I recently posted this on an online homeschool group, in response to a mom that was just starting out at homeschooling and asking advice. She had mentioned that her son was concerned about not seeing his friends and she was having some difficulties getting him excited about homeschooling. After posting my response, I thought “Hey! That’s pretty good! I should keep that!” 🙂 So I’m posting it here to share with other new homeschoolers as a sort of “words of wisdom” from someone who has been homeschooling a little while (NOT a veteran homeschooler, by any means!) and has learned some things…
I think one of the most important things us homeschoolers do is to connect with other homeschoolers. We all know how important this issue is and how silly the question of socialization is BECAUSE we are all VERY aware of it…and typically homeschoolers (especially those of us that have been doing it awhile) are very good at making this a non-issue by providing many social opportunities for our children.
But I think sometimes new homeschoolers get caught up in the academics and overwhelmed by all they perceive they should be doing academically that they sometimes don’t get right to the social opportunities. I think particularly for the children who’ve been pulled from school, and ESPECIALLY children who express concern over losing friendships, this can hinder the initial success of homeschooling. I think we all figure it out eventually…but I like to remind new homeschoolers that the academics can maybe wait a little…or can start off light…and that I think it may be more important for children to start immediately connecting with homeschool peers so they can have their fears eased…and thus better transition to their new education environment.
It sounds like you’re already doing a fabulous job at the transition to home education…you don’t mention if you’ve yet connected with local homeschoolers. If you haven’t yet, my suggestion would be to seek out your local homeschool groups and put a lot of energy into finding a group or at least one family that both you and your son can develop a deep connection with. This might take some time, but I really think its of utmost importance that all children have at least one close friend that they can spend a lot of time with and connect with on a deep level..and for children who are new to homeschooling, a fellow homeschooler in that best friend role can really help ease the transition to the new lifestyle.
And if you, the parent, can also connect with the parents…all the better! Not always easy to find the right fit…but VERY worth putting the time in to seeking out those connections.