One of the objections many homeschooling parents hear is that homeschooled students are not as well socialized as students in a traditional classroom. Some may even say that homeschooled children don’t have many friends. After all, where would they meet them if not at school?
We have met our friends at many different places. We’ve met them at storytime, at playgroups, on field trips, at co-op, at the park, at extracurricular activities, in homeschool PE, and at church. And while everyone’s experience is different, this is what I have discovered:
*I must be willing to make the first move when looking for a friend for my child. Sometimes it’s hard, but taking a risk and introducing yourself to someone new can have great payoffs. I found a friend at the library that way – we actually introduced ourselves to each other at the same time – and our kids are still friends, even after fifteen years and a move three hours away.
*Because we homeschool, I know my children’s friends really well. When the kids get together, I’m there, too. And I don’t just know their best friends – I know all of their acquaintances.
*I also know the friends’ parents well. When the homeschooling moms in my area meet for activities, we like to talk. As my kids would say, we like to talk and talk and talk. We share more than just pleasantries – we share child-rearing concerns, educational struggles and triumphs, family and personal challenges. We even have an online support group for the moms in our area.
*Friendships don’t necessarily develop based on the age of the student. When my oldest was ten, he had friends who were a couple years younger than him as well as a friend who was four years older. They just all enjoyed doing the same things.
*Some friendships just don’t last. While I like to think that homeschooled students have a strong sense of loyalty and commitment, they are kids after all, and relationships can be tricky. New interests, hurt feelings, and growing pains can cause even homeschooled friends to pull away. The plus side: though the disappointment is there, I can help my child work through it.
How have your homeschooled children fostered strong friendships?
Photo by: hepingting