Homeschooling can be wonderful, challenging, rewarding, and isolating.
Being new at it, we have to work to create a balance. One aspect that requires more effort is maintaining social relationships.
For several weeks, we asked about play dates, but my son was not interested in seeing anyone. I don’t know if he was embarrassed or wondered about the questions that they might ask. Maybe his self-worth had suffered so much that he wondered if anyone would want to be with him? Maybe he didn’t have any energy to be around anyone that he needed to act or behave a certain way around?
Too vulnerable? Too many unknowns?
After a few weeks of homeschooling, there was a regained interest in friends. I asked him if he was particularly interested in having anyone come and visit; he immediately named a former classmate. I was relieved and then a bit worried.
What would his mother say when I emailed? What did she know (or think that she knew) about my son leaving school? Was I the one embarrassed or wondering about the questions she might ask?
That night, I emailed the “chosen one’s” mom. She was gracious and friendly and said that her son would love to come and play. I smiled when I knew how excited my son would be at the response. He was thrilled.
Today, was the day.
We were all a bit nervous. Before the arrival, we talked about manners and giving the guest options of what to do. We gave him suggestions for games or activities. We reminded him that this boy would not want to return if he came over and stared at the back of my TBP’s head as he played on his computer.
When the door bell rang, it was clear that my son was excited. The friend’s mother came in and was very nice. She was laid back about video games and snacks and pointed out that they actually lived a stone-throw away from us. I really hope this goes well because we could use a neighborhood friend!
The boys immediately went back to the playroom and started Mine Craft. It was interesting to overhear the discussion. Both boys wanting to be alpha dog…”Follow me!” and then “No, follow me”. I listened and wondered a few times if I should step in and intervene; but just when I started to get up, the boys would bring down the intensity back to a comfortable level on their own.
We deliberately position ourselves within hearing distance so that we can coach our son if needed. Today, it wasn’t necessary except for a reminder about leaving the potty humor for the bathroom.
There is a lot of smack talking with boys.
There were cookies, video games, Legos and talking. Lots of talking.
It felt good. It felt normal!
The Chosen One was a nice kid. A kid that seemed to like a lot of the same things as my TBP.
We didn’t get a lot of “schooling” done today. The play date took precedence and that’s okay, because it was important.
If you are a homeschooling family, how do you encourage friends and social connections?