Homeschooling is gaining in popularity, there is no doubt. The reasons for homeschooling are as varied as the people who make the decision to do so. However, as a group, homeschoolers still have a long way to go to be accepted by the general population. There are still myths that surround homeschoolers as a whole and, like it or not, we have to, as a group, dispel those myths. One of the best ways to put our best foot forward is when we appear en masse at a public event. When the public sees homeschoolers acting well it inspires venues to do more for our community. But for every positive example, a single negative one can do a lot of damage. This is why it is so important for homeschoolers to behave well at public functions.
Know the rules
As a homeschool parent, one of your responsibilities when going on a field trip is to ensure you know proper etiquette or rules of behavior for the place you are visiting or event you are attending. If you are unsure, visit the website of the place you are attending and see if they have posted rules. If not, think about where you are going and what you will be doing and consider some common sense rules you may want to discuss with your children before going.
Discuss the rules with children
Once you know the rules it is of vital importance to share them with your kids. You should do this every time even if you’ve been to the same place several times. Do not assume your kids always know how to behave in certain locations. When you discuss it, they will realize it holds importance to you so they will then give it the proper attention.
Let your children know upfront that you expect them to behave within the bounds of the rules. Telling them rules and then letting it go at that may not be enough. Letting them know that they are expected to follow the rules puts them on notice that there will also be repercussions if those rules are ignored. You may want to let them know, also, what actions will be taken if rules are broken.
When we are at events and see children misbehaving it is especially frustrating when the parents do absolutely nothing about it. We don’t care what your discipline style is, everyone does things differently. But at least do something. Children will occasionally misbehave, they all do. But if you have no consequences for their actions how will they learn the importance of obeying the rules? Discuss the rules, set the expectations and follow through with discipline if needed.
No matter what specific rules are in place for venues or events, make manners an important part of your world. Please, thank you, not interrupting, using good table manners, being kind, respectful and considerate of others will go a long way in making a good impression wherever you are.
Consider age and maturity
Have you ever been to date night with your significant other only to be irritated by the people who brought their infant child to a rated R movie so they didn’t have to spring for a sitter? It’s the same issue when there are children at events where it is clearly not age appropriate. This goes both ways. The attention span and cognitive skills of a middle schooler are far different than a kindergartener. If an event is designed for an older child, consider the age and maturity of any younger siblings you are tempted to have tag along. Is it possible that they will be a distraction? If so, make alternate plans or don’t go. Is an event tailored to a younger child? Having the older ones come along for the ride can be sheer torture for them. They may chime in and steal the younger kids’ thunder or they may be a distraction because they are so bored. We realize that it is often difficult to juggle multiple children and not everyone can arrange child care but please do consider how your decisions to allow attendees who are not age appropriate will affect others.
If we work together as a community to ensure that our homeschool children are well behaved during public events, more venues will be delighted to have us. In fact, when the overall impression is positive not only will they be pleased to have us but they may also specifically design programs to homeschoolers. It is a win-win situation where we propel the good image of homeschoolers and possibly increase the learning opportunities we have.
See also our articles on [click here for Theater Manners] and [click here for Museum Manners].