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  • Volunteer Opportunity - Erin Shoaf 7/23/2014 (0)
  • how to sign up for HS homeschooling in Pittsburgh, PA public school district? - Milonica Stahl-Wert 7/22/2014 (0)
  • Fall testing - Patricia Motter 7/22/2014 (0)
  • Homeschoolers vacation savings - BRAVE:Stan K McVay 7/19/2014 (0)
  • Free Media Literacy Curriculum - Meg Martin 7/16/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool group in West Allegheny area - ernie 7/16/2014 (1)
  • legal question - Renee 7/13/2014 (0)
  • Home School curriculum/materials sale Saturday 7/12. - Tracy Pelle 7/11/2014 (0)
  • Re: Geometry 2.0- A Teaching Textbook for sale. - Tracy Pelle 7/9/2014 (0)
  • Materials for sale. - Tracy Pelle 7/8/2014 (1)
  • music - Victoria May 7/6/2014 (0)
  • 3rd Grader - Filing for first time in Northampton County - Rachel 7/3/2014 (1)
  • Scrapbooking Your Favorite Novel - The Tutoring Connection 7/2/2014 (0)
  • Reading, Study Skills, English and Math Tutoring - The Tutoring Connection 7/2/2014 (0)
  • Reading, Study Skills, English and Math Tutorin - The Tutoring Connection 7/2/2014 (0)
  • best writing curriculum for 9th grader who is passionate about writing - Lynne 6/26/2014 (3)
  • WTB: The Language of Composition, 2nd ed. - Sherri 6/24/2014 (0)
  • National Honor Society - Sarah 6/24/2014 (0)
  • Sola Gratia Musicians homeschool choirs (Hatfield, PA) - Janice Firth 6/23/2014 (0)
  • Children, History and the Environment Weekend June 21 & 22 - Roberta Smith 6/19/2014 (0)
  • Revised message for Homeschoolers with Children with Special Needs - Karen Weber 6/18/2014 (0)
  • Resources for Families with Special Needs Child(ren) - Karen Weber 6/16/2014 (1)
  • Art Camp! - Mandy Hain 6/10/2014 (0)
  • Great Educational Opportunity at Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS in Cambria County - Megan O'Malley 6/10/2014 (0)
  • Important Info - Brett Wagner 2009 PHAA Grad - Mary Wagner 6/9/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool Workshops - Katie Samson 6/6/2014 (0)
  • Viola/Violin Instruction - Sarah Sutton 6/5/2014 (0)
  • Theater scripts for summer camps/school year '14-'15! - Anna Lauffer 6/5/2014 (0)
  • 7th and 8th grade Classical openings - NAM 6/4/2014 (0)
  • Drum/Percussion Tutor - William Wozniak 6/2/2014 (0)
  • Summer Reading Programs @ your library - Judy Takoch 5/31/2014 (0)
  • Still figuring out what your teens are doing this summer? Good news - we still have spots left in our wildlife/fisheries focused summer camps!! - Michele Kittell 5/30/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool Supplies Swap - Calloway House 5/30/2014 (0)
  • Teaching Supplies Swap - Calloway House 5/30/2014 (0)
  • Certified Art Teacher available for lessons & classes (K-12) - Rachel Stockard 5/28/2014 (0)
  • Brett Wagner, 2009 PHAA Grad, directing Indie film - Mary Wagner 5/27/2014 (0)
  • Curriculum Sale / Swap in Easton, PA - Sarah 5/26/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool groups near Moon PA - Tim Ranck 5/23/2014 (0)
  • Ala carte homeschool ? - Devon mcvey 5/22/2014 (1)
  • Dog Grooming School. Always Wanted to work with animals? - Allison Alonso 5/21/2014 (0)
  • Not doing PAVCS next year, but questions about finishing it this year - Sherry Francis 5/20/2014 (1)
  • Homeschoolers Moving to PA - Stephanie 5/18/2014 (1)
  • PA Homeschool Students Win 1st Place at Regional ROV Competition! - Christine Gahman 5/17/2014 (0)
  • Bushy Run Battlefield - Scott Perry 5/16/2014 (0)
  • placement test - francine 5/16/2014 (0)
  • Summer Language Scholarships - Rebekka Egger 5/15/2014 (0)
  • TEACHING TEXTBOOKS - OK for PHAA? - Lori Ann 5/14/2014 (1)
  • Guide to PA Homeschool Law - Marcia Stauffer 5/14/2014 (0)
  • Affidavit form for school district? - Jana Walker 5/13/2014 (0)
  • Help getting to graduation - Carolann 5/12/2014 (1)
  • transitioning from online public school to homeschool - Sherry Francis 5/11/2014 (3)
  • PSAT/SAT or English 9 - Sharad 5/10/2014 (1)
  • Homeschool Help for Special Needs Child... - Melanie 5/7/2014 (0)
  • Speech/Language Evaluation At No Charge - Linda Gillingham-Marra 5/6/2014 (0)
  • French tutor - Alexandre de Chambure 5/4/2014 (0)
  • Private Tutor Available - Alexis 5/2/2014 (0)
  • Production of Seussical Jr - istage 5/1/2014 (0)
  • specialists--reading program for apraxia?? - mary ann 4/30/2014 (0)
  • Newspaper in Edcuation Program - michael Francis 4/28/2014 (0)
  • What is being tested on April 30 in Harrisburgh? - Joanna 4/26/2014 (0)
  • New to PA - Joni 4/21/2014 (2)
  • Common Core - LJMann 4/19/2014 (1)
  • Road Schooling - Dawn 4/17/2014 (0)
  • Application deadline extended to April 30 for deer trout grouse summer field schools for teens - Michele Kittell 4/10/2014 (0)
  • Information Request - Stacy 4/8/2014 (1)
  • Private Tutor Available - Alexis 4/7/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool discussion at Crafton Public Library - Beth 4/3/2014 (0)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk - On Stage in Ambler - Family Stages 4/3/2014 (0)
  • Looking for lifeguards for day shifts - Cindy Drob 4/1/2014 (0)
  • Please Help Looking for Homeschool evaluator - Korinna 4/1/2014 (2)
  • Please Help Looking for Homeschool evaluator - Korinna 4/1/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool ID - Toni Ferrara 3/31/2014 (0)
  • Using a calculator on the spring testing? - Faith Flores 3/31/2014 (0)
  • what education do I need to learn to be a tech support person - maryann 3/28/2014 (0)
  • vaccination exemption form - Marie 3/27/2014 (1)
  • computer programming - maryann 3/27/2014 (0)
  • Newbie doing research - Ashley Strnisa 3/26/2014 (1)
  • Beginning Homeschoolers Get-Together - Michelle Croyle 3/26/2014 (0)
  • New Karate Classes Just For Homeschoolers! - Vicki Mowod 3/21/2014 (0)
  • Does PHAA accept/approve of using Teaching Textbooks? - Lori Ann 3/21/2014 (1)
  • Less than two weeks for teens to apply to deer, trout and grouse summer camps! Read what our students think about the camps... - Michele Kittell 3/20/2014 (0)
  • Bucks County: Homeschooling through high school? - Marla Ashton 3/20/2014 (0)
  • Beaver/Butler/Allegheny/Lawrence Co. Area - PGH Refugee 3/17/2014 (1)
  • 9th grade son - Jean Sutton 3/17/2014 (2)
  • Group Violin Lessons for home schoolers - Kathleen Thomas 3/17/2014 (0)
  • testing - Janet 3/17/2014 (0)
  • Special Education Teacher- available for tutoring in Philadelphia area - Jessica 3/16/2014 (0)
  • Square and Pattern Dancing - Scott Brown 3/15/2014 (0)
  • Please help. I need support desperately! - Heidi 3/14/2014 (5)
  • Summer Science Programs at NCSSM now open to public - Jen Jenkins 3/11/2014 (0)
  • homeschooling 14 and 15 boys - terri hippensteel 3/9/2014 (1)
  • New mom and Piano Tutor in State College :) - Robin Yukiko 3/8/2014 (0)
  • hands-on summer programs - Lynda Gillow 3/5/2014 (0)
  • Sola Gratia Musicians Spring Concerts Invitation - Janice Firth 3/4/2014 (0)
  • Harcum College offers classes in Fashion Design and Digital Design - Julian Crooks 3/4/2014 (0)
  • Sheltered Homeschooler - Carrie 3/1/2014 (3)
  • Do you know a teen with potential? Plus, Wildlife Leadership Academy FAQs - Michele Kittell 2/28/2014 (0)
  • Moon Area homeschoolers? - Tim Ranck 2/28/2014 (0)
  • The Legend of Finn McCool - Family Stages 2/27/2014 (0)
  • Summer Theology Program for High School Juniors and Seniors - Erin Davenport 2/26/2014 (0)
  • Guitar and Music Theory lessons for Homeschoolers - Mike G. 2/25/2014 (0)
  • 501(c)3 status-tax exemption - Karen 2/24/2014 (0)
  • Possibly moving to PA from TX in the summer and have a question - bren 2/24/2014 (1)
  • Used Homeschooling Books for sale - Beth 2/22/2014 (2)
  • woodworking classes - carmen 2/21/2014 (3)
  • 40Days for Life Pittsburgh - Join St Regis at the vigil - Diane Deely 2/20/2014 (0)
  • Register by Monday to sell your used materials at the Homeschooling Workshop Book Sale! - Crystal M. Jones 2/20/2014 (0)
  • K-12 Certified Art Teacher Available 9/2014 - Sandra Eckert 2/17/2014 (0)
  • Wilson Language Certified/Reading Specialist - Kerri Fitzsimmons 2/11/2014 (0)
  • IEP - Francine 2/11/2014 (1)
  • Pittsburgh Area Catholic Homeschoolers St Paul Cathedral Pro-Life - Diane Deely 2/8/2014 (2)
  • 29th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Homeschooling conference and workshop - Sue Gorecki 2/7/2014 (0)
  • River Researchers Teen Camp - Rebecca Holler 2/6/2014 (0)
  • Evaluations - Mary Horvath 2/5/2014 (0)
  • Newbie High School - Patty 1/31/2014 (2)
  • help!!! - Amy 1/30/2014 (7)
  • Moving from VA to Pa - Sheri 1/30/2014 (1)
  • PE requirements? - Kristen 1/29/2014 (1)
  • Peter Pan - On Stage in Ambler - Family Stages 1/28/2014 (0)
  • filing your affidavit and objectives - Jodi 1/27/2014 (2)
  • Spring Testing - Eleni 1/21/2014 (2)
  • private tutor option - two questions - Nikki 1/17/2014 (2)
  • Winterthur Museum 2014 Homeschool Days! - Katie Wynne 1/15/2014 (0)
  • Casting Call!! - iStage Performing Arts 1/14/2014 (0)
  • Deer, Trout, Grouse-Focused Summer Field School Opportunities for Teens and Teachers - Michele Kittell 1/14/2014 (0)
  • Looking Forward Conferecne (FREE) - Paul Nobile 1/13/2014 (0)
  • Homeschool Moms in Centre County? - Sarah 1/12/2014 (6)
  • Standardized Testing for a 3rd grader??? HELP! - Cara Dyson 1/10/2014 (2)
  • Charlotte's Web Drama Class at Cairn Community Arts Academy - Kari Morris 1/8/2014 (1)
  • Homeshoolers around Snyder, Mifflin, or Union counties - Ruthy 1/8/2014 (1)
  • Homeshoolers around Snyder, Mifflin, or Union counties - Ruthy 1/8/2014 (0)
  • Aladdin On Stage in Ambler & Trappe - Family Stages 1/2/2014 (0)
  • high school completion status on FAFSA - Nancy 1/2/2014 (1)
  • Is there a date set for the western PA graduation ceremony? - Stacy 12/30/2013 (1)
  • ebook for PA homeschool parents discounted! - Beth 12/29/2013 (0)
  • ed. event announcement - Sylvia 12/28/2013 (0)
  • need suggestions... :) - Tracy 12/20/2013 (3)
  • How to start studying for AP as a homeschooler - Adnan Zaber 12/18/2013 (2)
  • Homeschool Encouragement - joy Thacker 12/18/2013 (0)
  • Silent films with live music -- Tonight! - Laurie Reese 12/16/2013 (0)
  • how to transcript junior and senior year in one school year - Teresa Rogers 12/15/2013 (0)
  • Common Core question - Kg 12/10/2013 (3)
  • Fun Christmas gift idea for homeschoolers that benefits recent homeschool grad - Joy Thacker 12/10/2013 (0)
  • Scripts and Teachers' Resources for Drama Classes! - Anna Lauffer 12/9/2013 (3)
  • Suzuki Violin Program - Erie Suzuki Violin 12/6/2013 (0)
  • Outdoor Science Classes - Parker McMullen-Bushman 11/26/2013 (0)
  • Veteren Homeschooler - Marianne 11/17/2013 (0)
  • Daytime Piano and Guitar lessons for home school students. - Frank Gorgo 11/14/2013 (0)
  • Activities for Teens in Bucks-Montgomery-Lehigh Counties - Alicia 11/13/2013 (0)
  • FAMILYtime FREE Matinee in East Liberty - Kelly Strayhorn Theater 11/12/2013 (0)
  • Harrisburg Area Homeschool Assoc. Meeting - April White 11/10/2013 (2)
  • finding a Little Flower club nearest our home - Mary Porter 11/8/2013 (0)
  • Marple Public Home School Group - Ebony 11/7/2013 (0)
  • Girl Scouts - Pamalee Lady 10/31/2013 (1)
  • no answer - Nancy 10/30/2013 (2)
  • New English requirement - Denise 10/30/2013 (2)
  • Public School Resources - Christina Vensel 10/30/2013 (2)
  • History Contest for Washington & Greene Co students - Denise Cummins 10/30/2013 (0)
  • homeschool group - jen 10/28/2013 (0)
  • homeschool prom - Michelle 10/28/2013 (0)
  • Algebra 2 - Beth Frye 10/26/2013 (3)
  • VIOLIN LESSONS - Rachael Brown 10/24/2013 (0)
  • Harvest Party Open House - Ashley Malm 10/22/2013 (0)
  • Books available - Melissa Hickey 10/16/2013 (0)
  • How to find out how homeschool friendly my school district is - Colleen 10/14/2013 (2)
  • Free ebook about Pa Homeschool Law-one day only! - Beth 10/9/2013 (0)
  • Toad's Escape, Peter Pan & Snow White On Stage in Ambler - Family Stages 10/8/2013 (0)
  • Thinking about homeschooling my 6th grade son - Martha 10/4/2013 (3)
  • Gifted in Bucks County: Math Olympiad & other cool stuff - Abby O'Keeffe 10/2/2013 (0)
  • possible learning disability - Nichole 9/30/2013 (0)
  • FREE Hands-On Chemistry for Homeschoolers - Andrea Session 9/29/2013 (0)
  • math competitions near Kittanning - Liz 9/27/2013 (2)
  • Math olympiad in Kittanning - Liz 9/26/2013 (1)
  • Carbon County- Jim Thorpe district- Penn Kidder - CJ 9/24/2013 (1)
  • Keystone Testing - Christina 9/24/2013 (2)
  • New resource for Bucks County PA Homeschoolers - Wendy Sheahan-Coyne 9/24/2013 (0)
  • Student ID - Makenna Masenheimer 9/23/2013 (0)
  • School dance - Sandy 9/20/2013 (1)
  • (Article)New School Year Success - 5 Easy Steps to Making Presentations a Breeze for your Child - Brenda 9/18/2013 (0)
  • Green Tree Library Used Book Sale - Pat Kaczmarek 9/17/2013 (0)
  • Moving to PA from Florida - CJ 9/17/2013 (8)
  • about homeschooling - Swarupa 9/17/2013 (1)
  • Fall testing - SAH 9/16/2013 (0)
  • Fall testing - SAH 9/16/2013 (0)
  • Filing after age 18 - Courtney 9/13/2013 (1)
  • Homeschoolers in btwn meadville and erie ? - Nichole 9/12/2013 (0)
  • Theatre Class for Home Schooled kids in Philadelphia - David Pershica 9/12/2013 (0)
  • Extra non academic courses - Andrea 9/11/2013 (0)
  • extra cirricular activities - kelley biechler 9/6/2013 (0)
  • Seeking Student Work! - Meg Hamilton 9/6/2013 (0)
  • Free Home School Program this Friday at the Wagner Free Institute of Science - Abby Sullivan 9/3/2013 (0)
  • Home School Students athletic training - Ron Anzevino 9/3/2013 (0)
  • "Counting" days - Cam 9/2/2013 (0)
  • federal funds to public schools for enrolled homeschoolers? - Lynne 8/28/2013 (1)
  • York Area Homeschool Drama Camp Auditions 9/10/2013 - Michelle Robinson 8/26/2013 (0)
  • FIRE SAFETY, FIRST-AID, CPR CLASSES - Elizabeth Bird 8/25/2013 (0)
  • Philadelphia Honey Festival - Jessica B 8/23/2013 (0)
  • FREE COOKING CLASSES - Elizabeth Bird 8/21/2013 (0)
  • Youth Drawing Classes at Southern Lehigh Public Library - Sudha Bulusu 8/21/2013 (0)
  • Just 3 more openings in our SAT ESSAY PREPARATION ONLINE CLASS! - SRichman 8/20/2013 (0)
  • Private Violin Lessons in Pittsburgh, PA - Bethany Landby 8/15/2013 (0)
  • Spanish Online Courses, AP Spanish and More - Ray Leven 8/12/2013 (0)
  • Group and private music lessons - Joanne Prescott 8/6/2013 (0)
  • Special Needs - Beth Ann 8/6/2013 (2)
  • help with definitions please - Kg 8/2/2013 (1)
  • testing - Pamela Woods 7/31/2013 (0)
  • Classical Conversations info meeting - Michelle Mussari 7/30/2013 (0)
  • Catholic homeschoolers In ERIE?? - Maureen J Gallagher 7/29/2013 (3)
  • new homeschooler - Deborah S. 7/29/2013 (1)
  • Terra Nova - Shelly 7/29/2013 (2)
  • Psat/sat - Hazel 7/25/2013 (1)
  • private tutor option - ernie 7/23/2013 (6)
  • Classical Conversations coming to Doylestown - Michelle Mussari 7/19/2013 (1)
  • Spelling Bee - Julia Moss 7/10/2013 (0)
  • Pennsbury Manor Project (Interviewees needed) - Lindsay 7/3/2013 (0)
  • Homeschool support group in Lower Merion? - Pam 7/2/2013 (2)
  • Affidavit for Phila w/health attachments - Helen 7/1/2013 (1)
  • diploma? - kelly 6/30/2013 (1)
  • diploma? - kelly 6/30/2013 (0)
  • 8-year old homeschooler - Marie 6/29/2013 (2)
  • English/Grammar/History classes offered this fall - Karema Greene 6/28/2013 (0)
  • IEW Classes starting in the Fall for 3-12th - Karema Greene 6/28/2013 (0)
  • FALL SCIENCE COURSES OPEN for REGISTRATION - Karema Greene 6/28/2013 (0)
  • outlines - L Diehl 6/27/2013 (1)


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    PA Homeschoolers

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  • Magazine

    New Research on Homeschoolers and Socialization
    Dr. Gary Welton, 2/3/2010

    Gary Welton is both a homeschool father, the teacher of one of our AP Psychology classes online, and a professor of psychology at Grove City College. He's been doing research into aspects of socialization and the homeschooling experience, and shares some of his findings in this article. 

    Socialization as a Religious Phenomenon

    Gary L. Welton
    Center for Research on Positive Youth Development
    At Grove City College

                Every home schooling parent has been asked the S-Question: “What about socialization?” The implications (real or imagined) of the question are less than flattering:

    • Students who attend schools outside the home are socialized better because they spend so much time with their immature peers, whereas students who attend school within the home are poorly socialized because they spend so much time with their mature parents.
    • Home school families do not interact with one another.
    • Socialization that occurs on the soccer field, during debate rounds, and in church doesn’t count (or is somehow inferior).
    • Students who attend school outside the home are always well socialized.
    • Your kids are so weird.

    I would like to put the S-Question to rest by summarizing research I conducted along with my colleagues. We surveyed 223 families (a teen and a parent), 95 of which were schooling at home. The results point to three important observations: home schooling teens socialize more than other teens, they socialize differently than other teens, but that both of these observations miss the point. Socialization is not a home schooling issue; it is a religious phenomenon.

    First, home schooling teens socialize more than other teens. Using a standard measurement scale of 21 questions, we measured the extent to which the teens spend time interacting with their family, their friends, and other significant adults. Home school teens indicated significantly more social interaction than other teens. The S-Question assumes that home schooling teens are not engaged in social interaction. This is contrary to what is actually occurring.

    It is true, however, that the home schooling teens are not in every category engaged in more social interaction. There is a difference in the target of the interactions. When asked about interaction with their families, home school youth indicated significantly more interaction in comparison to other youth. They indicated significantly more interaction with other significant adults. However, they indicated significantly less interaction with their friends. Home school youth interact more with family and adults, less with friends. The social interaction of home schooling teens is different from that of others.

    The teens tell us that home schoolers have more social interaction overall, but less with their peers. We are confident that this reflects genuine differences because we saw the same differences when we asked their parents.

    However, all of these observations miss the point. I would argue, in the end, that the goal is not socialization, per se. The larger view would suggest that socialization is one important aspect of our teens’ lives, as they develop character, or positive youth development. For example, socialization in an unhealthy subculture that fosters criminal behavior is not healthy socialization. In order to assess positive youth development, we measured five traits which, as a whole, suggest that a teen is developing character. The five aspects that we measured are contentment, selflessness, forgiveness, resilience, and gratitude. Combined, these provide a reliable measure of positive youth development.

    One of the important predictors of positive youth development is religious faith. When we use religiosity, social interaction, and home schooling to predict positive youth development, the home schooling variable drops out of the model. Home schooling youth are high in character development, higher than others. They are high in religiosity, higher than others. Likewise, they are higher in social interaction. Nevertheless, as a predictor of positive youth development, school choice drops out of the model, being overwhelmed by the religiosity variable.

    Religious practice creates a community that encourages social interaction and fosters positive youth development, so much so that it overwhelms differences in schooling choice. There is no evidence that home schooling youth are poorly socialized. However, there is evidence that we are asking and addressing the wrong question. Instead, the data suggest that children and teens in our churches and other religious institutions are engaged in more social interaction and are being better socialized.

    Jodi Picoult makes a valid observation in her recent novel, Change of Heart, when she says, “What religion did for me went beyond belief—it made me part of a community.”

    It is time to quit asking home school parents the S-Question. If you must ask the S-Question, ask it of the families who are not engaged in religious activities. Those are the kids we should be concerned about.


    Comment by Barb Finnical, 2/9/2010:

    I'm a first year homeschooler to my 13 year old son, and I'm in it for the long haul (through high school). We came on board because the school system (private, Christian, never public) didn't do an effective job with him. He's slightly LD and they tried, but just didn't have the time to invest. I also love being able to change curriculum midstream if it's not working.

    But socially, we're struggling. I live in a moderately urban area, yet it seems like many of the homeschoolers are busy. When we do go to events, it seems like there are mostly younger kids there. I'm not sure where all the homeschooled middle schoolers are. 

    We do attend church, and he has one close friend there. But because we're only there for 2.5 hours on Sunday and 1.5 on Wednesday, it a little harder for my son to connect than when he was at school 6.5 hours a day and had two 45-minute bus rides each day. He's not athletic, so sports are out as a social means. We do homeschool gym 2 hours a week and I'm hoping something more will come of that.

    Most of his friends come from his old school, and I'm glad for that, otherwise he really wouldn't have many close friends. Maybe my late start has contributed to the lack of socialization.

    We have reached out to others and have gotten together on occasion, but it's a far cry from a classroom full of kids and recesses every day.

    I'm hoping things will change next year. Let me know if anyone else shares this struggle, especially with middle or high school kids.

    Response to this comment by Susan Richman, 2/18/2010:
    Hello Barb, Thanks so much for adding your thoughts here. My sense is that things will get better for your son as you have more time in homeschooling-- but definitely others have had similar problems with 'where are the older homeschoolers' when it comes to things like group field trips, etc. People with older kids tend to 'drop out' of such activities, and so things get more geared to just the elementary age participants. I'm glad your son is still able to keep in touch with his school friends-- that is not always easy, as kids get on very different schedules, or had less in common. One thing I'd suggest might be taking a pro-active stance when you're at, say, the homeschool gym day. Try to strike up a friendship with another mom with a son around your son's age.... invite them over to your home for lunch or a games or movie night or something you think the boys might enjoy (haha, or maybe a snow shoveling race!!!). Unless parents take on this sort of role of helping set up possible fun social events, where their child can really become friends with another homeschoolers (and most likely *kids* won't think to do this sort of planning or inviting themselves, at this age...), then the gym day becomes just an event where you come together for that hour, and then zip off in your respective directions. I'd also recommend seeing what sorts of small-group classes are available in your area, either with homeschoolers at a co-op weekly class setting (THAT's where all the middle school and older homeschoolers are!), or at local art or fitness or music classes. You mention that your son is not athletic-- but he may indeed really *need* then the support of some sort of organized class to make sure he gets a good overall fitness program. I'd *highly* recommend you look into some form of martial arts for your son-- from what I hear from *many* homeschooling families, most martial arts schools are *exceptionally* good at helping new students feel welcome and at home, supported and encouraged while they are learning to do things that are also clearly manly and interesting and intriguing and confidence-boosting. I can't tell you how many boys I know who were really pretty depressed and lack luster and feeling at 'odds' with themselves and the world (longterm homeschoolers, too...) who just got totally reinvigorated by martial arts lessons. Often the *dads* in the family opt to take part too, which is probably a great help-- boys this age really need their dads, and other male teachers, in their lives. And most kids in martial arts classes do form good working friendships with the other participants in their classes. Another group option might be looking into a local homeschool *volleyball team* -- these are co-ed teams, with varied levels of play, very supportive coaches, and *many* kids who sign up who are NOT 'athletic'. This program meant the world to my three younger kids during their middle school and high school years, and was the REAL place they got to form positive friendships. The weekly practices, the friendly atmosphere, the working for a real goal, the seeing the *same* group so regularly, all made for great friendships. Keep in touch with how your year develops-- it sounds to me like you are doing the right things to help your son keep up friendships, and gradually add new ones.   Thanks for responding here, Susan Richman, Editor Pennsylvania Homeschoolers


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