I have had previous posts about socialization. My children are as social now as they were when they were in school - more so in most ways. There is one big difference that no matter how hard I try, I cannot duplicate in a home setting; being surrounded by at least twenty other children while you are learning. For me and my youngest, that is just fine! We do not need lots of other people around us. In fact, being around lots of people drains us of our energy, leaving the need for privacy and down time to recharge and refuel. Not so for my oldest who absorbs the energy of others and loves to be with other people most of the time.
In order for our experience to be successful we need to make time for play. My calendar is always open and it is always full. I try to schedule playtime after lunch as our most productive time of day is the morning. Our best learning usually takes place over breakfast! Monday we had a playdate from two o’clock that extended into a dinner date and lasted until eight o’clock! Tuesday we met with friends before pottery class to begin a study of our town together. Once a week we will meet at a landmark, learn about it, color it and take a picture of us there. After pottery and piano we were able to play with these same friends for a few hours before dinner. Today we have a playdate with friends. It is our first time to their house and the girls are very excited.
We have been blessed with the ease of meeting other families in our area who homeschool. Not only have I met wonderful women, my girls have become steadfast friends with their daughters (and sons). The issue I am having is that only one of the girls in our core group of friends is the same age as Grace. She has been expressing the need to find other girls and boys her age or older.
I am so grateful that just as Grace was expressing this need, the girl we are meeting today invited her to join her book club. It is a very unique book club as it is run entirely by the children. They meet in the children’s department of a local library. They discuss the two books they selected and then all roam through the stacks pulling possible new choices, debating the merits of their choices and settling on two to read and adding others to the wait list.
Theresa, at Our Life in Words had a similar situation with one of her daughters. She organized a play date for “tweens” which was very successful. I have done the same. Next week we will be meeting at the beach for a playdate for 10 to 11 year-olds and their siblings. I have not had a great response. In fact, only one family is coming for sure. That is okay, we are still excited. This family has two girls age 11 and 7 and they just relocated to our area.
I suggested that Grace get in touch with some of her school friends. Since we live is such a close knit neighborhood and many of her friends are now able to walk freely through it, she should be inviting her basketball teammates over to shoot hoops in the street, bike or walk the dogs.
With a great deal of effort, planning, rescheduling, and modifying plans, we will meet her need to be around more people her age. As she goes into her teen years, it will be important for her to have a group to go to the movies with or out for pizza. I realize that my daughter’s needs are different. Now as their mother and their educational facilitator (I like that term....maybe I can use that on my resume when I someday return to work....) I need to satisfy their needs not only for learning, but for making meaningful lasting relationships.