normal”. Yes, I realize the naivety of that statement. I have since learned that I don’t really want my children to be “normal”. However, I DO want them to be able to handle themselves in a wide variety of social situations. And so we have carefully and prayerfully “socialized” our children.
We make a conscious effort to put our children into supervised activities where they can meet many different children. We spend time with other families, both in our homes and doing other activities. We help our children to choose good friends and then make time to have these children in our home.
We also have an ever-growing homeschool group. As the children have gotten older we have done more of the activities offered through this group. Yesterday we spent a delightful day visiting and enjoying the fresh air at a local pumpkin patch. It gave me time to talk “grown-up” with women who understand what I am going through, and to offer advice to others. My husband was able to go along with us. And our children got the opportunity to spend quality time with children who are having a more similar experience, to see that not all children carry a backpack and get onto a little yellow school bus. We enjoyed ourselves immensely!