Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friends of All Ages

I spent an entire day in Houston with: a 16 year old, a 15 year old, an almost-13 year old, and a 9-year old. And at one point, in the car, we were all poking one another with straws and acting like 3-year-olds. And I absolutely, and completely enjoyed myself.

One of the things I find most distasteful about our education system is the way we unwittingly segregate young people. If I had grown up surrounded by people within a four-year radius of my age, I would have missed some incredible friendships. I would have never met my 90-something "grandfather", and accompanied him to Israel. I would have never met my "twins" - and never been provided with countless hours of entertainment by their escapades. I would have never started up correspondence with Gwen Lawless, the 43-year-old widow woman I met at VOM who changed my outlook on life for good. I love my teenage friends; but I will forever be an advocate of variety.

In fact, I think I can boldly claim that homeschooling has made me more socially ept than the average public schooler. Most kids probably couldn't carry on a conversation with a construction worker from New Jersey and - here's the catch - actually enjoy themselves. But age is irrelevant to me. I'm just as likely to become best friends with a girl my own age as a 6 year old. Yes, I'm being completely serious.

I love my young "tween" or young teenage friends. At my age, most young adults are moving on - learning to enjoy the company of college students and other adults. But I've always enjoyed the college kids who would actually stoop to talk to me, and I love being with adults. But that's not all. In fact - though perhaps a very small reason - that's one of the factors that made me decide to opt distance education. I can't bring myself to desert my friends still in high school for a world they can have no part in.

It's a good thing to be socially secure, I'm sure, and have a whole spectrum of friends to hang out with in your age group.

But isn't it a much better thing to be able to finger paint for a hour with a toddler, and the next moment enjoy a deep conversation with a friend of your parents?


Star said...

Something that amazes me is... There are many people who believe that homeschooled kids are socially underdeveloped. That they "have no friends."
But in actuality, kids who are or have been homeschooled are a thousand times more socially developed than kids who may go to a public or private school.
It's amazing how wrong people are about that.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

I must whole-heartedly agree with you! I know far too many teenagers who can't enjoy children, which stems from their inability to think of them as people, and also don't enjoy adults because they don't relate to them. Kudos to you for loving diversity!

meg said...

I love this post.

Up until this school year I've been homeschooled and I had MORE friends when i was homeschooled than I do now. How is that possible? I dont have as much TIME to communicate with my long distance friends or the friends that I dont see every day at school. Everyone at my public school is like: "Whoa! You're so normal for a homeschool kid!" and its become a joke now that I'm a "normal homeschool kid" but I just really hate that stereotype that all homeschoolers get put into about how we are "anti-social" when really I think because we are at home that we take advantage of the fact that when we are out in public we present ourselves in a respectable and friendly manner.

that make sense?
i'll get off my soap box now. :D