You have given much thought to the idea of their education and the curricula that you plan to use to further their intellectual growth.
What have you done however, to prepare them for their social growth? Now, to many homeschooling families that question will seem out of place, but hear me out.
I don't mean social growth in the sense of friends and parties to attend, but social in the sense of community awareness, adult interaction with others, and preparation to exist independently once they leave your homeschool program.
Homeschool families need to incorporate a valuable tool into their educational curricula beyond the books and core subjects.
Homeschoolers have the unique opportunity to ask the question, "What would my child need to be able to do if something happened to me?" Asking that question will allow you to identify some of the additional areas in which you can be training and preparing your children while still at home.
Depending upon the age of your children, various skills can be incorporated into a homeschool program from an early age.
These would include basic chores such as dishwashing, laundry, and bathroom clean up.
As your child grows, homeschooling families can actually allow their children to be more involved in such things as preparing food, planning meals, managing a checking account and budget to include savings and long-term planning, and perhaps even participating in a family business.
The more practical your homeschool education can be, while striving for excellence in the academic arena, the more abundant your child's training and preparation will be.
The idea that teenagers would not be contributing to the social life of the family was not around until the 20th century.
Up until that time, and well into it, children of all ages were expected to contribute to the well-being and functionality of the home.
They gained valuable skills in independence, purpose, social awareness, and cooperative effort through this practice.
Somewhere in the late 1900's, however, this practice began to disappear and as a result, we have left teenagers far too unprepared to function as adults because we have extended their childhood for too long.
They leave home unprepared for college or careers and end up in a financial or personal mess, or both.
If you desire to raise an independent, thriving, purposeful, and socially responsible adult, then you will need to begin to involve them in skills that lead to this from an early age.
They will not learn these skills through osmosis.
Imagine what they will need to be able to do, manage, or handle on their own without you, and then let them "practice" that while you are still there to be their safety net.
Independence and social responsibility are not ingrained into our children's character.
These skills must be taught.
Take advantage of the time and intentional learning opportunities afforded you as homeschoolers and see how their academic and social skills will thrive.