Are you interested in getting your kids out to socialize with other children but don’t know where to look?
You aren’t alone. Many families who homeschool their children whether it is through an online program or otherwise want to get their kids out and about with others. It’s a good idea.
The question is…how do you do it? Not to mention when and where.
Actually, there are a surprising number of options available. It should be relatively easy to get a child involved in at least one social environment. Granted, if you live in rural parts, you may have fewer choices. But it is still possible to find something for your kids to do.
Here are some suggestions.
School Field Trips
If your children are participating in a state-sponsored virtual school, you probably have lots of opportunities for field trips. These are a nice way to connect with other families in your online school. You’ll find these events listed on your school’s website or your teacher’s online page. You might also receive emails about them. I encourage you to check them out.
Science Classes and Camps
Do you have a Newton in your house? He might be interested in the classes or camps offered by science museums. You can often find events geared specifically towards homeschoolers at these museums. You’ll usually find info about them on the website of the science museum.
Zoo Classes and Camps
Do you have any animal lovers in your family? Zoos usually offer classes or camps for children and teens. Sometimes they have classes during the week day just for homeschoolers. Information about these can be found on the zoo’s website.
Some zoos even have a Homeschool Day. This is a nice way to meet with other homeschoolers in your area. You might want to call your local zoo or check their online schedule for an event like this.
Homeschool groups can be a wonderful opportunity for your kids to socialize with other homeschoolers. They often offer an assortment of play groups, enrichment classes, and field trips for homeschoolers. There are two things to be aware of with regards to joining a homeschool group as an online learning family.
1) The group may not be open to families who use a virtual school. That’s unfortunate, I know. I’m hoping that someday those groups will come to realize that online learners are their brothers and sisters in homeschooling too.
2) How much time do you have to spend? Some of those enrichment classes or field trips can consume the whole day. You need to consider whether your family has the time for that and whether you’ll be able to get everything done for your virtual school if you go.
Do you have a Mozart in your house? Or a Pavarotti? If you have a budding singer, you might want to look into a youth choir. For instrumentalists, there might be a youth band or orchestra in your area. Also,the homeschool groups I mentioned previously sometimes offer choir and band classes.
Is your child dramatic? (Aren’t all children? ) Theater groups sometimes have classes or camps for kids and teens. This is a perfect opportunity for them to learn from trained actors and actresses.
But that’s not the only place for kids to practice being dramatic. You can also find amateur groups available that need kids or teens. We discovered a Passion Play and an Advent Play through our church. Try looking for groups like these in local churches, newspaper listings, or posters in your area.
Do you have a Mary Cassatt in your house? Art museums sometimes have classes and programs available for youth. These offer your child a chance to learn to draw, paint, or sculpt like a pro. Look online for these activities.
Youth groups are a great opportunity for kids and teens to bond. 4H, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts groups are available nationwide. Various religious organizations also have their own youth groups. I would check to see what your local churches have to offer.
Phy. Ed. Activities
Besides traditional team sports offered by B&M schools, there are opportunities for kids to participate in other activities which promote fitness. Some of these include dance, yoga, sailing, swimming, and the martial arts. Look online or in the paper for more information.
If you are interested in getting your kids involved in group activities, just keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities in your area.
One word of caution – try to avoid getting your child involved in too many activities. This tends to create burn out. I would look for activities that fit your child’s unique talents and interests and stick with those. If your child enjoys it, keep doing it. If he absolutely hates going to the activity, you might want to consider dropping it.
What do YOU do to socialize your kids? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.