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    Finding consistent social opportunities

    Our cottage school option is likely unaffordable for us and I don’t know that I want to add in something like a Classical Conversations on top of what we are doing. That said, I want my kids to have a chance to see the same kids for an extended period of time, which drop-in activities really don’t allow. What activities during the week do your kids participate in? After school and weekends are easy since the school kids are home. It’s during the actual weekdays that’s hard for me and causing my husband to want to put them in school. Thanks!

    #2
    We have a once a week co-op that focuses on some basic memory work and mostly enrichment like science activities, art, Montessori religion activities, and poetry. It is fabulous for us. I find that it takes seeing kids once a week to really start to form bonds. The ideal co-op for me is one that allows for ample social time while also enjoying enrichment activities beyond our curriculum. I know I am blessed to have such a thing. It was a group of moms in my faith community that started it. The benefit of such a co-op is that it allows families who use different curriculum to come together and share a learning experience. Our common bond is our church community and love of homeschooling.
    Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
    DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
    DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
    DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
    (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
    DS, 21, Physics and math major
    DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
    DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
    DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by momgineer View Post
      We have a once a week co-op that focuses on some basic memory work and mostly enrichment like science activities, art, Montessori religion activities, and poetry. It is fabulous for us. I find that it takes seeing kids once a week to really start to form bonds. The ideal co-op for me is one that allows for ample social time while also enjoying enrichment activities beyond our curriculum. I know I am blessed to have such a thing. It was a group of moms in my faith community that started it. The benefit of such a co-op is that it allows families who use different curriculum to come together and share a learning experience. Our common bond is our church community and love of homeschooling.
      Great point! I don’t know many in my area using MP, so it’d be nice to find a co-op not based on shared academics. I don’t want to add in more academics for the sake of socialization.

      Comment


        #4
        We do most of our socializing evenings and weekends honestly. Most of my kids friends are friends we met through chess or other evening activities. How old are your kids? When my kids were younger we would usually finish school up before lunch then head to the park to play. Any kids at the park during school hours are likely homeschoolers so we did meet some of our best friends that way. We have also done homeschool kids book clubs which were popular with my kids, and a homeschool PE group that meets once a week and is fun, but kids come from all over, so it doesn't fill that "friendship" role very well.

        We also have a Friday Nature Group that has now gotten down to only 3 families so we are super super casual about it, but a couple weeks a month we meet up at the park and the kids run wild. Sometimes we are more structured than others, we have done specific lessons on things, but it's nothing academic.

        Lastly, if you're looking for a group and you don't know anyone else using MP, look for a group of Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Their styles and material are not incompatible with MP. I think most or all of our good homeschool friends are Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. Our kids are learning a lot of the same things (nature study, Shakespeare, Latin), so our kids have a lot in common too.
        ~Michelle

        DD 13 (MP 8 - 4FL and Ref/Con through MPOA)
        DS 11 (MP 6 w/MPOA)
        DS 5 - MP K (My first Kindergartner with MP!!!)
        DD 2 - Board Books and Chaos

        Comment


          #5
          We live in a very rural area. Our kids do ninja gymnastics, indoor soccer, and rifle club (just the older two). My oldest played soccer on the public school junior high team last fall. In the past they have been involved in singing school at an Orthodox parish (we don't belong, but the class was open to anyone). Our tiny nondenominational church hosts a potluck and folk sing every Saturday night, which is attended by plenty of local people, and we're always at that because I lead the music. My kids enjoy casual friendships/acquaintances at all these events. My oldest son also has friends from the jobs he did last summer (yard work) and a couple older guys he goes hunting with. There are two families on our road who homeschool as well, and we visit back and forth at each other's houses, whenever we can set up a time. Also, my brother's family lives within walking distance, so our kids are often swapping houses in the afternoons to play with each other. Cousins are friends too :-) We don't have any formal social group. Rather, our focus is on participating in events we value (church, sports, music) and letting friendship form out of that naturally. And also reaching out to our neighbors, inviting them over to dinner or birthday parties, and seeking friendship there. The upshot of all that is that they don't have tons of exact same-age friends. I think my oldest four kids would probably name a cousin as their closest friend. But they are good friends with a lot of other people, including teens and adults.

          I view our school hours as primarily dedicated to learning, not socializing (except as that includes learning manners towards your siblings and class time decorum), so it doesn't bother me that my kids aren't around same-age peers during that time. I personally wouldn't use a desire for friendship as the reason for putting kids in public school. I know public schooled kids who don't really have any friends, despite being around lots of peers every day. But that's my perspective, shared by my husband, and I know it's important for spouses to agree on educational choices.
          Amy

          Fall 2022:
          DS 14 9th
          DD 12 7th
          DS 10 5th
          DD 7 2nd
          DS 5 K
          DS 2

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by smithamykat View Post
            We live in a very rural area. Our kids do ninja gymnastics, indoor soccer, and rifle club (just the older two). My oldest played soccer on the public school junior high team last fall. In the past they have been involved in singing school at an Orthodox parish (we don't belong, but the class was open to anyone). Our tiny nondenominational church hosts a potluck and folk sing every Saturday night, which is attended by plenty of local people, and we're always at that because I lead the music. My kids enjoy casual friendships/acquaintances at all these events. My oldest son also has friends from the jobs he did last summer (yard work) and a couple older guys he goes hunting with. There are two families on our road who homeschool as well, and we visit back and forth at each other's houses, whenever we can set up a time. Also, my brother's family lives within walking distance, so our kids are often swapping houses in the afternoons to play with each other. Cousins are friends too :-) We don't have any formal social group. Rather, our focus is on participating in events we value (church, sports, music) and letting friendship form out of that naturally. And also reaching out to our neighbors, inviting them over to dinner or birthday parties, and seeking friendship there. The upshot of all that is that they don't have tons of exact same-age friends. I think my oldest four kids would probably name a cousin as their closest friend. But they are good friends with a lot of other people, including teens and adults.

            I view our school hours as primarily dedicated to learning, not socializing (except as that includes learning manners towards your siblings and class time decorum), so it doesn't bother me that my kids aren't around same-age peers during that time. I personally wouldn't use a desire for friendship as the reason for putting kids in public school. I know public schooled kids who don't really have any friends, despite being around lots of peers every day. But that's my perspective, shared by my husband, and I know it's important for spouses to agree on educational choices.
            Totally hear you. That is my current uphill battle with my
            husband. It doesn’t seem to matter how good the curriculum is that I’ve chosen, how well the kids are doing, the fact that they are largely innocent to the nastiness in the world right now and are happy kids. There’s this, “Yeah, but come on. They have to go to school. They have to have experiences” mentality. It’s so tough.

            Comment


              #7
              We have both of our children in dance classes. The classes are taught by another homeschooling mom, and the majority of the students this year are also homeschoolers. My oldest has class two days per week. My younger goes once a week. They are also doing an archery class. We also participate in library book clubs. Each child does one for their age/grade, and we are in a family club as well. The library clubs are only once a month, so no real social opportunities arise there, but we have met some nice families. Next year, our local library has offered to offer a book club for kids in 5th and 6th grade. This is usually offered only at our local public school, but my daughter enjoys book club so much, they want to give her an opportunity to still join. There is also a possibility, I may run this. I’m honestly hoping I do end up running it.

              We tried a co-op in the past, but I never felt comfortable there. The kids were struggling to make friends too, which was heartbreaking. I would actually love to have a group of MP homeschoolers in our area. I am looking into this.
              DD 10- MP 5th
              DS 6- MP 1st

              Comment


                #8
                We definitely did more in the younger years when the curriculum was light. We did BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), which is ecumenical, and some locations offer day and/or night slots for elementary-aged students. We also did Vessels (3rd-6th girls Bible study/memorywork/craft night) once weekly. There is American Heritage Girls and Awana (of which many of our friends avail themselves). We signed up for one-hour intensives at the library (computers, coding, science themes, craft days, reading circle, art classes). We've done chess club. In the younger grades, this busyness is more fun and interesting and exposes your child to a variety of teachers, peers and experiences. Now that I'm more settled in my approach and have confidence in the home being the perfect place for my child to learn and grow in wisdom and knowledge, I don't feel the pressing need for those things. My kids play daily with neighborhood kids after school. This unstructured play has led to the greatest fruit. They have come up with so many fun ideas, navigated hierarchies, turn-taking, sharing, cooperating, and the art of persuasion and the polite decline. They have created their own club, and they have a revolving list of sports and theatricals they do together. Even though they're different ages, they all include big siblings and little siblings in the play, and now they attend a Bible study together and have gone to camps with each other. It is definitely something the Lord has given us in response to years of prayer. I am thankful to God daily for it. But it is no longer an idol. I sometimes feel like the Lord needed to give us a time of relying upon Him so that He could break us of our unhealthy emphasis on community, as if it would solve all of our perceived "problems."

                Like a PP mentioned, my heart breaks for children who have hundreds of classmates yet feel intense isolation and loneliness that even the forced commingling of public school has not assuaged. Be careful that shallow acquaintances in a variety of activities don't take the place of an identity centered in Christ, nurtured within the family and eventually confidently shared with the world (to be salt and light) at the fullness of time.
                Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                Summer: First Start French I
                SY 22/23
                6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim in group, and Koine Greek
                MP2 w/ R&S Arithmetic 3


                Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

                Comment


                  #9
                  Friends are an issue in many ways for all of us. I was a quiet, shy, bored kid who was teased a lot. By high school I had found some “friends” to hang out with, but haven’t kept in touch with any of them because they were situational friendships. Once we weren’t in the same place, our friendships fizzled. College was better, but being many states apart makes things tough, but maybe when we are done raising our families we will have more time. I have read various places that you might only have five real friends over your lifetime. I am definitely an introvert and I am much more happy staying home than a couple of my kids. My third child seems particularly needy for “friends” and church/altar serving, Trail Life, and swim team have met that need. Trail Life in particular has given extended time to be with the same people on camp outs and meetings. I find classes don’t really do much because it is always different people. Unfortunately, we don’t live near many homeschoolers and the school kids in the neighborhood are rarely around since most have two working parents. I don’t have a lot of good ideas, but I can’t imagine sending a kid to school just so they can deal with the fake friendships that school offers. Nowhere else in their life will they be regulated to age stratified groupings with a bunch of people who don’t share your values with many new ways to make your kids miserable as they are in k-12 public school. I don’t think it is a rite of passage that has done many people any good.
                  Dorinda

                  Plans for 2021-2022
                  15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                  DD College Freshman
                  DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                  DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                  DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have four children. As for group activities, my daughter takes a weekly dance class, and one of my sons currently takes a Taekwondo class. My kids do have a few other children they know that they see sparsely, but it is definitely a challenge. I would prefer to keep our homeschool experience limited to us.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      What ages are your children? Maybe if you can't afford the cottage school you could try to see if you could hire a tutor together with another couple of homeschooling families for a subject you can all agree on. like Math. One other option could be the Vita Beata discussion groups, which combine MP materials and discussions in an informal setting, though the online format may not be conducive to actual friendships. My older kids enjoy their MPOA classes very much, but no personal friendships have come from them so far, and I can't say I am surprised. It is not easy to add "socialization" to the school hours of the day, and short of a co-op or cottage school setting I don't see how it could be done, especially as the kids grow older. Honestly, it is enough for a child to have things to do outside school hours that throw him together with the same kids over the years - as others have said, Bible study/catechism/service to one's parish or church, Trail Life, AHG, a sport team, these all happen after school hours but they are not nothing.
                      I know it must be very hard when one's spouse is on a different wave length. Your husband must have had a very positive school experience and he'd like the same for his kids - those of us who endured the stress and isolation are not nearly as eager! Not because we're antisocial misanthropes, or because we want to spare our kids all unpleasantness, but because we see that the social aspects of school life can take over and completely overshadow the educational aspects and it's not a price a kid should be made to pay. How much energy kids naturally spend on the trivialities of the school social "hierarchy"! How silly it all feels in retrospect. Good luck!
                      DS (16)
                      DD (15)
                      DS (7)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Teach05
                        In your initial post you mentioned a local cottage school. Is that a Highlands or Memoria Press Cottage School?
                        Festina lentē,
                        Jessica P

                        '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                        DS Hillsdale College freshman
                        DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                        DD 8th • HLN & Home
                        DS 5th • HLN & Home
                        Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

                        Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                        Comment


                          #13
                          We have a situation similar to momgineer. My neighbor and I have slowly built up our own co-op of 6 families that meets once a week for a bit of enrichment and social time. We generally pray, sing a song, and read one of the MP enrichment stories. Sometimes we do art and other than that we let the kids play. We have 6 first and second graders, 5 four year olds, and a gaggle of babies and toddlers. It has been a huge blessing for the kids and the moms. Next year we’re going to work through mammals with our 2nd and 3rd graders and start our preschool group on some of the earlier MP read alouds. Keeping things to enrichment, science, art, and playtime has been key since even our kids of similar ages are in different places academically. Do you have even one or two other moms who would commit to meeting once a week for regular playtime?
                          2021-2022
                          DS1 (7) - MP2
                          DD (6) - MP1
                          DS2 (3) - SCA
                          +6 little souls in Heaven+

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Teach05 View Post
                            Our cottage school option is likely unaffordable for us and I don’t know that I want to add in something like a Classical Conversations on top of what we are doing. That said, I want my kids to have a chance to see the same kids for an extended period of time, which drop-in activities really don’t allow. What activities during the week do your kids participate in? After school and weekends are easy since the school kids are home. It’s during the actual weekdays that’s hard for me and causing my husband to want to put them in school. Thanks!
                            When my kids were small, we did more social activities during the day, because our academics didn't take that long. Now that they're older, our activities are generally in the late afternoon, so that we can get things finished.

                            Things we've done in the past or currently doing:#extrovertproblems
                            rec league soccer
                            club soccer
                            tennis clinics
                            team tennis
                            horseback riding lessons
                            enrichment co-ops
                            AHG
                            Religious Ed/Youth groups

                            I don't know where you're located, but in my area, the opportunities for homeschoolers are BOUNDLESS. If you're on Facebook, you can look for local homeschooling groups. If you're wanting to combine academics with social situations, you could reach out to the cottage school director and ask her to put you in contact with families in the cottage school.

                            For us, we have a blend of friends/activities that are connected with our cottage school, as well as ones that aren't even remotely related.


                            Plans for 2022-23

                            Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                            DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                            DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
                            DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                            DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
                            DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
                            DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
                              I have read various places that you might only have five real friends over your lifetime. I am definitely an introvert and I am much more happy staying home than a couple of my kids. My third child seems particularly needy for “friends” and church/altar serving, Trail Life, and swim team have met that need. Trail Life in particular has given extended time to be with the same people on camp outs and meetings. I find classes don’t really do much because it is always different people. Unfortunately, we don’t live near many homeschoolers and the school kids in the neighborhood are rarely around since most have two working parents. I don’t have a lot of good ideas, but I can’t imagine sending a kid to school just so they can deal with the fake friendships that school offers. Nowhere else in their life will they be regulated to age stratified groupings with a bunch of people who don’t share your values with many new ways to make your kids miserable as they are in k-12 public school. I don’t think it is a rite of passage that has done many people any good.
                              Even as an extrovert, I completely agree with this. I had to explain to my oldest homeschooled daughter that no, I don't have loads and loads of friends -- I have LOTS of acquaintances, but only a handful of friends with whom I am very close. Friends come and go in your lives, even into adulthood, from situations -- work, moving, church, etc.

                              I had the chance to take my 16year old out with her homeschool friends last night, and it was SO refreshing. We have such good conversations, and part of it is that they are comfortable talking to adults because they're not limited to the age stratification that you mentioned. In a way, she is so much easier than my adult daughter, because we are not dealing with the public school drama, bullying, etc.

                              I think as an adult, we may gloss over the 'experiences' we had in high school, and forget about the negatives.
                              Plans for 2022-23

                              Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                              DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                              DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
                              DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                              DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
                              DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
                              DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

                              Comment

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