Socialisation and home education comes up time and time again on home ed forums and is something I’ve come back to time and time again.
In the past I think I’ve given quite a negative picture, it is certainly something we have struggled with. The boys have seemed to have just been the wrong age or we’ve found things too hard to get to by public transport or we’ve just struggled with different expectations/needs to others. Some people are lucky and just seem to slot in, for others it’s harder.
There have been a few occasions recently when I’ve suddenly stepped back and realised that actually we are (well actually Sam is) a lot more social than I think.
His confidence and independence has suddenly grown hugely. He’s signing up to take part in lots of Cubs activities without any hesitation, including nights away. Most importantly he’s caught us by surprise by signing up for Gang Show. It’s a bit of a pain tbh as it is a lot of commitment and he and Jack have different start/finish times. But what it has done for Jack in terms of friendships, fostering a sense of group belonging and confidence can’t be measured and for Sam to not only cope in the the busy, hectic environment but actively choose to be there is such a huge step.
The second thing that I’ve noticed is that he is finding it easier to approach and chat to people. I was watching him in the break between laser quest games and he wasn’t in a corner with his best friend, he was happily milling around talking to others, some he didn’t know. I’m not sure if this is necessarily a change in him as he’s always comfortably managed when we’ve met up with individuals or small groups of new home educators. It may just be that he doesn’t have the same intensity of friendships that he once had. It feels much healthier and Sam seems happier too. To be fair he’s never really had that sort of relationship with his best friend, they only really do the ignore the world thing when they haven’t seen each other for a long time.
As a result he is much happier in group settings. Thursday we were at a soft play centre. Lots of his friends were there as being the day before Sam’s birthday we’d asked them along (so a kind of party) but there were also some new home educators. Every time I glimpsed Sam he seemed to be playing with someone different or there was a big group all together, lovely to see.
One of the biggest things for us has been walking away from groups for a while and nurturing individual friendships. I feel now Sam has a wide group of friends rather than a couple of friends and a lot of acquaintances. Which is lovely, until the birthday party issue arises and it crosses your mind that there can be such a thing as too many friends 😉
Think we’re ready to start dipping our toe into larger scale HE events again. He’s grown up a lot lately and he’s ready and needs to mix in some of the older groups.