If you have made the decision to home educate your kids in the hopes of providing them with a better learning environment to suit their individual needs, you may have had a bit of negative feedback from people who don’t really understand what home educating is. One of the misconceptions people have about home education is that children will become reclusive and not know how to adapt to social situations. Some people may tell you that in home educating your kids you are isolating them and this really just not true.
Often people assume that attending school is the main source of kid’s socialization but there are so many other avenues for your ids to have social interaction outside of the regular school domain. Here are a few ideas on ways that your children can keep having great social interactions with other children and peers and also learn social skills along the way.
Home school classes
Home education is often more popular than people may think and you will usually find a large community of parents who have banded together to share their own tips and give each other encouragement. As well as this you can find that there are specialist classes on some topics that your child can attend a few times a week.
Say for example if you and your child struggles with the math component of their curriculum there can be people offering those classes in your area, not as a one to one tutoring but as a class with other kids at similar levels in attendance. This can provide you with some relief and a helping hand at the subjects you are not strong in helping with and can also provide your children with a fun outing and the chance to interact with other children who are also taking learning into their own hands.
These classes are not always limited to core subjects and can also include art or sport classes, all run within school hours to fit in better with their time frame. You can hear about these and similar classes by getting in contact with your local home school coordinators or other parents that have home educated their kids for a while.
One of the best things about mainstream education kids find is usually the field trip’s. Home education doesn’t have to be too much different in this regard. You can organize and take just your kids on a trip to a place or to companies of to meet certain people who can explain and teach them a little more about a particular topic they may be studying at the time. Also banding together with a ground of parents and taking a larger group of kids can provide them with a great chance to spend time and learn together. Here are a few ideas for some different excursion you can do with just a couple or a group of kids.
Nature reserves and wildlife parks
If your kids are currently studying about nature you could take them to a nature reserve and have them take note of certain trees and plants. Or organize a talk with a local ranger who can explain the area to them. Wildlife parks can be great also and often not too expensive and then often have great educational talks about some of the animals and conservation.
One thing that fascinates a lot of kids is the way things are made. Some great excursion ideas can be to take them to places where they can see and have explained to them the making process of a certain item. A lot of companies will be happy to show small groups around and give great guided tours that will help educate and inform your kids. Look into super fun places like chocolate factories or pizza shops that will let the kids have little testers also. If your child has a particular interest lets say in boats, then call around to see if there are any boat manufacturers in the area who would be happy to spend a few hours explaining the ins and out of boat building with them. Most people are more than happy to share their work with kids, so don’t be afraid to call up any businesses and just ask.
Historical sites can make for great field trips. Many historical sites offer guided tours and a lot of interesting information that can perfectly match in with your child’s learning curriculum. You can always learn new things and find out some interesting facts. If there is a historical site you would like to visit with your homes schoolers that is not set up for tours then another fun activity can be to get kids to research individual topics about the place and when you arrive they can give each other tours and share in their knowledge. Field trips like this can bring kids to life with excitement for learning and also let them have interaction not only with peers but with people of different ages that may be giving tours or visiting the place themselves.
Weekly catch ups
Organizing a weekly catch up with some other home-educated children during school hours can add another social element into their routine. Meeting for a few hours for a play at a large park or the beach where the kids will have the chance to go off and explore together can have great results and allow them the opportunity to learn social skills and boundaries through play it’s self. This also allows parents to be able to take the time to share their experiences, offer and receive advice and give support to one another.
Extra curricular activities
Most kids that attend mainstream schools also do some extra curricular activities so it stands to reason that home schooled children would do the same. Joining a sports team will teach them about teamwork and persistence. Joining theater classes can give shy kids a chance to come out of their shell or dramatic kids a chance to really let it all out. Dance classes or science clubs are also different activities that your kids can get involved in that will provide them with time to socialize and make friends that have similar interests to themselves.
Let your kids guide you
Remember to follow your own feeling of what is right for your child. Children should not be forcefully pushed into joining in in groups or games, but knowing they have your support to explore these options or pull back until they find the social situations they feel comfortable in can make all the difference. Let your kids guide you to how much social time they need and the kids of activities they are really interested in and you’ll see them grow and flourish.