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Where do your middle school age kids find their social connections?


Dmmetler
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DD11 has been homeschooled, and most of our social connections have come from a group of homeschooled people we do regular clubs/groups with.

 

Well,in the last year, three of her regular peers/friends have gone back to a traditional school, and I found out today that several more are signing up for 2 day a week university model-type programs, and are expecting not to do the regular clubs/groups because they'll have that structured time (and social time) built in. A lot are signing up together so their kids will have friends in the same class. For DD, such a program is a bad fit for the same reasons why a traditional school is, and therefore isn't an option. There are still lots of younger kids around, and she doesn't mind them, but she also wants friends closer to her age. 

 

DD used to have friends in activities (cheer, tumbling, dance),but that has dwindled as she's gotten older, and it really doesn't seem like it's a social thing for kids doing just rec classes at her age. For the most part, they're there a few months, and by the time my relatively shy kid is starting to connect, they're gone. 

 

 

I'm feeling kind of down right now. 

 

 

 

 

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:grouphug: My son isn't on the same intellectual level as your daughter, but I've noticed a significant drop off of in peers as time passed.

 

He started public school this year, which I would guess isn't really an option for your daughter's advanced academic level. We do have him in a competitive sport that isn't tied to school. If he decided to return to homeschooling, we'd keep him in the program. Has your daughter considered swimming, soccer, diving, tennis, or golf? Those are sports that usually aren't as tied into public school sports.

Edited by ErinE
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Competitive sports that run all year: swimming, rowing, gymnastics

Recreational sports that run all year: fitness training, cross country, triathlon training

Homeschool co-op - even though it gets smaller each year

Neighborhood kids

4-H

 

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Lots of our friends have returned to public school, but we still get together with them, just not during the school day. Mainly sleepovers & weekend/ school break activities- movies, mall, camping, etc. I do have to go out of my way to be sure we get together. As they get older, they start planning stuff with friends & I just have to drive.

 

We do a community youth choir that meets on Sunday's with a mix of public & homeschooled kids.

Comic cons have yielded lots of online friends.

DnD gaming groups, dance classes, robotics, youth group, hiking group, swim team, art, theater, choir, orchestra, 4 H, scouts, are all options here too.

 

We've always had best luck with spending lots if time nurturing 1-2 close friendships per kid. I don't go out of my way to set up lots of playdates with acquaintances from dance class, but with our close friends, yes. (It helps if I really like the parents, then I'm much more willIng to get together)

 

We really don't do much social stuff during the day anymore, most kids R doing schoolwork or in public school.

 

I'm going back to running a teen social group for our homeschoolers (& former homeschoolers we still hang with) instead of running our co op next year. Things like- bowling, movie nights, game nights, disk golf, kayaking, camping trips, paint ball, etc- the kids are more excited about that than a co op, & as they get older, really just want hang out time with friends, we can do academics at home.

Edited by Hilltopmom
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:grouphug:

 

My kids don't care who as long as DS10 gets to chat and DS11 gets to observe, so it has been easier for me to find opportunities.

 

My kids german school classmates are likely to stick with it until end of high school as many are considering universities in Germany and Switzerland as possibilities. So even though my kids could learn faster through a private tutor, we are willing to pay for the slower rate of learning in a classroom in return for the emotional "security blanket" provided by their classmates and teachers.

 

My kids are also in a homeschool science hands-on class which has almost the same kids every year so my kids look forward to class to socialize. The founder is flexible on placement so subject acceleration isn't a problem yet.

 

Locally, my neighbors' kids are getting their social time through ensembles and youth orchestras rather than sports. For example my neighbor's son takes his violin to a peer violinist's home to practice together.

 

That is also why we are encouraging towards DS10 picking up the saxophone as a 3rd instrument because it is so easy to host an impromptu jam session. DS11 is thinking of ukelele or guitar which are convenient for jam sessions too. Of course both my kids could jam on keyboards instead. Music is an ice-breaker locally since most kids play at least one instrument.

 

Does she do choir? Karoake sessions at friends home were fun things hubby and I did as kids and our friends' parents happily ply us with food and laugh at our horrible singing.

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Oldest dd has made most of her close friends through ballet and through our church youth group. Those are year-round, long-term activities for her. The connections took years to build, but they are very solid. All her close friends go to public or private school.

 

Ds has made many of his close friends through scouts. He also has two buddies who are homeschooled. One of those friendships is cooling as they get older and find they have less in common. The other friend is returning to public school in the fall. I'm hoping that scouts and baseball will continue to provide him with some connections, because everyone seems to be transitioning to public school at this point.

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:grouphug: Has your daughter considered swimming, soccer, diving, tennis, or golf? Those are sports that usually aren't as tied into public school sports.

 

This is what I was going to suggest as well.  My kids have been friends with the same group of friends for years via tennis.  These kids are together multiple times a week yet all attend different schools during the day.  They get together and do things outside of tennis.

 

I have other friends whose kids are very involved in community theater, and the kids' social activities revolve around this group of friends, not the kids at their public schools.

 

:grouphug:

 

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DD has found most of her friends through youth group, dance, and scouts.  The boys found their good friends are through scouts and soccer.  My middle is starting to make a few friends at youth group, but we just started going to a new church, so it is still pretty new.  I have found most of my kids long term friends have been from activities where they have time to spend together doing social interaction type things and life experiences.  Sports and dance were not the greatest at making long term friends.  They only see each other at practice/class, but not much outside that with the exception of competition team.  Scouts and youth group provides an opportunity to do social things together such as hiking, camping, community service,...

 

I am thinking about looking into community theater this summer, because I think my kids would enjoy it and it would hopefully help them meet new people.

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Middle school was/is hard.

 

These are the years that separate long time friends as life takes them different directions. Many parents enroll their kids in more structured programs or even in school as they worry about providing academically for them

 

We had to find a totally new friend group when my oldest reached these ages. A new homeschool group completely.  It stunk.

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I'm going back to running a teen social group for our homeschoolers (& former homeschoolers we still hang with) instead of running our co op next year. Things like- bowling, movie nights, game nights, disk golf, kayaking, camping trips, paint ball, etc- the kids are more excited about that than a co op, & as they get older, really just want hang out time with friends, we can do academics at home.

 

This.

 

My kids don't want to waste "friend time" on academic pursuits.

 

Go for it.

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My son(12 this summer) has his main friends from Scouts, which he has been in since 7. He's started doing D&D night with one of those friends and dh and Scouts at this level has monthly weekend long camping trips. We have other hs friends we get together with here and there. This seems to be enough for the time being. My (almost) 9yo dd main friends are a boy who also hs his mom is a good friend and we try to get together fairly frequently and her cousin she has a sleepover at Granny's house with her once a month. Tonight she is joining the boys at D&D night to play with some of her friends from Scouts, hopefully it goes well and can become a regular thing for her too. I'd like her to have more friends but it hasn't worked out so far, she does Scouts and Dance but while there is plenty of friendliness while we are there it hasn't translated to anything outside of the events.

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Awanas has been a big hit here. It meets weekly, then Ds goes to other community stuff which kids talk about at Awanas. This has bloomed into Skate Night once a week, Awanas once a week, and park day twice a week.

 

It isn't bad for just silly time. However, his real friends are in their early twenties. They all signed up to learn Latin with him in the fall (like 8 of them). We are going to go camping for the local Shakespeare Festival and have tickets all purchased. There are regular movie nights. They have a clan together in a video game. These are the people he is really close to. One even went away to grad school in Vermont and they Facetime a couple times a week. I do not exactly know what to do with it, but it works for him.

 

Is she requesting same aged peers, or is this a place you are more comfortable with?

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I think it's a hard stage for homeschoolers and public schoolers. I've had 3 friend this month tell me about their middle school child, at a public school, being dropped by their "friends" and being bullied. Kids start to find their nitch and are trying to figure out who they are or what group they want to follow. By high school I think things settle down somewhat. We are involved in 2 homeschool groups but my kids hang out with my friends kids and my cousins kids. It's just who they end up being around the most.

Edited by Momto4inSoCal
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Co-op, softball, our environmental ed center, on our street.

 

My 7th grader, without any ps experience, still feels as if hs'ing deprives her of friends.  I can't wrap my mind around what her expectations must be.  She's especially close to 4 homeschooled kids and 4 kids on our block, plus all the others she hangs out with.  *I* didn't like that many people growing up!

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This is a frustrating time for me. My son's best friend is moving away and we're looking for new friends for him. Yet I feel like I've tried everything. He's played soccer and baseball but has no lasting friendships from either of those. He is in cub scouts but no connections there, either, that have gotten anywhere. He mainly plays at the park with other kids (we live in a city, so kids play at the park more than I did growing up), playing things like soccer and football, but those are pretty superficial, too.

 

He plays piano, but that is a solitary instrument, so he can't join the youth symphony. His biggest weakness in piano is rhythm, so doing percussion doesn't make much sense. He was part of a group of yoyoers, but the group changed meeting times so we go rather infrequently, and it is far from our house, anyways, so he couldn't really build up deep connections. Friends from church go to incredibly academic schools that pile on the homework, so they are only available weekends. 

 

Sigh. 
 

But if that is bad, dd9 is worse. She has her two closest friends both moving out of town this month.

 

Emily

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My dd's in a similar boat. We try to maintain contact with the few good friends she's got even if they don't see each other frequently and the friends don't homeschool anymore. When there are opportunities for doing short-term programs together with a friend, we jump at it. We also just keep forging ahead with her interests and hope that she'll connect with one or two new people along the way.

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I work so hard at this, and it is work because I am not keen on spending time with other moms around me.

We do sleepovers when invited (meaning I go too!), have tried turning my house into a "farm and country" destination, etc.

what it looks like is short bursts of intense socializing (like the weekend he spent in NYC by himself) and then weeks of just talking to me :(

Edited by madteaparty
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I'll first say that it gets easier in high school!  

 

But for us in middle school, it was 4-H, sports, music, theater, and church youth group.  They didn't necessarily make good friends in sports, but they enjoyed being part of a team and it kept them busy and challenged.  In our community, kids can take even just a class or two at the middle school, so that's where they took music (instrumental/choir).  Theater was either an after-school activity, or completely separate from the school.

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:grouphug:  We're going through the same thing here with dd9.  Despite the fact that she does theater - rehearsal 3 nights a week, horseback riding & vaulting, once a week,and Girl Scouts, every other week, she feels like she doesn't have enough friend time.  Those three activities would be/are plenty for me! But it's not sheer volume of time, it's that she doesn't really feel a part of things, part of a group. She doesn't get all the social references, she isn't on the birthday-invite circuit, she just feels out of the loop.  And to her, this matters.  I have many concerns about her expressed desire to return to ps, I think that she thinks it will be an all-day party and that she will instantly be part of a happy, nice, warm, friendly group of friends, like she fantasizes.  But it ain't always so. Case in point:

 

Meanwhile dd13 is going through what others have described. Her tribe is her theater group, and she's always has close friendships with kids there.  This show, though, her "best friend" since babyhood is doing theater too, and has really mucked it up for dd.  I put "bf" in quotes, because these two have been bfs since babyhood, but their interests and personalities have diverged dramatically and bf is turning into quite a Queen Bee/Mean Girl. Anyway, she seems to be systematically excluding dd and working to cut her off from her theater buddies.  Dd is really suffering.  

 

So I've got two unhappy kids, for different reasons. I'm not sure what to do to help either of them.  :(

Edited by Chrysalis Academy
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She has her college and grad student peers, but because herp work is so seasonal, she rarely sees them between November and March. She does most of her data analysis and number crunching at home, not at the school, and unless she needs the physical land we don't make the trip. She does labs at the college, but the undergrads are less willing to accept her as one of them when she's only there once a month or so. She has been accepted to take college classes locally, but right now, is reluctant, and there's no real reason why she needs to start DE yet, so I'm not forcing the issue. And, when DD is with college and grad students and herpetologists, she's not being a kid. She is very serious, focused and driven, and so concerned about being taken seriously that she's, well, serious.

 

Spring/Summer usually has the park days, etc, so aren't so bad, and she'll do a sleep-away on campus program this summer that is basically made for her (except that it's not focused on reptiles) and have the BIG herpetology meeting. I'm hoping she'll add some online friends closer to her age.

 

There is a teen/tween field trip group, but they're so irregular on when they meet that it doesn't work in my schedule at all. We could sign up, but probably not make 50+% of activities, because DD doesn't have the set "in school from 9:00-3:00 on Tuesday and Thursday" to schedule around. I can carve out a block of time, but not "this week we're doing something Fricay night, and next week on Monday afternoon" when most stuff is announced only a week or so in advance. Co-ops for high school tend to actually be academic classes and don't work well for DD. We have had the remnants of one we've done for years, but this semester had a total of 7 kids. In the fall, that probably drops to 5 due to some of the older students starting DE.

 

She has done competitive rec cheer since she was 4, and that is largely drying up for older kids. If she were willing to move to a competitive non-rec program, there are teen teams there, but their schedules are pretty awful-15+ hours a week of training and out of state meets basically every weekend from January-March. She is very reluctant to try other sports because she just plain is behind on motor skills and knows it. In Cheer, at a rec level, she can keep up because she's honestly the only kid who has been in the program this long at this point. And she hates change.

 

There is 4-H in the area, but around here it seems like most of the groups are Cloverbuds with a few older siblings, or are actually at schools and made up of kids from that school. There doesn't seem to be a group that is close to DD's age. I was actually talking to a mom who is trying to organize an apiary club under 4-H, but she, in the same breath, complained about the lack of attendance and commitment from the parents of kids actually in the 4-H range, so her group was basically her DD, who is a year younger than DD, one other girl, and a handful of Cloverbuds. I don't think that's going to give DD what she needs, somehow. Girl Scouts evaporates at middle school here.

 

 

She does have one really, really awesome friend who we make an effort to see regularly (in a similar boat, although she does go to a traditional school), so that helps.

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My 12 year old is struggling too.

 

Part of this is because of the older two attending school this year (community college and high school but neither drives) and my schedule is such that I can't take him places we used to go.

 

He does boy scouts and that is great.  

 

But we are sending him to school next year.......I would say we are caving, but it is really the right thing for this particular kid.

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:grouphug: We're going through the same thing here with dd9. Despite the fact that she does theater - rehearsal 3 nights a week, horseback riding & vaulting, once a week,and Girl Scouts, every other week, she feels like she doesn't have enough friend time. Those three activities would be/are plenty for me! But it's not sheer volume of time, it's that she doesn't really feel a part of things, part of a group. She doesn't get all the social references, she isn't on the birthday-invite circuit, she just feels out of the loop. And to her, this matters. I have many concerns about her expressed desire to return to ps, I think that she thinks it will be an all-day party and that she will instantly be part of a happy, nice, warm, friendly group of friends, like she fantasizes. But it ain't always so. Case in point:

 

Meanwhile dd13 is going through what others have described. Her tribe is her theater group, and she's always has close friendships with kids there. This show, though, her "best friend" since babyhood is doing theater too, and has really mucked it up for dd. I put "bf" in quotes, because these two have been bfs since babyhood, but their interests and personalities have diverged dramatically and bf is turning into quite a Queen Bee/Mean Girl. Anyway, she seems to be systematically excluding dd and working to cut her off from her theater buddies. Dd is really suffering.

 

So I've got two unhappy kids, for different reasons. I'm not sure what to do to help either of them. :(

So sorry. I've no words of advice. Kids/life throw the most unexpected curve balls, don't they? In any event, their home life is happy, and that's not nothing.

I remind myself DS still has full access to DH and myself. And we are freaking fascinating. ;)

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This is a tough age and a lot of us are in the same boat. My 11-yo *always* complains about not seeing her friends enough. Skiing has been very good for my dd, and we were able to go almost every weekend this year because we had a lot of snow. We see other friends in art classes and church. Have you considered other sports such as Tae Kwon Do? 4-H is big here and as they get older there are travel/leadership opportunities. Sometimes it is necessary to start a club yourself. Another mom and I got together and started a Toastmaster's Gavel Club for high school homeschool kids and we reserve the last 30 minutes of each meeting for socializing. Begin now investigating 4-H clubs. Is there another mom who would help you start one up this fall? You would have all summer to investigate possibilities. There are many topics that you would never think of as 4-H, but you still get to participate in fairs and other state-wide events. In the summer, dd is signed up to be in three different overnight camps. Wishing you luck.

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Ugh. Same problems here. This year, DS (13) started complaining about the lack of friends. Homeschoolers his age are hard to come by in this small town (with lots of other small towns around). Many have gone back to B&M school as their parents are, for the most part, intimidated by the thought of homeschooling middle and high school. DS has no desire to go to a B&M school and, undoubtedly, wouldn't do well there due to a number of factors (bully magnet, academically advanced in several subjects, sensory overload issues). This year, he was part of a Confirmation Class and will probably join a youth group to keep up with the 2 friends he made there. We have also been traveling a couple of hours each way for him to take a science class at a museum (though the kids there all seem to be introverts - as is DS - and so he really hasn't made friends there, but at least he sees other kids). He was part of a youth choir, but those kids are younger and he needed more of a challenge, so now he is the youngest member of an adult chorale. Similarly, he is the youngest member of the grown-up local bird club and is too far advanced in ornithology to want to be in a youth-oriented bird club. One bright spot is that we are going to a family camp/conference center and he will get to see the friend (girl!!!!!) he's had for several years. He is on Cloud Nine! Probably an email pal would be a good idea for him, but where to find one?

 

ETA: There is one boy in the neighborhood his age and they have finally started shooting hoops together occasionally.

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Most of my kids activities now are not homeschool specific.  We started a 4-H STEM club and we picked to have the age range be 7 to 12 for the first year (and will up it each year as our kids get older).   We had 40 kids show up for the initial meeting and average 25 per meeting.  About 1/3 are homeschoolers since I did advertise at local homeschool groups.


 


They also do Tai Kwan Do and choir.


 


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It's really difficult.

 

I remember middle school as a time of shifting friendships. Social groups were forming and re-forming in middle school. Middle school is when I met my lifelong friends. It's when my dd's met their lifelong friends. But we were all in public school, and as the groups shifted there was always a pool of different people with whom to form friendships. That hasn't been our experience as homeschoolers. Ds15 had several regular friends until about 6th grade, but as they returned to public school/pursued other interests/moved away, it has been challenging for him to find other boys his age to connect with, even though he's in several activities.

 

I've noticed that my guys haven't got many homeschooled friends any more. Most of my boys' friends are in ps. They've met them at ballet, karate, choir, theater, in the neighborhood, or known them since they were younger. Interesting....I just realized typing this, that the strongest friendships they've made are in activities in which I've volunteered myself, and the moms and I have become friends also. Not sure if the kids are friends because we are, or we're friends because they are. We don't do many drop-off get togethers; not because I don't do drop-offs, but because the moms and I want time to hang out also, which probably makes it more likely that they'll get to spend time together. :)

 

It's also an age at which it isn't really cool for one mom to say to the other, "Hey, my kid really likes your kid. Want to get them together sometime?" So my most social guy has no trouble finding and connecting with friends; he has several "best friends" because he'll say, "Want to come over sometime?"  My shyest guy is having a hard time forming new friendships because he is shy about saying (or texting), "Hey, want to meet at the arcade this weekend?" But I think that's what it takes to make new friends at this age, and it's hard to do.

 

 

 

 

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We like scouts, but troops vary widely, and Girl Scout program materials are pretty lame, imo.

 

At age 14, girls can join Boy Scouts as part of a venturing crew.

 

Off the wall suggestion, but chess could be a possibility, *if* there is an active chess community in your area. People who are serious about chess will play as much as they can, so you see the same people again and again.

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We live in an area with a great inclusive secular homeschooling community which has been huge over these years where kids are craving peer groups.  We belong to a co-op and I will allow my kids to take some "fun" classes or classes that might stretch executive function though they might not be academically challenging.  My kids have nice peer groups through non-competitive dance, theater, music lessons (we go to a large music program with a great community).

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My older kid doesn't care so much (14).  He is happy doing whatever it is he does.  The 10 year old complains.  I can't seem to keep him busy enough.

 

What drove me batty for awhile was all the teen activity announcements for 14 and up when my kid was 13.  So where does that leave him?  With the toddler crowd?  Seriously people don't seem to think these things through.  Doesn't matter he wasn't ever interested in any of it though.

 

 

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And to add, there really isn't usually any shortage of organized activities.  It's the non organized that are hard to find.  Kids aren't allowed to just play or hang out.  They always have to have every moment of their day micromanaged.  That really is the sort of thing my 10 year old complains about. 

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Mine doesn't care either. He has one good friend; they see each other maybe once every month or two. He's social in regards to being on various sports teams, but he doesn't necessarily hang out with anyone at practices or meets and isn't at all interested in making more friends. These types of threads make me worry, but it's just how he's always been.

 

Eta if he wanted to make closer friends, he does have the opportunity through his sports. If it weren't for that, I honestly have no idea. If it were an issue, I'd probably talk to him about going to the middle school. As it is, it bothers me much more than him.

Edited by MEmama
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Does she text and have instagram and snapchat? These can help a lot. Where we used to talk on the phone (us old fogeys), the kids these days use those.

DD is on social media more than most kids her age because that's where a lot of her herp work and networking happens, but it's mostly with graduate atudents and professionals, and a few teens also planning careers in organismal biology. She texts with a very small number of people. I moderate her media use very closely-for her pages for her projects, it's usually about 30-60 minutes a day.

 

One thing I've considered is setting up some sort of message board for our clubs if they happen next year for the older kids to chat about those topics in a moderated space. DD enjoys that for her online classes.

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Mine doesn't care either. He has one good friend; they see each other maybe once every month or two. He's social in regards to being on various sports teams, but he doesn't necessarily hang out with anyone at practices or meets and isn't at all interested in making more friends. These types of threads make me worry, but it's just how he's always been.

 

Eta if he wanted to make closer friends, he does have the opportunity through his sports. If it weren't for that, I honestly have no idea. If it were an issue, I'd probably talk to him about going to the middle school. As it is, it bothers me much more than him.

 

Yeah one of mine is just like that.  He hasn't changed.  He has become more outgoing, but not in the sense of going out to meet people.  He just likes to get on the city bus and ride around and chat up the bus driver.

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DD is on social media more than most kids her age because that's where a lot of her herp work and networking happens, but it's mostly with graduate atudents and professionals, and a few teens also planning careers in organismal biology. She texts with a very small number of people. I moderate her media use very closely-for her pages for her projects, it's usually about 30-60 minutes a day.

 

One thing I've considered is setting up some sort of message board for our clubs if they happen next year for the older kids to chat about those topics in a moderated space. DD enjoys that for her online classes.

I read her piece about making a frog pond out of a toddler wading pool. It was great!

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My 7th grader's main friends come from church, Scouts and our co-op. So far it's enough for him. He's an introvert though, like me, and is pretty happy with having a few close friends. 

 

One thing we've found is that the friendships that have really gone deeper and lasted have been those where the kids are in a group and working on something in common together. Sports, for the most part, hasn't done it for us. Ds swims and he likes kids he swims with but they aren't really friends. He's enjoyed other sports (basketball) and always had fun on the teams but they haven't led to real friendships. 

 

The main thing the past few years that has strengthened friendships for him has been Odyssey of the Mind. We've had a team of all boys for the past 3 years that has had a core group. The same boys are in Scouts and co-op so he sees them other places (something else that seems to help strengthen friendships). I know people who have had similar experiences in theater groups or the speech and debate club at our co-op. Could there be something like that to get into...Science Olympiad? A Math competition group? 

 

There is a group of girls at our co-op who had a book club. I've talked to the Mom that started it and she started it roughly in 5th grade to help with the middle school years. I think they met weekly, although it might have been less. They read books but I know they did other things like watch movies based on the books, do service projects together, etc. Those girls have now gotten to be very tight. 

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She has her college and grad student peers, but because herp work is so seasonal, she rarely sees them between November and March. She does most of her data analysis and number crunching at home, not at the school, and unless she needs the physical land we don't make the trip. She does labs at the college, but the undergrads are less willing to accept her as one of them when she's only there once a month or so. She has been accepted to take college classes locally, but right now, is reluctant, and there's no real reason why she needs to start DE yet, so I'm not forcing the issue. And, when DD is with college and grad students and herpetologists, she's not being a kid. She is very serious, focused and driven, and so concerned about being taken seriously that she's, well, serious.

 

Spring/Summer usually has the park days, etc, so aren't so bad, and she'll do a sleep-away on campus program this summer that is basically made for her (except that it's not focused on reptiles) and have the BIG herpetology meeting. I'm hoping she'll add some online friends closer to her age.

 

There is a teen/tween field trip group, but they're so irregular on when they meet that it doesn't work in my schedule at all. We could sign up, but probably not make 50+% of activities, because DD doesn't have the set "in school from 9:00-3:00 on Tuesday and Thursday" to schedule around. I can carve out a block of time, but not "this week we're doing something Fricay night, and next week on Monday afternoon" when most stuff is announced only a week or so in advance. Co-ops for high school tend to actually be academic classes and don't work well for DD. We have had the remnants of one we've done for years, but this semester had a total of 7 kids. In the fall, that probably drops to 5 due to some of the older students starting DE.

 

She has done competitive rec cheer since she was 4, and that is largely drying up for older kids. If she were willing to move to a competitive non-rec program, there are teen teams there, but their schedules are pretty awful-15+ hours a week of training and out of state meets basically every weekend from January-March. She is very reluctant to try other sports because she just plain is behind on motor skills and knows it. In Cheer, at a rec level, she can keep up because she's honestly the only kid who has been in the program this long at this point. And she hates change.

 

There is 4-H in the area, but around here it seems like most of the groups are Cloverbuds with a few older siblings, or are actually at schools and made up of kids from that school. There doesn't seem to be a group that is close to DD's age. I was actually talking to a mom who is trying to organize an apiary club under 4-H, but she, in the same breath, complained about the lack of attendance and commitment from the parents of kids actually in the 4-H range, so her group was basically her DD, who is a year younger than DD, one other girl, and a handful of Cloverbuds. I don't think that's going to give DD what she needs, somehow. Girl Scouts evaporates at middle school here.

 

 

She does have one really, really awesome friend who we make an effort to see regularly (in a similar boat, although she does go to a traditional school), so that helps.

 

Perhaps she could join a group activity where pretty much everyone is a beginner, the pressure isn't on perfection, and there is time and opportunity for some chatting and laughs. Ukulele is becoming very popular among youth, and a group class could provide this type of setting. Ukes are inexpensive, fun and don't require much music background to start playing. 

 

Another option could be a youth cooking class, or something else like that. Depends on your dd's interests. There might also be a physical activity that isn't really a "sport" that also offers a group setting with less emphasis on skill. Perhaps climbing, hiking, paddling, or something like this.

 

Good luck!

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I could have written your thread OP. I have two 7th graders and it's so hard. Lots of kids their age are being put into school. We've only lived in our new state for 17 months and it's been harder than I expected to make friends.

 

One thing that dawned on me: one son loves his year-round theater class. So just one more thing for that son and I think he would feel more complete. My other son is more introverted and few friends doesn't seem to bother him as much. The first son  also does piano, but that's a solo activity.

 

Someone mentioned cross country on here which he would like -- I wonder where you find something like that for homeschoolers?

 

Thanks for bringing up such a hard subject. So sad. I didn't expect this part of homeschooling.

 

Alley

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Someone mentioned cross country on here which he would like -- I wonder where you find something like that for homeschoolers?

Not exclusively for homeschoolers but we found REI and Sports Basement notice boards useful. They have crosscountry clinics too. REI clinics are members only but lifetime membership is $20 the last time I look. Sports Basement clinics are free, in the evening or weekends, and they put out a tray of cookies or similar snacks.

 

Most stores that sell rockclimbing, mountain biking equipment, skis as part of their inventory would be able to give you information.

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Someone mentioned cross country on here which he would like -- I wonder where you find something like that for homeschoolers?

 

Alley

Mine runs for the middle school team. Do your kids have that opportunity?

 

If not, your rec department might offer it. Ours does until middle school, and summer track until high school.

 

Try googling running clubs in your area. You are bound to find some. And the best part is they won't be exclusive to just homeschoolers. Running camps are popular here too. You might be surprised what you have available.

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I could have written your thread OP. I have two 7th graders and it's so hard. Lots of kids their age are being put into school. We've only lived in our new state for 17 months and it's been harder than I expected to make friends.

 

One thing that dawned on me: one son loves his year-round theater class. So just one more thing for that son and I think he would feel more complete. My other son is more introverted and few friends doesn't seem to bother him as much. The first son also does piano, but that's a solo activity.

 

Someone mentioned cross country on here which he would like -- I wonder where you find something like that for homeschoolers?

 

Thanks for bringing up such a hard subject. So sad. I didn't expect this part of homeschooling.

 

Alley

There are running clubs in the ATL area. Find a running shoes store and they will know. West Stride (which is on I75 just ITP near West Paces Ferry) has stuff. I know that's not near you, but I would bet there is one near you. Or see if your local high school has a cross country jr team. While these are affiliated with the school booster club, they aren't affiliated with the school. Anyone can pay and join.

 

My going into sixth grade daughter has made friends on the tennis team. On our team there is a huge range of abilities--from just starting to having played for a few years. It is the nature of tennis teams in ATL. It's is awesome because the girls who are beginning can learn from the better players and the better players can get practice placing the ball, etc when hitting with the beginners. I love that tennis around here can be started at a later age. My daughter has played against people just learning the rules all the way to some really tough matches. So she wins some and she loses some. Great way to meet kids.

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