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Help me feel better - Socialization

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I am hoping some of you can help me gain some perspective. I am really struggling with the socialization issue, and want to rid myself of it once and for all...if we are indeed not screwing up our kids.


First, a little background. We started homeschooling 3 years ago (we are entering our 4th year now). We started by pulling our then 5th grade son from public ed, and he has always been our quiet, less social child even before homeschooling. He never had close friends except for 4th grade when he did buddy up with a couple boys, finally. He has never been lonely, and is just very self-contained.


Our other 4 kids are at varying places on the "social scale", with a couple having no fear of new situations and a couple a bit less forward but not at all shy.


It seems we are caught between two worlds, and don't fit firmly in either one. We have tried a lot of different activities, and while the kids all have fun they have yet to connect with anyone for friendship outside of the activity. They are the only kids at our church other than one other family, so we don't have a youth group. They have many adult friends, but aside from their siblings they just haven't been able to make any firm friendships.


They could care less and all look at me like I am crazy when I ask if they feel like they are missing something. They really do seem happy, I'll admit that, and when they are around other kids they get along great so there are no real inabilities to socialize in various settings. We do different activities, were in art class for 3 years, TaeKwonDo twice a week, homeschool volleyball league, cake decorating, Civil Air Patrol, church camp...you name it, we do it or have done it.


I guess it is just weird for me because it all feels very different than when I grew up and was in public school. However, I never had any real close friends there either, so I don't know why it is bothering me for them, but it is. I guess I just don't want to have them look back one day and feel they missed out on something, because as an adult my friendships are precious to me...but I didn't have them in any depth at all until I hit adulthood.


We don't want more activities, they are not at all interested in Scouts or 4H as they feel they do enough. I am listening to them on this, but want to feel better about it myself.


And yea, I know I must be a total freak.


Any thoughts that might help me view this differently?



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Do you have neighbors nearby that are similar ages?


Cousins who live within driving distance?


How about friends of yours that have kids?


Maybe work with your church to try to attract more families?


Other homeschool families nearby?


I think having siblings helps a lot. :D My kids really are each other's best friends, though they probably wouldn't say that if you asked them (for example, ds would say "She's not my friend, she's my SISTER). But they play together and do the same things friends do. :001_smile:


I wouldn't put this issue in the "urgent" category, but in the "might be nice" category, seeing as how your kids don't have a problem with it.

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You need to practice social skills regularly.


I get my older, less social child to:

1) call a friend at least once a week

2) buy something at a store by himself once a week

3) talk to his grandparents on the phone when they call

4) take the train by himself, so deal with crowds

5) Take a class at a local school

6) Go to violin lessons by himself so he has to deal with the tutor


This is in addition to daily interaction with:

1) his brother

2) adult neighbours

3) 2x weekly interaction with homeschool friends


If you are worried, think clearly about what your child is not good at and set up a plan to improve.


Ruth in NZ

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I am of two minds on this, coming at this from another side. I don't really want my kids to develop deep, close BFFs (not that they really get the opportunity at this stage in our lives) - we move too much and it makes it that much harder for them to say goodbye. :( However, if we had more stability in our living situation and were staying in one place, then I might try to facilitate a closer friendship or two a little more. (Ie: would you like to invite X over for a movie night on Friday night?)


I'm okay with the looser connections now because I think most of the people that we (general we), as adults, still connect with on a regular basis are those friendships that were formed as adults or nearly adults (late high school or college), anyway. Yes, there are some people who are still best friends with the person they first sat next to in Kindergarten but people grow and change so much that I don't think it's very common.


My kids get regular social interaction at park days, field trips, and with the neighbourhood kids at the playground.

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I think that if they're happy, if they don't feel as though they're missing out on something, then this isn't really a problem. It sounds as though they're very well-adjusted, and thriving with the social opportunities you've already made available to them.


Whenever the issue of schoolfriends plays on my mind I always try to remind myself that for thousands of years, until just the past hundred years or so, most children have grown up socialising with just their immediate families and small communities. Being in school, as you recognise yourself, is no guarantee of good friends. My eldest has spent two rather miserable years at his very good school being tormented by a number of boys in his class; I often feel that for him homeschool would be a much healthier option, although academically he is doing well.


We're in a slightly different situation in that we've always planned for our boys to move on to a B&M school when they reach 11 yo. I know DS11 seemed to be more interested in getting out into the big wide world during the 6 months or so before he moved on to school. I think at around this age children often naturally focus their attention more outside the family, but school needn't be the only place, or the ideal place, for this to happen. Other options require a little more thought and effort on our part, but they are there. I'm sure you'll hear many accounts later in this thread of the ingenious ways homeschool parents involve their kids more in the community and find them friends.



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I think that if they're happy, if they don't feel as though they're missing out on something, then this isn't really a problem. It sounds as though they're very well-adjusted, and thriving with the social opportunities you've already made available to them.




It sounds to me as if your kids are well-adjusted and happy.

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