How I homeschool my kid: Part II

Still working my way through the questions you guys have asked me. It’s more time-consuming to write about this stuff than I thought it would be. Each question could easily be turned into its own lengthy post, but for the sake of not having this subject take over the entire blog, I’m really trying to condense the answers as much as possible… and man, it is not easy.

To recap, there was an introductory post and Part I of this series. Now, here’s the latest batch of answers:


Do you feel like she’s getting the socialization she needs? Do you feel that she’s missing out on important socialization and group education projects? What form does the socializing with all ages you wrote about take?

filling the pipesOh, the socializing question. How much socializing she gets and how often it occurs is the issue almost everyone asks about and the one I feel the least comfortable talking about.

I really rely on my parenting instinct to guide me as far as how much/often regular socializing occurs — and my gut tells me my kid would find non-stop social interaction (such as a full school day) utterly exhausting.

It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy hanging out with other kids. In truth, she’s really quite adept at introducing herself and joining a group of kids (more so than I was or am even now) — but she needs a considerable amount of time afterward to recuperate and recharge.

Brief but regular opportunities for socializing with other kids, coupled with time off to do nothing, seems to work out best. She’s been part of the same Girl Scout troop for a couple years now and she’s just started a comics drawing class last week, and this seems to be as much as she can comfortably handle for now.

catching the resultsAnd beyond that, she’s out in the world and having innumerable smaller-scale social interactions — trying to understand a toddler who really wants to talk to her, giving a street musician a dollar and a fist bump, making up an on-the-spot game with a group of other kids at the playground, making faces at a baby in a stroller on the subway.

You also have to remember that just the sheer population density of Manhattan means you can’t not socialize, at least a little, with someone at some point virtually every time you walk out the door.

I suspect as she gets older, she’ll want (and be able to handle) longer, more frequent interactions, but for right now, yes, I feel like she’s getting the amount of socialization she needs and is not missing out on anything.


Do you ever plan to send her to a traditional school later on?

I don’t plan to, but again, I do my best focus on the right now, and not worry about things that may or may not happen 5 or 10 years from now. That being said, there are so many interest-driven high schools here in NYC (like the incredible New York Harbor School) that I would be okay with that if my kid opted to go to one of them — but that will be up to her at that point.


Do you two get cabin fever-y and sick of each other during stretches of bad weather, like if you can’t get outside much? If so how do you handle it?

in the egg chairDuring stretches of bad weather, we can both get really restless from not being able to go out and just take a walk somewhere. So, in the winter, to burn off some excess energy, we play a lot of Wii Fit, we take out exercise DVDs from the library, and if it’s only semi-horrible outside, we just layer up and take our chances outside.

We also only live about 200 yards from the subway station, so even in the crappiest weather, it’s not that difficult to get out of the house and go somewhere.

As far as getting sick of each other… I can’t say I never get a little crabby or overwhelmed, but I do my best to stave it off before it happens rather than get really burnt out and then try to fix it from there.

I try to get up a couple hours before she does (not especially difficult because she’s a late riser) so I can drink coffee, get some work done, make a plan for the week, et cetera. During the day, she’s pretty good about finding something to do when I have something that needs to get done. (For instance, much of the writing of this post has been made possible by Club Penguin.) Also, right now, I’m also in class two nights a week which really keeps me feeling like an adult person with thoughts about things other than kid/parenting/homeschooling, even if it does give me that much more work to do when I’m not in class.


Do you worry that she’s going to resent being homeschooled someday?

At times I did, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized: who can really say what a kid will later come to resent or appreciate? There’s no time machine or crystal ball that can tell you, yes, thirty years from now, your child will be on a therapist’s couch, saying all her problems in life have sprung from the fact s/he was [homeschooled/not raised in a suburb/didn’t get a pony/denied piano lessons/etc, etc].

I think the best thing you can do as a parent is to just be in the moment and do what you really believe is best for who that kid is at that time — and not spend your life second-guessing your choices.


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7 thoughts on “How I homeschool my kid: Part II

  1. Funny how so many people think kids should be equally social and should mainly socialise with same age peers (who don’t necessarily have the best social skills).

  2. I can tell you put some thought into the answers you gave.

    It is hard to tell the future isn’t it. But it sounds like you take a day at a time and adjust as needed to help both you and your child.

    During my time homeschooling I have had to make many adjustments both for me as a parent and for our kids.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. I was home-schooled 1st-8th grade, it was probably the best thing I’ve ever done, and come highschool, I was the one who made the decision and told my parents that I wanted to go to public school. Needless to say, here in Michigan the start in homeschooling gave me a certain edge that quite a few (not all) public schoolers didn’t have. I am all for “UnSchooling!” kids learn best when they get to have some control over the subjects. I’m still an avid learner and thinker today.

  4. Hi!

    I just found a couple of your blog posts about homeschooling through stumbleupon, and I just want to say I really appreciate how open you are with the information and answers you give, and how well you communicate how an unschooler learns.

    All five kids in my family were (and are, for the younger ones) unschooled growing up. My brother decided to go to public school in high school, but I decided to stay home and now I’m a sophomore at a community college in Boston, looking to transfer for next fall.

    It sounds like you unschool very much the same way my mom unschooled me, studying mainly what I was interested in. Now that I’m college, I look back on this style of learning and truly miss it. The four years schools I’m looking at have a similar learning philosophy to unschooling, and I can’t wait to get back to it.

    I think your posts are great, and give some people a real insight to unschooling. Many people just don’t understand HOW a kid can learn everything they need to know, simply by being encouraged to be interested in the world, and to read about what they like. You’ve inspired me, I might write a little about my own education now.

    Thank you!

  5. I love the socialization question. I recently decided to home school our 8 year old daughter and that’s always the first thing people ask. I believe it’s a myth. First off I can name plenty of people who went to traditional school and have no social skills whatsoever. I also know first hand that home schooled does not equal socially dysfunctional individuals. I was home schooled my entire life until I got to college and I am a very social person.

    Although home schooling is not as taboo as it was when I was young there is still sometimes a stigma attached to it.

  6. One final question that’s been on my mind.. do you and your daughter ever get tired of being around one another all the time? How do you balance personal time with being a homeschooling parent? Thanks, Gezellig-Girl. :)

    1. I don’t know if she ever gets sick of having me around all the time, but I find that the burnt-out feeling I often got when she was smaller is almost non-existent now.

      I’m up in the morning before she is, and I get some work done then, so even if I don’t do much else that day, I feel like I got something for myself done. And I’m still finishing my degree, so there’s a good amount of adult-only time just by going to class.

      Plus, the needs of older kids just aren’t as intense as kids under 5. They can read their own books, make their own sandwiches, wipe their own asses, et al, so there’s less of a drain on your emotional reserves there, too.

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