Here are a few questions I've been asked -
When do you find time for curriculum planning?
WELL, this is a tough one for me - one of the challenges I forgot to mention. I don't really have a good set time or schedule for planning right now, which definitely would be useful. At some point in the future, I'm absolutely going to have to plan a weekend retreat on occasion or "teacher work day" or something because trying to fit it in when I can in the evenings or weekends just doesn't work out well - and especially won't as subjects become more advanced. For now, I have realized that this is a challenge and have specifically chosen curriculum materials that don't require much planning ahead on my part. I can competently get away with that at a kindergarten and 2nd grade level. Of course I actually do some thinking ahead though. I have a planner book where I write out our subject lessons for each day about a month at a time. This gets adjusted though as sometimes we move through things more quickly or slowly than expected. Also, I find that crafty/creative stuff takes more time and prep. so I often have to think ahead about that. And, I keep post-it notes in my notebook on each week for things like what materials we will need for science that week so that I can take a look beforehand and know what I need to gather up. When a family decides to pursue home education, they will need to take the needed prep time into consideration when choosing an approach/methodology as some really do require much more time.
What about socialization?
This is always an interesting question. I've never been hung up on this one. When we decided to homeschool our children, it wasn't for the purpose of isolating them from others. Our kids have neighborhood friends that they spend a good amount of time playing with and they make friends everywhere they go. From time to time they participate in a group activity such as a dance class. They also participate with their peers in class settings at church and in our supplementary program (Classical Conversations). I have never noticed my children having a problem with awkwardness around other children or with creating relationships. Another thing is that outside of the years spent in school, people are never completely surrounded by peers of their own age. Adults intermingle in the workplace, social spheres, family, etc... with a variety of ages. They are exposed to attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors that span generations. I'm not worried about the fact that my children aren't surrounded by others all day whose age, maturity, and wisdom does not surpass their own. I'm not convinced that they are missing any benefit there. I sometimes wonder if that rather has the possibility of creating an isolated, false, and narrow view of the world - but I don't mean to digress with my own pondering. As I've said, my children still continue to make friends their own age and engage in the appropriate social behaviors. I don't want this to come across as unkind, but it seems to me that children who are very socially awkward, inappropriate, or otherwise challenged usually come from a family where the parents are a bit awkward themselves. We are all different and that is great - but parents who generally enjoy and participate in social situations and don't isolate their children from doing likewise don't really need to worry about "socialization" in my opinion.