That's the magic word when people first hear that we homeschool. Really, it just was not that big of a deal. In Texas, we had neighbors, and we saw cousins once or twice a month, and we had our friends and their children in and out and all around. Socialization just did not seem like much of a concern.
When we first moved to Vermont, the children were 5, 3 and under 1, and I worried a bit about friends for us all. I found a homeschool group and then another, and we met a family through Jason's work. Once everything sifted, we saw some different kids about once a week, and we had other friends. Ezra seemed to be consistently the oldest in everything, and he did not seem to have peers. This just did not seem that important; it was on my radar, but I was not seeing a need to change things.
When we moved in 2008, I suddenly realized Ezra was ready for peers. I really think family should stay central, but there comes a point when you need a friend to talk to, not just your mom or sister. We scrambled a bit last year, but we did not find much community for any of us in Johnson, even with our connections. Ezra did find friends at Earthwalk, but the other participants lived too far away for more casual get-togethers.
Now, we've been in Hardwick for two months. We've been really busy getting the house ready. However, I know that finding friend-opportunities for our little homeschoolers is one of my big responsibilities. It helped that we had a couple of ties here before we moved, and it helps that the librarian is very friendly and a homeschooler. But, really, things have just gone so well. We met many families at swimming lessons who have made us feel welcomed in this community. We met one family with children of very similar ages to ours. There is a homeschooling group that also has a convenient age span. And, there is a lego club. Ezra definitely has a chance for real peers, and it looks like as the girls come to a similar point socially, they will have a similar opportunity.
Part of my job in all this has been to ease up on some issues as the children get older. I still do not want any of them watching tv, but if Ezra watched a movie at a friend's house, it would be okay. I'll still be adamant on Sylvie's behalf. The glass house from which I discipline our children leaves little room for me to comment on the ways of others. I am ready to discuss with a nine-year-old how different families have different priorities, and no one can prioritize everything. On the other hand, I'm not quite ready to try to explain all that to a seven-year-old. I can see that how right I might be is less important than the children's needs for connections as they get older.