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Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information by Sandra K. Cook
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“Notice the difference: A child’s disability is the focus in traditional classroom settings, but his abilities are the focus in the homeschool environment.”
Sandra K. Cook, Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information
“The biggest fear for homeschooled children is that they will be unable to relate to their peers, will not have friends, or that they will otherwise be unable to interact with people in a normal way. Consider this: How many of your daily interactions with people are solely with people of your own birth year?  We’re not considering interactions with people who are a year or two older or a year or two younger, but specifically people who were born within a few months of your birthday. In society, it would be very odd to section people at work by their birth year and allow you to interact only with persons your same age. This artificial constraint would limit your understanding of people and society across a broader range of ages. In traditional schools, children are placed in grades artificially constrained by the child’s birth date and an arbitrary cut-off day on a school calendar. Every student is taught the same thing as everyone else of the same age primarily because it is a convenient way to manage a large number of students. Students are not grouped that way because there is any inherent special socialization that occurs when grouping children in such a manner. Sectioning off children into narrow bands of same-age peers does not make them better able to interact with society at large. In fact, sectioning off children in this way does just the opposite—it restricts their ability to practice interacting with a wide variety of people. So why do we worry about homeschooled children’s socialization?  The erroneous assumption is that the child will be homeschooled and will be at home, schooling in the house, all day every day, with no interactions with other people. Unless a family is remotely located in a desolate place away from any form of civilization, social isolation is highly unlikely. Every homeschooling family I know involves their children in daily life—going to the grocery store or the bank, running errands, volunteering in the community, or participating in sports, arts, or community classes. Within the homeschooled community, sports, arts, drama, co-op classes, etc., are usually sectioned by elementary, pre-teen, and teen groupings. This allows students to interact with a wider range of children, and the interactions usually enhance a child’s ability to interact well with a wider age-range of students. Additionally, being out in the community provides many opportunities for children to interact with people of all ages. When homeschooling groups plan field trips, there are sometimes constraints on the age range, depending upon the destination, but many times the trip is open to children of all ages. As an example, when our group went on a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank, all ages of children attended. The tour and information were of interest to all of the children in one way or another. After the tour, our group dined at a nearby food court. The parents sat together to chat and the children all sat with each other, with kids of all ages talking and having fun with each other. When interacting with society, exposure to a wider variety of people makes for better overall socialization. Many homeschooling groups also have park days, game days, or play days that allow all of the children in the homeschooled community to come together and play. Usually such social opportunities last for two, three, or four hours. Our group used to have Friday afternoon “Park Day.”  After our morning studies, we would pack a picnic lunch, drive to the park, and spend the rest of the afternoon letting the kids run and play. Older kids would organize games and play with younger kids, which let them practice great leadership skills. The younger kids truly looked up to and enjoyed being included in games with the older kids.”
Sandra K. Cook, Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information
“Homeschooling can transform your family relationships if you build a calm, peaceful, loving home; every minute you spend together will be more precious than the most brilliant diamond. As far as the benefits of homeschooling goes, this is among the most unexpected and most valuable.”
Sandra K. Cook, Overcome Your Fear of Homeschooling with Insider Information