So do you want to socialise, or BE socialized? One sounds much more active (and fun!) than the other.

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While rereading my last post on how Home Ed children naturally make friends with children both older and younger than themselves, I suddenly wondered why that seemed like such a big deal. After all, Snort and Coconut’s default settings are to be interested in other people of all ages. Sure, they love ‘big kids’ and want to emulate them, running around and climbing trees. But both also love babies. They think nothing of approaching a child of any age and trying to interact with them. They also love interacting with adults.

I suspect this is the default setting of many children – whether they are outgoing and act on their impulses, or a bit more reserved but watch other kids with interest.

When does this change? Why, in school.

School is the place where it is terribly uncool to hang out with someone even a year younger than you – while the older kids you look up to either look down at you or ignore you. (I realise I’m generalizing, but fairly accurately, I think.)

I don’t mean to knock school entirely. I know many of you have children in day care, nursery, school, etc. It is the right choice for some families. I think it’s one of those things that people need to consider in a lot of aspects and choose what is right for them – as are so many parenting decisions. Well, all parenting decisions. (I suspect this is why Mommy Wars and criticism of other people’s parenting styles are so rampant – because if someone is doing something differently than you, you could read that as reflecting on your choices.)

For us, thinking about our priorities in what we want for our children, school is not right at this point. I’m very happy to have Snort and Coconut with us for a few more years at the very least. I almost wrote ‘at home’ with us, but what I’m quickly realising is that home education rarely means being trapped at home! We have a very active home education community near us – we are lucky that way – and also lucky that in this country, many (most?) people who home educate do so out of philosophical reasons rather than religious. So we will have the opportunity to mix with a diverse range of people who actively accept difference, creativity, and living life out of the mainstream.

I could go on and on about the specific priorities we have for this one childhood our children get – and will perhaps do that in a future post – but for now I will say that one of the fringe (and still awesome!) benefits is that our kids will have friends of all ages.

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5 Responses to “So do you want to socialise, or BE socialized? One sounds much more active (and fun!) than the other.”

  1. Misericordia Says:

    As a teacher of young children, I am happy you are embarking on a plan that feels right to you. As a teacher of young children I am also sad that the impression you have of schools for young children as places where groups of differently-aged children do not interact in positive ways is so potentially way off the mark. I cannot speak to the schools in your area, or the ones you have seen throughout your life. I can only say that I work with children who are the ages of your fabulous twins, in a lovely small school where we have opportunities throughout the day to be with and learn from each other. It is one of the joys of my day as a teacher to see this, and I just want you to know that it does exist in schools.

    • existere Says:

      Oh, I believe you! I just think that as kids get older, school changes. I love early years education – how ages can be mixed, singing, play focused learning. It’s only as they creep up the ladder I think things really change. But your school does sound lovely!

  2. Ashley Says:

    I’ve been homeschooling my DD for almost a year now and while we are still finding our “groove” I enjoy it. Some days, even weeks, we do more than others, but I feel like it is so worth it. Every moment of the day is a chance to learn. We learn while doing household chores, cooking, shopping, gardening, parks, festivals.. the list goes on and on. Not only is she learning about reading and math, but about cultural and global issues, first hand! I love the freedom and flexibility it gives us and I don’t regret my decision at all!

  3. Christy Says:

    My Lily is very shy and reserved. She is very interested in kids of all ages. We were at the zoo today and I can’t even tell you all the time she spend watching what the other kids were doing.

    How did you find out about the Home Ed community in your area? I really want to get involved in some home ed stuff, but don’t know where to start.

  4. Jess Says:

    You know, every time I jump onto your blog you raise questions I never knew to ask. I always leave with something to think about! Finn is now 18 months old and my thoughts are starting to turn to kindergarten, preschool, etc. He’s so young though!

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