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  1. #1

    Default Socializing your "weird kid"

    We'll be (officially) starting kindergarten this fall with my almost five year old (when did that happen?!). She was diagnosed with a speech/social delay when she was 24 months and while her language has improved, she remains a social odd duck. She's friendly to a fault with most adults, meanwhile most kids have no idea what to do with her.

    She's a kid who only recently started asking to join other kids while playing, and even then not so often. Most of the time she plays very independently but seems to like the idea of kids being around, kind of like background noise. Otherwise, she'll join older or younger kids when invited or asked but always on her own terms.

    I know we'll be getting pushback from our family and her current teachers about taking her out of a traditional school environment. Frankly, I see putting her in a classroom with 25+ kids much like throwing her into a shark tank and maybe its my own experience as a child but I DON'T want to put her through that.

    But I want her to have the opportunity to make friends without being "forced" to make them or feeling lonely in a crowd because she's unable to. (Again, my own trauma as the "weird kid" who couldn't make friends coming out.)

    If you have a weird kid with social issues, was it enough to keep them social through homeschooling groups like coops, park dates, etc.? Help!!
    Michelle | Stormdragon Academy "In chaos we learn"
    Eclectic, tech forward homeschooling with a twice-exceptional learner

  2. T4L In Forum Oct19
  3. #2
    Senior Member Evolved
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    Since your post reads like I could have written it myself about my own son, I will just say this: you are absolutely, 100% right when you say you don't want to "force".

    I am constantly walking a fine line between setting up social things for my son to try, because I know he gets nervous and is shy, but I also know he has a good time when he's given the opportunity to play with (slightly older) kids. I always, ALWAYS say, "If you want to", and sometimes it's a yes...other times it's a no.

    The big thing I've noticed is that, through not pushing and since we've been homeschooling, he's grown more confident in his friendship abilities, so he's not nearly as resistant to social events as he used to be. I imagine around age 9 or 10 he'll be to the point that he'll be ASKING for outings on occasion.

    Another thing: adult relationships count as friendships. That was a big one for me to learn. The one reason I like him having time with kids, though, is so he has a chance to just be silly without so many rules. But he definitely gravitates toward adults and older kids.

    Everything in their own time
    -Angela.

    Unschooling one son (7).

  4. #3

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    My advice would be to - if possible - find a small, steady group for her to come into her own with and to really invest your time and attention to that. My kids aren't super quirky, but I feel like except for cheerful social butterflies who are naturals with their peers, that's just better for most kids and I'm very, very glad we have done that.
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  5. #4

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    It took us a year after starting to hs to sort of find a group and what we did in the beginning was just be at the library when we knew that a couple other hs girls were going to be there. It started with three and pretty soon we had five joining us for that one afternoon a week. And we just built from there. It was kind of hard at first and went slow. But now I feel like we are in a pretty good place with friends and socializing.
    Julie,
    Former Homeschooler to two daughters, age 20 and in college and age 12 back in ps.

  6. #5

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    It's not unusual for little kids to play side by side and not really WITH each other, too. I've only recently noticed kids actually starting to talk *with* each other fairly recently--like in the locker room, or even when playing--and that's at 10. I do think it's different for girls though, but four is still very young.
    Mama to one son (12)

  7. #6

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    Honestly, that's really not all that abnormal. Also, just like adults some kids are more social than others, and some like background noise without participating. Do you have a local support group to turn to for small playdates? Usually at this age the kids play separately more than together (unless maybe if they have school or preschool experience) but it's a gentle way to start.
    Meg
    In the 14th year of homeschooling 6 kids
    DD 17, DTS* 15, DD 11, DS 9, DS 7, DD infant
    Proud secular homeschooler, adoption advocate, and LGBT advocate

  8. #7
    Senior Member Arrived skrink's Avatar
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    Dd is 11, and really is hitting her stride in her relationships with other kids. We tried playgroups when she was in the 3-5 range and it was much the same as it is with your daughter. She wanted kids around, but not too close. It's taken a long time to find the right "small, steady group" but it's made the world of difference. The same kids, all a little quirky in their own right, and the friendships are slowly growing. School would have been a nightmare for dd. I have zero doubt that we've done the right thing for her by homeschooling.
    Skrink - mama to my 14 yo wild woman

  9. #8

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    My son is super quirky. He rarely fit into a group as school. Now that we're homeschooling, he's finding kids like him everywhere we go. Because we pick activities that interest him, they are automatically filled with other kids with the same interests. He is much more social now than ever before.
    Son - 7th grade, HS
    Daughter - 10th grade, PS
    Blog Ė in progress, Home Schooling in 7th Grade

  10. #9

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    I will say that one danger I see is that there's a fine line between a slightly quirky and young kid not clicking with a group and the parents just needing to move on and a kid just needing a really, really long time to find their place in the group. I've definitely seen some kids take a couple of YEARS to warm up and really get into the group and I think if the parents hadn't stuck with it they could have blown it off and put it on the rest of the kids as not being a good fit when actually sticking with it was the right thing.
    Want to read about my homeschool?
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

    Want help homeschooling or sending kids to college?
    http://simplify4you.com/

  11. #10
    Senior Member Evolved mpippin's Avatar
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    My Tuna doesn't like to play with friends her own age. They bug her. She prefers her own company. She has two friends in scouts that she sees weekly, and she enjoys that interaction. But she doesn't go looking for any other than that. And I leave her alone in that regard. It's her choice. So she's my little weirdo and I'm okay with it staying that way as long as she is.
    Michelle

    Bay - high school? How the hell did that happen?
    Tuna - upper elementary


    The Eclectic Education of Terrific Tuna

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Socializing your "weird kid"