Homeschooling fears: will she make friends?

If a kid isn't in school, where does she get friends? Turns out: anywhere and everywhere.

Two girls are side-by-side in a hammock, facing away from the camera.
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič / Unsplash

This is the third post in a series about the fears I had about homeschooling before we began, and how I feel now, four years in.

Will she make friends?

This one wasn't a big worry for me, but it's a worry that other people bring up, so it threatened to seep in at the edges. My kid makes friends just about every time she leaves the house.

My daughter is a wonderfully odd duck, very much her own person, and like most other 2e people, there is some complexity in forming friendships. But that would be true no matter which environment she was in every day.

Homeschooling actually gives Wanda a massive social advantage: by not being locked into the artificially stratified world of a same-age cohort, she has developed a default view of the world where all ages are of equal value, import, and interest. She finds connection with a beautifully wide array of human beings (and dogs, goodness she loves to meet dogs). For an odd duck kid, pulling from a pool of people with this kind of variety is critically important.

Wanda and I have connected with some truly extraordinary kids and families, people who have become a part of our lives, people I adore, who make me feel hopeful about the world. We found them simply by being out & about in the city and striking up conversations.

Her social life does take proactive effort on my part. Coordinating playdates keeps me hopping. (The pandemic made this really hard, but hard times called for hard effort, and I hustled and hustled and found Covid-cautious people and we got through it.)

When we were at Camp Mather last month (a week-long family camp near Yosemite, run by the San Francisco Parks Department), a dad we met shared that he'd put aside the idea of homeschooling his children because he was worried they wouldn't make friends. However, seeing my daughter in action for a week—seeing her happy confidence, seeing how she didn't just make friends, but brought kids together—he said Wanda completely dismantled his idea of what homeschooled kids were like, and he wanted that for his kids.

My next post will be my final post in this series: will I goof up teaching her?