Thursday, March 17, 2011


The ugly specter of socialization reared its head this week.

JT walked into the kitchen at bedtime and said, "You know, the problem with homeschooling is that the kids don't get much of a chance to socialize with other kids."


I want it to be known, that both of the boys are active in Cub Scouts, Upward Basketball, the youth group at our church, chess club...being in the vicinity of other kids is not the issue. The issue is finding someone who is a member of your tribe.

I recently became enamoured with the blog, Un-Schooled. The post, Being friends with older people, really hit home with me. As a homeschooling mom, I wonder how our boys will develop close friendships when they might not have the same volume of exposure to kids of their own age. But then I find blogs written by people like Kate and I am reassured that they won't end up as reclusive old men. However, his comment in the kitchen made me think he may need a little help in forming a connection with someone.

In a moment of synchronicity, my friend Annie from Learn at Every Turn, sent me an email this week asking if my son JT and her son Landry could start an email correspondence. My husband and I had just decided that week to allow JT to have an email account. Up until now, we hadn't wanted to deal with the potential problems it could bring about. So, JT began his first official internet friendship. He is loving every minute of it! The boys are sending programming code back and forth to modify a simple number guessing game. They are sharing links and pictures of their pets.

At first, I spent a lot of time wishing JT could find a close friend who is also close geographically. But you know what? My closest friends are spread out across the country. I have very few close friends who live near enough to visit physically. Sure, I have plenty of acquaintances from the area...but other than my husband, none of them are a perfect fit for me. With the world getting smaller and smaller thanks to the internet and easy travel, I believe it might become old-fashioned to even have friends in close proximity. In the same way that the neighborhoods of the days when mom was home all day and dad went off to the office have become extinct...our idea of friendships may change. Maybe homeschoolers will be the ones most ready to adapt.


Monica said...

You know, I've lived here for over a decade and I have a sum total of 2 people that I consider close friends. Neither one is close to my age. One I have more in common with than the other but the 2nd one I have more history with. If I see either of them more than once every 4 months, we are doing quite well. Since moving here, casual friends have come and gone but the person I ended up closest to moved away. That's not surprising since part of what we had in common was our love of traveling. I "talk" (with definitions of talking including Twitter, blogging and email) with him almost every day. The 2 people who live here, I talk with rarely more than once a week and sometimes only about once a month. Oooh. I just thought of a blog post you might like. I'll email it to you once I find it.

Annie said...

I have a handful of long-term, deep friendships with people that I know I can count on in thick and thin. We've seen each other through a variety of events in our lives. The funny thing is that all but one are not near me geographically. Many are in other countries, and a few I've never met face to face.

I've given some thought to this, like you have. I am a pretty unique individual, as are most of my friends. Logic alone would suggest that out of the billions of people on this planet, the chances of finding many people with common interests and perspectives in my immediate vicinity seems unlikely. However, throw the door open to the world and the potential for commonality rises substantially.

At least for me, I'd rather have one or two lasting, meaningful friendships via letters and internet than dozens of superficial friendships nearby.

I tend to see homeschoolers as people who prize individuality and thinking outside the box. So, it makes sense to me that this dynamic would work for them as well.

And, for the record, Cybermama, I consider you one of those people I value highly as a true friend. It's wonderful to see that continue into the next generation. :) And now you have even more reason to trek out West on Amtrak!!

Cyber Momma said...

Monica--I enjoy my long distance relationships...I remember the years right after high school...before internet and cell phones, when I'd have an astronomical phone bill. I'm just glad technology is allowing me to have friends without having to get a home equity loan for the bills!

Annie--Thank you for your friendship! I must say, that is the best thing I have gained from my blogging adventure. And someday I hope to get out there to see you for real!

Monica said...

Oh, I know! My phone bill used to be so terribly high. Now, it's barely anything since I rarely need to use it. Skype = awesome! Google Voice = awesome! Email, texting, Twitter, IM, etc. etc. These are the ways I communicate these days.