Socialization, friends, activities, and on and on and on...
If I knew then what I know now, I would tell myself this..... Do not fall into the socialization trap!! Do not get into silly activities or activities you don't want to do JUST to get them "socialized."
My kids like hanging out with other kids their ages, they are friendly, they know how to interact with other kids. Actually it's fairly natural for kids to pick up cues on how to interact with different groups of people. They already know that the kids in soccer act one way and they kids at co-op act another. They get it.
They are also learning to interact with multiple age groups. They interact much more with random adults as we do our shopping, get our tire fixed, go to the bookstore, etc. They do not get that at PS. Sorry. But they are usually assigned a teacher or 8 and they learn very quickly what that teacher or each teacher likes and requires....Why? Because kids naturally pick up cues for social situations (I'm sorry, there are some kids who do not, but the vast majority do) Why do they? Because it was always necessary for survival. And the kids in the PS pick up the cues and run with them for each particular teacher, but they begin to lose that ability later on because they only use it at the beginning of each school year. In other words, "if you don't use it, you lose it." Homeschool kids are typically around many more adults. Seriously, they are.
They are typically around many more age groups and just many more different types of kids. It's more like college. There's not just the cliques...the preps, the rebels, the geeks. They get to slip into many different groups because so many of those groups do not overlap well. None of our second co-op is the same as soccer or swimming or family camp or our first co-op or our youth group and on and on. They can use their skills to fit in everywhere. They will use their skills more often. They will use their skills each time they pay for anything at the store. They will use their skills each time they order a meal from a waitress. So LET them. Let them order food, talk to the cashier, request a book at the bookstore, talk to the guy at the tire shop. And they will "socialize" themselves.
Who do you want teaching your children how to fit into society? You or a teacher at the PS?
Okay stepping off the socialization soap box now.