Planning the Homeschool Year: Finding Friends

School-PlanningIt’s back to school season! While we don’t have to be on the curb at the crack of dawn or make sure our children have their lunch money, we do need to plan out our coming year of homeschooling. Let’s get started!

…..

If you’ve ever come across the numerous blog posts written by ex-homeschooled kids, you will notice a trend. Generally speaking, the complaint lies in socialization. It seems they did not have enough friends, go on enough outings, or have the privilege of attending prom. To their way of thinking, they might as well have been locked in a closet.

While we’ve discussed the silly myth of socialization among homeschooled children, it does seem there is a certain percentage of children who are not enjoying enough interaction with other people.

As a parent who truly does want my children to enjoy meaningful friendships and have lifelong relationships, how then do I go about the act of socialization? I think there are numerous ways in which this can be accomplished:

  • Church
  • Sports
  • Co-ops
  • Family
  • Fellowship with Friends
  • Ministry Opportunities
  • Volunteer Work

I am sure the list could go on; however, I doubt it is necessary. To be honest, I believe opportunity is not the issue. There are more than enough venues to offer socialization if one simply makes an effort. Perhaps the problem lies somewhere else… a lack of relationship with our children.

As parents, it is our responsibility to pay attention to our children; to understand their needs and provide for them. If my children are expressing a desire for interaction and fellowship, it would behoove me to listen and help them in this area of development.

Is this going to mean a little more work for me? Possibly. Will this mean I might taxi people around a little bit? Perhaps. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely!

Through careful study of my children, I can begin to encourage and help forge those relationships which would be of benefit. With an observant eye, I want to offer plenty of opportunities for my littles to meet new people and build lasting friendships.

It doesn’t take a public school to socialize a child. It does take an involved parent with a heart to meet their children’s needs and guide them into meaningful fellowship.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 🔔Time to Chime In:  How do you teach your children the fine art of socialization? Which venue has best met that need?

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12 thoughts on “Planning the Homeschool Year: Finding Friends

  1. This is such a hard topic. Especially when we live in an age where the definition of ”friend” is changing. Throw in the fact that life outside of likes, comments and shares, rarely consists of few more than a couple of close friends, (and for some not even that).

    The issue gets even more complex. For society and all it’s sociological emphasis on the importance of friends, it tends to ignore and even play down the importance of healthy families.

    In the West we are subtly sold the line that friends really are our true families, which is true in the sense of husband meeting wife, and vice versa. However, the downside is rooted in the widely held assumption that we can choose our friends, not our family. The problem here, though, is when those we choose to be friends with, don’t friend us back.

    Even our workplaces are using the line, “family.” The problem here? You can be replaced at work, you cannot be replaced at home. A job is not an extension of who we are; our nature and identity is nurtured (for better or worse) in our homes.

    Add to this the fact that we also live in an age of suspicion, where every gesture of plutonic (phileo & storge love) friendship and affection, is subjected to being filtered through the lens of an unbalanced -ism and the heavily sexualised lens of post-modern culture.

    All this happens at the expense of people in families being forced by external pressures to become strangers of one another. Social media (ergo our entertainment etc), for all it’s benefits, only seems to negatively reinforce this estrangement. What we get are appearances over substance and we’re left with empty lives, brokenness and free membership into the lonely hearts club band.

    I wrestle with how we can overcome all this. My only answer: As a Christ-follower, my stand for my kids starts with God. He creates community, we are to make an effort, but we must utlimately trust Him to do this. As a man, who’s witnessed the excuses, abuse and neglect all these issues bring into our lives, I’m convinced that it’s important to point them out and challenge them boldly.
    As a dad and pastor to my kids, my stewardship requires me to help them understand these dangers, discern and overcome them. Such as: people pleasing, and the paradox of “stand-out, but fit in.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wisely spoken!

      Only God can truly create community. It starts at home, where mom and pop are friends and siblings are encouraged to be each other’s best friends, and extends from there.

      May the Lord have dominion over all areas of our lives, including our friendships.

      Like

  2. Having experienced the kind of socialization that takes place in public schools, my kids would be the first to tell their homeschool peers that there are much better ways to make friends, especially true friends. We start at church with the youth groups there. Between Sunday youth classes and once-a-week youth activities, my kids have made some good friends who share our values. We also get to know our neighbors. My kids will then invite their church and neighborhood friends over to play games, bake cookies, craft or watch a movie together. As a mom, I encourage these kinds of get-togethers and have even been known to splurge on a pizza or ice cream. And the key for us is being open to times that the other kids can get together since we are usually the more flexible ones, thanks to homeschooling!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Absolutely. My 4 year old always has long conversations with the box boy/girl at our local grocery store. She starts by asking them their name and they ask hers and the conversation goes on from there. I don’t worry about socialization with my girls. Even my oldest that has been in traditional school has more adult friends than friends her age. She is 12 and the girls can be pretty mean so I’m thankful that she connects with older woman that can be great role models and I think that is all the socialization my girls require.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “It doesn’t take a public school to socialize a child. It does take an involved parent with a heart to meet their children’s needs and guide them into meaningful fellowship.” May I say, AMEN?! Beautifully said, Cristina!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Planning Another Year | A Homeschool Mom

  6. Another problem is friends for. . . ME! How do you find good friends when you spend your days, 9 hours or more in all, schooling kids at your kitchen table? I have 3 children, all small, so sometime I must confess, I get very lonely. That is why I began blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

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