Shortly after we started homeschooling, we were introduced to a great theater company that offered quality programs for schools and families. We have been enjoying these productions over the years and have gone as a group with our local homeschool support group.
Normally all the actors are adults. However, once a year children are allowed to try out for a part in A Christmas Carol. My children have performed in a couple of productions through our homeschool group and have enjoyed it greatly, but this year they decided to branch out and audition for A Christmas Carol. This was quite different in than their previous experiences. First of all, not every child that auditions gets a part. Secondly, this would be their first play not only with adults, but also with professional actors. I have to say that while I'm pleased that both of my children wanted to try out even though they may not get a part, I'm particularly proud that my youngest decided to give it shot. Sit down; I have a homeschooling success story coming on.
My youngest was extremely shy as a toddler and preschooler. If an adult spoke to him, he'd usually stare straight ahead and pretend he didn't hear them to avoid needing to respond. Furthermore, his speech was unclear and at about the age of 6 he developed a very obvious stutter. He's been through years of successful speech therapy. All of his articulation issues are now gone. However, once a stutterer always a stutterer, so I was told by his stuttering specialist (also a life-long stutter). There was a time he could barely get a word out, which I'm happy to say is no longer an issue. However, when ill, excited or even during a growth spurt, he'll still have periods of stuttering.
What does all of this have to do with homeschooling? I honestly have to say that my son would have never auditioned for any theater part had we never homeschooled. I believe he would have been eaten alive in the public school system, worsening his shyness and speech issues. I'm amazed at how people always ask about socialization and homeschooling. Public school "socialization" would have not been positive for my son. However, homeschooling has created a confident and outgoing boy rather than the opposite.
Furthermore, my daughter has always been naturally outgoing and in need of lots of live body interaction. So many opportunities have been available to her through homeschooling. She's able to participate in many more activities homeschooling than she would if she were confined to a regular school schedule. Not only that, the people in which she comes in contact are from all types, rather than a classroom of identical age students. Again, homeschooling has been wonderful for her needs as well.
It doesn't seem to matter what the personality of the child, the socialization issue gets brought up. If the child is shy, people think the public school socialization needs to "fix" them. If the child is outgoing, they think they "need" the socialization at school. I've been presented with the "S" question many times. For the most part, I think the inquisitor has thought very little about the question which they are asking. You can read about the best example from personal experience I have of this to date here.
As we head into the holidays and associated gatherings, many of us are bound to get the "S" question by curious, or perhaps even hostile, friends and relatives. Maybe this barrage of questions will even make you question yourself on whether or not you are doing the right thing. Prepare yourself in advance with the new The Old Schoolhouse e-book titled What About Socialization. You can read all about it here.
One lucky person will get this e-book, a $12.45 value, for FREE! To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment with your name, email address, and a comment or story about homeschooling and socialization. On Thursday, Dec 18th, I will pick a winner by random drawing.
Oh...and the results of the auditions? Both of my children received parts in the play. My formerly shy stutterer? He's Tiny Tim and is having a blast with the production.