It’s one thing to decide to homeschool at the beginning of the year and another to tell your daughters that you are pulling them out of school three weeks into the school year. Yet, we don’t believe that parenting is a democracy. We believe that we should take our children’s feelings into account, but ultimately it is up to us to decide and act upon what is in our children’s best interest. Nevertheless, I was nervous about telling the girls we were going to switch to homeschooling. Their response was tepid at best and solely centered on their school friends.
Their only concern that the girls had was missing their friends. Baby A was particularly attached to a set of sisters. These girls usually arrived at school with their hair matted and their clothes rumpled. One was a pathological liar. I had made an effort to get to know the parents, and admittedly, they seemed nice enough. However, I worried about their girls influence on my daughters. Baby B, my third grader, had begun the year by making friends with the most popular girl in the 5th grade. She had broken into “the clique” of all cliques. Ironically she was more concerned about missing Baby A’s friends.
School friends were a source of contention for a couple of months. My girls mentioned missing them and wanting to invite them over for play dates. Despite my misgivings, I did attempt to stay connected with the girls’ school friends. Just as in the past, when the girls were attending school, the parents always agreed to set up a play date, but never did. I began to feel like I was searching for a magical unicorn
Old friends began to mean less and less as the girls made new friends in the homeschool groups. These friends were far more accessible since the families are used to traveling for field trips, play groups, and play dates (Before you think that all of the children have a stay at home parent, about 35% to 30% have two working parents). We usually have several play dates a week and are close friends with several of the families.
A year later traditional school is not on the radar. They don’t speak about their “school friends” anymore. There is no such thing as missing their friends from last year since we stay connected year round with our homeschool friends. The new conversations center around the people they will meet in the private lessons that they will be taking this year or the new kids that they will meet in the play groups.