“What are you doing?”
“Hey, what are you playing?”
“Oh are you going inside now?”
Still no answer.
My 7-year-old has a friend next door.
Except when she doesn’t.
She has a friend most afternoons. A friend who answers her questions, who calls out and asks her to play, who comes over to jump on the trampoline. A friend who is excited to see her, a friend who shares laughter and imaginary games, a friend who she adores.
Some days that friend has another friend. Some days they’re playing over the fence and they don’t answer her questions. Some days they purposely ignore her. Some days they’re rude to her and they think it’s funny.
Some days my heart breaks for her.
I remember how friendship groups work, especially amongst girls. How cliques are formed. How it’s not cool to talk to the younger kid over the fence when you’ve got your school friend over. I remember how we played with power and exclusion.
I gently enquire and check she’s ok. And she is. My strong girl. I comment that I noticed they weren’t answering her questions.
“Yeah, but they’re having a sleepover so they’re just pretty excited about that”
Sweet innocent girl.
When it happens often enough you start to become self-conscious. You wonder why they are acting that way towards you. What have you done wrong? How can you fix it? And then you join in and act the same way, hoping to be liked, wanting to be included.
You learn ‘socialization‘. Right?
That’s what we’re all worried about isn’t it? That’s what kids need to learn? To fit in. To get along. To make friends.
Is it? Because I don’t think so.
If you don’t send your child to school, most people think that they’re missing out on important socialization. And you know what? They’re absolutely right!
Yes, my kids are missing out on being socialized in a schooled environment. And you know what else? I’m extremely happy about it!
I do not want them socialized to conform, fit in, gossip, bully, compete, and lose their compassion and individuality.
I want them socialized to have empathy and understanding for others, to be helpful and cooperative, to be friendly and accommodating. Putting a group of kids of the same age and social skills together does not achieve this. We’ve all been there.
If you’re worrying about homeschooled kids being socialized, you’re worrying about the wrong group. We’re doing just fine thanks.