Have you ever stuck your foot out from under the blanket at night, just to cool off a bit? Sometimes, we like to be cozy under the blankets, but we also need to level off the heat a bit by sticking out our foot and exposing it to the cooler air. Everyone’s done this before, but how does it relate to homeschooling? Like your body temperature, using the “foot equalizer” in your homeschooling program is a vital part of preparing your kids for their future.Homeschoolers are typically pretty protective of the things that they do and don’t do with their children. They are known for exhibiting more stringent standards of behavior and for examining their hobbies closely. This is sometimes true, and sometimes not, but one thing can be said to be characteristic of all homeschoolers. They spend more time with their children than most parents, just by virtue of their educational choice, and this leads to more opportunities to shape and train their children.That being said, homeschool parents usually place more emphasis on family values and character training. These are fantastic things, but in some cases, homeschoolers forget to prepare for when the children leave the home. Some homeschool parents can fail to train their children for interactions with the world outside, and that leaves homeschool children a little uneasy or cautious about how to engage in the non-homeschooling arena.By “sticking out your foot” from time to time, and looking for ways in which your children can be active participants with non-homeschoolers, you are actually helping them prepare for their adult life. This is vitally important if we want our homeschool children to grow up to be leaders and men and women of positive influence on their communities. They will have to know how to be in the world, but not overcome by situations and values that are different than their own.When we stick our foot out from under the covers at night, the majority of our bodies are still covered and protected. Only a smaller portion of our body, our foot, is moved out to the colder air. Likewise, for homeschoolers, the “covering” of the home and family support system should still be a major emphasis of all of the daily interactions. But a smaller portion of time can, and should be spent on learning to interact with those who are in less familiar environments. This teaches homeschool students valuable people skills, leadership, and self-management. This prepares them more fully for future relationships, and it does so while they are in a safe environment from which to branch out.So, stay warm, stay cozy, but help your homeschool children stick out their feet from time to time.