Monday, July 2, 2012

S is for "Socialization" ... for Mom

I won't even start the whole socialization debate about homeschooled children except to say that I don't think children in happy homes with siblings need much socialization. In the pioneer days, when family units were the strongest, children worked and played at home with their families. And, it was enough. And for our family, it mostly is. We do get together with pockets of friends from our Co-op. But, for the most part, my kids are happy just being together. And I honestly hope it always stays that way.

But what about you, mom? Do you need Socialization?

I know many women/moms who do. They crave "girl time". They go out for coffee, or to lunch, or shopping, or to weekend getaways regularly with their girlfriends. These women never go anywhere with their kids that they don't have another mom and her kids with them. I am not one of those women.

I have one child who has already left the home and it was just two days ago, it seems, that she was in braids going to her first day of kindergarten. I have a husband with whom I do not spend near enough time. I have parents in their 60's, a brother who lives too far away, and a sister with whom I did not get along with at all until we were in our 30's. These are the relationships in which I prefer to invest. And with limited time, there's not much time for anyone else.

A groups of our friends went to Mexico together a couple of weeks ago. We were invited and declined. For me, if I am going to go to Mexico, I am going to go with just my husband or on a family vacation.

I don't have many friends. And, I know that the common denominator in all of my failed friendships is me. I am aware of that. I just don't have the "need" for friends, or many of them. I have lost friends due to betrayal. And I have lost friends due to my decision to homeschool.

The reactions of other women to the fact that I homeschool vary:
  • Some women give a pretty typical response of saying, "I could never homeschool my kids."
  • Some women are slightly intrigued and want to know more. Mostly they want to know what requirements I have to follow. (And in Oklahoma, there are none, and that "worries" most women that my children may not be getting the education they need.)
  • Recently the response I feel like I get is one of jealousy and even hatred. I feel like I have lost friends or acquaintances because they are mad at me because I get to homeschool my kids and they don't.
One thing is for certain. I feel like those of my friends who are not homeschooling moms do not GET me. They don't understand what makes me tick. They don't understand the true joy homeschooling brings to my life. They don't get how I could want to spend all day every day with my kids. They just can't fathom that I would rather spend all of my evenings at home than to "get away" to go to dinner with a group of them. They really don't know what we could possibly have to talk about, other than homeschooling, so they don't even try. And, really, all I want to talk about is my home, husband and kids, and they don't want to talk about that. I don't care about the sale that the local posh boutique is having, or who did what with whom, or who is running the latest "fad" 5K. They think I'm boring.

So, my socialization is limited. But that's okay for this introverted homebody. I have a couple of amazing friends who are also homeschooling moms. We spend time together sharing what we enjoy most. I am friends with my husband. I am friends with my mom. I am friends with my sister. I am friends with my kids.

I do feel pretty isolated and alone in my journey of life, at times. Ma Ingalls must have felt the same at times. But she had all she really needed right there in her home. She was fulfilled and busy and happy. And I have all I need in my home, as well.

So, if you are at the next local "big event" with your group of girlfriends, I won't be there. I'll probably be at Bass Pro Shop with my kids or out to dinner with my husband. I hope that you have a good time, I really do. I know that I will be having one, too.

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  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. You actually described me very well:) Thank you for sharing.

  2. So true! I have a handful of dear friends that love me even if we don't have "girl" time very often. Or at all for the most part. But with 7 kids, 4 grandkiddos, 3 son-in-laws, and my mother-in-law living right next door, "socialization" for mom is a rare thing. I am thankful that my sister and a few other moms who are like sisters to me all have kids that we homeschool. We do go to the beach, park days, and field trips together. And all the kids help out with all the little ones- it is a different sort of socialization, and I like it! :)

  3. I think you just read my mind. I was just having a conversation with myself about this very subject. Maybe I should seek out more friends and get together with them more. The ladies that at my homeschool co-op are all getting together for a planning meeting for our next school year. It involves a spending a weeknight at a hotel and shopping the next day. Guess who isn't going. I will attend the evening before but I am a homebody also. Plus I don't want to ask my hubby to take a day off work. I'd rather he save it for our camping trips:)

  4. I can relate, Nicole. I would much rather be at home with my kids, or hanging out with my husband these days. When I was in my 20's I was much more in to "socializing" and leaving my kids behind. At 40, I am content to be with them. I have no desire to hang out and drink with people, or go on vacation with other families (unless it is a weekend camping outing).

    I have experienced the same attitudes from friends, and I do believe at times they are envious of the homeschool lifestyle.

    Keep on keeping on! :)


We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!