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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago, DH and I made the decision to start homeschooling, and shelved the idea of sending Adam (3 years old) to school. From an academic standpoint, it just made more sense.
So here's my concern: I've been a member of a playgroup of other moms and children since Adam was born - we started as members of a breastfeeding support group offered through a local hospital, then formed our own playgroup as our nurslings got older. There are about 8 moms in our group. Three of the moms have started their children in preschool this year (all attending the same preschool), and we've had two playgroup sessions since preschool's started. I'm concerned because it seems like the three schooled kids are as thick as thieves, leaving the other kids (including Adam) a little left out. It's just given me an unpleasant preview of what's to come, and left me discouraged.
We've joined a local homeschool group, but they're pretty loosely organized - they meet whenever someone has a good idea for an activity. I'm looking for a group that meets more regularly, so that Adam can make some friends. It's funny - one of the reasons we didn't want to send Adam off to school is because I was concerned about the big influence a peer group can have on a kid, and now I'm whining because he's not exposed to enough kids his own age. I want to have my cake and eat it, too, kwim? I just feel that I'm cheating Adam out of the opportunity to make friends with other kids. Tell me I'm crazy! Offer me suggestions! Encourage me! Tell me that your homeschooled child(ren) have close friends, and how they met each other!
 

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If the group you're in doesn't have what you're looking for- approach the prganizers to see how they feel about adding it, or try out other local groups. Start your own groups, take lessons, or join an activity, get to know your neighbors, and make playdates.
In short, there are plenty of oportunities to meet people, you just have to take note of them. Also, try to watch who your child connects, instead of trying to find the perfect friend for you. SO what if Jr.s friend's mom isn't your ideal friend- as long as you can stand her.
 

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Quote:
just feel that I'm cheating Adam out of the opportunity to make friends with other kids. Tell me I'm crazy! Offer me suggestions! Encourage me! Tell me that your homeschooled child(ren) have close friends, and how they met each other!
No not crazy. Just a mom who loves her kids and wants the best for him.

Keep checking for more organized groups. Find a gymnastics/tumbling class (DD was in one through our county parks and rec dept for 3 years. Age 1-4). Some karate studios take students that young. For some reason Karate seems to draw homeschoolers. Maybe you will meet other HS'ers there. Organize your own HS preschoolers group.

DD is 5 and never attended PS. She has one friend still from Gymnastics who is in PS.
She has several friends in Karate who are in PS
but most of her friends are in our HS group that we get together with 1-2 times a week (play date 1x per week, field trips, science co-op and book club the rest of the time)

14 DS attended PS through 6th grade. He really doesn't talk to his PS friends anymore. They are too swamped with several hrs of homework every night. He does talk to some of them in the summer.
He has several friends in our HS group and some from karate (the ones from karate are in PS)
 

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I'm just echoing what everyone else said... I think you should either organize your own homeschool group, or see if the person who started the existing one would like your help to get that one going a bit better, have meetings more regularly, etc.
 

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I belong to a homeschooling group with about 150 families in it. At first I thought I would never fit in, it was too loose, etc. Now I've found a "core" group of families that I do things with. I have also started organizing activities in the hopes that people will come. It just takes time! Good luck and don't give up!

 

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What about the other kids in your group? (I'm assuming there are at least five, since there are eight moms?) Why don't you all from a special playgroup during the school year?

I'm thinking right now about when I was in school. I never really had more than one close friend at a time. Let's see, 1st-5th grade, I had close friends but I didn't go to school with them -- they lived in my neighborhood. Then 6th-8th grade I became more social at school and had lots of friends that changed often, those were fickle years. All about who's popular etc. Then in high school everything got topsy-turvy because all my friends were split up onto different tracks and I never had a chance to see them and we drifted apart. I didn't really find a group of friends to hang out with until my junior year, and then became close to someone again my senior year. My brother's best friend all throughout his early life he met playing soccor on a city (not school) team. So I guess my point is that school does not guarantee close friends, and close friends can be made outside of school.

My kids are still too young for "best friends", in my opinion (they are more into playing *around* children than playing *with* children) but my two older boys (6 1/2 and 4 1/2) have a lot of fun playing with a neighbor boy, and they see their cousins every couple of weeks. We go to the park a lot too, so they get a lot of exposure to other kids. I've also been working on finding other homeschooling families in our area. I've got a list of about a dozen and this winter I am going to start a playgroup that meets at our house, and I hope others do the same. (I've just found, too, that the weekday farmer's market is a great place to find other homeschooled kids!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your suggestions. I think I'll try finding more groups in our area. ekblad7, my situation is similar to yours - our homeschool group is BIG - about 170 families. I think I just need to give homeschooling more of a chance. Being part of such a large group is a challenge: it's a great resource, but I think all of us (me, DH, Adam) need a little more one-on-one interaction. I've tried asking myself (and DH) that if Adam were in school and not making friends, how would we approach the issue? Probably make contact with some other parents and set up playdates, and get him involved in some activities - just what you moms are suggesting!
 

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Wow, 170 families
Homeschooling is alive and well in your area, huh? That's cool


You could do something within the group. You said it's loosely organized and people just get together when someone (anyone?) comes up with a good idea right? Well, my suggestion would be for you to pick a nice playground near you and then announce to the group that you'd like to start weekly playground playdates and everyone is welcome. Pick a time and a day of the week and just see who shows up. Just remember to remind people on a regular basis (do you have official meetings? An email list? How do people communicate?). Park days are so easy. You don't have to organize anything. No organized activities, no fees and everyone brings their own snacks. Just show up
 

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If your homeschool group doesn't have a playgroup that suits your needs, start one! Wen I joined my homeschool group, there was only a pre-existing playgroup for older children (dd was 2 at the time) that wasn't taking any new members. We have an email loop and I posted to see if anyone would be interested in a playgroup for littler children. It was a tough start - it was winter and we kept getting snowed in on playgroup dates, but now we have 25 families in thr group and meet regularly twice a week. It's worth the work!
 

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Keep in mind that by homeschooling, you are teaching your child a valuable lesson about socializing & friends - that you don't have to see someone every day, or be the same age as them to be friends! And age 3 is young enough that having a lot of age-mates to play with all the time isn't very important. Even one friend is probably enough. I know when DS was in school, he mostly talked about how his friends teased, ignored, or swore at him (we're talking kindergarten here!).....not exactly what I'd call positive interaction!
But now that we have a nice mixed age group (11, 7, 4, & 16 mos), I can see that my kids definitely have an advantage over those confined to age-mates all day - when we go to playgrounds and parks, my kids always include whatever kids are there in their play, and I've gotten plenty of comments about "Wow, your kids are so KIND! All the other kids here kept ignoring my son, but yours are including him and helping him have fun!" - that kind of thing. And a lady at the store that was behind me in line told the cashier (my best friend) that she could tell my family was homeschooled because they had a special, caring interaction with each other.....and this was during a routine noisy, whiny shopping trip!
So anyway, in the long run, the friends he has now should be plenty. He'll learn BETTER friendship lessons from a few friends of different ages than he will from a classroom of age-mates.
 

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Check out your library, too. I have begun to notice how many kids are in our public library during school hours. They can't all be on the way to the dentist! Better yet, ask the children's librarian. She'll know who the homeschooled children are.
 

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we are also 'homeschooling' ds who is 3 - as much as a preschooler needs to be schooled LOL! - I am fortunate enought to belong to a great playgroup through my local LLL - withs lots of kids of different ages. I also attend a preschool story time at the library with him and he is taking a 3/4 year old begining dance class. That along with just hanging out at the park and talking to other kids is really all we do and he seems perfectly happy with that! We shall see what the future brings!
 
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