I was often asked this question during my twelve years of homeschooling: wouldn’t I want to go hang out with the other kids? Socialize? Make friends?
And the truth of the matter is: I did have friends. I did get to socialize. I did get to hang out with the other kids. Just not in the traditional “worldly” standards.
And you know what? I’m still okay. I didn’t turn out “strange”—well, depending on who you ask. Just don’t talk to my writer friends. Though they all get me and think me perfectly normal…
When you face, as a homeschooling mom or a homeschool student, the question of socializing and “getting out” with other people, ask (or think) this question: who do you really want educating your children?
Only kids of their age and peers or do you, as their teacher, as their parent, want to take into consideration what their young minds absorb?
Having recently been taking care of twin one year olds, I’ve seen how much even THEY retain. Children soak up so much and would you really want another child doing that training?
But of course, you still have to come back to the conundrum that you do want your kids to have someone to play with. You do want them to get out and take part in community activities. But homeschool kids have an advantage that the public kids don’t. We aren’t required to ONLY hang out with our peers. We don’t have the impression of cliques pushed on us, we can talk just as easily to our eighty year old grandmother as we can our two year old cousin. Because we are not surrounded by an environment that tells us that isn’t okay. Or “not cool”.
As I wrote this, I thought back to a time when I took middle school band at our local school. As I stood at the doors, waiting for my mom to come and pick me up, a boy, at the top of the stair sneered down at me, “What you doing? Waiting for your grandma?”
Would it have mattered if I was?
Being a homeschool graduate and “out in the world”, this ability of being able to relate and make friends on a wide scale has been the greatest gift homeschooling gave me. Now, some of my dearest and closest friends are ten years older than me. And in a certain case, forty years older than me.
I wouldn’t trade those friendships for all the friends my own age in the world.
That isn’t to say I don’t have friends my own age. I have several that I hold very dear. But it’s the collection of friends and the group of people God has given me that I think more than anything, makes many a brow wrinkle when they realize I am only twenty years old.
I learned a lot of academics in school when I was growing up. I learned how to do algebra. Learned to break down a sentence. Learned the meaning of photosynthesis.
But most important of all: I learned the meaning of God’s commandant to love and respect everyone. Not just someone my own age, but those older and those younger than myself.
A gift I thank God for each and every night when I think about the friends He has given me.
Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people. Taking the words and stories God has placed on her heart and putting them on paper is one of her highest passions in life. Casey is a member of ACFW. You can connect with her through her personal blog, Writing for Christ and her writing related group blog, The Writer's Alley