Multi-age interactive learning is the best socialization skills for life preparedness.
Have you thought about that before?
My kids that are homeschooled are not “sheltered”
Take my 13 yr old as an example:
Katie has older brothers.
Her oldest brother is married. She was able to see first hand how a lady is properly courted, how to work hard towards beginning a new (married) life, and how to wait til marriage to live together. On the flip side (of society fairness), she is very aware that others make different choices than what God would intend.
2nd oldest brother (21) is working towards journeyman certification, chooses to still live at home, which in turn shows Katie that adults work hard; that you don’t have to hurry to move out, get married, or to move in with a girlfriend. She gets to see first hand how hard work pays bills (car, phone, and yes, even rent), and that you can bless others with your spare money.
3rd oldest brother (17) shows her that in order to be a teen, you do not have to be >insert rude adjective here< ie rebellious, awful, wild, or the like…
He also displays that siblings, in general, can and do get along.
Katie also has younger brothers.
One brother (10) has Asperger Syndrome. She gets to learn about patience and understanding as she is able to discern how to work alongside his social quirks. As a result, she also knows how to respond to others who may have special needs. That everyone deserves kindness and a smile regardless of their mental or physical differences.
The littlest brother…. well, as cute as he can be…. is also quite the spunky spitfire. He is getting better, yet in the process, Katie gets to exercise some leadership skills on redirecting mischievous behavior effectively… those are some life skills I tell ya!
What about outside influences?
Quoted from a previous post: ” I must say God has blessed me with several friends who all have unique gifts that nurture Katie’s curiously creative personality;
One whom laughs and loves a lot, and allows Katie to explore the beauty of babysitting, and inspires her interest in Spanish.
Another who shares holistic health which includes essential oils, natural beauty products, and crunchy living.
and yet another who provides artistic encouragement such as sewing, crocheting, gardening, & photography.
Funny enough, these younger mamas think I am lovely and encouraging, when really they are the true gift.”
Due to homeschooling, my kids are not inundated with a mega peer source, which blesses us with the opportunity for the kids to develop intentional friendships.
Katie has been friends with her bestie since she was 2. They have distinctly different personalities and interests, which just seems to compliment the friendship. They have had different school scenarios over the years; homeschool, private, and public. Their friendship has survived two moves (us to Seattle area for 2 years, and them to Mexico for 15 months). The teen years are stretching them as their lives become busy with their individual interests, but they know they will always have each other.
She also has a close friend that she has also known for a very long time. This friend has very similar family life styles; Christian, homeschool, big family. The cool part of this friendship is that we don’t get to see this family nearly as often, but we always seem to pick right back up where we left off. No awkwardness, no expectations, just beautiful fellowship.
Acquaintances in society-
Our family participates in 2 homeschool co ops. One is a science co op, the other is a “supplemental” co op (cooking, Bible study, P.E., choir, etc…) which really is for “socialization” rather than education.
Interest-led activities including (but not limited to) sports, dance, piano, drama, art studios, youth groups & clubs are some other ways to develop acquaintances and begin to develop friendships.
Other “social” opportunities-
just to name a few things.
So when someone mentions their concern about homeschooling and socialization,
just smile as we realize that…
Socialization is not an age-segregation, but a way to experience life in real settings.
The real lesson is to “walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”