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s/o of the coop thred - does anyone not do ANYTHING?


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By not doing anything I mean no play dates, no park days, no organized field trips, nothing. Are we totally weird for being like this?

 

This is us - we do Girl Scouts on our own {not part of a troop}, don't do field trips / park day / play dates / neighborhood play with others, and don't really do church events either. Once in a while we do a public event like trick or treating at the YMCA, and we do go to a wonderful special needs playground called Morgan's Wonderland at least 2-3 times a month when they are open, but other than that DD really isn't in contact with other kids. She picks up behaviors very quickly from other kids on account of her ASD and her being a natural mimic, so we limit her exposure quite a bit.

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We don't belong to a co-op at all, nor do we do church.

 

We do go bowling at the base bowling alley every wednesday, but that's on our own, no group thing. My kids will start swim lessons next week, and my youngest goes to gymnastics and will start little league soon, but that's only because they want to. We're not big on group activities or field trips. We prefer to do our field trips alone.

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We don't belong to a co-op or homeschool group, and ds has a hard time wanting to attend church activities due to the kinds of activities they do (a lot of sports, hiking, camping, etc., which ds has problems with due to sensory and coordination issues) and the level of disorganization amongst the current leadership of the group (this too shall pass). He does attend a daily religion class that has a teacher who's been wonderfully sensitive to his quirky needs. But we have no particular "homeschool"-specific connections. We tried one group for a little while, but it was very socially awkward and not very organized, which made ds nervous and tended to result in melt-downs. There's another group in the area that sounds like it might be more organized, but it also requires more of a time commitment from the parents than I would be able to contribute and still be able to monitor ds closely enough to have it be a successful experience, so we've never gotten involved in that either. I've been thinking that as well as he's been doing in his religion class I might try to have him take one class (in some kind of technology subject where he'll do well and find like-minded geeks) down at the high school next year. We'll see...

 

But no, we're not very involved in groups of any sort. Dd, who is back in school full time this year, has a 4H afterschool art class one day a week and a twice per month church activity group for girls her age, and that's plenty for her. I dunno...I think having time at home to learn about cooking and laundry and how to get along with other persons who regularly occupy your space is a very good thing in the long run, and something a lot of kids in this modern age are too busy for.

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Not until my oldest hit 15...we never participated in co-ops, but did do speech/debate outside of home and scouts with troops...I have found it has greatly helped my children to do one day of co-op a week, they take pride in their work and love having another teacher for something....they really enjoy being with great kids in a group setting....

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We do go to church and the kids are in Greek School. We are not in a co-op though. Frankly, we don't have the money and are down to one vehicle that does not fit all of us and DH uses it for work. Through church, the older kids have movie nights, dances, activities, etc. My oldest daughter has some horses that she helps take care of.

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When my kids were little, I did park day for about a year. I hated it - small talk isn't my thing, and as most of them were unschoolers I felt when I talked about TWTM they thought I was one of "those".

 

We did a lot of field trips, because the price is so much better as a group. Plays, museums, etc. When I say a lot, I mean 4-5 a year. I've never done a co-op, and at this stage, I'm sure I won't.

 

When my kids got to junior high, the field trips slowed down, and their own interests took over. My dd: youth symphony (for 3 years), a girl's book club, youth & gov't, tennis, sailing. My ds: archery, sailing. None of these involve a particular homeschool group, and most have nothing to do with homeschooling at all.

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We go to church but that is about it. I have daycare kids though and I have three children of my own very close in age. We only have one car right now and DH takes it to work. Frankly, we can't even afford the gas right now to go to activities much less the activity fees. I would love for the kids to do sports but honestly between the energy and money that all of the kids' special needs takes, I don't have it in me.

 

I always feel bad when I read about other kids and all the fun things they do. Then I look at our kids. They are content and happy. Doing any more than trying to get through school, chores, etc would just exhaust them. They are at their limit.

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When my kids were little I *really* tried to limit commitments to once or twice a week. Awanas or scouts and one day a week homeschool PE at the Y was about it until they were older.

 

We still don't do a co-op (that was never my scene), but we've done lots of different things at various points. Science with another family is fun. We now do history/literature discussion with oldest. We are currently extremely busy, but I think that is partly the deal with having older kids.

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This is another perk I see in homeschooling, I see kids have to pick activities at 6 because they are too tired and have too much homework to do more than one activity a week. I want my kids to try lots of things to see what they like. We do dance, theater, gymnastics, and will stary piano again next year. When DS is 7, I will sign him up for baseball or basketball in our community. We also swim and go to the zoo and science museum. I want them to try as much as they can now, so they really know what they like when they get older.

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Well, we don't do any sort of co-op or anything with other homeschoolers. But, we do have other activities that keep us busy and outside the home. We do quite a bit with church, and my kids are both competitive dancers, so those are their social outlets.

 

We're just not interested in adding something else to our list of commitments/outside activites.

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We don't do much. My 17yodd takes an outside chemistry class. My 13yods is in Civil Air Patrol. They both play homeschool rec league soccer in spring and fall. We go to church occasionally where ds has many friends, but dd doesn't usually go. We live in the suburbs, don't go anywhere with regularity, and prefer our not-so-social life.

 

It's working for us, for now. God is good!

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We used to do group activities when my sons were younger.

I tried last year to get a teen social group together - what a disaster.

 

Anyway - currently we don't do ANYTHING! Well - not directly related to being HS'ed anyway. DS is in Boy Scouts and will be starting Spring soccer soon....

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For awhile we didn't.

 

I first starting homeschooling with the help of a neighbor (1983). Bless her heart, she put up with me almost daily. :lol: A friend who lived on another block nearby introduced me to her homeschooling neighbor, and the three of us did a couple of things together, including starting a multi-age Camp Fire Club. After a few months we argued about something--I forget what--and we all went our separate ways...and it was wonderful.

 

As much as I had appreciated my neighbor's support, being all alone with just my dds and me was wonderful. We continued doing Camp Fire activities on our own; I developed my schedule (which I've shared here a few times--Official School Days, library, field trip, clean house) and happily spent time just teaching my dc at home.

 

Eventually, others began homeschooling (I got the jump on most of the Christians I knew, simply because I took my dd out of school at Easter instead of letting her finish the school year), and someone heard of some others who were all meeting at the park, and we went to our first park day. That group became part of a larger, county-wide, mostly-Christian group that still exists today. It was gently structured--one monthly park day, some field trips (which I never attended unless they were on my field trip day--Thursday--or they were fabulous and I couldn't do it by myself). We exchanged telephone numbers with each other, and sometimes did things with each other between park days, but nothing scheduled on a regular basis.

 

I could easily teach my dc at home without a support group. It's just nice to have a few friends to do things with sometimes. :)

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I understand the need for making decisions due to special needs.

 

However, I would find the lifestyle you describe terribly limited.

 

Any choice we make puts limits on other options. If we choose to stay home a lot that does "limit" the time we can spend doing sports, music, drama, dance, pottery class, co-op science, etc., etc., and so forth. On the other hand, being busy with lots of outside activities "limits" the time we can spend baking goodies together, forming sibling bonds, learning to do basic housework, developing a strong parent-child relationship, and so forth. I think the trick is to find the right BALANCE for each individual. (Which can get interesting when you have family members with highly disparate needs.)

 

One man's limited is another man's simplified. One child's fun and exciting is another child's painful and frightening. One mom's lonely and isolated is another mom's blessed, blessed solitude.

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I would LOVE to be able to just stay home with the kids and do field trips on our own. Ds is the wild crazy kid in most groups so keeping on top of him is truly exhausting for me plus dd is still young enough to need a lot of attention herself. Since I'm extremely introverted social time wears me out. But, my kids love to be around a lot of other kids and I think there is a benefit to them having activities with adults other than me. DS is a lot better when an activity has been going on for a few weeks and he's gotten used to the routine so there is some tangible sign that it's beneficial for him. The hardest part is dealing with the other parents, IMO. :tongue_smilie:

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We have a co-op for two hours each month. Other than that, we aren't doing anything this year. Since my dc were 4, they have done wrestling, dance, tumbling, swimming, soccer, and more that I can't think of right now (usually only 2 or 3 at a time.) This was our first year of homeschooling and we decided to focus on that alone this year. The kids have enjoyed it, although dd is asking to go back to dance. We'll start easing back into extracurricular activities next year.

 

I was one of those kids who never had a free minute (this was my own choice!) I thought my kids would be the same, but they are actually a lot more low-key than I ever was. I'm learning to adjust.

 

ETA: Dd still goes to public school, so I'm mostly talking about ds. Also, there are probably two dozen kids on our block (and a playground) so my little INTJ's are getting all the socialization they can handle right now. ;)

 

Since I'm extremely introverted social time wears me out.

 

That's what was hard to realize about my kids. As an extrovert, I always thought shy=introvert. My kids (and dh) aren't shy at all, but they are easily worn out by a lot of "social time." It took me some time to realize that not everyone desires or likes constant interaction, even if they do seem to be good at it.

Edited by Element
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I understand the need for making decisions due to special needs.

 

However, I would find the lifestyle you describe terribly limited.

 

 

I agree. I personally/professionally think that the lifestyle the OP is describing is unhealthy for children regardless of diagnosis. Learning to make friends, get along with others and other social skills is very important, especially in a child on the spectrum.

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We do things with our family and with our congregation. There is one family that we visit regularly, we are friends... not really a play date. If we do field trips, it is usually just us, not a group.

 

The only big group thing that we do is camp once a year. But it is all homeschool families from the church.

 

We do not do coops, boy scouts, or anything else. I guess we are middle of the road on the activities spectrum.

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Homeschooling can easily become very isolating and dominated by Mother's Best Interest.

 

Kids need to meet others even it that means dealing with repercussions of picking up behavioural patterns as long as it is not excessive (and most kids do not show excessive mis-behaviour).

:iagree:

 

I understand different strokes for different folks and all that. And special needs can mean that life is more limited in general. I get it. But to not have any outside community - no church, no scouts, no friends you see on a regular basis, even if it's just once a month... I don't see how that can possibly be healthy for a child's development. To be out in the world, we have to learn to deal with people and maintain relationships. To me, that's a really basic skill.

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We don't do a coop or park days or anything really related to homeschooling, but we are very involved at our dojo and now at the local art center since ds is in a drama class. I actually wish sometimes that we had less on our plates because we are out of the house 5-6 days a week. That said, I do think children need a certain minimum level of social interaction outside the family to develop basic skills for dealing with others. Even something just once a month could be enough.

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I agree. I personally/professionally think that the lifestyle the OP is describing is unhealthy for children regardless of diagnosis. Learning to make friends, get along with others and other social skills is very important, especially in a child on the spectrum.

 

:iagree: with this too. From what you describe, it sounds like your dd doesn't have any contact with other kids, especially since she is an only child..

 

I don't do nearly as much as most people I know. My kids and I need a lot of down time. I think we'd all be missing out though, if we never did anything with others.

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We don't do a lot of HS specific stuff yet outside of the home, but my kids play several times a week with a group of neighborhood kids, they participate in dance and baseball, take swim lessons, have friends at the pool in the summertime, and we get together periodically with a family we have known for years who also HS.

 

Right now my youngest naps in the afternoon and it conflicts with some of the local co-op schedules and events. However, he's almost 2 so I anticipate attending more functions in another year or so. DS2 is also in that phase where he is difficult to contain and exhausting to keep happy or entertained when we're at something, so right now we don't do a ton of outside activities.

 

I definitely need a lot of downtime but I can see my oldest (about to turn 8) is starting to show more interest in meeting other HSers and wanting more of that social scene. Right now we're meeting that need just fine but I anticipate a need to do more in the next year or two.

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:iagree: with this too. From what you describe, it sounds like your dd doesn't have any contact with other kids, especially since she is an only child..

 

I don't do nearly as much as most people I know. My kids and I need a lot of down time. I think we'd all be missing out though, if we never did anything with others.

 

OP here - she does have some contact with other kiddos. We do drop in at Morgan's Wonderland playground 2-3 times a month when they are open {all year except January and Febuary} and she plays with kids there, and on occasion a neighbor from the other side of our neighborhood brings his two kids to come play with her while he does odd jobs for us.

 

She isn't a very social kiddo - never has been.

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We don't do nearly as much as many on this board, but that is mainly due to finances not desire. I would love to have a long list of activities for each kid, but I need to be content with what can provide and stop comparing with others!

 

Each kid has an activity at the Y and that's it as far as organized stuff goes. They do have a bunch of neighborhood friends that they see regularly, and they see friends at church (we are in the process of switching churches, but they are slowly making friends there). We do field trips usually just with our family. I try to schedule one a month. Sometimes another hs fam comes along, but not usually.

 

I am a homebody so I understand loving being home all the time, but if my kids were as isolated as the OP's, I would see that as something that needs to be corrected. The intricacies of friendship are not something that can be learned by the occasional jaunt out in public and are important to navigating life, imo.

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I don't fit well with the homeschool groups around here. We are not religious which excludes us from many groups. The new group I joined (and like!) is for atheists, pagans, etc. But many of them have young kids and many are unschoolers, which is not my cuppa.

We do TKD and soccer, unrelated to any hs groups. I am friends with 2 other hs moms and we get the kids together for lego club and archery classes. We cringe when the place makes a mistake and makes our meet times public. It's not that we're antisocial. I love meeting new people. I do fine chatting with other moms and dads at TKD and soccer. But, I just want to sit and chat with my friends.

I would love to participate in that new group more, but with time constraints due to me working and the fact that we are more rigorous in our learning approach, so far we haven't been able to make any of the activities. I'm still hopeful though. We're trying to get a tween game night started. That would be perfect.

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We used to belong to a homeschool group, then another one, and well, we never fit in, so we dropped those. We haven't ever done co-op because the one close to us is super expensive and doesn't provide anything I can't teach at home.

 

My girls do activities though. In addition to church, my oldest takes horseback riding lessons, my middle takes ballet, and my youngest takes a musical theater class. In the spring/summer, we go to the pool a lot.

 

The key is balance, I think. I'd go nuts if we were "too busy" but I'd also go nuts if we sat at home all the time. We have 3 days a week that we have no outside activities scheduled. It works great for us.

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We were very active when ds was younger. We had lots of homeschooling friends, ds would play with kids in the neighborhood, we usually had one activity a year, and were active in church.

 

Since moving we've haven't been involved in anything due to finances and one working vehicle (which dh takes to work). Most organized activities stop at 6th grade here as well.

Edited by elegantlion
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I have a friend who doesn't. Well right now 2 kids go to a program 1xwk for 3hrs but she is stopping that. They don't do church, shop at stores, playdates or anything else. Visiting relatives maybe 1-2x a month and that is it. I do not really agree with it but that is their choice. We are fairly minimal but do go out some. We have church 1x a week, Boy Scouts 1x a week, co-op (as often as weekly or as less as monthly- Field trips and park days) and monthly science night we host.

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Homeschooling can easily become very isolating and dominated by Mother's Best Interest.

 

Kids need to meet others even it that means dealing with repercussions of picking up behavioural patterns as long as it is not excessive (and most kids do not show excessive mis-behaviour).

 

:iagree:

 

I understand the need for making decisions due to special needs.

 

However, I would find the lifestyle you describe terribly limited.

 

:iagree:

 

When my kids were young, we didn't do a lot of outside activities because we couldn't afford it. We couldn't afford the dues to the local co-op, admission prices for the various field trips (on top of dues), or the gas to drive to those places.

 

With little outside interaction, I would often feel lonely and depressed, especially with our financial situation looming large. My kids did too. I talked to my SIL, also a homeschooler who rarely went anywhere, and she and I decided to set aside one day a week for a family homeschool co-op. Our kids got to spend time with each other once a week, and she and I did too. It was great for everyone's sanity!

 

SIL and I lived an hour's drive apart, so we took turns hosting so that one week I drove to her house and the next week she drove to mine. We played math games, did an art activity, and a science lesson or experiment for 5 kids. Then we had lunch together, and then the kids played outside while my SIL and I chatted. We would get started about 10:00 AM and finish up about 4:00 PM. It was a sanity-saver for me and for my kids. We all looked forward to it each week.

 

I know you didn't ask for advice, but I would like to caution you about isolating yourself. If you have a friend or family member who also homechools, maybe you could combine your resources to benefit everyone.

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We're not involved in any homeschool groups. The only homeschool groups I know of are a good 40 minutes drive away, and are more for socialising and support than providing anything educational. I homeschool three boys, DS10, DS7 and DS4; I also have DS12, who's at school. They go to Church every Sunday with DH, and have a lot of friends there. DS10 goes to a badminton club on Thursdays which he's been attending with DS12 for two-and-a-half years now, and again, they have a good group of friends there. All the boys go to swimming lessons on Fridays, and on Saturday mornings they all go to tennis lessons together. DS10 and DS12 also have extra swimming lessons on Saturday afternoons.

 

I have no desire whatsoever to go looking for 'friends' for them, I'm another 'homebody' and feel as though I stretch myself to the limit already, without adding any more commitments. They have a great deal of fun together and are all confident, outgoing, well-adjusted boys. The boys will also all go to school when they are 11 yo, and I feel that this does make a difference. I see DS10 and DS12 pulling away from the safe confines of home, wanting friends and adventures, preparing themselves to go out into the big world; and this is how it should be, it is good and natural. DS4 and DS7, however, while they enjoy getting out and about, they don't crave it, and are perfectly happy at home.

 

Our situation doesn't feel isolated or limited, if it did I would change things.

 

Best wishes

 

Cassy

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By not doing anything I mean no play dates, no park days, no organized field trips, nothing. Are we totally weird for being like this?

 

This is us - we do Girl Scouts on our own {not part of a troop}, don't do field trips / park day / play dates / neighborhood play with others, and don't really do church events either. Once in a while we do a public event like trick or treating at the YMCA, and we do go to a wonderful special needs playground called Morgan's Wonderland at least 2-3 times a month when they are open, but other than that DD really isn't in contact with other kids. She picks up behaviors very quickly from other kids on account of her ASD and her being a natural mimic, so we limit her exposure quite a bit.

 

OP here - she does have some contact with other kiddos. We do drop in at Morgan's Wonderland playground 2-3 times a month when they are open {all year except January and Febuary} and she plays with kids there, and on occasion a neighbor from the other side of our neighborhood brings his two kids to come play with her while he does odd jobs for us.

 

She isn't a very social kiddo - never has been.

 

OP, I don't think you're weird. Your daughter has only been on this earth for five short years. I see nothing detrimental about the situation you've described. I'm not a believer in pushing group situations on such young kids. If she wants to, and you want to, fine. But I just don't see the need. And your post doesn't seem to express any worry about it - just a question that seems to be meant to be funny. :D And, she *is* socializing, from what you've described.

 

When my kids were little, we didn't do all the stuff you describe, either. I even resisted calling events "play dates;" I "got our families together" instead. I did (still do) things with other women who were friends of mine who had kids. Organized field trips have been rare for us, either because of time, money, or transportation. We've enjoyed our own family "field trips" better because we controlled them. Or we've done "field trips" with one other family who had similar interests as us. I remember saying once to a friend, "Hey, I signed the kids and me up for a tour of the oceanography place - wanna come along with us? I think the tour guide will you let you in, too." And she came, and we had fun, just our two families.

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OP here - she does have some contact with other kiddos. We do drop in at Morgan's Wonderland playground 2-3 times a month when they are open {all year except January and Febuary} and she plays with kids there, and on occasion a neighbor from the other side of our neighborhood brings his two kids to come play with her while he does odd jobs for us.

 

She isn't a very social kiddo - never has been.

 

 

I think it is beneficial for children to have a regular small group of friends. Two hours a week or so would give time to develop a real friendships, allow for the continuation of favorite games etc. Continuity and consistency of friendships is important for any child, but it is crucial for ASD children. I don't think you need to sign up for co-ops, lessons and the like, we didn't when my oldest was 5. We did however meet with with one or two other children once a week. We also attended library story time with those friends and on occasion other events.

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OP here - she does have some contact with other kiddos. We do drop in at Morgan's Wonderland playground 2-3 times a month when they are open {all year except January and Febuary} and she plays with kids there, and on occasion a neighbor from the other side of our neighborhood brings his two kids to come play with her while he does odd jobs for us.

 

She isn't a very social kiddo - never has been.

 

When we started hsing, the director of GW and Geezle's ABA based school advised me to spend 10 hours a week in activities. That was an insane amount for a 5yo honestly, but it did help Geezle learn to get along in groups and overcome his anxiety and sensory issues. If you're up to the challenge (and it IS a huge challenge to shadow your asd child in preschool activities) I'd start with one small class and see how it goes. You can build up over time. Our most successful class was Kindermusik when Geezle was 5.

 

Good luck finding a balance that works for you!

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We do as much as finances and time allow. I consider it CRUCIAL for my ASD son. We don't do co-ops, and one of the main reasons (among many) is that I don't want academics mixed in with the dreaded socialization issue. He has been part of a playgroup since he was two to which we still belong. We do things with them 2-4 times a month. We are in two different homeschool support groups with which we have monthly first grade boys club and Lego club meetings as well as close to monthly field trips. One offers weekly park days, but the time was moved to the middle of YDS's nap so we haven't been in a while. They both offer extras like field days. He also does swim team (which is solely to learn to swim--he has huge coordination issues, but it's a good activity where he's not required to interact with other children in a certain way) twice a week. Seasonally, he has 4H Seedlings three times a month. And he has Cub Scouts three times a month. Oh, and Sunday school and church weekly.

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By not doing anything I mean no play dates, no park days, no organized field trips, nothing. Are we totally weird for being like this?

 

This is us - we do Girl Scouts on our own {not part of a troop}, don't do field trips / park day / play dates / neighborhood play with others, and don't really do church events either. Once in a while we do a public event like trick or treating at the YMCA, and we do go to a wonderful special needs playground called Morgan's Wonderland at least 2-3 times a month when they are open, but other than that DD really isn't in contact with other kids. She picks up behaviors very quickly from other kids on account of her ASD and her being a natural mimic, so we limit her exposure quite a bit.

I didn't do much at all when my kids were as young as yours. But when they get older, they really needed and wanted to spend more time with other kids,so you may find yourself gravitating that way eventually.

 

We started a great co-op at 7 and 5, I think it was, and it was a really good decision that brought all of us friends.

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up until the middle of last year we were able to go to alot of park days/play days and local events--can't go on out of town events--right now dh has been taking my car to work (since last year) so I haven't had a car in the afternoons :auto:and that's been when many things are scheduled....so that's the main issue now----I don't go to alot but I try to go to the play days/park days......hoping to get back into that soon....

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I understand the need for making decisions due to special needs.

 

However, I would find the lifestyle you describe terribly limited.

 

:iagree:

 

When I first started homeschooling, our only activities were gymnastics and choir for Rebecca. Sylvia went to preschool, but only for 4 months. Other than that, nothing. When Becca was in first grade, I met a local hs'ing mom and she hooked us up with a homeschooled AHG troop and a co-op. Sylvia started gymnastics too. I honestly feel more sane with the increase in activities. I'm an introvert too, but this MAKES me get out of the house and interact a little bit and it's not so bad after all.

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