It is still amazing to me that making the choice to homeschool tumbles you into a world of so many decsions and choices...and mind changing...a totally eye opening experience. Not that I didn't think there would be choices to make...I just didn't realize I would make choices, have new things brought up to me...and make new choices. Almost constantly.
Today, the choice/decision is about what kind of group my kids need to be in, if any. I'm not a big social butterfly, but I realize my kids need to know other kids exist and form some friendships. Since we homeschool, I'm their link to that socialization. If I don't take them somewhere to do that, they're like the fabled homeschooler-locked-in-a-closet who can't relate to anyone. So we found a nice group which exists for the purpose of socialization. We hang out and play. It's groovy. But lately it has occured to me that it would be nice if my boys would reap some of the benefits of being in a group of all-aged children...rather than just running amuk to burn off some energy. As a homeschooler, there are certain things you can't do at home with two kids...or at least not very easily (certain games, projects, etc.) There are also some experiences that just aren't the same at home as they would be in a group. For instance, Iggy told me he likes to do presentations - to get up and talk in front of people. That's great...but I'm not sure that he really means "in front of people" or "in front of mom and dad". And without some sort of non-relative group, I'm not sure we can figure that out.
So then, does that mean we need a co-op? I'm not ready for that. At almost 5 and 6, I think joining a formal co-op would be a little much...at least for us. And a year ago I would have said we would never even consider a co-op. Now, I can at least see the benefits one could provide...at the right time, and choosing the right one for my family. I guess that means we're searching for that elusive middle ground of (eek) structure.
Anyway, all of this to say, its amazing to me how things change. A year ago, it was fine for the boys to get together and punk around with everyone else. And I think that's still valuable. I'm not quitting any groups, or anything. I'm just kind of interested in the morph the boys and I have made from wanting nothing more than punking around...to "Mom, maybe when we're with the group...we could do show and tell? Or play kickball? Or do a giant art thing?"