My DD's best friend isn't a school friend. She is a girl we met at the village mums and toddler group when we first moved to the village. They see each other for Scouts, we meet up as families because the friends mum is my friend too. My best friend growing up wasn't someone I went to school with either. I don't Home ed myself, but I know families who do and i believe part of home ed is meeting up for group activities with other home ed children. I'm sure your DC won't suffer for not having to sit in a classroom all day with children who they just don't get along with. Once you find the friend who shares your interests it really makes no difference how often you see them!
My DS (aged 10) has been out of school for 6 months, and the one thing that he misses is not hanging out during the day with his 2 best friends. He sees them when they've finished school and at weekends, but he does miss that day long banter and chat with them. He still says he would much rather be at home though!
To reply with another question - does school guarantee those sort of friendships?
Speaking from personal experience, I was one of those children that is always on the outskirts of groups in primary but had a very close friendship out of school with a neighbour who was at a different school. I was completely friendless for the first couple of years of secondary, mildly bullied, and finally found close friends in about Y9 or 10 (but not close enough to stay in touch after leaving school).
I would like to think that I am not some sort of unusually friendless, anti-social freak even if I am so my experience suggests that school children do not all benefit from intense friendships, at least not through their whole school career.
I do think you are right to be wary of "after-school" clubs providing close friendships both for the reasons you gave and also because, in my experience, they tend to be quite focused and don't allow a lot of time for socialising. It is probably not impossible though, especially if a couple of children are very involved in an activity over a long period of time.
Most of the home-ed children I know seem to be mostly friends with other home-ed children (based on the fact that at every home-ed birthday party I have been to, roughly 90% of the children are home-educated). It does require some effort though, to contact other local home-educators, attend groups and then maintain friendships with play-dates (hate that word!), meet-ups and joint days out.
I think if it's important to your children to have those sort of friendships then you'll find a way to do it. My home ed 9 yo has maybe 7 friends who he thinks of as very good ones. Of those he sees at least 3 of them usually 3 days a week, for a 'school length' type day - this is as we go to home ed groups and activities regularly with them. The other 4 he usually sees at least once a week, but often more, because we tend to go on home ed trips during the week with them, or there are playdates. I think in some ways they see more of each other and have closer friendships than they would at school - as we get on as families and often see each other at weekends and have been camping etc together. They also frequently have sleepovers and there's more general 'swapping' of children, because there's more flexibility and we don't have to worry so much about 'school nights'. I guess it depends a bit on where you live and what the home ed scene is like there, but in a lot of places its very active, with lots of groups, sports clubs and organised trips and you tend to see the same people again and again. My son does have a couple of friends who are at school, who we only get to see every couple of weeks or so, as it's hard to find time - but he still has close friendships with them and they seem to pick up where they left off.
Hi Well, my experience is that my DDs were actually relieved not to be in that intense situation with friendships once they left school. They found it too much being with the same 29 other kids day in and day out, and as they got older the girls became more and more cliquey and the friendships more and more fickle.
Since being home ed'd they still see their friends from school, but I think it's telling that even after 4 and 5 years at school with the same children they only want to see a small handful of these children now, those who were and still are good friends. They have made several HEd friends and their friendships are much healthier from seeing eachother weekly or fortnightly and not every day.
Btw, well done for convincing your DH - I had to do the same thing with mine - a gradual drip drip of information and results of studies etc!
lets see, if you work full time is your best friend someone you work with or some one else. outside of school does anyone spend every day with there best friend? have you never met anyone hows best friend went to a different school, no school at all? have you ever known anyone that had a fantastic friendship with a pen pal they had only seen 2 or 3 times? My DD is 6 and has many friends, they are all "intense" when they are together.
My DH is almost converted to the idea of HE (I planted the seed ages ago and have been watering it regularly with mention of research studies, random downsides of school etc). But he raised a concern the other day. In school you see the same peers every day, which allows for quite intense friendships to form. IMO that's not always a good thing, but DH is worried if we HE, DS (plus future DC) won't make strong close friendships, especially as the majority of socialising would be probably be mixing with schooled children (at say, Scouts or Tae Kwon Do or music lessons or theatre group) who will themselves have these intense friendships with kids they see every day at school (so won't form close friendships with DS I think is the worry). What say you?