By Sarah Walkey Mcubin


If you have a twice-exceptional (2e) child who wants to make friends, you may have noticed that they have to work extra hard socially. Skills that are easy for others may be very difficult for 2e kids. Thankfully there are many ways to help them make great friends. 

After spending my childhood and teen years as a gifted child who never fit in, something clicked in college when I realized that I was not destined to struggle socially. Talking to people became like math. A subject that could be learned and was not a mystery. I started to watch and listen in conversations with a new interest. Instead of feeling completely stressed that I would again say the wrong thing, I became curious about the reactions I was seeing and started making note of the way people behaved and talked. 


The Problem With Making Friends

The problem with making friends for anyone that struggles socially is that making friends is actually a pretty active process. It is unreasonable to expect that if someone doesn’t actively talk to people that they will build relationships. 

However, if someone is introverted, shy or reserved, they may struggle to simply start the process of making friends and choose to avoid being around people. An extrovert will have so many interactions with people that they are bound to meet people that have similar interests and form a deeper connection. Though someone who struggles socially will have less social interactions. This results in less opportunities to find someone who has similar interests. It is a self-perpetuating cycle, but it doesn’t have to be! 


5 Ways to Make Friends

1 – Participate in Regular Activities Based on A Child’s Interests. 

It is much easier to make friends when you are around people who have similar interests. Instead of trying to find friends, accidentally, by hanging out at parks or in general homeschool groups,  choose to sign up for classes or activities that are based on your child’s interests. They will automatically be spending time with people who like the same things as them which is one key to friendship.


2 – Practice Basic Conversation Skills & Asking Good Questions 

Social settings are so much easier if a parent takes the time to role-play social situations. This can be done EVERY TIME they are headed into a social situation that stresses them out. You can practice questions to ask, how to answer questions they don’t know and the general process of conversation, where people ask questions back and forth. 

Here are 100+ Funny Questions to Ask Kids 


3 – Practice Reading Social Situations

Oftentimes, 2e kids are more sensitive and may struggle to interpret the intentions of others. This can result in getting their feelings hurt more easily. In order to help kids understand their world, I love to practice reading social situations. 

One of my favorite ways to learn social skills with my kids is to let them talk about interactions they observe. If someone gets into a fight or someone gets emotional, or is super happy, those are all great opportunities to observe and discuss.

Questions you can use to discuss a social interaction can include:

-What did you see happen?

-Why do you think they reacted like that? Could there have been another reason? 

-Do you think they could have been unhappy because of something else in their day? 

-If you were talking to that person what could you say? 

-What if they said something unkind to you, how could you react? 

Practicing understanding social situations from different angles can help kids understand the nuances of social interactions and be less sensitive if something does come up. 


4 – Look Out for the Underdog

One of the things I learned being the kid that stood in the back alone was that I LOVED the people who would come find me to say hello. You see, I didn’t use any of these tips when I was growing up. I just waited for people to talk to me. 

In college, I realized that I didn’t have to do that. In the dining hall at school, I would get my tray and then look for someone sitting alone and ask if I could eat with them, and everything changed. I realized that if I did that all the time, I would never have to be alone. 

Teach kids to look around and SEE who else is alone. They can practice their social skills by going up, introducing themselves and asking some basic questions. Not only will they feel better, the other person likely will too because none of us want to be an outsider in a group. 


5 – Don’t Try to Be Friends With Everyone

The reality is, most people don’t need a whole bunch of friends but one or two good ones would be wonderful. In helping kids to make friends, it can be beneficial if they focus on talking to different people, but only building friendships with those who share their interests and are kind. 

In helping our kids to make friends, it can be equally important to help them identify the kinds of people that DO NOT make good friends. 

When twice exceptional kids are homeschooled, parents have the unique opportunity to structure their days in a way that has just the right amount of social interactions. As your kids grow up, they will likely give input on the kinds of interactions that they enjoy or don’t. It can be tempting to only do things that our kids want to do, but encourage your kids to gradually challenge themselves socially so they can get better at things that are hard. 


Sarah and her husband have 9 children and have homeschooled for 15 years. In her journey to find the right education in each season for each child, she has also used public and private schools as well as hybrid homeschool options. During Sarah’s homeschool journey, she was the President of a homeschool co-op for 6 years and is currently the Treasurer of another. Her passion is to help homeschool leaders confidently offer quality programming without burning out! How? She helps homeschool leaders create realistic policies, stay legal with the government, set program boundaries and learn to communicate clearly so that the community you create is one that you love. Connect with Sarah and her resources on her blog, 10 Minute Momentum




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Dawn Spence

For many, this will be your first year of homeschooling and my best advice for you is to take self-care breaks this year. Homeschooling is a fabulous journey, but it requires work and dedication. Breaks can take many different shapes and forms, so I want to highlight a few that have been helpful for me in my seven, almost eight, years of homeschooling. Not only will taking breaks help you finish strong, rest is an essential part of staying healthy – physically and mentally.


Quiet Time at Home

I am still working on this part. Whether it is taking a hot bath, a Bible study, or sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, it is important to feel calm and quiet. Let’s face it, life is crazy and most days we go all day. We are teachers, cooks, nurses, referees, moms, dads, and much more but we need time to just be still. Find your peace and wrap yourself around the bigger picture of why you do this whole crazy life. We are called to serve and love but we need the quiet and break to refocus and ground ourselves so we do not become overwhelmed.


Connect with Friends

You are not just a homeschool parent, you are a person who needs their friends. Take time to talk to or meet up with other friends that will encourage you. Find your friends or group that give you words of wisdom and who you can be real with about your struggles and your triumphs. Meet over coffee or chat over zoom, but take the time you will be amazed how much it will rejuvenate you. I truly believe that friendships help us know that those bad days are normal. We all need a cheering section that will speak to our hearts, hold our hand, and pray for us.


“…friendships help us know that those bad days are normal..”


Retreat Away from Home

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of getting away with an organization called A Mother’s Rest. A special needs mom started this program because she knows what is on our plates. It was an amazing time to get away at a bed and breakfast with no expectations except to relax and sleep. It was nice to be with other moms who understand. They also have retreats for couples or just dads. Their motto is, “You cannot pour from an empty cup,” which is so true. It was nice to step away, be pampered, and truly rest. If you cannot get away for a retreat, find other ways. My husband has surprised me with a night away at a hotel to sleep. Find a way to fill your cup.


As you go through this year, take time for yourself so that you can give more to important people in your life. Self-care is never selfish and it allows you to replenish yourself so that you can accomplish your goals.






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