I had such silly fears when we started to homeschool.
Will my children have friends? Will I have enough time to myself? How will I teach them math?
and, of course....
What about the PROM?
That question is actually laughable to me now, but I GET IT. I understand how this could be a hangup to homeschooling, because the question really isn't about "THE PROM", it is about something much larger.
It's Not Really About THE PROM
The world has told you to put your children in school - to send them away to others for the majority of every day. Most people (myself included) have done this, dutifully putting our children into a system because we didn't know any other way.
We have relied on this system (either as parents or students) for most everything "social" in our lives, haven't we?
From Valentine boxes, field days, and perfect attendance awards in elementary school --- to Honor Society, Pep Rallies, and THE PROM in high school -- we have been taught that these are just the things children DO.
When you begin to homeschool guess what happens?
You slowly start to QUESTION everything about the system. You begin to wonder what the POINT of so many of these rituals are. You ask yourself what the point in them is -- other than the fact simply "everyone else is doing it".
(After I read Weapons of Mass Instruction the homeschool deal was sealed - I was officially questioning everything about education as I had knew it.)
Because you see, once you have the courage to homeschool you then begin to have the courage to question most things surrounding traditional school, and that questioning redefines the experiences you provide for your children.
And guess what?
You can give them experiences that are JUST AS GOOD (if not better). YOU get to decide what is best for them.
And yes, one of those experiences is THE PROM....
But What's So Wrong With The Prom, Anyway?
(Please let me explain, this is meant to encourage you if you're worried about missing prom - it's not meant as an attack on those of you who participate in prom. Not everyone shares my homeschool convictions, but we can still be friends. I've also seen some lovely young people participate in prom and not get caught up in the nonsense. I'm writing about this to show some TRUTHS about why we have chosen a different path.)
We encourage our high schoolers (really still children themselves) to ask dates to a formal event. Do you remember the heartache, drama, and embarrassment that went into finding a prom date? Then, there is the distraction of asking your date to prom (many times involving elaborate signs, declarations, and Instagram posts), when you should really be focused on LEARNING.
Next comes dress shopping, which can be a financial strain, not to mention have you tried finding a sweet, modest formal dress for a teen girl lately? It's not easy.
Let's move on to the expense of the event. Dinner, prom tickets (yes, they sell tickets to prom now), sometimes a limo, flowers, and gifts.
I'm wondering if this is really teaching our children how to best steward their resources?
Finally, the event itself involves our teens on their own, many times staying out until the next morning.
Is this really the experience we want for our children - drama, spending too much money, embarrassment, staying out until all hours on their own, competing for status on social media?
Give Them Something Better
Giving my children something better was the main reason I decided to abandon the ideal of public school.
And, as with most things, the issue of prom has turned out to be something we figured out -- and I think we are giving better in this area, too.
Our local homeschool group has its own version of prom - it is greatly scaled back and most kids go as friends. But, the option for a formal event is there. We also have several groups in our area that do spring dances, English Country Dances, and other social events. There are ample opportunities for our teens to be together and have wholesome fun.
My own daughter has already been to two formal events this spring - the most recent being Classical Conversations Protocol. It's such a great alternative to prom.
The young people receive etiquette instruction. They attend a formal dinner (either in someone's home or at a restaurant) and then a cultural event.
It's a meaningful, purposeful way to give our teens that social experience they crave - without the expense, drama, or potential of drinking and harmful activities.
And that's just it - purposeful training of our children that instills manners, appreciation of others, themselves, and things of beauty.
Don't they look great?
I watched these kids use impeccable manners, while spending time with all of their friends in an age appropriate, wholesome manner. They were genuinely interested in each other, esteeming each other and taking part in thoughtful conversation.
Isn't this what we want from them when they are adults?
Consider this (from a protocol participant)
So, in answer to the question "Won't My Homeschooler Miss the Prom?" I would say NO.
After you have been homeschooling awhile the issue of not having a "prom" will seem very silly to you, too. You will already be in the habit of functioning outside the box, and prom will be no different.