Saturday, July 16, 2011

How do they socialize?

Having just completed our sixteenth year of homeschooling (with at least a dozen more to follow), I can smile at my early concerns about my children's social life. Even in our small town of 11,000, we have so many social opportunities that we couldn't possibly take advantage of them all.

It's mostly a matter of keeping our eyes open. I subscribe to our five-page local newspaper for the sole purpose of learning about classes, clubs, and other community offerings.

It's also a matter of keeping our DOOR open. It's not unusual for me to arrive home from one of these activities with an extra child or two. I have had to get past feeling my house has to be perfect (or even "clean") for my children to invite friends over. The kids don't seem to notice, and they're usually happy to contribute an additional mess or two.

I love how community activities provide my children with exposure to all different "kinds" of people, including those outside their age group.

Here are some of the community activities my family enjoys:

Familiar Organizations: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H

Organized Sports: Little League, AYSO Soccer, Special Olympics

Church Activities: Sunday School, Youth Group, Vacation Bible School, choir

Classes: Art classes at the art center

Library Activities: Morning story hour, guest speakers

Parks and Recreation Department: I don't know if our Parks and Rec is the exception or the rule, but they offer a HUGE variety of classes and field trips each year, especially during the summer.

Museums: Animal "encounters', guest speakers, hands-on special events

Nursing homes and retirement homes: Ours often hosts child-centered events with its residents, such as trick-or-treat and shared craft projects.

Annual community celebrations: These usually have to do with the town's history or agricultural interest. In our town, we have the Cherry Festival and Pioneer Days.

Homeschool Co-op: Our wonderful co-op of less than thirty families has been an invaluable source of fun activities for us.

Special Events: A daily glance through our newspaper usually yields information about several special events taking place. Some recent ones have been a father/daughter dance for Valentine's Day, a visit from Thomas the Tank Engine, and a speech by a children's book author.

What are some of the activities available in your community?

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