My son is only 3, so I know its early, but I've begun organizing things to do some homeschool preschool activities with him a couple days a week. I am feeling a little sad as I watch all of his friends go off to preschool (and my friends go home for free time). I really feel passionate about homeschooling, but I also feel like he is missing out on fun activites with his friends, and scared I won't be able to maintain the friendships I have once their kids are in school.
did anyone else have similar feelings?
Yeah, we totally had this. Its really hard. I feel for you here.
this is a hard time, because you are stepping into the unknown. I think this is probably one of the hardest times you will go through in homeschooling.
Here's the thing-it will get better, much better. You will find a homeschooling niche and your son will have those same friendships. Often, they will be deeper because they can be whole family friendships. You will get to make decisions about the activities your son does. You will get to give him richer opportunities and chances to spend time with adults other than his parents in situations schooled kids seldom get.
I think you are doing all the right things, its a question of time. x
We went/are going through this. Ds1 is 4.5 and still asks why he isn't at preschool like his friends. He's a very social, ougoing kid - will talk to/make friends with anyone at the playground/grocery store/etc. We are fortunate to live in a city with a large homeschooling community so there are classes offered during the day for homeschoolers. We take advantage of a weekly class offered at a local nature centre. It's 2 hrs once a week for kids 4-6 so you ge some homeschoolers and some not at this age. Ds1 LOVES it. He gets his social time, loves the content, and he equates it with preschool ("I go to Biology Buddies instead of preschool")...We still see the schooling friends on their non-preschool days for now. Since the province has implemented all-day kindy, I'm sure we'll start to lose touch with some of these friends this Sept when they start school :(
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
You CAN maintain the friendships once kids are in school. My DD is 6 and I had the same concerns. We've tried the homeschool circuit but haven't really found a good match in the area yet.
I work hard to make sure we keep in touch with the friends we didn't want to lose once everyone went off to preschool then elementary school.
I just got an email today from one of our friends whose daughter finishes school this week. We see them every school holiday, the girls go to each others Bday parties and see each other at mutual friend's parties. We celebrated NYE at their house. She was emailing me to get together next week for a picnic at a local farm.
This past weekend we went to two different school carnivals with our friends who attend those schools. We do Girl Scouts at one of the schools so we knew many of the families at the carnival.
I organize a Mom's Night Out each month with a small group of women that I want to continue friendships with. They all have a child within a year or so of my daughter and we've known each other since they were all under two years old.
We've started doing a morning out as well every couple of months, everyone comes with or without kids depending on school schedules.
I offer babysitting for a couple of kids my daughter really likes. It helps the other parents out and it help keep the girl's friendships strong in between playdates.
We stay active at church where DD has a few friends her age.
DD isn't seeing her friends every day like school kids do, but she does have a good size group of friends and we see several each week.
Another thing that helped us was to remain in our Meetup playgroup even though the other kids DDs age were in school. Many of the younger kids in the group have older siblings who come to events during school breaks. We don't do weekly playdates with the group like we used to, but we go to the holiday parties and bigger events.
Even without a homeschool group we find more than enough to do each week. Library programs, community programs, parks, church events, scouts, gymnastics, music class, etc, etc, etc.....
We were lucky to have a couple kids with half day kindergarten too, which bought us an extra year or more flexibility with those friends.
It can be done. It takes work, but it's nice to be able to pick and choose who you and your kids are spending time with! Your friends with kids in school don't have that luxury.
It's hard not to worry, but trust that you are making the best choice for your family!
I swear by my local AP board. Somehow, most of the other Mama's I've connected with have also decided to homeschool, or are already homeschooling so we're still doing lots with the same kids. Ds was around 3.5 when we met a lot of them. As for my own connections most of my pre DS friends don't have children and DH thinks it's good for me to get out so I still go to house concerts and gallery openings, though not as often.
I ended up getting so involved in home school stuff, that when we went back to public school (which we are not doing that anymore) I felt left behind. It does get better. It is just really hard at this age because home school activities are usually for school aged kids. Try getting involved in some preschool aged playgroups.
As we found a good homeschooling group and made good homeschooling friends, the schooled friends sort of fell to the side. Our schedules just don't match. The only times they can get together are evenings or weekends and those are our family times with Daddy.
We have one little girl I babysit that will be going to school in the fall. I think her dad will work at letting her play with our son, but I worry the schedules will just be too different. They are tremendous friends and I'm afraid the schedules will break them up.
This is why I don't actively pursue friendships with kids that do or will go school. I don't want my kids to lose good friends.
As far as activities are concerned, I think kids at this age need more time playing and less time doing guided activities. They need to learn true creativity, not how to paint something the way an adult tells them to. Not to say I'm against guided activities, my kids do a craft class through parks and rec and they go to library storytime which finishes up with a craft. I just think that too much of that isn't good for them. They need to play, play, and more play. They need it with friends and they need it by themselves. Remember, boredom leads to creativity.
As far as your friendships go, I still maintain some of the friendships that I had from before but I also have new friends that I enjoy just as much. I do find that the homeschooling friends and I have a lot more in common these days. Plus, we see each other so often. There's park days, field trips, playdates, etc. My schooling friends are at work when I'm sitting on a park picnic bench talking with my homeschooling friends. The main times I talk with my schooling friends is after the kids are in bed or when we're each making our respective dinners. I still value these friendships dearly, we just don't get to see each other much because they're working so much.
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.