Public schools and socialization

I think there is a misconception that homeschoolers look down their noses at parents who allow their children to attend public schools.

I'm a product of the public school system. So is my husband. My dad was a public school teacher for a long time, my granddad and grandmother were both public school teachers.  I loved, LOVED several of my teachers that I had over the years. Some of them I didn't like so well but that's just life.  :)

We've decided to try this, for our family, because we think it will be what is best. Will it be what is easiest? No way. It would be so much easier to send the kids to school every day. Hey, in 6 or so years I would have my days completely to myself! Bliss! Alone time in abundance!  Grocery shopping in peace, my home would probably be the cleanest it has been in a long time, I might have some time to do some things that I love like building stuff or gardening or ...???!!!  Will we always homeschool, for the next 19 years? I can't say that we will, though I also won't say that we won't.  I don't know.

I think public education is a great option for a lot of people. For many it is probably the only option.  Private school is certainly not in our budget for 5 or 6 kids, even if I went back to work I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be even close to within our grasp financially speaking.  Unless I could somehow land a job that paid $70k+ per year (ha ha ha ha ha).  If I couldn't stay home then obviously we wouldn't be able to homeschool either.  I don't think homeschooling is for everyone; in fact I'm sure there are many parents out there that simply don't want to do it or aren't organized/patient/whatever enough to do it.

So we're doing it because we think it's best, because we feel like that is what God wants from us. It is going to be hard, I mean really hard. I know that it will. This first year will probably be the hardest, with having a new baby plus it being our first year, not to mention the ages of our kids (five ages 6 and under) and the fact that in K and 1st grade there will not be much self-study for the boys and they will rely on me a lot.  As they get older I imagine they will need me less and less, but this coming year I pretty much expect to be right there with them whenever they are doing schoolwork.

I'm working on a "Homeschool Manifesto", not to really do anything with but just to have a tangible reminder of all of the reasons we are choosing this.  It's good for me to sort through my thoughts and I think it will also be good to have in the back of my mind when people ask why we are doing it.  And maybe on the days when I want to give up I can read it and be reminded that it really will be worth it!

Now. On to socialization.

I've been pretty concerned about finding ways to socialize with other kids.  Finances are a concern; a local homeschool group offers very cool classes (I mean, VERY cool - guitar, tae kwan do, sign language, ballroom dancing, foods, art for various age groups, biology, chemistry and physics for high schoolers, etc.) but they are $85 a pop per semester, go ahead and multiply that by 2 or 3 and then double it and that's what it would cost us to do it for this year. That's almost as much as I spent on our whole curriculum for 2 kids for the whole year!  Swimming lessons are not terribly expensive but they are during dinner time, other stuff is in the afternoons when the littles are sleeping so that won't work.  And I'm just nervous about over committing myself for when the baby comes; having a new baby is so hard and so exhausting. Hauling everyone everywhere, unbuckling 8,000 carseats (ok, maybe just 5) and re-buckling every time, getting through a parking lot without loosing my mind or one of the children...yup, exhausting.

But then reading about some of the thoughts other parents have got me thinking. We don't live in a bubble. We go to church every Sunday and play with other kids of various ages. Heck, we have enough kids in our home we basically have a play group every single day for 8+ hours! We see cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends on a regular basis.  We go to our homeschool group every other week and again see kids and adults of all ages.  How much time at school is spent just in free play or just "socializing", especially with people born a year or more before or after you? Not that much, really!

So I think this first year I am going to really try to just be OK with not doing that much structured "socialization".  I do think we'll enroll for the dual enrollment PE that is available at the school; that will be 2 days per week and the school said we can play on the playground while we wait. Assuming it's nice out of course.  It sounds good to me more from a "get the wiggles out" perspective than a socializing perspective, but I don't mind killing two birds with one stone. ;)


  1. Just a thought on "socializing"...we've been reading the Laura Ingall's Wilder books and it really has me thinking about the "socialization" they had. They had NONE. Just Ma, Pa, their sisters and occasional visitors. And when they did finally go to school, they did just fine.
    So next time you feel like defending yourself, just thing- they are way more social than most pioneers ever were :)


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