|Lambing - newborn lamb, a few minutes old.|
I know this is actually utter nonsense because I have never come across a more social group of people than the home-ed community - although we don't join in with many things in the wider home-ed group, I am on the mailing list so I get to see just how much social stuff they do. There are so many hall meets, library visits, museums, galleries, theatres, other outings, gymnastics, football, craft, pottery, nature walks, music activities, bowling, swimming, ice skating, parks, and just so so much more that goes on pretty much all the time.
And whilst schools generally like to arrange children by age group / year group, home-educated children get to mix which other children and adults of all ages which actually is much closer to 'real life' than the way schools do it. After all once you are in the work place you are most likely not going to be sat on a desk next to colleagues who were born in the same year as you!
Despite knowing this in my head, every once in a while, I would still have a little wobble and wonder whether the children would be getting more social input in school and today I realised that in just one day, J probably had more meaningful social contact with others than he would have had in a whole term at school.
One of the lovely local home-ed groups set-up specifically for families with Autistic children had organised a visit to a local college where the lambing season had started. As well as seeing the newborn lambs, there was also a craft activity and time to socialise over our packed lunches.
I was so proud of J for holding it together the whole morning and it was so great to see him chatting away with some of the other children. I'm pretty certain that in a school environment he would have immediately gone into 'fight or flight mode' and he would be so overwhelmed with the noise, sensory overload and social pressures of school that he would not have been in a state to be so calmly chatting away and looking so relaxed and happy.
So next time I have the 'social interaction' wobble, I will remind myself that surely it is better for J to get limited amounts of meaningful social contact with others so that he is able to cope with it and enjoy it rather than be immersed into a 9-3 Monday-Friday school environment where he would end up most probably being separated from the other children and being kept indoors at playtimes (as used to happen when he was at school) resulting in even less actual social learning taking place.