And today's answer is going to be short and sweet: I detest the idea of "out there." "Out there" seems to say that "in here" is surrounded by walls, locks, maybe even bars. The truth is, even if our kids don't play organized sports or go on a lot of field trips (they don't), they're not locked in either.
Please understand: I don't avoid getting the Squirrelings involved in anything that's useful, fun, and possible for us to get them to and home from. If you want my list of what different Squirrelings have been involved in, it would include (at one time or another) Pioneer clubs, other church activities, dance lessons, voice lessons, summer library events, a homeschool social/crafts/gym club, homeschool bowling. ..The Apprentice has also had job-shadowing experience at her dad's office.
I just don't like differentiating between "in here" and "out there." I know exactly what's meant by the question, and it's not meant to be controversial or guilt-inducing. We're just supposed to share ideas we've used for getting our young ones involved in the bigger world. The image is something like Wombles leaving the burrow for the day with their collecting bags, to bring back what they can find or (sometimes) to give something back instead.
However, I still have an issue with what that's all about--not the giving back or exploring, but reasons some people would like to see homeschoolers do as much wombling free (and away from home) as they can. A lot of it has to do with that dratted Socialization thing, which was trounced very nicely in something that went round a few years ago:
To those who can manage a lot of clubs and activities--I often envy you, and I salute you and your minivans. To the rest of you--try not to sweat it too much. The right opportunities will come along (especially when the baby doesn't need to nap any more). Our Squirrelings may not have a long list of "socialization opportunities," but they're quite adequately sociable, thank you.
"What people refer to, as socialization is NOT an issue! I think it has become a word made up among the official home school naysayers. When someone asks you the question (”What about SOCIALIZATION?”), I begin by asking him or her, “What do you mean by socialization?” They will more than likely proceed with some variation on the following theme: “You know, having your kids spend time with other kids their age. Hanging out with their friends, stuff like that.” At that point I will no longer respond with the usual, “Oh Kelsey can get plenty of socialization while being home schooled! She can be in 4-H and Awanas, and Sunday school and Home School band and she can volunteer at the nursing homes etc.etc. In fact she has so many opportunities for socialization that she never had before that I would probably be “socially” busier than I am now. YaDa YaDa YaDa.” Why not? Because I did research on what socialization was and believe me that is not what socialization really is!"