According to Will Rogers "A stranger is just a friend I haven't met yet". Making friends is vitally important to all of us. It takes time and effort but the rewards of making a good friend make it worthwhile. You certainly know who your friends are when you have a crisis. Some social networking sites have misappropriated the word friend. These are not 'friends' in the true sense of the word, they are acquaintances, a friend is so much more.
When your life changes such as having a child or moving to a new area, it can take a long time to meet people who will become your friends, acquaintances can be made easily and quickly. It is important, though, to have both types of people in your life.
When I talked to friends about the possibility of home educating my eldest they all asked virtually the same question 'what about the social side of school, where will that happen?' It got me thinking, was that important, how were my children going to make friends if they were educated outside the school environment?
I thought back to my own experiences. I have one friend who I was at primary school with, who I am still in touch with and see on a regular basis. But she was not in my class at school, we became friends through interests outside of school. I lived in the same house whilst growing up but once I left home I moved around a lot before settling where I live now. During that time I made many friends and acquaintances but as my values and life have changed over time I have 'moved on' or lost touch with most of them now.
When you are in an education environment such as school you are (in most schools) likely to be in a class and generally surrounded by children of the same or similar age. Even though you are surrounded by all these people for so much of your time it does not necessarily follow that you will make many or any friends.
If you are home educating you have to work harder at giving your children opportunities to make friends but I do believe that the skills needed are more of a reflection of those that will be needed when making friends later in life. So do I think that the social side of home education is found wanting? No, I would argue that it is more reflective of life outside of education.