Mothering Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just starting to explore unschooling for our DS (2 y/o). A little background about my question: my wife and I schedule swap and our son gets to stay home full-time. We don't do play groups and just started our first music class, which DS has actually not enjoyed much - just sits in our lap and says "all done" and "go home" the entire time. We don't do activities with other kids on a weekly basis but we do see a small group on a monthly basis and then do random play dates here and there. DS really likes to be at home and will often refuse outside activities, saying "no, home."

I think DW and I are mostly okay with our antisocial boy and have a little bit of nagging doubt about this being a product of our very low-key lifestyle. I get a lot of pressure from my mother who is always asking if DS has friends, or where his friends are. I just don't think a 2 year old really has friends and I always figured that he would get this socialization stuff when he started school, or preschool.

Enter in unschooling. I'm pretty sold on changing our plans and not sending DS to school. This leads me to be a little more concerned about our boy's antisocial tendencies. I don't want him to end up with socializing problems. Our boy is just not a joiner, and he really enjoys his solo activities, and he does do cooperative play - often more than the other toddlers around him, just doesn't like groups.

Of course writing this I am realizing that preschool might be too much of a group environment for him anyway.

So...how do you address socialization when unschooling? I know people who do some sort of social activity every. single. day. which is way too much for all of us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,419 Posts
He's two. Just a baby. It sounds like he's tried one group class and he wasn't into it. That really reveals nothing about his long term personality so I would refrain from referring to him as antisocial.

Do you socialize as a family with neighbors, friends or other people? That is the kind of social contact I'd expect a two year old to be exposed to. FWIW, I've noticed sometimes grandparents bring up the friend issue for the grandchild when really they are trying to get at how many friends their kids have (like maybe the kid is an introvert and the grandparent has always had trouble understanding that).

One way in which I see playgroups, La Leche League, homeschool groups, etc. as helpful is that it can be lonely to parent without some kind of social network of other people with younger kids. It is good to have social connections so you can trade off kids for the afternoon and so you are covered in case of emergencies. So, I see social contact at this point as really more about the parents and less about the kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
315 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I use the word "antisocial" out of my mommy-worry more than labeling, and my experience with my son is based on knowing him, not just one reaction to music class. His response to group activities has a long history and multiple settings. The music class is just the first time we've done something organized on a weekly basis.

I'm not concerned with why my mother is pressuring about DS having friends - I know exactly why she does it - my cousin has a little boy about six months younger than DS who is being raised very differently than DS and she compares them ALL OF THE TIME. We limit her access to DS and her SIL has unlimited access to her grandson, and my mom is jealous.

Anyway, I'm more concerned with managing socialization and unschooling as DS grows older.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,209 Posts
I don't think you can predict what a kid will be like at 5 or 10 by looking at him at 2 - that seems like borrowing trouble. That said, if you decide to unschool you can help him create the kind of social activities that work for him. Maybe unstructured park days will be more fun for him, or playdates with one other kid... or maybe he'll still prefer to spend much of his time alone. It's all okay... and he'll figure it out for himself during the next 16 years or so...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,939 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Disco Infiltrator View Post
I use the word "antisocial" out of my mommy-worry more than labeling, and my experience with my son is based on knowing him, not just one reaction to music class.
Of course you know your son. I think the point being made is that you know him at 2 and don't know what he'll be like in the years to come. Personally, I do believe we should be cautious about how we label or talk about our kids because we end up treating them according to those identifiers. If you think of him as "antisocial" it can get in the way of other possibilities.

Quote:
His response to group activities has a long history and multiple settings. The music class is just the first time we've done something organized on a weekly basis.
I mean this gently: Really, he doesn't HAVE a "long history" he's TWO!

Not wanting to be part of larger group activities may or may not be part of his personality. It's completely normal for a 2 year old to want the security of his parents and home. He's still a baby and it doesn't mean he'll never want to hang out with friends. I'd meet his needs right now--if he doesn't want to be in classes and large groups, I wouldn't force it.

I'd offer such things as he gets older, meaning, a few years from now. There will be all kinds of opportunities--classes, park days, field trips, just hanging out...Kids' preferences change, he may very well be seeking out group experiences in a few years. As long as he has the opportunitiy to join in, if it turns out he's "not a joiner" even at 10 or 16, would that really be a problem if he's happy?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
348 Posts
School is not really set up for socialization in the way most people think. Many people think school is a socialization experience because they had friends the MET in school, I guess that's the biggest advantage, the opportunity to meet more people. But meeting lots of people is not a guarantee of friendships. Kids have very little time to spend just being together and the pressures within that environment make socializing difficult. Not all kids who go to school have friends, not all kids who go to school have great social skills. I think finding a relaxed playgroup to attend would be the best thing to do. And I must say that within our group most of the kids under age five are largely playing with their mom or siblings, not with the other kids so if you don't want to join a group right now then I wouldn't worry about it. Once you do join a group follow ds's lead. My ds, now 10, was much like you describe yours. He still enjoys time alone and doesn't require the social interaction that his sister does. However after attending playgroup he has made some friends (or at least become friendly with some kids). He attended ps for a while and his experience there was much the same. Trust your intincts, trust your child and you will be fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,753 Posts
Sounds totally normal. My ds would have hated a class at age 2 (and 3, 4, 5), also. Even though he loves a crowd of kids now, one on one playdates still seem to go much better. When he got interested in being around other kids, I'd take him to the playground. Then we decided to homeschool and started going to parkdays. Now that we know which kids in the group ds enjoys playing with, we are starting to make playdates to meet just that friend at the playground too.

Young kids are unreliable playmates. I think my ds understood that and was a bit wary of them. He got plenty of adult socialization (you know, the people that actually have developed social skills
) so when the other kids got the basics down, too, he was ready for them.

Now all of that is a kid who never could have been labeled anti-social by anyone. He isn't shy and he's an extrovert. He still wasn't into playing with other kids and participating in activities when he was 2. So, yeah, he's only two and you don't know how he will be when he is older. And even if he is more reserved, that's fine. Some of our playmates are just starting to really play with peers at 6 and 7. They are nice kids with great social skills despite (or because of?) that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,517 Posts
Having one child over to your home to play with your child is a great way to begin the "socialization" journey. There will be different ways to meet your child's need for friendship and/or play with other children as he or she grows.
Playgroups in homes of people you can get to know and whom you can invite over in return can be a nice way of easing into this new world, too. I think personal preferrence on the part of the parent and the stage that your child is at is what counts in knowing what to do at a given time.

Besides those efforts at "socialization", going to the grocery store with your child, library, post office, and other day to day sorts of places are also valid ways for your child to be acclimated to the world of people around him/her.

Around age 4 or 5, park days with a group could work well (though on a schedule that works well for all involved, whether that's once a week or once a month or whatnot). Age 6 or 7 is a great time to try homeschool co-ops where parents take turns sharing different subjects (art, science, math, music, etc).

Socializing as an unschooler/homeschooler really is not too difficult when you look at it in simple, everyday terms. As far as telling others the benefits of homeschooling, it helps if you can point out a homeschooled child or two you have met who satisfy this trait to your mind and offer them as an example. When you meet other families who unschool/homeschool, as them how their child gets social interaction, and if that can work for them to raise health, happy individuals, then it could work for you as well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
I also want to make the point that even if he does turn out to be a reserved introvert with minimal social needs at age 6, 10, 14 and beyond, unschooling may be the right choice because of those temperament issues. Introverts have social needs, but they're of a different style and on a different order of magnitude from those of more extroverted children -- and very ill-suited to schooling-type environments. Unschooling allows you to meet the particular social needs of introverts ... a healthy daily foundation of home and family time, periodic small-group or one-on-one social encounters based on common interests and mutual enjoyment of each others' company, and an understanding of the need for recharging alone-time.

Miranda
(mom to 3 highly introverted kids and one moderate introvert)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,622 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
I mean this gently: Really, he doesn't HAVE a "long history" he's TWO!
Yes, I agree with that.

I think you are doing fine with your son for now. I had started going to 1 or 2 moms club playgroups/fieldtrips/parties/events a week by that point with my DD, but it was just shortly after she turned 3 before she would do much more than play in the vicinity of other children (like at the playgroup, sort of watching them, but not engaging them)...THEN she suddenly clicked with one little girl, and they have been best friends ever since and my DD is almost 8.

I think it's extremely valuable for children to get the chance to meet other children, get a chance for leisurely free play, and for them to explore and perhaps find that special little friendship with one of them, or even just to enjoy simple friendships, but I think that if your child gets the chance to do this sometime in the 3s or at least by the early 4s, then you will be doing just fine.

Of course, some children will be very reserved until 5, 6, 7, before they venture out a bit more, but even for those children, having the chances to go and play in small or large group settings is so valuable. For those children, I think that often a casual park day or craft day with a moms club group or a playgroup at home with 2 or 3 other parents and their children, are far more conducive to letting a reserved child branch out a little, than a Gymboree-type of class.

As far as stretching this into unschooling...well, when mine were little, we were active in moms clubs, then as they reached preschool age and the non-homeschoolers were going away into preschools, we joined the homeschool group, and found that there were regular park days, mini-fun classes, regular field trips, etc., and we simply transitioned into going to those.

I am an advocate of going regularly, because often it takes a child 5 or more times of seeing another child, to start recognizing them and feeling comfortable enough to go right to that child and start playing, even for my non-reserved, outgoing children. I would suggest that by the time your child is 4, that you go to some homeschool group event (if you have one in your area) once a week, most of the time, and then add in more personal playdates, perhaps the occasional interest based class (soccer, art, science, what-have-you).

My unschooled children range from having activities every weekday to wanting 2 or 3 days to relax at home a week, and I just try to go with the flow. The beauty of homeschooling all around is that you can try to accommodate everyone in the family's needs, to the best of your ability.

Congratulations on thinking about this when your son is such a young age!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,419 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
I also want to make the point that even if he does turn out to be a reserved introvert with minimal social needs at age 6, 10, 14 and beyond, unschooling may be the right choice because of those temperament issues.
I agree. Also, I won't at all say our introvert is antisocial. He likes to be around other people. It just takes a lot of energy. While he wasn't drawn to stuff like classes and activities as a preschooler, as he's gotten older and he can get particular needs met in groups they are more appealing. If the kid wants a chess partner, people to make music with, people to discuss topics of interest with they may find some social stuff more attractive too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,056 Posts
I didn't read all the replies.

I just wanted to mention that I have two sons....one is 17 and the other is nearly 14. DS1 would go with absolutely anybody when he was two. Seriously....I could introduce him to you for the first time and tell him that he was going to go home with you, and he'd be totally cool with it. Over the years he's become more introverted. He has friends, but pretty much waits for them to seek his company. He will go days at a stretch without talking to anyone outside our immediate family. Sometimes he only comes out of his cave for food.


DS2 was a mama's boy. Being out of the house for more than half-an-hour was an ordeal for him. "Can we go home now?" He's presently at his BFF's house where he's been since Thursday afternoon. I dread the day when he has a driver's license; I'll never see him OR my car. (DS1 still doesn't drive and doesn't care to).

Toddler behavior doesn't predict much of anything. Your mom had her turn to raise kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
I would agree that it's far too young to know what your child will be like. At 2 when I, infrequently, took my son to toddler groups he would sit and line up cars the whole time, that's it. He couldn't care less about other children until he was 4. Now he's 5 he's a crazy extrovert! He can make a friend anywhere, within minutes, and the more kids he has to play with the better. And if there's no handy children he will chat to adults.

Not saying your child will end up like this, just that at 2 it's hard to say, and potentially problematic for you to be labeling your child so early rather than let him develop as is without expectation. And if he dislikes going somewhere now, why force it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,322 Posts
My kids were always incredibly shy at the age of 2/3. My 2nd youngest just turned 3 and he hates even going to the grocery store
But all 3 of my older kids (10, 7 &6) are very much outgoing now. They make friends everywhere lol
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top