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Noreen Claire

homeschooling the extremely social child?

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I've decided to home school. In the fall I'll have a 2nd grader (7 yr old), a pre-k (4 yr old), a toddler, and newborn in Oct. (Plus the 20yr old, who works near-full time.) I believe that I am all set and ready to go, with a realistic plan and necessary materials. 

 

The issue? My husband thinks that it would be detrimental to the 7yr old, because he is such a social person. He feels that public school is the better place because he *needs* the companionship/constant interaction with other kids. I don't disagree that we would have to do some work to get him the social interaction with peers that he would be missing, but I don't necessarily think that I would be doing him *harm* keeping him home.

 

Words of advice from those who have been there, done that? Thanks.

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The language in your post is a bit worrisome to me.

 

"I've decided to homeschool"

"My husband thinks it would be detrimental to the 7yo"

 

Eek.  You have two parents, on opposite pages. So let me ask you - how often do you get out of the house with the 4yo and 2yo?  Have you looked at concrete social opportunities for your 7yo and how doable they are for your family?  How does your 7yo feel about staying home?  Are you prepared for resistance from him, a new baby, and a husband who is looking at the year critically?

 

I've homeschooled with a reluctant husband on board.  He and I had a LOT of discussions about meeting needs and re-evaluating every year.  I never would have done something that he was definitely opposed to, though.

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I've decided to home school. In the fall I'll have a 2nd grader (7 yr old), a pre-k (4 yr old), a toddler, and newborn in Oct. (Plus the 20yr old, who works near-full time.) I believe that I am all set and ready to go, with a realistic plan and necessary materials. 

 

The issue? My husband thinks that it would be detrimental to the 7yr old, because he is such a social person. He feels that public school is the better place because he *needs* the companionship/constant interaction with other kids. I don't disagree that we would have to do some work to get him the social interaction with peers that he would be missing, but I don't necessarily think that I would be doing him *harm* keeping him home.

 

Words of advice from those who have been there, done that? Thanks.

 

Children do not need the socialize with all those children every day. They become dependent on their peers, the children who are equally as immature as they are.

 

Your children will have at least four other children to interact with on a daily basis, but it will be *real* interaction, where they get to actually have conversations, with people of different ages, sort of the way it will be in real life. :-)

 

You might consider some sort of outside classes--not homeschool classes which take place during the day, but community classes--such as martial arts, or gymnastics, or art, or scouts, classes which happen in the late afternoon/evening, after y'all have had your own Official School Stuff. Maybe there is a support group in your community--not a co-op, but a support group, which might have park days or field trips.

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The language in your post is a bit worrisome to me.

 

"I've decided to homeschool"

"My husband thinks it would be detrimental to the 7yo"

 

Eek.  You have two parents, on opposite pages. So let me ask you - how often do you get out of the house with the 4yo and 2yo?  Have you looked at concrete social opportunities for your 7yo and how doable they are for your family?  How does your 7yo feel about staying home?  Are you prepared for resistance from him, a new baby, and a husband who is looking at the year critically?

 

I've homeschooled with a reluctant husband on board.  He and I had a LOT of discussions about meeting needs and re-evaluating every year.  I never would have done something that he was definitely opposed to, though.

 

My husband was completely on board, until he gave me the, 'the Kid is really social; public school is good for him' statement out of no where the other day.

 

DS plays sports ever season, spends time with cousins/grandparents regularly each week, and has a handful of friends from school who live within walking distance. We are going to spend this summer working towards him being able to walk/bike to the corner store (4 blocks, 2 major streets with crosswalks), the playground (1 mile, 1 major street, no crosswalk), and his best friend's house (1/2 mile, 1 major street, no crosswalk), on his own. The little boys and I go out several times during the week, for errands and trips to the library, zoo, etc... We probably won't go out as much after the new baby is born for a while, but we will enlist help getting him to sports and the library so he doesn't miss those opportunities.

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I think it's worth pointing out that kids don't actually get to socialize all that much in school! Sure, they are technically together, but they aren't given much time to actually talk about the things they care about with friends of their own choosing. (For instance, in school, your best friend--or any of your friends--is/are not necessarily going to be in your class. You might only get to see your friends for a few minutes at recess. Or, another example is that sure, 30 kids are all sitting next to one another in the same classroom, but isn't the constant refrain at school, "Stop talking and listen up!"?) Basically, I'm very skeptical that the kind of unrestricted conversation and free play that actually nurtures quality friendships is all that available at school. (I'm hoping this practice is mostly retired by now, but back in the 80s when I was in school, we even had forced SILENT LUNCHES!) So much for socialization....

 

I am also of the mindset that children need to be surrounded mostly by mentors (read: worthy adults) to learn how best to behave in the world, not surrounded by peers that are, by their very nature, equally immature and therefore not necessarily worthy role models for a developing child. 

 

/end rant, lol. That said, my eldest is very, very social and she is still thriving in our homeschool. She sees her friends at co-op each Thursday, she takes two extracurricular sports each week where she gets to spend time with friends, and we make sure she has between 2 and 4 scheduled play dates on the calendar every month. On top of that, she makes a new friend pretty much every single time we go to the park, which is nearly daily. At almost 9, she's also started talking on the phone with some of her friends from time to time. So...it's really not very difficult! (Plus, my kids socialize with plenty of adults in our day-to-day educational experiences at the library, etc.) My younger child gets all these things, too, but it is definitely more of a "need" for my older child, and we find it's very easy to meet those needs. 

 

For us, the benefits of homeschooling FAR outweighed any social concerns we might have had. (It's completely moot for us.)

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And I'll also paraphrase Susan Wise Bauer's words from TWTM: The purpose of school is EDUCATION, not socialization. She points out that people sometimes act like the whole purpose of school is making friends, but that's not supposed to be the point at all....

 

 

Edited by EKT
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My kids are pretty social (though one much more than the other). I think the mistake I see some parents make around this is refusing to put themselves and their kids out there to meet the kids' social needs. It takes some work, at least at first. And then they feel frustrated with homeschooling and with the kid and end up returning to school, or just complaining all the time about the lack of options when there actually are options, they just aren't pursuing them.

 

Anyway, we invested a lot of time in solidifying relationships when my kids were younger, but at this point (my kids are older now) I don't have to any more, which is nice.

 

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If he is extremely social, what he would probably do best with is 2 or 3 buddies that consistently hang out with him at your home or the park or at their homes or wherever so that they can play, and have long conversations and create projects together and have arguments and work out those arguments, etc.  There is VERY little, if any, in depth interaction in school.  Even when I was in school, I made my closest friends with people I saw in my neighborhood or friends from school that would come to my house or I would go to their house.  We had the time to get to know each other and play and visit and laugh and argue and just generally learn how to be real friends.

 

Keep him in extracurriculars and plan to invite a friend or two over every week if you can.  

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. We probably won't go out as much after the new baby is born for a while, but we will enlist help getting him to sports and the library so he doesn't miss those opportunities.

It worked out after we just make the effort to be out everyday. When we are not out due to rain, my youngest crave for online forums chat. This kid would need an unlimited phone plan when he is an adult because he rather talk than text. There are no kids and few adults in my neighborhood including the library until dinner time and evenings though so we have to drive to another neighborhood which has lots more kids and adults around during the day.

 

We stayed home initially when we started homeschooling but the lack of humans around means we end up hanging out at Peets coffee or Starbucks, both a walk away. My kids aren't into sports so that is one less choice we have for social interaction of any kind.

 

I don't know how extremely social your son is but my very social relatives end up as sales managers :lol: I would tease my DS10 that his first job as a teen should be sales. He would love a showroom job or a DJ job actually.

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I have a social one, and she is just fine. :) She doesn't even have tons of outside friends, but she has a sister, and two brothers.

I do make sure she has a few extra curricular things to do. She takes horseback riding lessons, music lessons with me, and also takes part in church functions. We have people/ families over frequently, and I make sure she has play dates every once in a while with the few friends she does have.

Honestly, I don't even think she needs all that. At different times in our life, she has had no outside activities. She has still grown into a great kid, and is almost a teenager :'(

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Now this is not the case for lots of homeschoolers, but in our case, I think my kids get more "friend" time than most kids in school. At school, there's 25 kids in a class, but one kid might only really get along with 3-5. Then, they only have lunch and recess to really do what they want, maybe a bit more time in directed activity. We are involved with several homeschooling groups/classes and my kids have made a couple friends at each one. We make the effort (and their families make the effort) to get together frequently. We usually go to the park weekly for several hours at a time. We also meet up with them at the zoo, museums, indoor play places in bad weather/winter. They have more time to socialize and with more kids than they would at school. YMMV, depending on your area.

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I have kids at similar ages.  My 7yo is social, very social.  We have a lot of activities for her to do -- Girl Scouts, dance, etc -- that get her out with other kids throughout the week.  On the nights she doesn't have something going on, she plays outside with the neighbors.  I'm glad she is getting the social time she needs.   If you kid already has friends in place, you are going to have an easier time of it, so I wouldn't be too worried. 

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It sounds like your dh is just ineptly asking what your plan is.  Often times when you leave school you'll lose those school friends.  

 

Any chance of a homeschool group or co-op?  Scouting?  

 

You sound very introverted.  You're probably going to need a more intentional plan to replace the group he's losing by leaving school and to make sure he continues to add to his social circle.  Sports don't necessarily do that, at least not for us.   We had a point where dd joined a 2nd youth group so she could expand her circle.  You'll really need to make some effort.

Edited by OhElizabeth

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We found socialization while homeschooling very difficult.

 

I also take huge issue with the idea that there is not that much socialization/downtime in PS.  There is a ton of it.  It is constant.  

 

I have a very extroverted 7 (almost 8) DS who doesn't do well in a school setting for a variety of reasons.  If school were a good fit for him, or even a decent fit, we'd do it in a second, because he loves being around people all day (people his age, with closer to his interests).  School didn't work for him emotionally or socially, though, despite two separate tries, so we're pretty dedicated to HSing now.  What works for him is a set of neighborhood kids and occasional HS activities.

 

I have never had a kid make a real friend, a lasting one, through sports or other ECs.  There's much less downtime in those, generally speaking, than there is at school.

 

I would love a HS group that just gets together for park days once a week (or more often!)  or a church group that more or less does the same, but we're not religious and it seems like socialization=only HS groups have gone the way of the dinosaur.  

 

All that to say: no, your children don't need to be around other children all day to lead fulfilled lives.  If, however, PS is how your son has been meeting his strong "being with other people" needs, and especially his "being with other kids approx. my age and gender" needs, you'll have to figure out how to replace some of that, because it won't replace itself.

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As an introvert, the only way I was able to get my sons enough social time was to have them involved in the public homeschool program, which met for 3-4 hours twice per week during the school year.  Everything else--sports teams, art classes, whatever--never resulted in lasting friendships.  

 

My 14yo will be attending the public high school next year for purely social reasons.  I simply am not able to provide the social opportunities that he needs.

 

So my point here is that you either need to find a program like the one we used or you need to be very intentional about creating ongoing social opportunities for your kids.

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Thanks to everyone who responded.

 

I know that we will have to make an effort for him to get social time with his current friends and provide regular opportunities for him to meet new people/make new friends. I've looked in to local homeschooling groups and there doesn't look like much in my immediate city; however, the surrounding towns have a few which we will check out. There is also a youth group at the local church that we will look into. I joined the local mother's club, so that may provide some opportunities as well.

 

 

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i have a very social 10 year old who dos miss her friends. To be honest, social issues were the driving force in bringing her home from public school last October--in the end I'm guessing we will be thankful we did. She is very easily swayed by her peers and I think that's a dangerous road in the times we have ahead of us.

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