We’ve been home educating for over 5 years. I’ve learned to let go of the pressure to ‘socialise’ (for both the kids and the adults), but at the same time it is one of those things that is feels so important to have - as adults or children, being with or around other people can be important.
As home educators, and even more so as unschoolers, we are doing something that is not considered normal. We are stepping outside of our comfort zones. Doing something that most other people are not. We are trying to find our way, because we know the other way (of schooling) is not the way for us.
Yet, we step into this new world and it is confusing, bewildering and often overwhelming. We are often left feeling completely unsure with how or what to do, and most importantly - with very few people to talk to that would understand. We are left to make things up as we go along. Doing the best we can.
And sure, often we get by. But it would be great if we could do more than get by. If we could find better ways of really connecting.
From my personal experience - connecting with others has been such a slow process. It is simply hard to find those connections. Those people who you think you can click with. And even if you do find them, it is even harder to maintain contact with them, which is what is needed to build a long term ‘relationship’. This is life, and reality. And really, it is how the world works. Making real good friends in real life is hard and rare. Unschooling reflects life, so it really isn’t surprising that the same applies.
When starting out home educating it is really important to bear this in mind. I often see new home educators posting to Facebook groups, usually the are excited, lost or in need of support. But often I get the sense that they expect rapid social meets and friends for their kids. When they expect things fast it can be a huge confidence knock when it doesn’t bear fruit.