Monday, 7 September 2009

But What About Friends?

The age old socialisation question!

Are you friends with a group of 30 people born within the same 12 months? No? Thought not.

If adults aren't expected to mix only with people of the same age group why should children? Isn't it more interesting to have a variety of friends from varying age and social groups? Isn't it presumptuous to assume that everyone wants to have lots of friends? Some people are naturally inclined towards having just one or two friends, just as others like having lots. Many children go to school and mix with hundreds of other children everyday, and yet they still have few if any friends, and feel as isolated as if they were on a remote island!

If you live in an area where there are other children, your child, if so inclined, will naturally make friends. If your child attends groups like brownies, scouts etc, they will, if so inclined, make friends. Home Education groups are another option for making friends where the children will have this educational choice in common.

My own children have friends who go to school; home educated friends; younger friends; older friends. They get on well with a wide variety of people which feels like a healthy situation to me. They don't see adults as *the enemy* because they are (mainly) used to adults interacting with them on an equal, respectful footing.

One thing that frustrates me about the socialisation issue is when people who really have no idea come out with statements like "Well I want my child to mix with a wide variety of people from different cultures and socio-economic groups, and they wouldn't get that if they didn't go to school." Hmm, well ok, that might be the case in an inner city school, although having spoken to professional educators who work in these types of settings, about this particular issue, I'm told that whilst they might be in a room together, the different groups tend to stick together and don't generally mix with other groups. That aside though, we live in the Yorkshire Dales. You don't get an awful lot of cultural diversity up here, so school wouldn't provide that opportunity for my children. Home Education on the other hand does, because we go to groups and events where people from all walks of life gather. We mix with people of different religions, people from different countries, people from wide ranging socio-economic groups. So that argument really backfires in our particular case.

Once again it's just a case of thinking outside the box a little bit, and not falling for false cultural memes.


  1. I agree. I think it's wonderful that you've found a way to educate your children, provide them with social experiences that enhance their lives, and have aided in providing them such nurturing relationships with adults. I wish there were ways to bring more of what your children are experiencing into the public and charter schools. My daughter is in a wonderful charter school, but the diversity factor is not present. We're fortunate that we are of a minority religion and therefore, we see more diverse peoples in our faith community activities. Wonderful post!