School officially starts on Monday for the kids around here where we live. As a homeschool mom you’d think that doesn’t mean much for us, but it does.
So what does “back to school” mean for our family as homeschoolers?
It means that the summer events for kids (the free stuff) is over because most everyone is back in school.
It means back to answering the random questions like, “What grade are you going into,” and “are you ready for school to start,” and “why aren’t you in school?”
It means refocusing on school work for us because even though we school throughout the summer we tend to be extremely relaxed.
The biggest change for us with back to school is losing time with certain friends now that school has started.
Josiah’s best friend starts Kindergarten on Monday. Samuel’s best friend is back in daycare now that summer is over. The boys have been able to play with these friends 2-3 times a week for the past two months. Now all of that has change. They’ll still see some of their other friends and acquaintances at church and other extra curricular events, but they won’t have that “BFF” time like they did over the summer.
Josiah’s best friend is a girl and now that he’s 7 and she’s 5 sleepovers are becoming non-existent, which means they’re limited to a few hours on Friday night or during the day Saturday. Samuel is only 2 1/2 and his best friend is 3 1/2 so it’s more like babysitting if he spends the night so we try not to do that.
Yesterday was their last day to play together and I spent most of the day feeling bad for them. I know they’re going to miss spending time together and it’ll be an adjustment for all of them. And of course those thoughts of “socialization” start creeping into my mind.
Then this morning I saw Josiah and Samuel playing with toys — together. Last night they played with toys and watched a movie — together. And then it honestly kind of hit me — instead of focusing on “socializing” Josiah and Samuel with other children I need to cultivate their relationship and friendship with each other.
I think back to when I was Josiah’s age. The kids I hung out with then are not who I’m friends with now. Some of them stayed through elementary, some through high school, and some a little longer. However, I always ended up with new friends whenever there was a new transition in my life. There is ONE friend that I have that I’ve been friends with since high school. Only one. All of the other friends are people I’ve met as an adult at church or through my volunteer activities.
Then there’s one person that I’ve been friends with my entire life. We’ve fought tons of times over the years but we still love each other and confide in each other — my sister. At times our age difference (I’m 5 years older) has sometimes gotten in the way, but overall there’s really no friend in my life that I could count on more than my sister.
I know not everyone can say that about their sibling and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have friends outside of our family, but I want my kids most precious friendships to be with each other. I don’t want them to drift away from each other have friends that are “closer than a brother”.
While everyone else is at school, they’re plenty busy learning friendship and socialization skills from each other. Things like how we’re supposed to treat one another and what happens when we’re mean or hateful to our friends. No one wants to play with someone who is always in control or bossy. No one wants to be friends with someone that whines all the time. We don’t put our hands on our friends in an angry manner…things like that. They’re learning that friends and peers don’t have to be the same exact age as us, but that it’s more important that those friends have common interests and values.
My kids will still get plenty of non-family friend time, but I am thankful that they have the opportunity to learn these valuable skills so early from each other. I’m thankful that they are working on a bond that should last a lifetime.