When I first began diving into the world of homeschooling and unschooling five or so years ago, I sought the stories of the many moms that went before me. Whenever taking an alternative, less-charted path, it's often helpful to know what that path can have in store for you.
Of the "testimonials" I listened to, there are certain pearls of wisdom that have stuck with me and supported my trust in the process.
One of those pearls was the response one mom gave when asked what was the greatest benefit she saw from schooling through an alternative approach at home. Of the many benefits, the greatest benefit she saw was the strong friendships between her three kids.
She talked about what she observed happened when kids entered the school system and were partitioned off according grade level. She talked about a separation that took place between siblings around the time kids entered elementary school. However, she didn't see that happen with her kids.
That was an interesting point she made that I've carried with me. I imagine that is not always the case, but I looked back to my childhood and remember a separation that happened at that time.
We've tried various options for schooling - sometimes at home, but we've also been in intergenerational models, where kids learn with various ages combined. It's been fascinating the way kids interact in those settings - with the older kids acting as helpers and leaders for the younger kids.
Back to the friendship part, it's special to witness the relationship grow and unfold between our two kids. They have their moments, of course, but I can see a solid foundation that continues to grow as we journey together.
NOTE: I'm not saying sibling friendships can't exist through mainstream schooling. I'm sharing our experience of what has unfolded through our unconventional schooling journey.