I know it's summertime, but when you are a homeschooling parent the topic of school always comes up one way or the other.
"You must be so happy school is out!"
"What grade are you going into?"
"Do you miss your teacher?"
Sometimes I let the big kids answer and sometimes I just spare them and say, "I homeschool them." Then I get the weirdo looks like, "Oh, honey, you are crazy." and "Wow, you're ambitious." or the most frequent one "You've got your hands full, and you homeschool?!"
As we were house hunting this weekend we brought Julia with us and our realtor started to ask her questions about school. I chimed in, "We homeschool." And he looked horrified. "At some point you are going to send them to REAL school right? Isn't socializing your kids important to you?" I think this is the most hilarious question and misconception of homeschooled kids. I mean, really, do you think we stay HOME all day long every day of the week? Seriously? I can barely stay home for two days straight let alone a full week.
As homeschool parents we have options just like other parents. We put our kids into sports, music lessons, and bible school at church. Our children ARE around other kids. We live in a neighborhood! We live in a community! My kids play soccer and basketball and baseball in the street with the other neighborhood kids. They play dodge ball, they play house, they play school with other kids. We have play dates. We do field trips with friends. We visit parks. We actually see and spend time with other people of all different ages at coop.
1. Awana at Sayre Woods Bible Church (all ages)
2. Gymnastics at Freehold Gymnastics Club (all ages)
3. Taekwondo in Old bridge (all ages)
4. Bible Study Fellowship at Lincroft Bible Church (specific age group 0-6 years)
5. C.R.E.A.T.E- our homeshool coop at Lincroft (all ages)
6. M.O.P.S- Crossroads Assembly of God Church (specific age group 0-6 years)
7. Library Story Time/Craft Time (specific age groups)
These are just a few of the regular outside activities that we have participated in over the last 6 years. Even if I wasn't a homeschool mom, I would have done most of these programs while being a stay at home mom so that I could socialize with other moms and so my children could make friends.
I think there must be a question behind the socializing your children question...maybe it has little to do with whether or not I allow my kids to be around other people, maybe the real question that many are wondering is: How capable are you as a teacher to your child? And honestly that is a very fair and honest question. However, it's also a very personal question. I have a degree in education. I have a masters in education. But that didn't make me any less nervous to commit to homeschooling my kids. In fact I was terrified to teach my kids Kindergarten. I have taught pre-k, third grade and fourth grade, but I never had to teach my students how to read.
So, am I a capable teacher? Absolutely, but not because I have a degree in education. I am a capable teacher to my children because I have made the personal decision that this is what I want to do right now. I have done the research. I have bought the curriculum. I have sat at the dining room table and taught my kids reading, math, history, science, bible, grammar, spelling, etc. When there is a will there is a way.
Every parent who homeshools does it differently. We have to. We all have different kids. We all have different experiences. We all bring different talents to the table. Some of us have degrees and some of us don't. A degree does not make you a capable parent. I have met so many wonderful homeschool moms who never graduated from college and yet they are more hard core and intense about academics than I am. If you have a passion for learning, you can definitely pass that love and passion for learning onto your kids.