Thursday, September 4, 2014

Keeping up with the Jones'.......Socially.

I know!  I am the most inconsistent blogger to ever hit the blogosphere.  Can't help it folks, I can't sit here and "talk" to you just for the sake of talking.  I need to have something to say and now I do.  So here goes.....

Now that many of us are starting our 2014-2015 school year the topic of balancing school work, social events and extracurricular activities is a popular one.  Many of us are already stressed out and we've hardly begun.  Just the thought of what future schedules may look like sends us frantically searching for a blanket to hide under.

Socialization is one of the biggest concerns and myths I see among homeschoolers.  "How do you socialize your children?"  "How can you expect your child to socialize in the real world if they are homeschooled?"  "Am I socializing my children enough?"  "How many activities are too much?"  It goes on and on.

The face of homeschooling is ever evolving and I believe that it is likely that the awkward, unsocialized homeschooler myth we are commonly asked about stems from the days when most homeschoolers were ultra-conservative, religious families whose children did not socialize outside of their families and church.

It seems that in an effort to dissolve this image, we have given the pendulum a huge shove to the right.  We are now super sizing our socialization efforts in order to ease questions and concerns from friends, family and strangers and maybe even trying to ease our own minds as well.

In doing so, many of us have gone overboard.  We find ourselves spinning out of control with no sense of where we are or what damage we've left in our wake.  To add insult to injury, we are now playing a game of keeping up with the Jones where with our fellow homeschoolers.  "OMG, I must not be doing enough!  Sue has her kids go to three activities a week, Jill has at least four field trips a week, not to mention soccer and ballet and Diane, I don't think she is ever home they are always doing so much!"

Well, I'm here to say................


While we all may be homeschoolers, there is law, code of conduct or blood pact that requires that we do things the same way.  There is no secret homeschool board that is going to revoke your homeschooling permit because you don't socialize like everyone else.

I say this as someone who has fallen into the trap of trying to keep up.  It left me irritated, unhappy and stressed.  I sat down with myself one day and decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  Sue, Jill and Diane can run to their hearts content but that is not me.  That is not within my abilities and trying to do it not only makes me miserable but makes my family miserable as well.

I refuse to spend another school year trying to fit it all in.  As I wrote on our memo board, "School is priority #1!"  Anything else, can and will wait.  Right now we attend one activity during the school week with a small group of friends.  Sometimes they are educational but more times than not they are completely social.  There is something truly wonderful about sitting around with your closest girlfriends and watch your children simply be whomever they are in that moment.  And guess what, it is enough.  The kids are happy without being burnt out and so am I.

I urge each and every one of you to look at yourself, your family, your needs, interest and priorities and do whatever works best for you.  Forget the Jones'.  Forget the questions and concerns because the fact of the matter is they are never really going to go away.  Remember the reasons you decided to home school and remember to have fun and do what you (as a family) love.

I promise you, at the end of the year that you will be very happy and a little less crazy.

And, if you are one of these families that can go, go go....keep going!  Far be it of me to try to stop you!  Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

Have a wonderful evening!     

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