Most people respond positively when I tell them we’re homeschooling (and often share some horror story about the LA schools with me), but inevitably they eventually ask how Sam and Grace will “be socialized.”
This is a common question that is often used as an argument against homeschooling. I don’t think it makes a lot of sense. To be sure, Sam and Grace are around fewer children than they would be in school, and spend less time with other children. On the other hand, how much time in school is really spent socializing? (In most schools, the answer is “not much.”) School is a convenient place to meet other kids, but not the only place it can be done.
Right now, they are two (almost three) and six years old. They enjoy playing with other kids, but the most important relationship they can nurture is with each other. I’m so glad that their time together won’t be cut short by elementary school! Not that siblings who are in school can’t still be friends–I know they can!–but my sister and I grew apart quickly when we started school and that’s my primary point of reference.
I’ve been making an effort to schedule more play dates, too. May-June-July was a rush of birthday parties; after that I found it a bit of a struggle to keep the momentum going, but we did pretty well! It helped a lot that my friend Sara was on maternity leave with baby Simon, as her daughter Vivian is a favorite playmate of both Sam and Grace.
But fall came and school started, meaning I have to work harder. Being a homebody makes it difficult to facilitate my kids’ social lives, but I consider it part of my job, so I try to strike a balance. Dance class is great, but neither has made a particular friend. Sam is so in love with Liz, the instructor, that it’s questionable whether he’s noticed the other children. Grace is mostly interested in the treats at the cafe.
I’m a member of a homeschool email list, but nearly everyone is on the west side, which is quite a trek for us. Luckily, another mom in our neck of the woods posted to the group looking for folks in our area–now why didn’t I think of that?! We’ve gotten together a few times and have a weekly standing date that’s open to anyone in the area. Her son Nolan is just a few months older than Sam and they get along like gangbusters. Grace likes (wait for it) the treats. And also Nolan’s mom and grandma, who are both lovely.
The boys play board games, and when Sam brought his Nintendo 3DS with us Nolan was so taken with it that his mom got one for him. I know opinions vary on video games, but I think they are great and I love watching the boys play together! You could say Sam is getting a head-start on socializing as he will when he’s a teenager.