He has played with the neighborhood kids every year, but THIS year seems to be especially important to him.
"MOM! I can't eat this much dinner! I need to go back outside before everyone goes inside for the night!" and "MOM! Why do I need to go in for bed? All of my FRIENDS are out here!"
Being homeschooled, he just doesn't understand why his friends can't play outside at 11:00 in the morning like he can. It's torture for the child to wait until 3:30 when all of the other kids start running around the neighborhood.
And with the exciting friendship for my son comes a feeling of uneasiness for Mom.
What kind of language do these children use? What kind of ideas are they spouting off out there in the yard? Where are all of the kids' parents?!
As I sit outside and watch the socializing go down, I can't help but feel nervous for P.
Will the other kids say something to him about being homeschooled? What about the fact that he comes from a family with more than the 2.1 children deemed "normal" by society? Are they going to hurt his feelings? Do they appreciate his friendship as much as he appreciates their friendship? Will they one day say something rude about his Catholic faith?
And then it hits me--all of these thoughts go through my head for about three hours during the warmer months.
Homeschooling, however, has allowed me to keep an eye on the other kids to make sure they're not using horrible language around my child or being rude and inappropriate.
If he was at school, there would be eight hours of the day that he would be on his own, shoved into a classroom full of children that I don't know and have no control over what they might say to my child.
Homeschooling isn't just about pencils, books, and worksheets.
Homeschooling is also about making sure your child grows up in a safe and supportive environment so he actually CAN learn.
As for his friends outside, well, all I can do now is just be on my guard and smile when I see how much my son enjoys having friends.