Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival

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When I took my oldest to the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival in Nashville this weekend, I didn’t spend as much time with her as I thought I would. We were there for less than five minutes before she ran into a friend from JSL (Japanese Second Language). I quickly felt like a fifth wheel, so I told her to keep her phone close and I walked off.

Wow. It was so natural and easy I almost missed it.

My daughter just ditched me for her friends for the first time.

I am so proud! Take that all you homeschool doubters who believe homeschooled children will grow up to be socially awkward teens who have no friends!

IMG_3655And it didn’t stop there. It wasn’t long before I ran into some of the Nashville Kendo Club members. I asked them where and when they needed to meet up for the demonstration they had scheduled so I could find Gillian to make sure she got there on time. They told me not to worry. They had already seen Gillian and she was getting ready in the changing rooms. She would be out in a minute.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

She was already getting ready. On her own. Without being told.

Soon she was back out and texting me that a friend and his mother had arrived who wanted to see her kendo group in action. It meant so much to her that her friend would come and see what she is so passionate about (I wrote about that here). I met up with them and we joined the crowd to watch. When she went backstage, she ran into yet another friend. She was completely surprised and delighted to run into one of her best friends from church who was there with her own dojo. Small world!

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The kendo group was great, of course.

IMG_3653Afterwards, we had lunch with her friend and his mom before we headed out and milled around the booths. The food choices seemed endless. We chose a bento box, but I regret missing out on the noodle bowls. There was so much to see; everything from manga to origami, bonsai trees to kimonos. We listened to the music from the stage and soaked up the culture before heading home from one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a very long time.

Homeschool families are always hearing other people’s fears about their children being socially awkward. I would argue that children growing up in forced social situations where all the kids are all one age, would find themselves at a greater disadvantage than those who move in and out of many diverse groups in their real communities. At least, that’s what has been working for us so far.

 

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