If there's one complaint about homeschooling that I hear more than any other, it is that homeschool students get less socialization than students at public schools. At rock bottom, that analysis is spot on--someone who is educated at home has a great chance of meeting fewer people during the school day than someone who is plunged into a morass of hundreds of peers for 6.7 hours 5 days a week.
What it comes down to is that if you're homeschooled then you have to work a little harder to make friends.
|Three of my most precious friends! This photo was taken|
at my cousin's (on the far left) wedding.
Proverbs 18:24 for anyone who wants to make some new friends:
- Pray. Several years ago I was a little girl with only two or three people I could call friends--and one lived in California. I distinctly remember praying with all my heart that God would send a friend to me, a kindred spirit to laugh and grow up with. And you know what? A couple of months later I was blessed with that lovely lady second from the left in the photo above. What a gift!
- Expose yourself. You'll never make friends if you never meet anyone. When doing a little research online I discovered one homeschool girl who makes friends at fencing practice, soccer practice, poetry club, drama club, chess club, art classes, kayaking, music classes, dances at the community center, conventions, camps, events at the library, volunteering, and more! There are so many opportunities to get out there and see a few new faces.
- Be friendly. This might sound a bit obvious, but if you're naturally shy and reserved like me, you know how hard it can be to interact with strangers. However, I know that if I don't act welcoming, put people at ease, and--perhaps most importantly--share some of myself, I'm never going to get anywhere with a stranger. For you more outgoing types, be sure not to be overwhelming! Always treat others as you'd like to be treated :)
- Follow up. If you need a reason to be on Facebook, this is probably it. As soon as you get home from chess club, connect with that nice redheaded girl and invite her to join you in a fun activity (ice skating, anyone?). Of course you don't have to have Facebook to do this, a telephone, email, or gasp face-to-face contact will suffice. You can't expect a stranger to remember you just because of your great personality, so make an effort and keep reaching out.
- Don't give up. Maybe you've tried to start up conversations or correspondence with strangers, but it simply goes nowhere. Perhaps you have a lot of shallow relationships, but no one you feel you really know and trust. Don't throw in the towel yet! It may take years to foster an acquaintance into a bosom buddy, but keep praying, keep seeking, and keep being a friend to everyone you meet. The Lord Jesus is the dearest friend you will ever know, so follow him and see if he doesn't bring more friends to walk beside you!
For more tips, check out "How to Make Friends As a Shy, Homeschooled Girl".