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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Total Immersion Socialization

thOur kids, by virtue of being homeschooled, are exposed to a lot.  The old myth about homeschoolers lacking in socialization is probably the least of our problems, since they meet with many more unusual individuals from all walks of life, rather than spend six to eight hours a day with a group of peers all within one or two years of them.

Nevertheless, in all of our travels and forays far and wide, I wish for greater independence for them, if possible, under controlled circumstances.  Free, but not wild.  Interactive, instead of retiring wallflowers.  You see, usually, when mom-teen-girl-talkingthey encounter an unknown or sticky situation, they have my husband and I run interference for them. 

If they don’t know a specific word in English, or if they stumble with a turn of the phrase, we swoop in to save them, explain to them, and coach them.

Not today.

With a couple dozen friends joining us for a week or two in Israel, the four teens get to see and hear it all.  Tonight, we had the two girls sit together with others at dinner and the two boys, who somehow got split up, do the same.

thMaybe tomorrow, we’ll have the girls split up-!

There’s something about being put on the spot, about having to answer for oneself, and having to hold one’s own, that they don’t often have to do.  We might cut them too much slack for coming from Russia as older children.  I encouraged them to chat with Russian tour groups that we met at hotels during breakfast, or at a scenic overlook, but all withdrew within their shells.

As a matter of fact, I was the one reaching out, asking Russians if they’d like to be in the photo together, I could take their picture for them-?

Finally, at a kibbutz guest shop, an Israeli caught wind of me speaking with this one, that one, and another one in multipleth languages.

“Who are you, and how many languages do you speak?” they asked in disbelief.

Well, I have often observed kids who come from families where the parents are quite accomplished, or possess larger-than-life personalities, that the children often struggle to find their own “place” and identity. We needed to be proactive. There was no time like now time.

The kids looked at their father in shock as he proposed that they sit with others outside of our family.  The boys were amenable enough, however, the girls looked like they had just been shot, to even think that they could not be velcroed to our sides 24/7.

thPersonally, I felt relief to be able to have an adult conversation with other friends, and not have to remind the children 100x to get their elbows off the table, or stop gulping their food, or to put their napkins on their laps, lol.

It all worked out.  All of them survived.  They seemed to do better than good, and everyone  enjoyed their company, or at least claimed that they did.

The children looked cheerful, polite, and as though they enjoyed themselves, as well.  A win-win situation in terms of socializing outside of the comfort zone.

I’d highly recommend it.

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