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?