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Oct. 3, 2016

 

Considering the struggles in our public education system today, it’s no wonder that many parents turn to homeschooling as a way to give their child the very best education. However, homeschooling, like any other form of education, is not without its own struggles and controversies. One of the biggest concerns that parents have about homeschooling is about how to socialize their children in the absence of a classroom. Fortunately, there are many options that help give your child enriching activities they need to learn to live socially productive and healthy lives. Check into the following strategies to build in meaningful social experiences for your homeschooler:       

Local homeschooling groups 

      You might be surprised to find out that your community most likely has a group for homeschooling parents, just like yourself. Most community homeschool groups are member-led, and contain other parents who are homeschooling their children. Within these groups, you can network with other parents, and help your child to form new friendships. These groups also strive to provide meaningful social activities to homeschool students in the area, and helps to bring together the homeschool community in your area. Search online within your county to find a homeschool group near you. 

            Home improvement and craft store workshops 

       Did you know that your local stores may have workshops and activities for kids that you can sign your children up for to learn interesting new skills? Better yet, your children will engage with peers and have fun in the process! When participating in a class at a local store, you will find that your child will learn skills and practice crafts that they would not get to participate in otherwise, even in school. Many times these workshops and programs are free, while others will charge a small fee. Stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Michael’s, or JoAnn Fabrics offers fun workshops for kids. Check online or go into your local store to enquire about classes.

        Programs at local zoos and museums

       If you live near a major city, check out the programs your local zoo and museums offer for kids. Zoos and museums offer special classes, camps, tours, and activities that will help your child to meet other kids while learning about the world around them. Many museums will host free hands-on activity nights, or offer free admission one day/evening per week or month. Check the calendars for your local zoos and museums to find which programs and events would best meet your child’s schedule and needs.

 ·        Clubs at local libraries and bookstores

Libraries aren’t just for toddler story time! While story hours are wonderful for infants and toddlers, you might be surprised to learn that there is a plethora of groups, clubs, and activities that are sponsored for free by your local library. Options you might find include book clubs, and other common interest clubs. Many libraries offer Minecraft clubs for kids interested in that particular video game. In addition, libraries often offer arts and craft clubs and activities for children. Likewise, bookstores often sponsor book clubs and special events. Not only will your child be reading and increasing literacy and thinking skills, but they will meet new friends and engage socially with their peers.     

Safe and free collaborative online games 

Video games often get a bad rap from parents, when in fact there are very useful and meaningful games that kids can play online and collaborate with peers via the internet. Free kid-safe online games like Wizard101 helps encourage kids to explore and create characters while promoting online collaboration with other players. Wizard101 is completely safe for kids and perfect for the entire family. In addition, it serves as a valuable learning tool for your children to learn internet communication etiquette and rules. 

 As you can see, a traditional school setting is not needed for your child to engage in meaningful social activities. In fact, many of the above activities are free, and help to cut down on the more negative side effects of schooling, like bullying. Just check out the programs and classes in your area, and you’re sure to find activities to your child’s socialization. 

 

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