Friday, February 19, 2021

Socializing While Homeschooling In A Pandemic


This week, the big kids have turned the basement school room into a Nerf gun battle zone.

I get a lot of questions about homeschooling. The question I seem to get the most, and probably the most judgemental question of them all, is in regards to my children's socialization needs. Before we get into the knitty gritty of our lives, let me set up our daily life for you: I STILL have my daycare business, but it's been more of a 'school at daycare' thing since last March. This means that there's several school age children here during the days that are either doing virtual learning on their computers or are fellow homeschoolers. Those kids come here during the day for socialization and homeschool at night with their parents. All of the kids have recess or free time during the day, which they spend with their friends at daycare.

This leads right into the details of our lives. Because of my in-home daycare, my children are with other school age children five days a week. We "do school" any time during the day and in the evenings. Some days are busier than others, but we've gotten into a decent routine of two busy days at the beginning of the week, fitting in the longer lessons, readings, worksheets, etc. This frees them up to have three days of more freedom. This week, they've chosen to do our science lessons in the evenings, so they can get all of their work done in the mornings. That means they have a few hours in the afternoon to be with their friends, have Zoom calls with school friends they don't get to see, or even play with neighborhood friends (as weather allows). This week, it's been Nerf battles in the basement.

All of their neighbor friends, the ones we allow them to see at least, are also friends from their elementry and middle schools. They've been able to keep those connections throughout the last year, which has helped immensely. Up until December, they were getting together regularly with one or two friends from school and playing outdoors (with masks on). Those playdates have moved to Zoom calls until the weather warms up. 

Is it the same socialization they would have if they were in school as normal? No. Is anyone getting normal socialization right now? No....and if you are, should you be? Am I worried about my children? No, not in the least. We're all going a little crazy being couped up this winter, but I have a feeling things willl start to get MUCH better for all of us as spring comes. However, I fully understand not every homeschooling child/family has this kind of socialization at their finger tips. The fact that my children have been able to keep connections with other children their ages, has helped them navigate all of our transitions in the last year.

My husband and I have been speaking deeply about keeping our children homeschooled for next school year as well. I am aware that their socialization needs will change greatly, especially if the kids they see daily go back to school. Typically, homeschoolers are involved in many group outings and activities. With both my husband and I working full time jobs in addition to homeschooling, it's difficult for us to make it to any of the group activities during the day. It hasn't been an issue this school year because everything is happening virtually. 

How we will juggle homeschooling and their socialization needs in the future is beyond me, but for now, it's not a top concern for me as I feel all of their needs are being met.

*** If you have any questions or curiosities about homeschooling, feel free to send an email or message. I'll happily answer anything that's asked nicely.