Today was a good day.
We had our annual co-op end of year picnic. It’s 5 hours of field games, friends, and food that ends with a giant water gun fight that goes on for about 2 hours. It was a beautiful day, not to hot and with a great breeze. The storms that had been threatening all morning held off. The food was good.
I don’t worry a lot about socialization. But I do worry about it a little bit. Especially as my 9 year old is getting older. It’s not so much that he doesn’t have a chance to be with other kids. Between baseball and swimming and church and co-op and Scouts we’ve got that covered. It’s more that as he gets older I sense that he needs more independence. He needs to navigate his way in a group of boys, figuring out if he’s a leader or a follower. He needs to have secrets from me. He needs to run with a pack.
He gets that from time to time. But today he got it all day. I barely saw him from the time we got to the park until the time I rounded him and a gang of boys up to bring them all home to continue the fun at our house. I didn’t see what he ate, although he did wave at me as he carried a full plate of food off to the “fort” so he and his gang could do some pre-water gun fight strategizing.
What I appreciate about homeschooling is that while John still has the occasional chance to be part of a pack of boys, it also creates a lifestyle where he is used to those boys being all ages. I say I barely saw John. I saw David only slightly more since he chose to eat lunch with me. John’s friends fully welcome David into their play, today and on other occasions. David told me when we got home that one older boy didn’t know his name but knew John so decided to call David “little John”. David thought that was awesome. (Understand that this was probably a 12 or 13 year old boy who was including a 6 year old in the game. Awesome indeed.) I like that I saw boys shepherding their toddler brothers across the field. I like that the teenagers both helped the adults with the set-up and ran around like lunatics dumping buckets of water on each other.
As John has gotten older there have been days when he’s away for much of the day, similar to the hours he’d be gone for traditional school. Every time we have one of those days I miss him. Maybe to a non-homeschooler that sounds weird, like I’m an over-involved or helicopter mother. But the truth is I like spending time with him. I enjoy him. I’m glad that right now we spend most of our time together as a family. But I’m also glad that we’ve found a place where we can all have our own space.