If you have been homeschooling for any length of time you’ve heard the old argument of socialization. However, the majority of homeschoolers are the most social people you will ever meet. We are always looking for the next opportunity for our kids to learn new things and make friends. The real issue is finding the activities that work for your family.
Friends and Learning
What I choose for my kids to work on besides the basics of their schoolwork needs to be maximized. Can something be added to their education that includes friends with learning? A co-op can be a great fit depending on what classes are provided. This is our third year in a homeschool co-op. At first it was a true step of faith because it was scheduled right in the middle of naptime for my youngest. This mommy does not mess with naptime! For all our sakes. But it was an opportunity for my kids to be with friends and learn in two areas that I was not interested in covering at home: Art and doing Science experiments. Co-op turned out to be just what we needed to learn more with friends.
Take a Test Drive
When we started at Co-op I added in a “safety feature” for the first couple of months. Since it was something new and required a leap of faith on my part, I asked if we could try it out with the option of leaving if we weren’t happy. The plan of test driving a new commitment took the pressure off for making it work and also set expectations appropriately for the leadership. Not everything is going to be what we hope for so building in a grace period to new activities is helpful if you end up needing to make a change.
Need to Know
There are certain basic skills my kids need to know. In Upstate New York there are lakes, rivers, and canals everywhere. Knowing how to swim is a basic necessity for safety. Aside from keeping my kids safe, if they know how to swim they can have fun in the water wherever we go. Music lessons are also an essential part of our homeschooling. On my side of the family everyone is a musician to some degree so knowing how to sing and play an instrument is highly important to me. What is important to you as a parent and an educator? If you view something as important for your kids to learn, then that mindset probably will carry over to them.
Inevitably you will need to tweak your plans as you go. It’s ok to make a few changes. This summer on the same day I was reviewing the plan for our music lessons I received an email from my daughter’s former ukulele teacher. I believe God was directing our steps because I hadn’t thought much of making a change up to this point. After considering going back to her first teacher, it all became very clear that it was a better fit for my daughter as well as for us financially. But would her current teacher be hurt? As it turned out her teacher was planning on going back to school and would no longer be teaching at the studio. It’s been a perfect change for our family.
There are endless possibilities out there that can count as homeschool electives. If you are looking for academic electives, Global Student Network provides a helpful list to choose from at globalstudentnetwork.com. Search for electives. If your child has special interests, those areas can be turned into homeschool electives that can count towards your total hours per marking period. Cooking, sports, Lego clubs, coding, creative writing, crafts, and church groups are all areas that can be counted as educational.
Homeschooling has the potential of being the type of education your kids will enjoy because it can be personalized. What are some extras you can add to your homeschool lifestyle to make it unique for your family?
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.