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Friday, January 5, 2007

Social Interaction Concerns of Non Home Schoolers.

Ensuring social interaction appears to be a concern only for those who do not home school. Many well meaning people have counseled us on the perils of Boy never having company because he is home schooled.

The home school concept for people who attend traditional educational institutions is difficult to grasp. It was for me too. I knew a little about home schooling (okay, I knew the propaganda) and wrongly thought that home schoolers did it for isolation or religious and philosophical reasons.

Until I researched what home school is and obtained a balanced view of education, I was running away screaming, saying, “Ahhhhhhh, never for me thanks.”

Boy has difficulty with social interactions and rules. He has struggled in the classroom since pre-school. He has had very few good friends and the anxiety of organised school social functions would send him into meltdown. He spent more days at home than at school. Having to cancel my work, because Boy was home, left me cranky and in punitive moods. Boy was banished to his bedroom and there were no social interactions.

Boy missed social interactions because he was attending an educational institution and I was one stressed out mother. Since making the decision to home school, Boy has had a better social life than I ever had and he's ever had before. We did not send him to school to socialize but here he is, now learning and socializing at the same time.

My turning point in home school decision making was interacting with a home school blogger at Valorie Delp’s words: “If you send your child to school to socialize then leave him there,” resonated through me and firmed my decision that to home educate a highly anxious child with Asperger’s was the best thing I could do for him. At home, in a constant learning environment, he has the far greatest chance of socializing and learning.

Focused on natural learning, we seize every moment and turn it into a home school experience. These moments mostly include social interactions with other people, including multitudes of children. We are fortunate to be surrounded by many people who are expert and passionate in their fields. They love sharing their knowledge with Boy and he has been invited to numerous initiatives that he would be unable to attend if he was at an institutional nine to three school.

Even though it is Christmas School holidays in Australia, Boy is attending a three-day summer program, starting today and offered a day per week over the next three weeks. Today he is meeting some of the Taipan players who are coaching the kids in basketball. Tomorrow we are visiting the Great Barrier Reef – something that we would not have forced ourselves to do if we weren’t learning about marine life as a home school project.

Do you make special efforts to ensure your home schooled children get social interactions or does it just happen as part of your home school curricula?

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This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business