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Home » CHFWeb Forum » HomeSchool » How important are groups for pre/k ages?
How important are groups for pre/k ages? [message #819560] Sun, 19 February 2017 08:38 Go to next message
Messages: 4138
Registered: April 2005
Senior Member
I am beginning to feel really guilty. From a very young age, up until the present (turned five in December), I have strived to involve Jonah in groups. Anything from a Gymboree class as a baby, to play groups, to play schools and co-ops. He is such an extroverted child, and I'm such an introverted mother. It's been difficult to maintain friendships as either there have been problems, or other families drift away or enroll their children in other things (sports, preschool, that sort of thing). We do not live in a neighborhood with children his age, and I've yet to find a child in any setting that is as spirited and physical as my child. It's like he was born in the wrong century.

So, I resolved that we'd work a reduced schedule with the co-op for the remainder of the school year since it wasn't exactly a great fit but Jonah didn't want to not have the chance to see the other kids (the co-op is cutting his age group out at the close of the year anyway). My thoughts were just to keep to ourselves for the next year, with regular park days, nature trails and the occasional MOPs meeting and just see what comes of it...to basically take the stress off myself for a year. He'd have the opportunity to play with kids even if the kids were random every time.

We can't afford sports, to be honest. We can not afford many things that would guarantee regular friendships. We've been on a no spend month in February and have barely saved anything (though we've paid some things down, and had my unexpected surgery covered). We're discussing how to do as much of a no-spend year as possible. In my head, I think it is a great idea. Needful even. But, I know I am also feeling "this is the year for..." which always requires money to be spent.

But here I am today, waking up looking at my little guy and wondering how to make his life less lonely. We have a couple of families that we do play dates with..but he and one other boy are the oldest and the two of them don't get along. (The other boy is fine, but he's definitely not a "swashbuckler" tree climber, race together big muscle movement type personality...and this often fizzles the two of them playing as my kid isn't a sit still, very still, lego playing, let's just slide type of fellow). I know that there is a private "school" that he's just about to age out admission wise...he could go for the fall and unless they add a grade, that would be it. It would literally keep us poor though. The school has it's issues (we were part of it before) but there's a lot of physical activity from what I'm seeing on their website. I'm pretty sure we are priced out of it now, and I can duplicate almost everything except the friendships.

While I homeschooled all the other kids through high school, I didn't start them out this early....so this is all new territory for me. I don't know if I'm making a bigger deal in my head/heart than it is or not.

Re: How important are groups for pre/k ages? [message #819561 is a reply to message #819560 ] Sun, 19 February 2017 17:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 14917
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

My experience is so different that it may not relate in any way. My initial thought is that kids really don't necessarily need groups of kids their own age. it actually is one of the reasons we homeschooled...I felt it was better for my kids to be "socialized" in varied groups rather than classrooms of 30 kids or so.

However, I also had 9 kids, so my kids were not ever alone in the way an only child would be.

On the other hand, I did notice when my oldest was about 15, that she really had no friends in real life. She had a few online friends...but honestly that was all. We were in a small church with really no youth, nothing really for her. I asked my dh if he thought we should try to find some sort of group for her so that she could have friends. Dh asked me if I still felt confident of our prayers and God's leading for being in the church we were in. (Yes), and did I feel confident about God's leading in answer to our prayers in our homeschool group (yes)...and so forth. The answer we came up with was that God had led us to where we were, and where we were did not include close real-life friendships for dd. We decided to trust that, and not search for something else.

Dd did fine, and when she got to college, she really blossomed and developed many good friendships. She is 30 now, and has a much more vibrant/active social life than any of the rest of us.

I realize that comparing a 15 yo to a 5yo isn't equivalent. But that was my experience, so I figured I'd share, in case there's something there for you.

I don't know what we'd have done differently if we'd had an only child. I'm considering some of these same things with my two youngest and our current life situation. But generally, I believe society teaches that we need a lot of things that we really don't.

I'm not saying you don't need to find something that works as a social outlet for Jonah...but I do encourage you not to worry too much if things don't work out the way you think they should...God may simply have other plans for Jonah and for you. Just keep praying and see what doors God opens.

Lisa R.
Re: How important are groups for pre/k ages? [message #819562 is a reply to message #819560 ] Sun, 19 February 2017 20:41 Go to previous message
praise2christ  is currently offline praise2christ
Messages: 2166
Registered: August 2009
Location: Northern KY
Senior Member
From what I am understanding, I think there may be two different ideas that you are addressing. One is a need for a social outlet for an active and outgoing child and the other is a close, deep friendship. With my kids these have proved to be two very different things.

At that age, the social outlet could be as simple as playing with other kids at the park. My DD was always the outgoing one. Every time we went to a park she would tell me all about the new "friend" she had made at the park and how much fun they had together. When the weather was bad, we would head to a fast food place with an indoor playground. We also had a pass to the children's museum that was a Christmas gift.

Friendships, though, were another thing entirely. My kids started having real friendships with the people at church, first. We were there several times a week and there was plenty of "downtime" where they could talk/play while the adults were talking. However, at age 5, these were still pretty shallow friendships build on how much fun they had playing together.

It wasn't until they were about eight or nine that they started to form some real relationships. These, too, were with people at church and then co-op. This is where they saw their friends most often, had the most time to develop relationships, and they had the most in common.

But, it has only been recently, at age 11, that I have noticed them forming what I think of as true friendships. The type where you care more about the person and how you relate to them than how much fun you have together. And, that is still developing as they mature.

Even now, as they develop these friendships, they are not with the people they see at their activities (dance and Boy Scouts). During those activities, they are kept pretty busy and there isn't much time to develop deep relationships. They still have "friends" at these activities - kids they get along with and enjoy spending time with - but they aren't the type of relationships where you share deep thoughts or feelings. They are superficial. Nothing wrong with that! We all have acquaintances that we enjoy being around, but haven't developed close relationships with. I would probably put these relationships in the same category as the kids at the park when they were little. They serve as a great social outlet, but don't fall into the category of deep friendships.

Stacy, mom to 12-year-old boy/girl twins and a three-year-old boy.

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's finger." Hans Christian Andersen
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