Have you ever noticed that even the most intelligent seeming humans are capable of asking homeschooled teens extremely annoying questions about homeschooling? Commonly heard amongst those that homeschool are the following questions:
- What about socialization?
- Do you like it?
- Is it legal?
- What will happen if they miss the prom?
Society tells us that if your child doesn’t go to school they will miss out. In high school, non-homeschoolers ponder the questions concerning prom, games, dances and other activities.
In the community in which I lived when we first began our homeschool journey, the annual winter ball was all the rage. I was intrigued by this concept and when we moved to Northern California, I wanted this experience for my own children and their friends. I thereby recently planned the first of what I hope will be an annual event.
Not Just Teens
Reminiscent of an old school ballroom dance or barn dance (typically involving traditional dancing and period music), a homeschool winter ball is a family affair. It is not just a teen dance. This is appealing to many homeschool families.
Homeschool winter balls provide an opportunity for families to connect with one another – particularly the dads who might otherwise not be able to attend homeschool activities and functions.
Another key difference between prom and a homeschool ball are the historic, period appropriate dances. The style and dances of course change each year according to the selected theme.
- Virginia Reel
- Grand March
- Hand Jive
- Cha Cha
- amongst others
How to Plan a Winter Ball
1. Select a Theme
As it was our first year (and I was initially undertaking this endeavor on my own), I chose a theme that would be relatively easy in regards to costumes and decorations – a 50s themed dance or Sock Hop.
2. Secure a Venue
I then reached out to another homeschool family who are pastors at a local church to confirm a venue. A venue is the biggest obstacle. As I wasn’t sure how many families would participate and thereby how much money I could expect to generate, I didn’t want to worry about a substantial rental fee.
3. Spread the Word
With a date and venue secured, I then created a flyer and tickets. I printed these and distributed them to our local charter schools and co-op leaders. I also began to spread the word via our Facebook & Yahoo groups – setting up an event page so parents could reach out to one another and find answers to frequently asked questions.
4. Seek Out Volunteers
I requested parent volunteers to help coordinate decorations, food, games, and prizes. A parent stepped up to chair each area of need. To assure we were all on the same page – I also planned a couple of planning meetings in advance of the social. This helped to keep everyone apprised of progress and what areas were needing additional support.
I would have loved to have dance instructors to help teach us period dances but I wasn’t able to make this part of my vision come to fruition this first year. Instead, we relied upon what we had learned via YouTube.
I encouraged everyone to come dressed in period attire or clothing reminiscent of the 1950s. This was a relatively easy feat. There were many pink poodle skirts and boys with t-shirts and jeans. It was so much fun to see how individual personalities were revealed (my daughter went with a sailing themed “poodle” skirt).
The planning team and volunteers arrived at the church early to decorate and get everything set up. The DJ met us there to assure the equipment was ready.
7. Celebrate Your Success
Everything came together easily and those who attended loved the decorations (45s purchased at a second hand store for just a few dollars were randomly adhered to the walls and strung from a garland) and the ’58 Corvette photo prop. Ticket sales (just $20 per family) even enabled us to hire a DJ!
The Sock Hop was a smashing success! We are already planning ahead for 2016.
Future Theme Ideas
- Roaring 20s
- Masquerade Ball
- Under the Sea
- Alice and Wonderland
- Arabian Nights
- Chronicles of Narnia
- Civil War
In the years to come, I will put together a Winter Ball Planning committee and hand down the task of planning to the upcoming teens. It will be up to these young adults to plan the theme, select a venue, and coordinate activities and food. This will allow them the opportunity to be involved in the same type of experiences other high school students enjoy.