One thing that homeschooling has changed drastically is Riley's outgoing behavior. Although I know socializing is the question every homeschooler faces, one of the primary reasons we sent Riley to regular school was because we felt he needed to be around other kids to develop in a normal manner. His hearing impairment has caused speech abnormalities and his hearing loss affects a lot of his behaviors directly. (Even though we pay some of the nations highest school taxes we are not allowed to make use of speech therapy unless he attends the school.) Being in crowds, loud places or in stressful situations he simply dissolves from the inside out. He acts out in a negative manner or simply just starts "tweaking" and babbling almost incoherently. When other kids treat him poorly instead of ignoring it he reacts instantly. Self-control is not his strength and although most kids his age are developing their ability to scheme and lie Riley is still pretty naiive and oblivious. They stole from him, bullied him and tormented him.
We enrolled him in YMCA indoor soccer because at one point he begged, begged, begged to do it. He is a very active child who thrives best when physical restrictions are not demanded. So self-discipline and activity seemed like a naturally great decision. After the very first soccer practice we realized uh-oh...he hates this. Week after week he's complaining and frustrated that "team sports would be better if there weren't other people." Sometimes when we go to the library he does good with other kids but mostly he just seems to be genuinely disinterested in other people now. Its almost as if going to school everyone treated him like he was a pimple that needed popping, now that he feels happy and safe theres a withdraw occurring. Why talk to other people if they're just going to be mean? I can't say that I disagree with him at all, which unfortunately is probably part of the problem. I can relate 100%, I genuinely dislike social interaction. As I get older people seem to only get ruder and louder. When interacting with other kids theres a concern Riley will offend them (or more likely their parents), or on the other hand they will give him an "education" I'm not wanting to explain away. Probably one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is getting rid of the unpleasant side effects of being around the diversity of character. Realizing that I'd dissolved all of the negative energy from coming into my home was possibly the biggest relief (aside from his release of stress and happiness). No more WHAT DID YOU SAY? ...WHERE DID YOU HEAR THAT? THEY DID WHAT? Nope, thats all folks. Done.
I don't want him to be grown and feel like I've shielded him. I don't want the kid to feel like bubble boy, however at this very moment I have no solution and no reasonable answer in sight. Him and his brother are closer than ever, they play from dusk til dawn and are increasingly more in tune with one another's personalities. He does have a friend in the neighborhood he plays with once a week but is this enough? We don't live in a completely desolate location however there does not seem to be an abundance of resources for homeschoolers groups that don't involve signing up for a charter school. I guess it will play out on its own. What do other people do? Am I the only one who's freaking terrified of dealing with other parents? We're not really social butterflies naturally, I've not really had friends all of my life. I grew up half of my childhood in a military family. I would make a friend or two, and then move. As I became a teenager I was surrounded by really negative personalities that I escaped when I met my husband. Since then its been just me and my boys. Meeting new people really is not my strong suit. Women especially TERRIFY me, play-dates and micro-managing-mommy's just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. I could be wrong entirely, but I guess I'll just keep looking around. Best I can do right