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How to Use Your Family’s Existing Goals to Accelerate Your Child’s Talent

Today, I want to introduce Jonathan Harris of 10KtoTalent.com.

Jonathan Harris of 10KtoTalent shares how you can get a jumpstart on your child's career long before they ever leave high school | RaisingArrows.net{affiliate links included}
I have mentioned many times the wonderful information and help he has given our family, but I know many of you still have questions about what exactly 10KtoTalent is.  I decided to ask Jonathan to guest post here on Raising Arrows to explain the vision of guiding your child toward gleaning 10,000 hours of a skill to facilitate a productive youth leading into a productive and passionate adulthood, long before they ever begin to consider a college degree.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section or email Jonathan directly via his website:

10KtoTalent.com - help you unlock your child's passion and potential

How to Use Your FAmiy's Existing Goals to Accelerate Your Child's Talent | guest post by Jonathan Harris of 10KtoTalent on RaisingArrows.netHi. I’m a homeschooling father of eight children, all of whom are still living at home. I would describe our family as exhibiting a very warm and supportive environment, where both my wife and I are very committed to a homeschooling lifestyle. We bring to the family the benefits of having grown up in Christian households and, therefore; we enjoy the peace of being on the same page. We both have college degrees and feel comfortable being able to navigate and choose from among many wonderful curricula and courses available on the market today. All in all, homeschooling is and was going great for us, but there was a missing element that bothered me as a father…

There were two main areas that concerned me as I looked at acquaintances and friends who had children ahead of us who were entering college or the workforce after finishing high school at home. Do you think it was the fear that I had not grounded them enough in Godly spiritual instruction? Or do you think that I was concerned that as soon as my son would drive off to be on his own, he would throw himself in to a debauched lifestyle and succumb to the first temptations available to him? No, those were not my fears.
This is what I noticed: young people, especially young men, entered into adulthood with a gradual gloom and growing low funk during their early twenties, trying to find a purpose for all their education while looking for a way to move out of the cycle of low-paying jobs or the prospect of continuing more years of formal college education with no end in sight.

The problem seemed clear and simple: they had plenty of good general character formation but they seemed ill-equipped to take on the marketplace. As a result, career frustration and very often, years of delayed marriage, take their toll on the joy of working. The problem seemed simple – but how do you incorporate a solution to the problem into your homeschool life to avert having the problem in the first place?

I give you the plain answer right here: you must have your child start building an amazing talent early that will bring great value to others by the time he is in his early twenties. This means garnering 10,000 hours of practice and study starting early on in a talent that will bring him great career satisfaction and generous financial rewards to help provide for the family.  Building serious talent in your young person’s life is the answer to the various difficulties your homechooled child will face: a fiery motivation to keep learning, an emotionally satisfying adult work life, and a financial support to him in his adult life.

You will find plenty of literature out there on the principles of building a world-class talent but I will let you in on a little secret:  homeschoolers have a natural advantage.  The authors of such talent-related books frequently mention that they are perplexed as to how to go about getting talent started at a young age, without it being by chance, family catastrophe, or lucky rebellion. You need time to get good enough at doing or creating something valuable so that it matters dramatically to others by the time you reach adulthood. If you wait too long to get critical mass, it will often not change your adult life as the distractions of college life and the draining of low paying jobs to put food on the table, will cause you to be passed by others who did not let themselves get distracted or who had a big enough lead on you in their childhood. As one young college friend who graduated with a music degree told me , (paraphrased):

…it was the dumbest thing for me to major in music. And it is the same for all the others in my graduation class, except for two individuals. The reason those two individuals are making it in the professional world is simply because they were already that good coming into the music program. They were already extremely good by the time they finished high school. Those two were already composing music and knew how to collaborate with professors. They already had massive talent to start with. The rest of us have to now find a real career or give up a normal family lifestyle by having to travel as an underpaid musician.

Bottom line: your child needs to get enough critical mass while still under your roof in order for his talent to wonderfully impact his future.

I am doing all of this so I can guide my children into a life-long passion early enough so they can avoid wandering aimlessly in their early twenties through unfocused college degrees or low-paying market skills. Passion, focus, discipline, creativity, productivity – why not get all those good things for our children before the age of 18? That is what I’m doing for my children and I want to share with others the methods I am using to make that happen in a homeschool environment. Every family can do it for each of their children!

In my e-courses, I show you how you can find the talent focus without falling into the trap of a hobby for a talent. I show you how you can use your current school curriculum to support the development of your child’s long term talent. I show you how you look at your own family’s strengths and environment to find that meaningful, and unique, and affordable talent. I show you how developing massive talent in your child’s life is in fact an easy and natural way to learn how to communicate at an early age on social media and on the Internet. It is the purpose of the communication that protects your child from wandering aimlessly into strange social situations. And the purpose is handed to you in the form of young man or young woman’s passion for a particular talent.

Teach your child how to be purposeful with social media to hone their talents | RaisingArrows.net

To give you a glimpse of what that means in practice in a homeschooling home, I want to share with you what the pursuit of talent looks like in our family of 10 (specifically the older three):
* Our 16 year old already has a growing business in our area that earns him good money, and he’s sought after by local realtors to shoot aerial footage for their websites. We’ve coached him to learn to develop his own website, edit and create his own videos, cold call potential clients, learn from the experts in his field, and fly a drone. My wife and I personally don’t have all those skills but our homeschooling freedom allows us to show him where to go to learn.
* Our 15 year old is active on bladesmith forums where the top performers hang out. His blog earned him entrance into those private spaces. Because he’s active on those forums, he was able to spend a day each with four professional blade smiths in their workshops in Holland and the Czech Republic this summer when my in-laws took him on their spring European vacation. He also used his knowledge of bladesmithing to write his first fiction novel based on the OYAN (One Year Adventure Novel) curriculum. He’s also working an e-book, “The Broke Bladesmith,” a guide to help beginning bladesmiths use safe, inexpensive hacks to jumpstart their bladesmithing talent. As parents of a high school student, we choose the appropriate science and history courses that build on his talent development, not replace the time he could be spending on it.
* Our 12 year old published his first e-book on computer programming (Raspberry Pi and Minecraft) last November and has sold a few hundred ebooks this year on Amazon. He recently published a follow up e-book with continuing instruction for the budding young programmer. He also has a podcast and he’s been talked about in presentations by software developers.

How to Use Your Family's Existing Goals to Accelerate Your Child's Talent | guest post by Jonathan Harris of 10KtoTalent on RaisingArrows.net

So if you are looking for something in your homeschool that will create a future for your children significantly different and better than yours, then I want you to sign up for my newsletter for free tips. I will also keep you updated of any new e-courses that will help you accelerate the talent in your child’s life. Currently, I have one particular e-course that will help you identify that elusive something that can be used to start this massive talent acquisition for your son or daughter. The hardest part of talent development is not the work (it is indeed work), the hardest part is finding something concrete enough that it starts driving your child forward today. There’s usually no method or strategy. I have both clearly spelled out for your and that’s where I can help you. I will show you as the parent how to discover and develop your child’s first 100 hours of talent.

You can order my e-courses here and you can sign up for my free newsletter here (righthand sidebar).

God bless you on your exciting homeschooling journey.
Jonathan Harris
Talent Coach for www.10ktoTalent.com

Beware of Stigmatizing Your Child Based on Learning Pace

Over a cup of coffee, I listened to a mother of 4 systematically tell me how each of her children were slow learners.  One child was behind 2 grade levels in math.  Another one wasn’t reading up to grade level.  The third child wasn’t writing essays up to par, and the fourth child was going to be taking classes at the local homeschool co-op to “catch up.”

Worst of all, she told me how each of the children were very unsure of themselves and embarrassed by the fact that they were behind and slow to learn.

And I wondered where they got that notion.

Your child's learning pace is not a good gauge of their academic success or failure - learn how to stop using this as your measure and start seeing your child's academic individuality. | RaisingArrows.net

All good parents worry about their children’s academics and education.  As homeschooling parents, we worry even more because our children’s success or failure is OUR success or failure.  We see their learning pace as a direct reflection of our ability to teach.  The faster their pace, the better teacher we must be.

Take the “Brainy Bunch” for example – Kip & Mona Lisa Harding’s family…

We look at them and consider ourselves or our children to be “slackers” as Matt Lauer says in the Today Show interview.  (His exact quote was, “I’m going to ground my children for being slackers.”)  The fast academic pace of the Harding children becomes our goal, our dream, our definition of “normal.”

Even if we don’t take it that far, we do tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time considering Scope and Sequence charts for each grade level and weighing our children against those charts.  We assume all public school children master those charts, and because government schools are our definition of the norm, anything outside each grade level is either behind or ahead.  We pat ourselves on the back if they are ahead.  We hang our heads in shame if they are behind.

And if they are “behind”…

We tend to be rather vocal about it.

Years ago, I vowed to never define my children by their learning pace because our children become what we think they are.

Our children will become what we think they are - beware of stigmatizing them based on their learning pace | RaisingArrows.netA child who is told he is “slow” won’t easily recover from those words.  He will become embarrassed amongst his peers, assuming everyone in the room knows he is slow.  He will avoid even attempting anything that might show he is slow.  He will avoid anything that sounds difficult because there’s not a chance someone slow like him will be able to master something deemed “difficult.”  The words spoken into his life will become his reality, and he will hold himself back.

As homeschooling parents, we must stop relying on Scope and Sequence charts to tell us who our children are.  We have to avoid dwelling on what grade level is listed on the outside of the curriculum, and instead focus on whether or not our child is moving forward.  We have to look for our children’s strengths and stop labeling them according to their weaknesses.

Homeschooling isn’t a race.  He who gets to the finish line first isn’t the winner.  He who checks off all the boxes and fills in all the blanks isn’t the winner.  The winner is the child who keeps going in the face of adversity.  The winner is the child who loves to learn, and craves information.  The winner is the child who hasn’t been beaten down by the senseless notion that the speed with which you move through your studies is directly related to your intelligence or ability to function in the real world.

Give your child a sense of worth that far surpasses how fast or slow they work through homeschool studies.  They are made in God’s image.  He took 6 days to create the universe when He could have done it in a nanosecond.  Speed is rarely a display of ability.

2014-15 Homeschool Curriculum – Middle School & High School

Our Middle School & High School Homeschool Curriculum (2014-15) from RaisingArrows.net

This year, I have one child in high school and one in middle school.  My high schooler, Blake – age 16, will be finishing his “formal” schooling in December.  My daughter, Megan, is an 8th grader by traditional standards – something that doesn’t really fit her well at all.

Later this month, I’ll be writing about what Blake will be doing after he “graduates”, but for now, take a moment to read my post entitled, “True Education is Not About Making a Living“.  It will give you a little bit of a taste of the approach we are taking.

Our Middle School & High School Homeschool Curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.net

It has been quite a privilege to watch these two grow up.  Blake is a natural-born leader and Megan is creative and artsy.  The two of them together make a great team!  We have tried to give them plenty of opportunities to work together on projects and hone their own individual skills.  You will see in our curriculum choices that same individuality.

{affiliate links included}

High School Homeschool Curriculum

Last year, I would have wholeheartedly endorsed Khan Academy as a standalone curriculum.  Changes that were made mid-year last year have me hesitant to recommend it the way I once did.  However, we are using it as a standalone for both our high schooler and middle schooler.  The changes that were made are not ones that compromise the education, but rather tend to frustrate the user.  That said, this FREE program has been very successful in teaching my children math concepts they were not understanding via any other curriculum.  Blake is finishing up Geometry this year, and he has a very good grasp of what he is learning, thus the reason we have stuck with it despite some frustrations with how the system is set up.

Blake is finishing up his Apologia Biology with Lab.

Biology

He has been dissecting all sorts of things!  This is something I never did in high school, so it has been fascinating to watch!  (Glad I’m past the morning sickness, though!)

Something new we added mid-year last year was Current Events.  Most of the time, Blake uses a Fox News app on the iPad, but we also have him check the stories via other news sources as well.  This teaches several things:  discernment, an understanding of the world and culture around him, and Biblical thinking skills.  He is our researcher, so it only made sense to have him “research” current events and keep the rest of the family abreast of what is going on in the world.

I do want to caution you on this topic – having your child read/watch Current Events from mainstream media sources requires your child be very mature and very discerning.  There is no way my 13 year old could handle a daily dose of current events.  It would be too overwhelming to her.

For our history, church history, geography, and literature, we are doing Tapestry of Grace – Year 3.

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 - part of our middle school and high school curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.netWe do not do Tapestry in the traditional sense, but use it as a backbone of our studies.  The curriculum is full of wisdom and information, and even though we don’t use 100% of it, the price was still well worth the information and guides contained within.

I use the Teacher’s Guides and the Weekly Assignments to create my own list of things the children need to do based on TOG’s suggestions.  Once a week, we use the discussions to dig deep into the era we are studying.  They children read selections from that week’s work, look up some of the geography to familiarize themselves with the area being studied, and do some of the projects listed, including their younger siblings in the fun.  Blake has all the history credits he needs, but he enjoys TOG so much, he doesn’t mind sitting in on another year.

For his composition credit, I am requiring him to write a research paper.  I give him a generalized idea of the time period to write on, and he chooses his topic and builds his paper.  Last year, was some aspect of the Revolutionary War (he chose to concentrate on George Washington’s command).  This year, will be some aspect of the Civil War.  He writes his paper in Google Docs so the two of us can work together on editing it.

As I’ve mentioned before, Blake runs a blog of his own – Airsoft Warrior.  Doing so has taught him many lessons!  His writing skills have improved, his videos are wonderfully edited, and he has honed his public speaking skills (although, public speaking has never been difficult for him).

He is also learning the ins and outs of money management as he works part-time as a Trapper (the person who throws the clays at a shooting sports lodge).  We have helped him walk through making wise purchases, saving, and tithing.  He is proving to be a great money manager – for that, I am very thankful!

He also works out nearly every day.  Last year, he dropped 60 pounds by tracking his food and exercising!

Middle School Homeschool Curriculum

Again, keep in mind this curriculum is highly tailored to my creative 13 year old.  If you need help learning how to tailor a curriculum to your child’s particular talents, the wonderful people at 10KtoTalent.com can help!

Megan is doing Khan Academy 8th Grade.  We took a break from it for a while, but it was very obvious to me that she learns very well using Khan.  When she is stumped and the hints on Khan aren’t helping, she will use MathIsFun.com to help her get through a particular issue.  (Note:  We have her computer set up with a School folder in the navigation bar to keep all of the websites she uses readily available so she isn’t randomly surfing the web.)

After taking a year off from Science, she is doing Apologia’s General Science this year.

Apologia General Science - part of our middle school homeschool curriculum 2014 | RaisingArrows.netThere have been a few rocky spots (the first two chapters are rather dry and she learned a valuable lesson in perseverance and diligence as she pushed through), but now she says she is enjoying it.

She is also doing Tapestry of Grace – Year 3 for her history, church history, geography, and literature.

As I mentioned in my Elementary Curriculum post, she and her younger sister go to Keepers of the Faith once a month.  I’ll be writing more about that in a later post.

Megan continues to take French via iTalki.com.  If you have a child who has a natural bent toward languages or who wants to pursue a career that would benefit from fluency in another language, I HIGHLY recommend iTalki.  Lessons are taught by live teachers via Skype on a schedule of your choosing.  We have been very pleased with the results.  (You can read my review of iTalki and explore the site for yourself!)

Additionally, Megan is taking American Sign Language.  A Deaf woman at a local church does free lessons a couple of times a year; however, we are planning on doing private lessons with her because Megan hopes to pursue her certification as an ASL Interpreter. For school, she reviews using ASLPro.com. (This site was recommended by her teacher as being legitimately ASL. You do have to be aware that not all sign language is ASL, so if you have a child interested in interpreting, it is better to avoid filling their memory banks with wrong information.)

One last thing I want to mention concerning Megan’s homeschooling is her photography.  Most of the photos you see on Raising Arrows are her work.  She has had a photography blog for many years as a hobby, but this year – thanks to 10ktoTalent, she’ll be getting more serious about building her portfolio and working toward her 10,000 hours.  She wants to start doing portraits and family photography and build from there.  We will be seeking out professional photographers to help mentor her through this process, as well as using online resources.  (One of her favorites is Digital Photography School.)

Phew!  These curriculum posts are harder to put together than I like to admit, but I hope you’ve enjoyed them!

2014-15 Homeschool Curriculum – Elementary

Our Elementary Homeschool Curriculum (2014-15) from RaisingArrows.netThis year, I have 2 in the elementary grades – age 8 and just-turned 10 (yesterday, as a matter of fact!).  They are only 16 months apart, but my 8 year old was non-verbal until he was 3, and struggled with speech issues until age 6.  We did not start formal schooling with him until he was 7 to give him time to mature verbally.  That said, he is doing really well with his work!

Keian

{affiliate links included}

Keian is finishing up Horizons Math 1 and will be moving into Horizons 2 very soon.  (Remember, we homeschool year round, so finishing books have very little to do with a calendar date.)

Horizons 2He is doing A Reason for Handwriting B.  He’s a lefty and his handwriting is absolutely beautiful!

2014-15 Elementary Homeschool Curriculum - A Reason for Handwriting B | RaisingArrows.net

He is near the end of the 1st grade level of Phonics Museum and doing amazing!  It does a mama’s heart good to hear a once non-verbal child actually read something! (Note:  there are 2 years to this program.  This will be our second time to go completely through the set.  You can read my review of Phonics Museum HERE).

phonics

We are once again doing Five in a Row with the 10 and under crowd.  I don’t do this full force, but more as a special supplement just for them.

FIAR

Feel free to visit my FIAR Pinterest Board for more ideas and resources to supplement Five in a Row!

Five in a Row Pinterest Board from Amy @ Raising ArrowsMelia, our barely 10 year old is also doing FIAR as well as a few other things…

Melia outside

She is finishing up Horizons Math 3 and will soon be leveling up like her brother.

Horizons 3She has struggled with getting her multiplication tables down, so we are using a free app on the iPad to help her.  It is a very simple program, but has done very well in “drilling” her facts.  The name of the app is Math Flash Cards, and she has to go through 2 rounds getting all of them right (10 problems) before starting her workbook lesson for the day.

I decided last year to go back to my traditional method of doing elementary science, which is to wait until each child is a fluent reader, then hand them an Apologia Elementary Science book and let them run with it!  Melia is doing Flying Creatures and having a wonderful time!  She loves to do all the experiments, and is constantly telling me what she has learned.  I doubt I’ll try any other method of elementary science from here on out!

Zoology

Melia just started her Cursive handwriting curriculum.  I couldn’t find a link and photo, but let me tell you something about cursive, and handwriting in general…

Choosing a handwriting curriculum is difficult.

You should have seen all of us mamas standing around the handwriting section of the Rainbow Resource booth at Teach Them Diligently discussing which curriculum to buy!  The name of the game really ends up being PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.  Give your children plenty of opportunities to write and practice the letters and concepts they are learning.

One way to do this is by notebooking.  I am using notebooking pages from the collection at NotebookingPages.com as well as creating my own using their software.  I have a Lifetime Membership there and LOVE it!  You can read more about how we do notebooking as a large family HERE).

Free & Affordable Notebooking Pages

We had to abandon our old spelling program with Melia because it just wasn’t working.  Her spelling is not very good and the old curriculum was frustrating her terribly.  We tried several apps with equal results, but when I ended up with a coupon code to try All About Spelling, I decided to snag it for her and my 8 year old to see what would happen.

What has impressed me the most is how important the multi-sensory approach is to her learning.  This is definitely a parent-led program, but the time spent has been well worth it.  I have also seen where our Mother-Daughter Journals have helped her spelling as well.  There again, is that PRACTICE factor!

We will also be continuing our See the Light Art lessons.  We do not take a rigorous approach to art, but rather a slow and steady approach.  I want my children to enjoy art, and have found using these DVDs as a “treat” rather than a to-do on a checklist has accomplished that nicely.  (You can read my review of See the Light Art Curriculum to learn more!)

See the Light

For corporate Bible/Devotions in the mornings, we read a section of Scripture and discuss and then read from Apologia’s Worldview curriculum – Who is God?

Who is God?  Apologia Worldview Curriculum, part of our Elementary Homeschool Curriculum | RaisingArrows.net

 

Everyone from littles to bigs listens in, but honestly, this curriculum is best for the elementary and middle school years.  My older kids need something a little deeper and a lot of what we read goes over the heads of my little ones, but I think everyone is getting something from the teaching in the book, so I’ve chosen to have everyone stay together during this time.  In addition to our corporate Bible time, everyone who can read is required to spend time reading the Bible on their own following Morning Chores.

Melia and Megan are also doing Keepers of the Faith once a month.  I’m hoping to post more about this soon.  Keian is currently a Cub Scout and scouting as a Lone Scout (which means he does everything from home, rather than as part of a Pack).  Note:  Remaining with the Boy Scouts of America was not a decision we took lightly, and I do not wish to get into a debate here on the blog over Scouts.  Thank you!

For more homeschooling info,
be sure to check out my
Homeschooling Page
here on Raising Arrows!

2014-15 Homeschool Curriculum – Preschool & Kindergarten

Our Homeschool Preschool & Kindergarten Curriculum choices for 2014-15 | RaisingArrows.netCurrently, I have one preschooler and one kindergartner in our homeschool.  Garin will turn 4 at the end of the month and Micah is 5.  We are not doing a lot with the preschooler, other than having him sit in on cooperative subjects and letting him listen in on lessons, but I’ll include what we will be doing with him because I suspect we’ll add him sometime mid-year.

Preschool Homeschool Curriculum

As with all my younguns, we will start out with Rod & Staff’s ABC Series:

Rod & Staff ABC Series

We are still working through these with our Kindergartner as well.  They are simply a fun way to learn school-type skills, and not something we stress over “getting done.”

Don’t forget to give your preschoolers plenty of time to play and explore!  This is the best preschool curriculum!

2014-15 Preschool Curriculum from Amy @ RaisingArrows.net

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum

All of my younger crowd will be doing Five in a Row.

Screen Shot 2013-08-03 at 1.01.26 AM

We will be starting the year out with How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.  I am beyond excited about sharing this book with my children, and this is the perfect time of year to do so!  (Check out my FIAR Pinterest board for links and resources to supplement Five in a Row.)

Five in a Row Pinterest Board from Amy @ Raising Arrows

About mid-year last year, I noticed Micah was ready to learn to read, so we pulled out Phonics Museum (we have been using this curriculum for several years – you can read my review of it HERE).
phonics

If you are wondering how I knew he was ready to learn to read, here are the things I noticed:

1.  He was mimicking his big brother’s phonics lessons.
2.  He was asking me to tell him what certain words said.
3.  He was “pretending” to sound out words.
4.  He was sitting down to “read” books more and more.

As I mentioned above, Micah is still working through the Rod & Staff ABC workbooks, with particular emphasis on his numbers.  He’s a great little reader, but numbers are more difficult for him to retain.  We work a lot on the side counting and helping him recognize numbers in every day life.

Micah

As you’ll notice, the early years of homeschooling in our home are pared down and simple.  As I mention in my ebook, Large Family Homeschooling, we believe the Trickle-Down Effect of the one-room schoolhouses of yesteryear really do work, creating less of a need for academic rigor when children are very young.

To learn more about how we homeschool the early years
and what a typical homeschool day looks like,
be sure to check out my
Homeschooling page
here on Raising Arrows!

It’s Time to Settle the Homeschool Socialization Question

It's time to Settle the Homeschool Socialization Question - Why this question needs to stop being asked! | RaisingArrows.netShe looked me in the eye and said, “But what about Prom?

That was her best shot at trying to make me question our choice to homeschool our children.  It took me a little bit to even comprehend her thought process.

Prom?  Really?

But, the heart of her question was not really Prom in and of itself.  It was that big, bad “S” word every homeschool parent will hear at some point in their homeschooling career:

SOCIALIZATION

However, it isn’t just outsiders who can’t understand how a child who is schooled at home could ever be socially adept.  Even homeschool parents themselves, especially those deeply entrenched in a public school mentality, will find themselves petrified of raising a child who isn’t socialized according to the cultural paradigm.  They will run themselves ragged taking their children to sports practices and games, classes they don’t need, and group field trips where no one learns anything – all in the name of socialization.  (Some parents take their children to these events without the “S” word being their motivation.  They are NOT the ones I’m speaking of here – just to be clear.  More on that in a moment…)

Parenting out of Fear or Guilt?

Many parents these days are parenting out of fear and/or guilt.  They fear doing something wrong, they fear not doing everything, they fear not being “good enough”, they fear raising children who aren’t “good enough.”  And homeschool parents are the worst!  We have taken Deuteronomy 6 seriously, but rather than believing the Lord will bless our efforts to disciple our children, we run around fearful of missing opportunities and warping our children forever.

And then there’s the guilt.  Every missed opportunity, every crazy day, every whiny child, every off-schedule moment makes us feel so guilty, we are almost paralyzed.  Despite the fact we know there is no such thing as a “perfect mom“, we still cling to our guilt, hoping it will somehow make us better parents/teachers.

If your desire to socialize your child is based on fear or guilt, it’s time to rethink things.

So, back to the Prom question…

When Others Question Your Child’s Socialization…

More often than not, the reason a non-homeschooler brings up the socialization question is because:

1.  They misunderstand the nature of homeschooling.

2.  They think your child might be missing out on all the fun they had.

There are other reasons, of course, but most of the people I hear this question from are reliving memories and wonder how a child could ever be happy without those memories.

What they don’t know is that my children are making fun, happy memories all their own!

Think of it this way…
A child in another country is not going to have the same happy childhood memories a child in the U.S. has, yet, many children across the world each and every day are making wonderful childhood memories to cherish the rest of their lives.  They are having their own brand of fun.  Their memories do not have to look like yours to be good ones.

And just because my children don’t go to a government school does not mean they are never around people.  I’m not even sure how I would manage to keep my children away from people.  In fact, I would almost venture to guess my children are around a more varied group of people than most public-schooled children.  They have met and interacted with all ages of people from all walks of life.

As for those people who are genuinely concerned your child is being warped from a lack of socialization, it might be a good time to educate them on the true nature of homeschooling.  It is completely possible they simply do not understand that homeschooling does not mean your child never leaves the house.

Should You Find Socialization Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Child?

Again, if you are wanting to socialize your child because you are fearful or feeling guilty, stop right now and do something else for a while.  You will not make a good decision about what kinds of opportunities are good for your child and your family if you are working from those emotions.

Ok, good…let’s move on…

I am not against purposely being social.  Children need to learn manners and how to behave in particular situations.  They also need their parents to guide them through how socialization works.  The epidemic of rude, ill-behaved children in public has a lot to do with parents who aren’t guiding their children through proper socialization.  So, by all means, please socialize your children to the point where they know how to behave in public situations!

When assessing extracurricular activities for socialization merits, consider using our family’s list of guidelines for participating in outside activities.  This will help to keep you from running around like a homeschool mom with her head cut off.  Socialization is not about doing everything and being everywhere, but about choosing those things that truly have lasting merit and will guide your child into adulthood.