Our children mix with a lot of kids from all kind of different schools. They have a really good group of friends, all with similar values from what I can tell. It all happened by coincidence, you know. The way they found each other. Being home-schooled children, mine didn’t find their buddies in the classroom or playing during recreation. In a way it was life that brought them together.
Like my son and his very best friend. I remember it was one of those days where everything was sort of hard. The morning was already a struggle. It was a typical “no” day in the life of a 6 year old who was struggling with the fact that his best friend had just moved away. On top of that was my toddler girl who was not keen to take her nap anymore. In any case after a long discussion and managing to actually get him dressed, the baby in the stroller and the dogs on the leash, we finally took off to the nearby park.
My son kept telling my that he doesn’t want to go to the playground over and over and over again. I kept saying that maybe there would be someone there for him to play. My daughter was excited to head to the playground so I almost felt like a worm trapped in the beaks of two chicken. Pulled left and right and on top of that trying to keep my dogs in check.
When we got closer I could spot a boy who from far looked about the same age as my son and he was wearing the exact same jacket as my boy. He was the only child there that day. I pointed him out and said “look there is a boy who looks almost like you and he is wearing the same jacket. Why don’t you go play with him?”
To my surprise my son actually took off. It was really not like him. He usually needed time to check everything and everyone out before approaching. Not this day. So while I was chasing my two year old around the playground he introduced himself to the other boy and this was the beginning of an amazing friendship which, I’m pretty sure, will last for a lifetime.
My daughter found her friends through her activities, especially soccer. The girls are a tight knit group and I hope they will stick together for a long time too.
As I said, all of them share a very similar approach to things. It seems like they have found each other by this magic magnet that brings people together who share similar values and approaches. Almost like here in the blogosphere. But although they are all very similar in their behavior there is one thing that stands out for me while watching them. It’s how much they try to be like each other. Or another girl (I have to say it’s much more the girls that do this). How much they try to be older, cooler, smarter then the other ones.
It’s the difference between our home-schooled kids and the kids who go to regular school.
Yes, mine try to be smarter than the world too but they are pretty comfortable being the age they are. I enjoy watching my daughter comfortably play with her dolls, something that for me should be normal for a girl of her age. But then I hear some of her friends ask her why she still plays with dolls or why she still watches certain shows on TV. When she says that she likes it and asks them why they ask they tell her “because it’s for little kids”. And I can’t help myself thinking “but you are little kids”…
Why does that little child have to fight so hard to “survive“? The time they have to be children is so short and I truly don’t understand why the system tries to make them into little adults so fast and so early. It will happen soon enough. And don’t you agree: We all often wish we still could be children or act like kids. How often do we miss being a child? How often do we talk about the inner child and letting it out again? How often do we mourn our childhood? I bet we had actually more time to be children than our kids have today. Imagine how they must feel one day…
So while I watch this happening I realize that there is one more gift that our kids have received through homeschooling. It’s that room to be themselves. That room to be a child for just that little bit longer. It’s the innocence they can keep for just that little bit longer while the kids who go to school have to deal with the pressure of having to be cool, having to act older, having to give up on what they like to do because others find it silly.
Keeping that innocence, having that room for as long as possible is the greatest gift ever. The day will arrive soon enough where they have no other way than growing up.