Ady is at camp for the morning (cooking, then karate camp) and I am sitting in a local coffee house planning to get some work done once I am finished posting here. Ady has always been comfortable being separated from us. She misses us but she is secure with being away from us. Here is what I want to share with people who think homeschool kids can't learn to socialize or learn independence: It's not the school that provides appropriate social skills and independence. The parents do.
I have several friends who send their kids to public or private school and they are much more "protective" than Jer and I are. Ady has been attending play dates at friends houses without one of her parents there since she was two. Ady has also been sleeping over at friends houses since she was four. But it's hard to get parents to reciprocate. Most parents simply don't want their kids away from them for a whole night. Some of my friends will argue that their kids can't be trusted to be at another person's house without an adult because the kids just don't know how to behave in social situations. They also think that children should never be allowed to attend a birthday party at a public place without an adult for every child. "How could the birthday child's parents keep track of every child there," one friend asked me? While I agree safety is important I also think we need to talk to our kids and trust them to make wise decisions. Every time I take Ady and leave her at a party, camp, or friends house we always review who is in charge (not her, I have to remind her!), who she can talk to if she has a problem, and who is picking her up to take her home. She knows her "Scooper Safety Rules" and I trust her to be smart. What is the point of holding on too tight? She is my child and I love her more than anything. When we are apart I worry about her. But has learned to take care of herself. She has learned how to respond in social situations without me or Jer there to control the situation. She has learned that she is strong and intuitive. Yes, there are homeschool kids that are sheltered and do not learn independence. But there are also public and private school kids that are sheltered. Independence is gained from parents teaching a child that they are capable. Here is a study that discusses this issue somewhat: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000068.asp.