One of my favorites aspects of not sending my kids to school is that they have yet to put limits on the ages of kids they are willing to play with. I'm sure there are schooled kids out there who are flexible and willing to play with kids not in their "grade", but my memory of schooled kids is that for the most part, it ain't cool. I absolutely LOVE that my kids are just as comfortable playing with a 3 year old as they are a 15 year old.
Today at our Unschooler's Park Day, several new families joined us. A gang of older girls decided to walk down to the fountain a few hundred yards away. As they walked off, a 3 year old newbie was crushed. It took me a minute or two to realize that she wanted to be included. I offered to walk her down to the fountain to see if she could join the big girls. She (and her mother) were thrilled. As we approached the girls, it suddenly dawned on me that maybe these preteens wouldn't be thrilled about caring for a toddler. Was I setting this child up for further disappointment? I quickly ran scenarios through my head. What would I do if they didn't want her to join in?
We called to the girls, and they turned around. Two of the 6 rushed up to greet me and my new little friend. A wave of relief washed over me. Ohhhhh...that's right, I reminded myself. These kids have never been to school. They don't know that it's not cool to play with kids younger than you.
My oldest daughter Janey scooped up her new friend. The little girl beamed. When they all turned up 30 minutes later, our new friend was blissful. "These big girls are my new friends!" The feeling was obviously mutual When I checked in with my middle daughter Macy later that day, she exclaimed, "She's my new best friend."
And that's reason #683 not to send your kids to school.