I thought long and hard about this “issue”, you know the one where people say homeschoolers are not socialized. How they are super weird and awkward… when you mention homeschooling that’s the first thing people ask about but it’s the last thing I think about.
Now don’t get me wrong, children need interaction and the ability to be in society. There is endless research about the importance of stimulation and the importance of interaction for children and I’m all for that since I’m what they call an extrovert. However I think many of us don’t have the right definition of socializing. Many of us forget there’s one more step before building relationships outside our homes.
Since when does socializing our children mean they have to be in a giant group of other children their age? Who decided that the only way our children would succeed in life would be if they are constantly in the company of other children their age? Who?
After researching, thinking back on my experience with socializing and looking around… I decided once again for my second year of homeschool, we will not be joining any group.
There’s nothing wrong with joining a group but before you do I want to ask you, “are your children’s friendships just as important to you as getting them to socialize in a co-op?”
How are your children’s relationship within your four walls?
The same way you stress over having your children build relationships and even willing to drive 30 min to meet.. do you stress over your children’s sibling relationship? Are you willing to spend those 30 min helping them build it? That’s the missing step. This is step one.
I noticed that one of my kiddos tends to show off when in company and belittles the other child for the sake of them being cool in front of the neighbor kid. That’s a flag to me that she’s not ready to build relationships outside my walls.
It’s my job as a mother to see those things and take action, not see them and think it’s normal.
Sorry, that’s not ok.
It’s smart of us to see it, admit there is a problem and ask God to help us with it.
We constantly look to make sure our children are socialized. We are constantly looking for our children to make friends outside of home that we forget to take a year off to make sure our children have a friendship within the walls of our home first.
Growing up my two little sisters (I’m 5 and 9 years apart from them) were my best friends. I never hit them, wished bad things would happen to them. I never put them second to anyone. That’s possible and when I asked my mother how she managed to do that she simply said, “Family is first. You have to teach your children to love, respect, and seek one another before anyone else. Sure you can meet others and build a friendship but that child goes on in life… your sisters will always be there for you. Make the choice to choose them first”.
When I share this mind blowing idea, the first thing people say is “yeah but not all families are like that”. <<< that’s my point. Many families are forgetting to work within the walls first THEN go outside of them. This idea that siblings truly love each other is weird and we’re lead to believe that it’s impossible when it’s truly not!
I was so confused when I would hear my friends speak so evil of their siblings or I would come over to their house and they would kick their siblings out because I was there. Or I remember one time a friend had a yo-yo and her sibling asked to use it, literally my friend shoved her away. When I asked they gave it to me and even told me to keep it. Uhhhh I was sad for his sister. Even as a child I realized that there was something weird in that idea.
Recently my husband and I read a family devotional that shared interesting facts about specifically American families. It said that the average American family member doesn’t have a relationship with any siblings but they have a best friend. American families see each other only on holidays. But see their friends weekly. There’s something wrong here. We can’t fall in to the myth that siblings don’t get along. Sure we argue, disagree but no way in heck should that lead to not choosing them over friends.
Here’s part of the devotional:
We will treat each other better than our best friend.”
Most American families have given in to the myth that siblings aren’t going to be nice to each other, and that we all just have to accept that.
But at Family-iD, we believe that HOME should be the safest place for all family members, relationally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
About ten years ago, I was in my room replying to emails when I heard a commotion in the living room. I went to investigate, walking in just in time to see the final crushing blows of a no-holds-barred fistfight between my 12-year-old son Avery and my 16-year-old son Austin. I led both boys back to my room to sort things out.
“So, boys…” I began, as calmly as I could, “what exactly was that all about?”
Avery was quick with his answer. “You told me to take out the trash, so I did. But when I came back in, Austin had taken my seat on the couch, and he’d taken my pillow and blanket and changed the channel. I told him to change the channel back, and when I tried to pull my pillow and blanket away from him, he hit me.”
I turned my attention to Austin. “Is that true, Buddy?” Austin looked down and nodded sheepishly. “Let me ask you something, Austin. What if it had been your best friend Ben who’d been out of the room? What would you have done if he came back and wanted his spot and his blanket?”
Austin thought for a minute. “I guess I would have apologized and given him back his stuff.”
“And what about you, Avery?” I asked. “What if, let’s say, it was Chris who had taken your spot and your blanket?”
Avery said, “Well, Chris is my best friend. And if he was over, that would mean he was here as my guest. So I probably wouldn’t have said anything. I would have just gotten myself another blanket and watched whatever he wanted.”
Write up some kind of family agreement that says, in your own words:
“IN OUR FAMILY, WE WILL TREAT EACH OTHER BETTER THAN OUR BEST FRIEND!”
Pretty good right? Lots of common sense right?
Well after reading that and praying we came to the conclusion that we will not join a co-op until we have taken the time to build those friendships here at home within our two walls first. That doesn’t mean till it’s perfect, no. But def until I see a change of heart towards the idea of selfless love towards each other. Trust me your child will get enough interaction as they go to events or to the grocery store and not only with kids their age but with all sorts of different types of people. To me that’s amazing! My 8 year old daughter having a deep conversation about birds with an elderly man. My 10 years old daughter finding the love of horses in common with a woman 5 times her age, swapping facts and ideas!
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
1 Thessalonians 5:11ESV / 589 helpful votes HelpfulNot Helpful
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Peter 4:8-10ESV / 293 helpful votes HelpfulNot Helpful
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
How amazing would it be if we applied these to our children’s sibling relationship!
So I ask you again, “how are your children’s relationships?”.
I really want to urge you to think about this. To truly take the time to pray and ask God if this year you should join a co-op to if you should sit it out and work within your walls.
God bless you ❤️