Homeschool Parents Offer Suggestions

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I have 2 daughters, 3 and 8. The 8-yr-old, in 3rd grade, attends the chess club at a neighborhood private school on Mondays. On Tuesdays, she attends the CHEA homeschool choir: and gets to play with the kids afterward. On Wednesdays, both girls attend small group violin class with four other girls. On Thursday afternoon the oldest attends an art class in our neighborhood with three of her friends and on Friday morning both girls attend FaithQuest at our church community center with other homeschoolers. Once a week the oldest attends karate with her dad at a local church. In the summertime she also participates in the swim club in our neighborhood. There are two other homeschooling families in our neighborhood. Both my girls have plenty of friends and we usually have a playdate a week rotating houses.”
— Catherine

“We have been involved in the SALT homeschool support group for the duration of our homeschooling journey and the kids have made friends and been involved in all sorts of programs and activities: Key Club, Middle School Club, field trips, cultural events, service projects, oral presentations and programs …??
Our family has always been actively involved in church. From birth, the kids have been involved in age appropriate programs from children’s church all the way up to the youth group. Now that they are older they also serve in various church departments such as children’s church and hospitality.??
We’ve participated in several homeschool co-ops ranging from a small five family co-op to a much larger organization. The kids get a chance to learn alongside other students and to learn from a variety of teachers. ??
Over the years they’ve taken a wide variety of classes, some offered through the homeschool community, and others offered by organizations such as the Parks and Recreation Department, The Aquatic Center or The Children’s Theater. My son plans to take part in concurrent enrollment at CPCC next year.
Both children participate on recreational sports teams, baseball or softball, each fall and spring.
We know our neighbors and our kids have always fellowshipped with the neighborhood kids. In addition, my children are always ready and willing to help our neighbors during times of need or grief.?
They also have regular contact with extended family members and currently their grandmother lives with us.?
They have close friendships with kids their own age and regularly participate in sleepovers, parties or downtime with friends.”
— Bonita

“My children attend classes offered by places such as the public library and Children’s Theatre where they interact with kids & adults of all ages. We do projects that put us out in the community with children and adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.”
— Lisa

“We have belonged to ‘outside’ clubs, sports groups, church youth groups, and they were regular attenders at the Charlotte YMCA’s. we would go places (field trips, shopping) where the saw and experienced adult interactions firsthand.”
— Mollie

“Here are some of the opportunities we take advantage of:
1. We belong to SALT a home school support group serving the Mountain Island Lake, Coulwood Northwest Mecklenburg County and parts of Eastern Gaston County. Our support group provides community service opportunities for both my middle school student and high school student. My high school student belongs to the Key Club sponsored by the Kiwanis and supported through our home school support group. Our support group provides opportunities for my children to participate in party’s, hanging out at coffee shops, going to a homeschool prom, going to the movies basically many of the same social activities a traditional school student would have. The group sponsors a yearbook and we have a yearbook committee made up of two parent advisors and high school students. We organize trips to museums, concerts, plays, operas, zoos etc.
2. Both of my girls are in 4-H one in a homeschool-only club and the other is a member of a Horse 4-H club in addition to the homeschool club. The homeschool club has 59 members and the horse club is a mix of a couple of homeschoolers and public school teens. In 4-H both hold club offices and my middle school daughter is the secretary for the 4-H county council. They participate in project record and presentation competitions. In the horse club the middle schooler competes in horse bowl, horse judging, and showing events including district and state horse shows.
3. My older daughter is a member of a Venturing Crew. Venturing is a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America. Her crew is all girls and homeschooled. Venturing is a club based on high adventure activities such as caving, white-water rafting, wilderness survival etc.
4. Cooperatives or as we call them co-ops are a great source of socialization. Our family is a member of a 45-member family co-op which offers a large selection of classes. One takes general science, writing, Intro to the Stock Market and Pre-Algebra and the older student takes Biology and Biology Lab, American Government and a Literature class. The schedule is set up like a university schedule and only meets one time a week and the student completes work assigned during the week before the next class.
5. Both attend an art studio class and have had their art work displayed at art shows and art crawls.
6. My high schooler also plays club soccer and travels throughout NC for games. I know other homeschoolers who play club soccer and AAU baseball. My high school student is an intern at Crowders Mountain State Park — her flexible homeschool schedule allows her this opportunity. I know other high school students who intern at Shining Hope Farms — a therapeutic horse farm.
7. Our support group organizes high school graduation for our members and sponsors a father- daughter dance.”
— Jeff

“My children are 14 and 8. I have homeschooled the oldest since she was in 2nd grade. At first we were a little lonely because neither one of us was accustomed to staying home. I had worked full-time up to that point. As we have learned together, we have followed their interests and our hearts. We have been blessed to find a co-op where they can take extra-curricular classes that they enjoy like drama, violin, roots and shoots (nature and conservation), chess, presentation club, and book club. This same co-op offers park days, movie nights, parties and lock-ins for our teens.
Both my children take group guitar lessons that they really enjoy. We are also close to another family that we do some history, nature, art and music study together. We also exercise and take classes at the YMCA. The Karate classes at Simmons Y have been a great fit for my son. That is what he lives for.
We are also very active in our chuch with Sunday school, Wed night Christian education classes, choirs, kid and teen groups and events.
We also try to spend some time in service to others. We visit the sick or elderly in our congregation. We spend time talking to them or taking them treats.”

“I have two boys, ages 4 and 2, so I’m early in the homeschooling journey, Our ‘socialization’ opportunities include family visits, field trips, after-school play time with school-attending friends, church and religious education classes, and arts and crafts activities among other things. We go to the zoo, museums, planetariums, etc.”
— Heather

“My girls are 6 and 7, (almost 8). Some of the things we have done over the past 2 years or so include: Little Gym, drawing classes at Explore, programs and storytimes at Steele Creek library, South County library and Imaginon, homeschool science class through Discovery Place, chess club for homeschoolers, church choir, Sunday School. Plus I lead a monthly discussion group for women who use Charlotte Mason philosophy; my girls are friends with the kids of the other moms in that group. They also are both in Y-Guides with daddy, a father-daughter program through the YMCA.”
— Diana

“I homeschool my seven year old daughter, Since school does not take 7 hours to complete she has more time to play and be a child. There are other children in our neighborhood that are homeschooled and she plays with them after school is completed. We meet with her homeschool Brownie troop every other Tues, We have music on Weds. with other homeschoolers, as well as, recess with our church’s homeschool group on Weds. She has gymnastics which counts as PE on Thurs. Also, we have a lot of field trips with other homeschool moms.”
— Dawn

“Here are a small sampling of opportunities that we have taken advantage of:
-Attend physical education classes offered at park-and-rec centers and gyms around Charlotte and Gaston County. We also have taken science, art and other electives. The classes are usually arranged in an age range, say 5-8yr olds, 9-12yrs etc, rather than a class for each grade level. I like this because it allows my children the opportunity to learn from older children who (usually) have more skills and also allows them to help the younger classmates to develop their skills as well. I feel this age-range structure is the primary benefit to homeschool classes. It gives the children optimal socialization because it exposes them to a variety of ages and abilities rather than only those who are very close to their own development level. Ultimately this prepares them for college and adult life when they will be expected to interact with a variety of age groups rather than just their own age peers.
– Attend The Children’s Theater at Imaginon performances. Many homeschool support groups will order tickets for members. The children get the experience of the live performance with their peers. It is also great etiquette training for young audience members.
– Joined a homeschool support group. This has been invaluable not only for me in gaining knowledge and support in my efforts as a parent-educator but also it has given my children the opportunity to attend field trips, holiday parties, and many other activities while developing friendships with other children.”
— Tracey

“Within the homeschooling community, there are many opportunities for children to get with other kids their age or in a group consisting of a wide range of ages. The kids go to the movies or have a movie night at a house; board games at a house or meeting room; park days for free play, sports and hiking; many are involved in clubs (Chess Club, Science Olympiad, Battle of the Books to name a few) as well as taking advantage of the numerous field trips that are posted on the homeschool loops in the Charlotte area.
Homeschooled children also participate on many of the local sports teams and in the after-school and weekend programs at local libraries, parks, and other facilities.
Many places like ImaginOn, Brattonsville and Latta Plantation offer Homeschool programs and receive an overwhelming response. Carolina Lanes, Ray’s Splash Planet and Extreme Ice Skating also offer special homeschool discounts during the day when business is otherwise slow.”
— Kathy