View Full Version : How much social contact do your kid have?

02-24-2012, 10:19 AM
I've just been reading through the daily schedule thread, which is fascinating. I haven't posted there because we're too preschool yet. I have only one real worry about homeschooling and that is social contact. I don't say this like the old "socialization is the key" mantra. I do not want my kids to be forced to get 90 percent of their social contact through boring hours spent with 25 wannabe clones of the exact same age. It just sounds like a recipe for weird screwed up issues to me. If fact, it was in my own case. :P

However, we are in a special situation. Most of the year, we live in a country with serious inter-ethnic tensions and my children (adopted) are of a minority ethnicity, which is only three percent of the population and generally given a very hard time socially. We've become increasingly isolated. No adults in our town talk to me (foreigner, legally blind and adopted THOSE children!) and no local children are allowed to play with my children. We are working on hooking up with other foreigners and we will put the kids in group activities as much as possible (such as music or martial arts, whatever interests them) as they get older. Given a train ride out of small-town-ville and the right out-of-school activities, it is possible to find open-minded folks but one does have to search and travel distances. The reasons for continuing this situation are complex but let's just leave it at the fact that I can't change it in the foreseeable future.

So, I am wondering. I don't see a ton of social contact in the daily routines posted here. Perhaps I am worrying needlessly. Maybe a few after-school-type classes per week and a few friends seen on some but not all weekends will be enough. That's what I think we will have realistically. I'm more worried about my children suffering from depression than any kind of theory about needing "socialization". Maybe I'm also not the only one who worries about this.

So, could you please let me know A. how much social contact your kids generally have in a week and B. how they seem to feel about that amount. You might also note if you have four or more children close in age, as I think that would make a difference.


02-24-2012, 10:49 AM
I only have two kids but they're 18 months apart. They are pretty content playing with each other (most of the time!) and don't really express the desire for more time with other kids. They both take swimming lessons and my son takes karate, but they don't really have the chance to interact with kids much there. They go to Sunday School most weeks and have time to play with other kids both during and after. My daughter made a good friend there. We also have a weekly 2-hour gathering with our homeschool group, playing board games in the winter and playing at a park when the weather is good. I've found that unstructured "play" opportunities are more likely to blossom into friendship than classes (where the kids are kept busy).

I'm sorry to heart that you're having a hard time finding folks that accept your family. We're lucky to live in a pretty liberal and tolerant part of the country and I'm always surprised and disappointed that it's not like that everywhere in this day and age. Good luck!

02-24-2012, 10:52 AM
I have two children, about 2.5 years apart.

We make sure they get to play with kids at least 1ce a week- it almost always is more than that, but that's what I shoot for. And we make sure that once counts: hours playing, not involved in an activity. (I'm not anti-activity, but I never made new friends in the ones I did, and they were always so adult-directed that there was little time for actual socializing).

Right now, we have our neice and nephew over. Yesterday, and the day before, the boy who is babysat across the street came to play, too. He's here as often as not over the summer.

My dd doesn't seem to miss more. She didn't have any actual friends in ps. Ds hates it though and constantly complains that he has no friends. We're going to be hooking up with a local group as soon as I can get to it.

I do consider us somewhat isolated, but I don't necessarily feel like that's a bad thing. My ds had really become peer dependent before he left ps, and had some pretty bad withdrawals at first. I needed him to refocus on the family and to stop seeing his little sister as just a nuisance. It isn't 100% cured yet, but is MUCH MUCH better.

02-24-2012, 11:01 AM
Our boys have neighbors the same ages as them just across the street (a girl and boy) who attend public school that they play with pretty regularly (three out of the past four days they've come knocking at our door). They also attend karate classes and a homeschool co-op once a month. Our older son has more friends than our younger, which is something we're working on, as the younger one is more of a watcher than a doer. He won't usually initiate contact with peers, although with adults it's a completely different story.

Your situation is a little tougher than most, although some kids don't really care if they get that contact. Honestly, our older son probably would be fine only having a couple friends he sees once a month. He's kind of a happy loner that way. I don't know if that's true for your kids, but if they're the same way, then maybe they'll be fine with the status quo. Maybe have a frank talk with them about these things and see how they really feel. Then build from there.

02-24-2012, 11:18 AM
My kids are 20 months apart and play well together. They play with the neighbors (they attend ps). I don't set up many play dates with kids from co-op or their old school, because I don't believe the parents "approve" of us (we are not Southern Baptist, drink alcohol and let our kids watch stuff other than "G" rated).

My dd is involved in gymnastics and my ds has taken soccer, but doesn't seem to have a desire to be super-involved in stuff.

Since we are older parents, most of our friends do not have children the same age. My kids do great with adults and seem to prefer the company of kids serveral years older than themselves.

02-24-2012, 11:33 AM
My son is an only. :)

Every week he attends a homeschool coop, which in addition to classes also offers lots of free play time. We also meet regularly with the same group for field trips in the area, many of which offer plenty of socializing time. Additionally, he plays sports--hockey 3x per week, soccer, basketball and so forth usually twice a week in season. He is starting to make some good friends through team sports and gets together with his new friends during their after school hours and on the weekends. We also participate in other activities--specifically for homeschoolers and not--which allow for plenty of group learning and free play time (for example, he recently took a class on winter survival skills and part of the exercise was for kids to team up and build shelters in the woods). We are also starting a homeschool bowling league which though structured, will allow for lots of silliness and play.

I suspect as spring time temperatures warm up he'll get to know other kids in the neighborhood. The kids here seem really active and we see them biking and walking to school in all sorts of weather. We live in a small town, and connections seem close and yet very open to making new friends.

DS does love his friends dearly, but he also enjoys his alone time. He's always been equally comfortable with adults and other kids and doesn't have any of the social hurdles that I've struggled with my entire life. I can't attribute that to homeschooling, but I feel confident that not having the false pressures of public school allows him to fully be the person he is, and to explore the young man he is becoming.

02-24-2012, 12:00 PM
we live in a fairly big suburban area, but we still dont get out every day. my younger one has a good freind in the neighborhood, but only sees him on average about 5 times/mo, maybe 8? My older one has 2 casual freinds in the neighborhood, who he sees slightly less often. My older one sometimes goes to the church (UU) youth group, but often would rather stay home and play video games. Monday we have martial arts, tuesday elemetary science coop, wed martial arts and a 12-week high school dissection class (but my son, who is bipolar, autistic and has tourettes, doesnt seem to be making freinds), and some weeks we have D&D or video game clubs thursday or friday afternoon.

I think the important thing is to listen to your children. If they are really sad that they dont have freinds, talk to them about it and try to work on it. If they are content being with you and their siblings (for the most part, some sibling rivalry is expected!), then you shouldnt worry, imo.

02-24-2012, 12:31 PM
I'm a homebody and for the most part would be content to stay at home 96% of the time, save the occasional escape to the coffee house for some time away from the kids. My son (7) is AS and despite repeated attempts over the last 4 years or so to "socialize" him, he's not one to make friends with kids his own age. Martial arts, swim lessons, unstructured park time, and public school all netted 0 friends. He's got one kid that he's glad to see maybe twice a month. For the most part though, he's perfectly happy playing at home. He has a weekly art class with a homeschooling group that he just started, and we occasionally go to the park if the weather's nice, but he usually plays by himself then.

We also have a 2yo girl who plays well with whomever she's around (until she gets to know them and starts beating them up...sigh) and she asks to play with her little friends more frequently, every couple of days or so. I feel like she'll need to be in more activities than her brother when she's older. So I really think it depends on the kids. My son felt overwhelmed at "too much" social time, and my daughter thrives on it.

I'm sorry that you're having such a hard time with your situation. I would talk to your kids and see how they feel. I hope you can find a way to feel less isolated without having to travel across the country for people time!

02-24-2012, 01:16 PM
My son is an only for now, and 9-years-old. He goes out to play with children on a daily basis for 2-3 hours, both in a structured environment (military base Youth Center) and in the neighborhood (he's made friends with 2 of the local British children on our street). We're a U.S. military family, and not all Europeans are too keen on that. However, we've had no problems with being Americans living in England. My son also lives in Germany some of the time with his father.

Actually, the kiddo gets pretty sick of all the socialization and play time on some days, and comes home to enjoy some quiet reading. ;)

02-24-2012, 01:53 PM
My story is similar to mratts in that I'm a homebody and my ds who is 6 has Asperger Syndrome. His time in public school netted him 0 friends and the activities we've had him in has been the same. I'm not sure he really understands the friendship concept. I am trying to get him around more kids his own age by actively setting up playdates with cousins and friend's children. He has expressed interest in re-joining karate and cub scouts, which didn't produce any friends, but he did seem to enjoy. I think if he can see someone once a week or so and play, he'll be perfectly happy, but that's his personality.

02-24-2012, 02:33 PM
My daughter is an only, and like her mother, is a pretty social girl. Adjusting to the loneliness of homeschooling has been our biggest obstacle this year. (We live in a small town and the local homeschoolers are pretty fundie - not my style.) DD participates in fencing 3x a week, has a homeschool playdate every Friday morning, and usually gets 2-3 playdates a week with her old PS/neighborhood friends, but we still feel isolated at times. I have really missed my water aerobics classes and other day time get-togethers with the other moms nearby. I miss my freedom too, at times!

I am so sorry you are not in a more welcoming area! Any scouting, sports, 4H, or other similar clubs available?

02-24-2012, 02:42 PM
It depends so much on the personalities and ages of your kids, and even on how many kids you have. I know of families with 4 or 6 kids, and it always seems like a party atmosphere at their homes, just because there are so many people around.

We have always gotten together with friends two or three times a week. Once in a regular park day, and you never know who will show up. Another one will be a "playdate" at someone's home, or maybe having friends over for dinner on the weekend, who also have kids. On top of that, they have all their activities (scouts, taekwondo, choir, etc..)

I always thought we were doing fine, but sometime last year, my two kids stopped playing with each other constantly, and looking for outside friends. I think it's because I have a boy and a girl, and my 11yo girl was NOT into lego and bionicle battles, and my 8yo son was not willing to play things HER way as much. They both needed different types of people. Now, I'm constantly trying to get my kids together with other compatible kids, which often means they are doing stuff at different people's homes, or they have different friends over to play.

If I had two boys or two girls, or more kids, or if they were closer in age, I don't think the change would have happened the same way.

02-24-2012, 04:08 PM
Thank you for the wonderful replies so far! To answer a few things - there is a pretty good scouting tradition here and we will get into that. There is a reasonably accessible martial arts place but I understand about that not being the best way to make friends because it is too structured. My children are still young enough that it is hard to tell what their opinion is over the long term. They do love getting together with other kids but often as not are very shy and don't interact until the visit is almost over. Then, they talk about the children they met for weeks afterwards. I am also considering that we need to get into a community that includes whole families. One such possibility here is joining a volunteer-oriented environmental organization. That's the only place I've ever seen HS children here before - at a Greenpeace blockade camp. People involved with such things tend to be more open-minded on the inter-ethnic issues as well. In any event, I am not meaning to moan and groan. We all make our paths one way or another, but it is very interesting to read how much or little social contact is acceptable to other children. I do take into account that a kid's temperament plays a big role.

02-24-2012, 04:24 PM
I think it's about the quality, not the quantity. We get out a lot - we see friends most days and we have sustained relationships with the same kids for several years now. I do think it's a challenge if you can't find any friends. But I also think that less can be more if you can build relationships or make quality time. When my kids were preschoolers, any time around other kids was social time. Now that they're a little older, I see that time at the playground with random kids doesn't really matter. Nor does time in a class with kids they don't really know. But time with friends they've made is really important.

02-24-2012, 04:27 PM
Our girls are 2 1/2 years apart and are best friends. They get along great, and would play Barbies, Polly Pockets or some other girlie thing 24/7 if they could. We converted our garage into a dance studio, so they dance about an hour each day. Our social events include: weekly field trips (this week we had two trips - Strawberry Farm and Manatee Observation Center); dance class twice a week; aquarium science class and field trip monthly. No "play dates" though. Currently, I'm looking into an open co-op I found - looks really neat.

02-24-2012, 04:43 PM
My two are 2.5 years apart, currently ages 4 and 6. They have free play with friends (usually in the form of a park day with another homeschooling group) at least once a week. We do other things with the groups as well like field trips, etc. So generally it is more than that, I'd say most often twice a week of real interactive play. Sometimes none if we have an off week or sometimes 4 or 5 times if it is a busy week. But the norm is about twice a week.

02-25-2012, 11:21 AM
Mine are 19 months apart and play together (when they aren't bickering). We haven't gone out with friends in a while (the boy DS was friends with when they were younger is in preschool and lives across town) and haven't been to any of the park playdates yet because I was sick for about a month and now allergy season has hit... I'm looking forward to warmer weather just so the pollen will die down and we won't be sick all the time.

The kids also did gymnastics last summer and they want to do that again this year.

02-26-2012, 04:09 AM
To make people come to us, we have summer get togethers and seasonal/birthday parties and some of our few far flung homeschool contacts are able to come. My kids see PS kids who live nearby during school breaks and weekends. Due to low population density, generally few homeschoolers in the immediate area, (none secular), and no hs support groups, we mostly see schooled kids. Finding friends for my kids has been hard work, but after five years of this I have to face that limited social access is just part of my kids' childhoods now, for better or worse, and will forever shape who they are. They've been in lots of different activities over the years where they see people, but have not yet found a forum to form lasting relationships. I think how that affects kids depends on both personality and age. My daughter has had more luck with friends over the years than my son, who has only one friend he gets to play with now and then. She has several. On the other hand, my son is far less bothered. My daughter seems so desperate for regular social contact that I wonder if school would be a better choice.

02-27-2012, 11:50 AM
IMO, travel the distance and involve the kids in whatever you can about 2-3 times per week. It is really not necessary to have your kids mimic the PS and be around same age kids for 8 hrs a day. Honestly, they only get to interact with each other during lunch for 30 minutes, during recess for 30 minutes, and maybe another 30 minutes if they have some kind of group work. And only a small amount of this total time is actual "playtime." Believe me, when my son came home and said 1) they couldn't talk at lunch because someone wouldn't confess to spilling their milk, and 2) he didn't get to go to recess becacuse he didn't finish all of the daily work- I was not sold on the benefits of PS "socialization."

I've got an only child here, 7 yrs old, and he seems content to stay inside if I let him. I do make him go out to play or ride his bike if the weather is nice. Three homeschooled children live a couple houses down from us and he plays with them about 2-3 times a week. He attends kung fu class three times/week but that's not really socialization as they don't play with each other. He has horseback riding once a week, but again it's not that social. I'm considering a co-op or at least a park-meet group to spice things up a bit. Choices for secular meetups are slim unless I want to drive 30-45 minutes each way, but I am okay with that because we do Spanish practice in the car.

I wouldn't be that concerned if we were a religious family because the choices are endless and Sundays would be like one big social extravaganza. Ah well, he's making progress socially and seems to be happy at home with me awaiting the arrival of his first sibling.

02-27-2012, 12:32 PM
Not as much as I would like. Our very good friends moved away. We have some Swimming Lessons and Bee Keeper Classes. So we see other people, but, I wish we had some close friends across the board.

We just don't seem to have a lot in common with anyone out here. Homeschoolers or others.

02-27-2012, 02:54 PM
We may not be 'official' homeschoolers yet, only because we don't have any formal curriculum just yet and she isn't eligible for the PS pre-k until this Fall. But, we still 'do' school all the time. She's 4 and she does Storytime with free play time after at the library every Tues morning, Ballet class on Wednesday morning, Bike & Balls at a local gym on Thursday morning and a preschool interactive class that one of my neighbors does on Friday mornings. We also have a pretty relaxed church full of 3-5 year old girls (there are 5 of them total) and the parents take turns supervising freeplay with them on Sunday mornings. Some parents, like me for example, will have a craft or story/lesson, but most just let them do freeplay.

We live a bit far from our church peers, but I'd like to work in some playdates here at the house for her as she loves to play with others with her own toys to be able to show them off, I guess.

Learn Things
02-27-2012, 09:00 PM
My almost 7 year old does homeschool classes twice a week (3 hours per day) through her charter school. She also does gymnastics and group piano. We usually go to the playground 2 or 3 days a week. She also takes classes from time to time through the city and she does day camps in the summer.

02-28-2012, 12:11 AM
I think my daughter almost has too much social contact. She is on a gymnastics team that meets twice a week for 3 hours, plus has weekend meets about once a month. She is a Girl Scout, and they meet at least every two weeks; usually more often. She takes drum and piano lessons once a week, and although they are private she looks forward to being with different adults. Fridays she takes either a clay class or a swim class, depending on the season. She also maintains contact with friends from her previous private school and has quite a few kids in the neighborhood she can just pop out and play with.

I feel like this is an important reason homeschooling is working for her. Years ago, I homeschooled my son (now 16 in ps), who did not have so many activities, and who was shy about approaching other kids (we had just moved to the area from overseas). He was terribly lonely. Turns out he prefers ps as a built-in provider of friends and activities.

02-28-2012, 11:03 AM
We only get out to church once a week and there are only three other kids besides ours in the RE class. In the fall one kid plays soccer.....another has decided she isn't interested in that. They aren't interested in gymnastics or other classes and honestly it would be a stretch financially. We aren't in a co-op. The secular homeschool group I'm trying to start has one other member. We have a few neighborhood kids but they aren't around outside during the school year. I guess we don't get much socialization!
The kids are fine, in spite of it. They converse well with adults and play nicely with each other. They are polite, they take turns, and they are considerate of the feelings of others. Actually, they get a bit offended when they do get around other kids and those kids don't follow the same rules. The older one is shy, and the younger one is not. They would both like to have more friends and they do complain about it but heck, so would I. I don't think they are being harmed at all.

Edited to add: Church is UU, not trying to rock the secular boat here :)

02-28-2012, 10:02 PM
We go to Story Hour at the library once a week and have a playdate roughly every two weeks. We also have a couple of older neighbors that like to come visit with us about once a week, but my two mostly just play together.

02-28-2012, 10:28 PM
my two daughters are 3 years apart (8 and 5)...I'm currently "baking" our third daughter.

My oldest daughter is in Girl Scouts, so once a week she meets with her troop, and then occasionally they have weekend trips to different places. She also has playdates and sleepovers with them (kinda sporatically, lol)

My *soon to be* middle daughter isn't in any form of group. She hasn't shown any interest, and mostly just enjoys spending time with her older sister & the Girls Scouts when they are here for the meeting. We will be finding some sort of activity for her when she hits about 6.

OH! I forgot to mention that on MWF they typically go to the gym with me and my husband and play in the play area for an hour or so with the other kids. lol.

03-02-2012, 02:39 PM
So, could you please let me know A. how much social contact your kids generally have in a week and B. how they seem to feel about that amount. You might also note if you have four or more children close in age, as I think that would make a difference.

My dd is an only child.
We'll get together with another family once a month for sure but other than that it is random. We don't do classes or regular play dates and dd is not involved in any ongoing activities.
My dd is naturally introverted so her social needs are low and she has always liked being with adults or older kids. She is perfectly happy with her level of social contact with peers.
I would just ask your children what they prefer and do your best to meet their actual needs. However, if you can only get them together with friends once a week they will survive even if they'd prefer to play with their friends every day.

03-04-2012, 05:11 PM
My son really loves people, and does well with all ages, but is probably best with younger or older than his own age. I think part of that is because 10/11 is a rough age all around.

I know he has missed the constant interaction with other kids at PS, but that was also one of his biggest issues, between being picked on and acting like the class clown to be liked it was really affecting his ability to learn.

So far we have been making sure he plays with the neighbor kids a few times a week, and that we get out to the park or some kind of field trip activity where he doesn't feel shut up with boring old mom all the time.

I would like for him to find a "real" friend if possible, none of the kids he played with from PS have called which makes me sad, but I know there are kids out there waiting to find him....we just have to find them too :)

03-05-2012, 06:43 PM
I feel like we do a lot. We have a standing playdate every tuesday with other homeschoolers of similar age to my kids. We rotate houses (there are 3 families) and usually whoever's hosting will do a short project with the kids before they play together. My son also goes to a homeschool drama club once a week (we just found this and it is awesome!). He also does gymnastics and is starting soccer in a month. We also see our friends that are in public school pretty regularly on the weekends. Honestly, it is way too much for me being the introvert that I am, but my kids seem to like it and dh feels it is necessary, so we do it all for now. I hope to maybe scale down a bit by next school year.

03-10-2012, 08:49 AM
My ds is an only. He does football once a week and we go to regular homeschoolers meet ups everyweek. However none of his friends is from the local homeschooled community. DS attended an arts and craft workshop a couple of times and he made friends with a younger girl. Her mum in turn introduced us to other families and now ds has lots of friends. We meet after school hours. I'm lucky though, DS will make friends anywhere.

05-16-2012, 09:41 AM
My son is an only, but we live in a neighborhood with quite a few children his age. We go to the playground a lot where he always enjoys playing with the other kids. He is in t-ball and soccer and has made a friend there that we set up playdates with. Then we also have church and our homeschool group.

05-17-2012, 06:39 PM
My son is not an only but his brother is disabled and in public school. I think that often when we talk about social contact, we think it means the only contact that counts is contact with other children. My son speaks to people everywhere we go. We go to the market, to museums, we take my special needs son to see specialists. We are always out in the community. There is a weekly tween event at our local library where the kids hang out with kids their own age, supervised by library staff and no parents. All the younger homeschooled kids go to weekly park days but my son is too old. He's in dance and tennis lessons etc. instead.

He spends at minimum five hours a week in extracurricular classes and two hours a week at the library event. There are also occasional social events and field trips organized by one of the moms. I also think that some of the best social opportunities come from the examples we parents set when we are in social situations.

I honestly think that if you just keep showing up, to the local parks, to the restaurants and markets and libraries, they can only shun you for so long. Pretty soon another kid is going to talk to your child. And the parent is going to have to make a decision - how far are they going to go out of their way to be jerks? If they are xenophobic, they may be experiencing discomfort and that may subside some the more they see you. I could be way out of line here but I think when people grow up in a very enclosed environment where everyone is the same it can take a while for people to adjust. We aren't minority ethnicity but we do practice a minority religion and we definitely make a lot of alternative choices outside the mainstream, and so sometimes people don't know quite how to be around us either. Not the same thing I know but I do know that it can't improve if they don't have to face the fact that we exist.

05-18-2012, 12:42 AM
I've got two kids who are one and a half years apart (7 and 8). DH and I are both pretty introverted people - we enjoy socialising, but are equally happy to read a book. One of the hardest things for both of us in life is the fact that although we are happy to see friends once or twice a year, most people feel this as 'distant' and can't keep a strong relationship that way. Our kids are a bit like that.

We're friends with a few families who we see about once a month, and some of them have kids. They interact with each other, us, the librarians, the nice lady at the shop, and so on enough anyway to build social skills. They also have a circus class and do karate once a week with adults and kids of various ages. They are happy and perfectly able to have a conversation with people of any age, and have a few friends at circus and karate. And sometimes DS and DD will play with the neighbourhood kids after school hours, but only when they want to. They are perfectly happy to not see anyone for a week or two. If they were taking every opportunity to play with them, we'd interpret it as wanting more friends and then add more activities so they could see more kids.

The idea that sitting in a class of kids who are just as socially inept for several hours a day constitutes socialising is utter bunk. It is merely an abnormal practice that has become accepted as mainstream. I'd rather my kids learn their social skills from adults primarily. Seems a bit odd to want them to learn instead from a bunch of children.

05-18-2012, 07:47 AM
My dd is an only. She has had significant behavioral issues in the past (they continue somewhat, but are far more manageable these days) that kept her from being able to participate in classes or group activities. Unstructured play at parks, things like that, were a nightmare. So, we did very little. She was part of an ASD group that met once a week for several 8 week sessions a year. It was 45 minutes, with one on one trained helpers. It was a good thing, mostly, but she was by far the highest functioning child there and would get upset by a few of the girls who would yell or otherwise had verbal tics. She occasionally acted out and needed to be restrained. It was overall a good experience but it had it's drawbacks, for sure.

Lately (like w/in the last 6-9 mos.) she's been calmer and better able to manage the big feelings. She's participated in yoga class, art classes, rock climbing, Girl Scouts, a geography club... We've done a ton of running this year (almost nothing is local) but it's been worth it. For the first time ever I've been able to drop her off somewhere, confident that all will be well. :) She plays with neighbor kids occasionally - it runs hot/cold, and sometimes she's begging for someone to come over, or to play outside with some kids, and sometimes she's to herself and content. There is no typical week in that regard. She can have 10-20 hours of play time one week, and then nothing for a month. I was hoping there would be more opportunities during summer for spontaneous get-togethers, but we live in a bedroom community - total ghost town during the day. All the kids are at camps or something until 5 or 6. In some ways it's harder than during the school year. Plus, most of the activities she's been in are breaking for summer. I'm going to have to figure something out.

05-25-2012, 08:19 PM
My daugher always had plenty of social interaction until she was 10 and we moved to a new state. We used to have neighbor kids to play with, an active homeschool group, and friends we saw regularly. She has very little now because we're in a place that is very un-secular and not much going on because it's a smaller town. She goes to three classes a week and interacts with kids there and there are a couple people we see socially maybe once or twice a month. That is it. She is lonely and I am not sure what to do about it. We've only been here a year though so maybe things will get better.

05-28-2012, 08:43 PM
I have 3, but each is 3 years younger than the last, spanning toddler to nearly 8. Right now, all their social contact is neighbor kids. We are lucky to have a boy neighbor across the street, and a girl neighbor next door, a bit older but close enough, and they all play, hang out, ride bikes. I have to chase the toddler, but that won't always be true.

In years past, we drove fairly far to see homeschool friends we had found and did community center playgyms and library playgroups a lot. I hope you will have the options and choices laid out more clearly in front of you, when you get to the point that it really starts to matter. My kids like a certain amount of time to do stuff just us at home, in robes and jammies if we like, but they crave companionship of other kids, and for now, the neighbor friends are a real blessing. Having to drive everywhere and make advance plans just so they can play spontaneously, is the pits. That's the real thing that is so special about neighbors, is that no one has to call and arrange and mark calendars, and pile into a car and make a trip, for what should be a lighthearted spur-of-the-moment "let's play!" urge.

You have my utmost sympathy, and I hope a good, reasonable solution presents itself. Sounds terrible, about the ethnic tension.

05-28-2012, 09:21 PM
Not as much as I'd like, and especially not as much as DH would like her to. DD is 5, and because of the smallness and remoteness of where we live, we just don't have a lot of options. DD was enrolled in Daisys this year, and I started a homeschool art class. I teach it once a week and DD loves it. We have kids from 5-14 (about 15 kids in the class). But other than that and playing with her really good friend who luckily lives across the street and is homeschooled as well, she doesn't have any other social outlets. Most of the programs offered here are for 1st grade and up. And while DD is quite ahead of a first grade level, because of her age, she is often excluded. I had a teacher of a summer class on local flora and fauna try to get DD in her class last summer. She spoke to the directer of the the PCR, had me send in statements from DD's developmental psy and everything, but she was still not allowed to take the class simply due to her age. What the teacher was told...."well even though she can do it if we let her other parents may be upset." There have been quite a few things like that that have had the instructors go to bat to her, just for us to be turned down because of age, so I am impatiently waiting till DD turns 6 in 9 months or we move to a larger area with more activities for various ages.

06-01-2012, 09:23 AM
My daughter (11) is very lucky in her social life....she went to public school until mid 5th grade, so has lots of friends for slumber parties on weekends and most of the local homeschool kids are girls a year or two younger than her.

But my son (7) is not so lucky. There are boys he knew from school, but even in school he wasn't a part of the clique...or rather, I wasn't a part of the parents circle. We are friends, just not tight, so my son is not always invited, and the other boys stick to themselves. And, poor guy, it hurts him everytime his sister leaves for her own social engagement (he thinks i should ban her from slumber parties)

We live in a very small community, but there are many social options outside of school...circus camp, library summer reading, and softball, but still the boys his age don't always include him. So I am branching out to the younger crowd. My son was the youngest in his class (born in July), so that was always part of the problem, i think. Hopefully, starting softball this year, will work well for us.

One thing we do each summer is vacation bible school. I am not religious in the slightest (actually ran kicking and screaming from a very religious upbringing), but my kids actually enjoy VBS and then we have discussions about what they learned (ook at it as world religion 101), then read up about other religions.

06-03-2012, 04:10 PM
My seven year son is an only child. He really enjoys playing with his buddies. In fact, he's much more social than I am. We homeschool under a charter, which gives us access to enrichment classes that compliment our schooling at home. He takes classes twice a week. The classes are small 12-16 kids and he really seems to enjoy them. We are very lucky to have a homeschool family that lives just around the block from us with 4 kids. Our kids our similar in age and they play together often. My little guy also goes to a homeschool gymnastics class once a week and we have a park co-op day that we attend once in awhile.

If it was up to my son, he would play with a buddy every day. For me, I feel it's important to strike a balance between social time/activities and down time. I try to ensure that we have at least one or two days that we are just home during the week. I believe that it's just as important to learn to entertain one's self as it is to interact with others.

06-03-2012, 04:31 PM
There's a saying I love, and I apologize if anyone has already said it - "Forced association is not socialization." Both of my daughters were very disappointed by their interactions with other kids at school. For the most part they didn't feel their peers were very interested in developing lasting, meaningful, mutually respectful relationships. Now that we homeschool they have met other homeschooled kids (which has taken time,) and they have the emotional availability to interact with all sorts of people of all ages. When they were in school they were so burned out and depleted at the end of the day all they wanted to do was check out and decompress.