Friendship is perhaps the most understated thing in homeschooling circles.
I can’t even tell you how many conference speakers I have heard discount or completely speak against childhood friendships. It is almost as if friends fall into that category with the World, so they say kids don’t need friends but rather only family relationships.
I once heard a speaker go so far as to say that he wouldn’t let his daughter go on a church youth mission trip because he didn’t think she needed to be around any other teenagers.
Instead, he sent her on a mission trip with a group of senior citizens. She learned a lot and had a good time, but he missed a chance to let her make some healthy friendships with others her age that could last a lifetime.
While I do believe family relationships should come first, it seems that the “unsocialized homeschooler” myth we are always trying to refute is actually perpetuated by shoving aside childhood friendships as unnecessary. The pendulum swings to the opposite side, leaving out crucial friendship connections.
As a home educating parent, it’s my job to raise and teach my kids.
We INsolate (not ISOLATE) them from things that could be harmful, and by so doing, we help them adjust to the world around them so that they can branch out and make friends. Remember friends? Those people we rode bikes with for hours, playing The Dukes of Hazzard? (Oh wait, maybe that was just me?)
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Everyone needs friends.
Several years ago, they played with the girl next door, but I explained here why her parents stopped letting her play with my boys. There also used to be one boy in our neighborhood, who also a homeschooler. They would talk to each other at lunch time on walkie talkies, sometimes taking a bike ride for a little bit too.
That being said, I am sad to say that my boys really haven’t had many friends over the years. Sure, there were some kids at church they enjoyed playing with, but they didn’t see them except at church. These days, they have each picked up a few friends from extension classes and sports, and these remain a tight group of guys who have grown up together.
Moms need friends too.
Did you know that? Or have you bought the lie that some homeschool conference speakers spout about God, your husband, and kids being all that you need?
Let me tell you, when you’ve had it up to HERE with dirty socks and toilet seats left up and hormonal teens and all the rest, your husband does not want to be your dumping ground. That’s what girlfriends are for.
Husbands also, by nature, try to “fix” things, when really all we need is to unload it and be done. Friendships are so important. Friends give us an ear, some fun, fellowship, and support. Friends make life a bit more fun and a lot more interesting.
So where are we in all of this?
I don’t have one single close girlfriend. I have lots of “friends” but in the broad sense. I have a few I am comfortable going to for prayer, but I don’t have a best friend. I miss that a lot. I prefer to have one or two “Level 5” friends rather than a whole pool of people.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecc. 4:9-10