The first year of my son’s life, beginning in the May of 2011, was incredibly hard. Having only relatively recently moved to the area, aside from family, we didn’t have too many close friends to interact with. Additionally, the friends I did have were almost always busy because they are just so awesome that everyone wants to spend time with that.
Thus, if you look at the calendar before we decided to take a test run at homeschooling, we *might* have a scheduled playdate maybe once a week, more likely once every two weeks or more often. Sure, we would get out of the house, usually to a place like Target, or to visit family, or to the park, but very seldom would I have the opportunity to interact with other moms, or have planned get togethers with other friends.
I did figure out that the most integral part of making friends is pursuing them, so we did have the opportunity to spend some quality time with my oldest’s preschool friends outside of school. However, given the fact that this only constituted about a handful of families, scheduling conflicts and family life often limited our interactions.
Thus, prior to this summer, which was when I started to seriously consider homeschooling, my daily calendar was pretty empty. Once I came across our absolutely wonderful homeschool group, things changed dramatically. (More on our amazing group later).
Here is the annotated version of our summer:
- Our first meeting was at a local park playdate, which was attended by 17 families (the group has a total membership somewhere around 75 families right now)
- Group event at a local science museum/aquarium, which included lectures on Earthquakes and later snakes. Went inside butterfly terrarium, huge aquarium, and many other amazing exhibits. Had the opportunity to spend 1:1 time with two different moms and their similarly aged kids.
- Group event at different science museum with other (significantly smaller) homeschool group. Had the opportunity to briefly interact with another mom and her young daughter.
- Went berry picking, had the opportunity to get to know two different mothers and their children in addition to several other members of the group. Girls gorged themselves on not quite ripe organic berries.
- Many other playdates with non homeschooler friends. Having group scheduled activities inspired me to regularly contact our other friends for get togethers at local parks and children’s venues.
- (All this, and we had only joined the group/preschool ended mid month!)
- Tons of park playdates/group get togethers, one of which was at an amazing city park, recently subject to a multi-million dollar renovation, another of which presented the opportunity to explore a dried up creek bed with an almost 5 year old as our tour guide/expert.
- Attended two different botanical gardens on their free admission days, one with each of the two groups.
- Began scheduling playdates with friends we met through our homeschool group.
- Attended local zoo get together with two mom friends and their kids from homeschool group.
- Had opportunity to create “messy art” at event regularly hosted by mom member of our homeschool group.
- Read books and watched YouTube videos about tarantulas, at big girl’s request!
- Attended local children’s museum with group, which boasted ridiculously high up slide playground out front, and rode carousel in honor of younger daughter’s third birthday with our friends 🙂
- Listened to avant garde Jazz and other jazz recordings as chosen by our local librarian.
- Truly discovered the potential of a good librarian and how amazing our local library is. Years of performing my own legal research made me oblivious to the absolute joy it is being able to watch my oldest daughter ask another adult to help her select titles based on her interests.
- Group and individual visits to local awesome children’s museum.
- Playdates doubled up on some days.
- Visited the two botanical gardens with our groups again!
- More messy art!
- Went to Disneyland! Ok, that one’s not really related, but it was so much fun. I’m not really a “Disney” person, but I really like Disneyland. Maybe even love California Adventure!
- Visited our favorite local children’s museum with 10 or so families from our group.
- Visited local historic farm with one of our friends from the group.
- Attended various park get togethers
- Got big girl a library card! She even got a pin stating the fact 🙂
- …and can you believe the month isn’t even half over? We’ve got homeschool events planned at parks, local hiking areas, museums, and even a National Park Trail
With all this excitement, particularly in contrast to the prior unscheduled year, you can imagine how easily swayed I have become to the homeschool experiment. I’m certain the outings will elucidate the abundance of opportunity for socialization, both for my kids and for us moms! And it has also shown me the opportunity for education by osmosis. My oldest daughter played a computer game at a local science museum that talked about/demonstrated how scientists use viruses to make gold nanowires–girl is not even 5 years old yet!?
I am absolutely thrilled about the upcoming year(s), and I know that my enthusiasm is contagious. I can only imagine what the coming months will bring, and I am so happy to be able to share the journey with my littles.