Homeschoolers DO need to talk about socialization

Our local support group, PEACH, hosted a socialization workshop with Melinda, Scott, and Josh Boring Thursday, March 14th. It is a bit ironic that we would have a meeting about socialization, when this is the question that we 1) hear repeatedly 2) drives us crazy 3) dismiss very quickly as irrelevant.

But is it?

Melinda presented her seminar on "When Socialization IS an Issue",  and provided a comprehensive overview of ways parents can assess and improve their child's social skills.

  • Does your child have difficulty when trying to join an activity?
  • Does your child fail to make eye contact, or respond inconsistently to others’ attempts at interaction?
  • Do they tend to monopolize conversations?
  • Does your child have a limited number of subjects he/she prefers to discuss?
  • Do they understand the importance of tone of voice and facial expression, and do they know how to interpret the tone of voice and body language of others?

She included years of experience as a speech/language pathologist and a homeschool mom. She shared many illustrations of her observations and practices with her own children who had sensory and attention deficit issues. Although socialization can be of particular concern for parents of children with special needs, all children need information and guidance in this area.

Her PowerPoint presentation gave us many examples of games that helped target and address problem areas, such as making eye contact, getting to the point, reading body language and facial expressions, and relaying important details.

Do you have a Chatty Cathy or Ivan the Introvert? Melinda offered many solutions that help parents correct unfriendly or inappropriate behaviors without discouraging kids and making them feel picked on.

Some ideas that were fun and creative:

  • Write sentences on index cards, and read it with different facial expressions and tone of voice to express anger, sadness, confusion, etc. . .
  • Cut out cartoons from the comics, and also cut out the dialogue bubbles. Have the child explain what is going on in the picture, and what the characters might be saying to each other.
  • Hold up an object and have your child describe it in 3 brief sentences.
  • Role playing social situations and practicing 'scripts' to give the child tools to deal with on-the-spot questions.

Melinda, Scott, and Josh stayed after our meeting and answered questions for quite awhile. It was clear that many homeschoolers were blessed by all the wisdom and knowledge the Borings had to offer. It was a great time of information, encouragement, and fellowship!

Melinda has been a regular columnist for the Ohio Home School Companion, and is the author of Heads Up Helping!. Her website is Heads Up Now!, and she includes some links to her ideas on her Pinterest page.