Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Socialization for Elementary Homeschoolers

One of the biggest complaints about homeschooling that you’ll hear from folks who don’t understand it is the issue of socialization. How can your kids socialize with their peers if they’re stuck at home all day? They’ll grow up in isolation and their social development will be delayed. Right?

Wrong! Homeschooled kids are some of the busiest around. There are so many activities available in most communities that if you did all of them, you’d never be at home to do any schoolwork. The YMCA often offers homeschool classes, such as swimming lessons, and depending on the YMCA, they may offer even more. Some have computer and foreign language classes for homeschoolers, and even art and music lessons. Your local community center probably has planned activities too, and these things provide time for kids to learn and interact with others. Many homeschoolers also belong to homeschool support groups that have field trips, play dates, and other activities for kids. There are also co-op classes in many areas, where parents take turns planning the classes to be taught each week. Even if your kids play in the afternoons with other kids in the neighborhood, you've accomplished socialization. It's that easy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trips to the Public Library

A big building full of books! Of course, it’s a great thing for homeschoolers! Some families have large bags they bring to the library, in order to carry home all of their treasured finds, and others may even bring a laundry basket to haul away their checked-out books. If there’s one thing homeschooling tends to encourage, it’s reading.

Learning how to use the library resources is a great idea for any homeschooler, and these skills become more and more important as children get older and more independent. Learning about the Dewey Decimal System, how to find things in the library’s catalog, and where different sections are located in the library are all invaluable skills. You could even consider getting each child their own library card and teaching some responsibility that way.

Even if your chosen curriculum doesn’t specifically recommend utilizing the library, you can certainly do so on your own to supplement the materials you use as part of homeschooling. Kids benefit a great deal from free time to do independent reading, so letting them choose some books to check out is a great bonus. For younger kids who aren’t reading yet, let them get comfy and read them a story! It’s wonderful quality time for parent and child, and it builds those phonics and pre-reading skills that will come in handy later on. Everyone loves the library!