Parents are often a little worried about socialization when they start homeschooling their children. As we begin our 9th year homeschooling, I can write with confidence that not only has socialization not been in issue, but it’s one of the advantages of homeschooling. My children all enjoy lovely friendships, and, best of all, the moms of these children are some of my most cherished friends.
Aidan recently celebrated his 13th birthday. He had a few friends over and they filled up our office/homeschool room with their growing limbs and growing collection of technology. I have a futon and comfy chair in the office partly so that this group of boys will have a hangout. This is a familiar scene at our house and I love it!
Everybody says their kids have nice friends. Otherwise, they couldn’t sleep at night. But I have known these boys since they were small children, and I really adore them all. (Though, as they enter their teen years, the office smells likes armpits when they’ve been huddled together in there for too long!) It’s wonderful to witness them maturing into fine young men. I love how they actually have conversations with Philip and me, and they are good to the younger children.
Every year the boys give Aidan handmade birthday cards. These cards are real treasures. They are usually in comic strip form. The last few years the cards contain code words that I don’t understand, but I’m pretty sure I have nothing to worry about!
This year for Aidan’s birthday, his friend Eric gave him a gift that got me all misty-eyed. First, let me tell you about Eric. I met Eric’s mom, Donna, at a homeschool conference the summer before we started homeschooling. Aidan wasn’t even 5 yet and Eric was 5. Donna and I got the boys together a few weeks later (along with the rest of our kids) and they’ve been pals ever since. Aidan and Eric have had many adventures together over the years.
Eric is true “maker”. He can make just about anything. If he doesn’t become some kind of engineer I’ll eat my hat. He is also a gourmet cook — I am not exaggerating. He not only bakes his own sourdough bread, but he designed a warmer system to keep his starter at the perfect temperature. Here he is:
Back to the awesome gift that made me cry. The boys build “Boshi” sticks — basically giant swords made out of pool noodles and PVC pipe. They have rules of warfare and ranks that are constantly evolving, and these Boshis keep them busy for hours every week at our homeschool park day.
Well, Aidan’s Boshis are often in a state of disrepair. Eric gave Aidan some new pool noodles and pipe to build some new Boshis. He also made him a “Boshi repair kit”:
Eric built the box himself and placed new tools inside. The best part: Those letters that you see on the top of the box . . . get ready . . . were burned into the wood one by one by nothing more than the sun and a magnifying glass. Come on, people. Are you weeping yet? If not, you’re dead inside, DEAD I TELL YOU! 🙂
This gift is so indicative of what I love about homeschooled children. They possess an unusual reflective kindness and creative generosity. I know Aidan will cherish this box for the rest of his life, because it symbolizes a cherished friendship.
I’ve asked Eric to write a guest blog post for me, explaining how he did the wood burning for the letters. He has agreed! We’re in for a treat. We will have his post up by Monday.