Still working my way through the questions you guys have asked me. It’s more time-consuming to write about this stuff than I thought it would be. Each question could easily be turned into its own lengthy post, but for the sake of not having this subject take over the entire blog, I’m really trying to condense the answers as much as possible… and man, it is not easy.
Do you feel like she’s getting the socialization she needs? Do you feel that she’s missing out on important socialization and group education projects? What form does the socializing with all ages you wrote about take?
I really rely on my parenting instinct to guide me as far as how much/often regular socializing occurs — and my gut tells me my kid would find non-stop social interaction (such as a full school day) utterly exhausting.
It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy hanging out with other kids. In truth, she’s really quite adept at introducing herself and joining a group of kids (more so than I was or am even now) — but she needs a considerable amount of time afterward to recuperate and recharge.
Brief but regular opportunities for socializing with other kids, coupled with time off to do nothing, seems to work out best. She’s been part of the same Girl Scout troop for a couple years now and she’s just started a comics drawing class last week, and this seems to be as much as she can comfortably handle for now.
And beyond that, she’s out in the world and having innumerable smaller-scale social interactions — trying to understand a toddler who really wants to talk to her, giving a street musician a dollar and a fist bump, making up an on-the-spot game with a group of other kids at the playground, making faces at a baby in a stroller on the subway.
You also have to remember that just the sheer population density of Manhattan means you can’t not socialize, at least a little, with someone at some point virtually every time you walk out the door.
I suspect as she gets older, she’ll want (and be able to handle) longer, more frequent interactions, but for right now, yes, I feel like she’s getting the amount of socialization she needs and is not missing out on anything.
Do you ever plan to send her to a traditional school later on?
I don’t plan to, but again, I do my best focus on the right now, and not worry about things that may or may not happen 5 or 10 years from now. That being said, there are so many interest-driven high schools here in NYC (like the incredible New York Harbor School) that I would be okay with that if my kid opted to go to one of them — but that will be up to her at that point.
Do you two get cabin fever-y and sick of each other during stretches of bad weather, like if you can’t get outside much? If so how do you handle it?
During stretches of bad weather, we can both get really restless from not being able to go out and just take a walk somewhere. So, in the winter, to burn off some excess energy, we play a lot of Wii Fit, we take out exercise DVDs from the library, and if it’s only semi-horrible outside, we just layer up and take our chances outside.
We also only live about 200 yards from the subway station, so even in the crappiest weather, it’s not that difficult to get out of the house and go somewhere.
As far as getting sick of each other… I can’t say I never get a little crabby or overwhelmed, but I do my best to stave it off before it happens rather than get really burnt out and then try to fix it from there.
I try to get up a couple hours before she does (not especially difficult because she’s a late riser) so I can drink coffee, get some work done, make a plan for the week, et cetera. During the day, she’s pretty good about finding something to do when I have something that needs to get done. (For instance, much of the writing of this post has been made possible by Club Penguin.) Also, right now, I’m also in class two nights a week which really keeps me feeling like an adult person with thoughts about things other than kid/parenting/homeschooling, even if it does give me that much more work to do when I’m not in class.
Do you worry that she’s going to resent being homeschooled someday?
At times I did, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized: who can really say what a kid will later come to resent or appreciate? There’s no time machine or crystal ball that can tell you, yes, thirty years from now, your child will be on a therapist’s couch, saying all her problems in life have sprung from the fact s/he was [homeschooled/not raised in a suburb/didn’t get a pony/denied piano lessons/etc, etc].
I think the best thing you can do as a parent is to just be in the moment and do what you really believe is best for who that kid is at that time — and not spend your life second-guessing your choices.
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