So you make it through the first eight years of homeschool virtually unscathed and then high school happens. Then the socialization question reappears in some very odd forms. Now the questions aren’t about learning how to stand in line, wait your turn, and play nicely. Instead, the conversations center around dating, the prom, and even getting a job.
You mean she won’t have a senior prom!?
How will she find a boyfriend if she’s home all day?
If you let her sleep in like that, she’ll never be able to get or keep a job!
Here’s a newsflash. Senior prom is really not a big deal.
Do I remember mine? Sure, I do. I remember all the hype that a 5 hour event could never measure up to. And it didn’t.
The main thing I remember is the dress, and when I press people about the prom, this is the main issue — a chance to dress up and go somewhere fancy.
Well, my high school prom was in the school cafeteria. So it wasn’t fancy, but I get the point. It’s the romantic, sentimental notion of being a princess for a night. But honestly, we don’t need the prom for that. In fact, the pressure of the prom to be some kind of climax of your teen years is unrealistic and sets up a young lady for huge disappointment.
Another newsflash. Some kids don’t care about prom.
At this point, Emma is not interested in prom whatsoever.
What if that changes?
My last newsflash. The area where I live actually has a homeschool prom. So if Emma decided that her teen years would be a travesty without a night of wearing an overpriced dress, donning a wilting corsage, and dancing in a gym, then we can make it happen.
Wow. I almost want to smack people when they ask this. Not in a mean knock you out way but slap some sense into you way. Do we really need to encourage kids to date?
Do you not remember what having a boyfriend meant when you were a teen?
We can’t think that just because our kids are homeschooled that they are exempt from the temptations that romantic relationships bring.
So my take on the boyfriend issue is that it’s a non-issue. I would be happy if Emma didn’t have a boyfriend until she was in her 20s. That probably won’t happen, but her having a boyfriend is so low on my bucket list for her, that this is a silly reason to criticize homeschooling.
If you want to criticize my parenting and my views on teen dating, go ahead. But don’t say it has anything to do with educating at home. You don’t need school to learn how to interact with the opposite sex.
We all know that puberty causes children’s sleep patterns to change. Their bodies are hard wired to stay up late at night and sleep in each morning. Everyone knows this, but most people brush it off as “a shame” that kids have to get up so early for school. Yes, it’s a shame, and an unnecessary one. If we homeschool, why in the world do we have to follow the model of the classroom?
My preference would be for Emma to get up early and get her studies done so we have the afternoon free. But that is not her preference. She works better and is a happier teen overall when I give her freedom to choose when she wants to get up. So my rule is, for the most part, you can get up when you want and do your school work when you want as long as it gets done.
I believe that by giving my daughter autonomy to make those kinds of smaller decisions, she is better equipped to make the bigger decisions down the line. I see far too many teens who don’t have a say so even about the simplest matters of their lives: how to cut their hair, what time to get up in the morning, what extra curricular classes to take. As a result, they have no sense of direction and no ability to make sound choices.
I think when to get up in the morning and all the consequences that come with that choice are great practice run for more mature decisions down the line.
Being a night owl does not in any way limit her ability to get a job when the time comes. She can get up when there is a plane or bus to catch. Homeschool lessons can be done any time of the day or night. Why get up early for them if you don’t want to and don’t have to?
There are other ways to learn how to get up early and be on time than attending public school.
Like this topic? There are dozens more posts like mine in the link-up linked in the graphic below. My opinion is just one among many, but we are all trying to address the socialization issue and put a nail in this coffin of objection.
All of these areas can be addressed. My daughter was homeschooled and went to 2 proms. One was her friend’s prom (we sent an email out to friends and family telling them that our daughter would like to attend traditional school prom and homecoming and asked if anyone knew someone that needed a date). She got flooded with responses for both types of dances. Also our homeschool Umbrella group holds a Prom gala every year for their high schoolers. Sleepovers – I don’t allow my kids to do that, so even though my older 2 kids were traditional schoolers, they didn’t sleepover often. Dating, well, that can happen anywhere. I didn’t date at my highschool as a rule, most of my older kids liked dating kids that attended other schools. And guess what? After high school is over – they’ll have to learn how to fit in all over again at either work or college.
Yes yes yes! So much is hype and disappointment and many with regret when it comes to prom.
And dating? Are you kidding me? My boys do like girls… I get that. But I’m trying really hard as a mama to encourage them to get their lives in order and date when they are ready to be married… not because they need another distraction or temptation in their lives. They fight enough battles as it is.
I have had so few people actually ever throw the socialization question out there with me. The few times that it has happened, I am pretty sure I laughed… and then had to regain my composure and try not to sound snarky at their silly concerns. In reality, I think that most people just don’t know what homeschooling is like and haven’t given much more thought to defining the word socialization even in a public school setting.
My goodness every time I am faced with a decision to make I can almost always read your posts and get some insight. We are there with my oldest. He’s not high school yet but he is experiencing the onset of puberty and sleep is a must for him. He takes longer to wind down at night and I try to be sensitive to that. I have gathered from this post that it’s okay for me to get a little bold in my tongue with others on the subject of socialization. Some times I just ignore the questions by saying “it’s the least of my worries” because it is. Oh but now I have a new answer. I mean if people are so quick to ask why not be quick to SHUT IT DOWN!
This was great! My daughter is entering the “tween” age, she’s almost 12. Her sleep patterns are changing drastically. I remember what it was like being her age – I was always tired, and I was the kid who fell asleep in class because I had to get up so early for school. We used to all get up early and start school early, but now that she’s in this stage, I let her sleep until she wakes up naturally. She works better through her day that way, she’s more focused, and her mood is more likely to be a good one throughout the day. We don’t let her stay up too late, but if she’s not sleepy she can read in bed until she gets sleepy. Prom – I had a fancy one and wasn’t phased by it. I went mostly because of the pier pressure of High School. I was bored, in a dress I knew I would never wear again, and ready to go home and take a nap. Most areas offer a homeschool prom, and if my kids end up wanting to go – I’ll let them, but if they don’t – it’s no big deal.
The prom and boyfriends??? Ugh. Not dealing with those two things in high school would have saved me weeks, if not months, of angst and would have allowed to focus on more important things. Somehow my children will manage to survive without either!
Jimmie Lanley says
I know. These questions are so silly.
I don’t understand why sleeping in will make it hard to get or keep a job. I mean, all jobs available for teens are nights and weekends anyway.
I have two high school (homeschooled) students. My son is a senior and my daughter is a sophomore. Oh, my…they are VERY socialized (and we live in what would be considered a rural area)! In fact, they have had time for more extra-curricular activities than I ever did when I was in high school! My kids have participated in martial arts, dance (all kinds), competition dance teams, chess/game clubs, PE classes, Crossfit, theater (classes and procduction), Film classes etc. etc. And they both have attended a prom too! Last year a nearby homeschool group hosted one. It was very well chaperoned, the kids were very well behaved and they had a great time. In fact, it is the only dance I’ve ever attended where EVERYONE was dancing! One neat thing was most of the kids there knew how to waltz because that same group had hosted Ballroom dance classes! If you are creative, there is no shortage of socialization opportunities at any stage of homeschooling!
Michelle C. says
You and I share a similar view on the dating topic! Who knew!
Love this post!!!
Everything that I wanted to say but was to PC to actually post! Bravo!!
I never attended my high school prom and never thought of it as a be all for my son. His father did attend and he has shown pictures of him in his light blue tux (early 70’s) and my son has sworn off going to a prom!
We live in China and girls are throwing themselves at my 12 year old. When he is interested I don’t think being homeschooled will prevent him from dating. Mamma on the other hand…LOL
FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY IN CHINA
Somehow getting up early has become akin to virtue. I’ve never been an early riser but I used to wonder how my son would cope when he finished with homeschool & uni & their relaxed hours but he’s been working for nearly 2 years now, getting up at 6am every day & hasn’t misssed a beat. They will rise to the occasion when they have to & when there’s a good reason to do so.
As a homeschooler, I believe in all these things except the sleeping in. I mean, if she gets a job, she doesn’t have the freedom to choose when she has to go to work. That’s just my opinion.
And, I think both prom and dating are WAY over rated. I have enough trouble and drama in my life, i do NOT need a boyfriend 🙂
I just came across your blog and it is wonderful. I love your thoughts on socialization and your teen. I have three post teens, post college, and even one post grad school (and married!). They managed fine without the usual high-school experiences. Not always without angst, but it worked out well.
Adriana Zoder says
I am about 10 years away from those high school years and questions, so this was great material to read. I can’t believe that people actually ask those questions, especially with the amount of teen pregnancies we have these days.
Lovely points! I remember my teens and how I hated to get up so early! My body was going crazy and I couldn’t sleep at the “proper” times.
I was given the idea that I was a rebellious teen and because of that I kinda had to live up to that expectation. How interesting…maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so overly rebellious if it wasn’t a notion that was put inside my head..? In all honesty I wasn’t trying to be rebellious, I was just tired all the time..
Thank you for the reminder and bringing this to my attention. 🙂
Love this post! I keep telling my husband that our son has repeatedly expressed NO interest in going to a dance or prom. That might change, but like you, we have a homeschool group that offers this. My son also likes sleeping in, and the flexibility of his schedule. (As do I, since I am also a night owl). This schedule allowed us to stay up until 1 am to watch the Rover land on Mars LIVE. It was awesome!
Its nice to know I’m not alone, and thank you for the post
Jonelle Lantier says
Great post, Jimmie! With homeschool groups hosting proms and get-togethers, I don’t see why the question of socialization keeps arising. Homeschooled kids aren’t exactly caged animals! And with research proving time and again that current school timings can be difficult for kids in puberty, is it any wonder that homeschoolers have better timings?
Dana Wilson says
I so agree with you, especially about dating! The last thing kids need to is to be so focused on the opposite sex that they can’t focus on what they are supposed to be thinking about in high school. There is plenty of time later for those kind of relationships! Great post.
Stacie Welch says
Thank you so much for this article. My 12 year old DD has gone through puberty and I did notice a change in sleep patterns, but did not connect the two. We have been through a lot of changes, hubby’s job, moves, etc. So, I guess it didn’t click. Now I understand why she is so tired during the day when I get her up in the morning. Thank you for sharing with us how your day works. It gave me ideas on making some adjustments for our day.
Angel in Tx says
I agree with all of your views Jimmie, although I do get aggravated with the sleeping in just because *I* like to get stuff done in the morning. 🙂
But I have one teen at home right now (who sleeps in) but my other homeschooled child is now in college and she is able to get herself up and get to her classes and manage her own schedule even though we slept in during her high school years compared to ps counterparts! We all do what we have to do. Doesn’t mean it’s easy but we do it.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
Amen and ’nuff said. As always, you have put it perfectly.
SO true! It drives me crazy when people ask about prom and dating, and yet simultaneously are complaining their teen is pregnant or sneaking off with their boyfriend or something.
Darla Douglas says
I love this article, this is so us and how we do it! Thanks for posting.