Dear Savvy Homeschooler,
Will my kids miss out on activities that public school kids get to have?
Dear Missing Out,
The answer to that question is yes and no. Will your child get to do every single thing that a public school child gets to do? Probably not. And to be honest, there are some things that public school kids get to do that I’m not sure I want my kids to be doing, but I won’t go there!But will your homeschool child get to do things that a public school child won’t get to do? Most definitely YES!
A common misunderstanding is that your homeschooled child CAN’T participate in public school activities. That is a big fat LIE! If your child wants to participate in cross-country or cheerleading after school, enroll them! If your child really wants to be in the school orchestra, enroll them! Now listen close. Sshh…This is the secret they don’t want you to know… you can enroll your child in what you want! They don’t have to go to school full time to do all the extra curricular activities. Now I will give a word of caution when moving forward with putting them in part time. Once you have your child in the school system they will try to rope you in.
Depending on how strong you are at being vocal with the front desk at the school will determine how much they can tangle you up. My oldest daughter takes 1st period orchestra and the first few weeks were a nightmare. They kept trying to get her to take the bus, make her attend these special classes they offer at different times during the month, participate in school fundraisers, etc. The school nurse even pulled her aside and asked her how her home life was and if she was really happy. Thankfully, my sweet daughter was not at all shy or embarrassed and said, “I LOVE my life! It only takes me a couple of hours to get my school work done and then I can work on the things that I really love all while my friends are still sitting in desks at school.” Love her!
Once I sat down and talked with the schools administrative staff after hearing about that lovely conversation, things got a whole lot better. I explained that she was there and only there as a supplement to her current violin lessons and to get an orchestra experience.
During the second week of school we had taken a week off to go to Disney Land and I had told the teacher ahead of time and she assured me that she wouldn’t be missing anything, which made me wonder why she needed to be there in the first place if she wasn’t learning anything. Sorry! Side tracked! Anyways, that whole week I received phone call after phone call about her being absent and by Thursday I was receiving calls that she was going to be put on a truancy list. What does that even mean? But I really didn’t care! If I had to pull her out I would.
So during this meeting with the administration I explained that we homeschool and enjoy our freedom to travel as we see fit as a family. I further explained that I understood she needed to be in class to learn along with her peers but if we were going to be gone I would talk with her teacher and get any practice routines she would need to keep on track. I then went on to say that if this was going to be a problem I would just withdraw her from the program and find a better alternative. They quickly started back peddling and saying, “No! No one wants that! We understand that your daughter has different circumstances and we will totally accommodate with whatever her needs might be!” After that, things have been great!
So go ahead and put them in those extra-curricular activities, just be ready to stand up for yourself.
As for getting to do things that public school kids might not get to do… this is where it gets fun! Your child is no longer limited to what the school district thinks your child should be experiencing. The sky’s the limit! You can take them to art or flight museums,
go hiking and search for different plant life or depending on where you live,
go mining and search for fossils or geodes.
Visit national monuments, go a do a service project in your community
or go to a movie when no one else is there because they are all in school! Call a bakery, reptile zoo,
pizzeria or fire station
and ask if they do field trips.
These are just small examples of different things you can do as a homeschool family. A lot of places even have homeschool discounts or education programs so if you call ahead you can plan for that . . . AND . . . forget about crazy crowds!!! You can go when everyone else is in school! AMAZING!
And are you worried about school parties! Don’t fret! You can make those happen too! Do a google search for homeschoolers in your area and organize
a coop or just get together and do your own party.
So don’t worry on missing out! Worry about what they are missing out on by being in school! The world is a big place with so much to see! By not being tied down by a public school schedule it allows you the freedom to see so much more of it as a family! So go start exploring!