Wednesday, August 7, 2013

homeschool mythbusting, part one: friends

this will be the first in a series about mythbusting with my eldest, diana.  she has graciously agreed to my interviewing her to blog about her experience thus far as a homeschooler.


diana has homeschooled all her life.  as a result, most (but certainly not all) of our social interactions have been with other homeschoolers.  one topic that has arisen in her conversations with non-homeschoolers, often at a playground, within a class at the davis art center (where diana studied weaving, ceramics/clay, dance, yoga, and aikido), or talking with neighbors is about the creation and development of friendship.

diana is surprised every time someone asks her how she could possibly make friends as a homeschooler.  i asked her to tell me about a recent situation where that came up.

diana: "at summer camp, i got into a conversation with a girl about how many friends we had.  she told me that, 'naturally, a public schooler would have more friends than a person who didn't go to school because a public schooler was friends with the entire grade.'  i told her, 'that can't possibly be true because i'm pretty sure you can name one person who is practically your enemy who is in the same grade as you.'  she said, 'at least we know everybody.  having more friends is better.'  i don't think that.  i have fewer than a hundred friends and i am perfectly happy."

mom: "i wonder, based on what we know about introversion and being quiet, do you think her reaction had more to do with extroversion than it did with where or how someone is educated?"

diana: "yes, i think so, especially the part about having more friends is better.  personally, i prefer to work with one or two friends at a time, but that's often difficult when i am in a large group of people.  my other friends get jealous because i am spending more time with one person other than them."

mom: "so, how do you find friends as a homeschooler?"

diana: "as humans, we naturally find what we are looking for.  so, usually we find a homeschooling group or meet some of my neighbors.  and pretty soon, we are best friends.  i have a tendency to do that.

"most of the time, you (mom) introduce me to a girl about my age with similar interests, or it's one of my neighbors; sometimes i'm walking along the sidewalk one day and there is someone out playing and i end up joining the game and making friends.

"i go to different clubs - book club, chess club, science club, all sorts of places where there are people of similar interests.  they don't even have to be homeschoolers - it can just be any group.

"sometimes in doing the yummy brownie or some other little store, someone comes along and says, 'that sounds really cool, can i help you with it?' and then we end of becoming friends, partly because we like to do the same sort of projects."

mom: "do you think that homeschooling has put you at a disadvantage in your opportunity to make friends?"

diana: "no.  i think that homeschooling and public schooling are the same in the 'making friends department' and the different types of schooling don't make a huge difference."

mom: "thanks for talking with me.  do you have anything else you'd like to add to this discussion about friends and homeschooling?" 

diana: "if you want a friend, you can find a friend.  just go somewhere, and you'll probably meet a person who has similar interests.  for example, if you go to a bowling alley, then you'll probably meet someone around your age who likes bowling just like you do and then, ta-dah, you've made a friend.  even if the only thing you have in common is liking bowling, you can go bowling with that friend and it's more fun to do it together."

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