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.