Not long ago a friend of mine sent me an email and asked the following question:
“I was just wondering what your kids do for fun with other kids and how that gets organized? My son seems to think he is missing out on some of the fun.”
Do your kids ever feel like they are missing out? I think it’s normal for teenagers to think that way on occasion, whether or not they are homeschooled. I know mine do and it doesn’t seem to matter how busy we can be or what we’ve been up to. I especially noticed this when we moved and they were no longer surrounded by their close friends. So in an effort to meet new people and to discourage the uttering of the dreaded, “Mom, I’m bored”, we branched out of our comfort zone and took a peek into our community to see what activities are offered for teens.
Lucky for us there is actually a group just for homeschool teens, which allows my kids to meet with other teens and socialize. Though the activities vary from a regular, once a week movie night, to a CPR class and many ‘typical’ field trips, the idea is for the kids to have an outlet to meet other homeschooled teens in a safe environment for no other reason but to have fun.
The YMCA is not only a great tool for my family to meet our physical education requirements; it’s also a great place for my teens to hang out. Our local facility has a room for teens with a pool table, foos ball game and TV. They also offer special programs and seminars throughout the year that we are able to attend and count towards our health credit.
Our local library also offers programs for children of all ages, with special activities for teens and they are willing to allow well behaved students access to some of the adult classes. Last year we went to a seminar on Ancient Egyptian art that we thought was fascinating and we met a homeschooling family that we still do things with today.
Don’t forget to check your local newspaper for listings of clubs and attend a meeting or two. We’ve found a genealogy, astronomy, caving, gem, photography and hiking clubs that my kids have expressed interest in.
Our local park department offers weekly concerts during the summer months that are free of charge, a great way for my kids to hang out with other teens while experiencing music in a variety of genres that they may not normally listen to.
If you schedule field trips, they will come. Not everyone likes to organize an event, but many do like to attend. When you are the organizer, you are guaranteed to meet everyone in attendance!
Be willing to try something new! My kids went to their first ballroom dance lesson last fall. They’ve stuck with it and now they’ve advanced from the beginner class to the intermediate class. Initially they didn’t think they’d enjoy it as much as they did, but they were willing to try something new and found a wonderful, active new interest and they’ve met some really nice people along the way.
My kids know they are always welcome to invite friends to our home. After the last ballroom dance class, we had a houseful. The kids played games on the Xbox and Kinect while munching on pizza and chips. Next time they want to play board games or rent a projector and watch movies outside in the backyard. Be creative!
I’ve found that nearly anything we do as a family, we can do with another family. So why not make it a special day with friends?
What are some of the activities or places your kids go to have fun with other kids?
You’ll find Tonya at Live the Adventure where she shares some of the travel and homeschooling adventures she’s had with her teens.