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Being part of a homeschool community is important. Feeling that you belong somewhere matters to our happiness and our children’s.
When homeschool parents choose to break away from the normal convention of education, friendships can be lost along the way. When families move to a new area, it can be hard to make new friends and find opportunities for your children to make friends and learn together with other kids.
Although some people can connect with other families at homeschool co-ops in their area, most homeschoolers work hard to find other homeschooling families local to them and carve out time from their schedule to regularly meet with them.
Here are 5 ways you can create your own homeschool community when there is none!
1. Find Local Homeschoolers Online
Thank goodness for the internet! One of the quickest and simplest ways to find other homeschooling families is to use Facebook. Simply search your city/state name, along with homeschool, and see what comes up (e.g. Ohio homeschoolers)!
Likewise, there are Facebook groups for every kind of homeschoolers, including the iHN page. Whether you’re classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf or anything else, you can find like-minded people in these readymade online communities. They’re a great place to get resource ideas and ask questions.
Something that I make great use of, are the Facebook groups for homeschool curriculum. Find the group that is using the same curriculum and join in with the conversation. These groups can be a huge comfort when things do not go as planned in your homeschool, as all too often you find there are other parents who have had the same issue as you and can give some advice. They’re also fantastic if you’re looking for an alternative to a planned book or extension material for a certain topic.
2. Start a Homeschool Kid’s Club
As daunting as it might sound, if there’s nothing going on in your area for homeschoolers, why don’t YOU start something!
The wonderful thing about creating something yourself is that it can be as often as you can manage and you get to chose the format! In our area we have one-off events, weekly events, monthly events all run by homeschooling families.
Your group could be simply a social gathering for children to play and mum’s to chat, or you could provide a learning opportunity for the kids. Whether you create the theme each time, or you follow a published curriculum, you get to decide!
Whilst it is useful to consult the other homeschooling families in your area, to see what would serve them best, ultimately you can decide what kind of community you want to create!
3. Homeschool Mum Community
I know I’m guilty of neglecting my own social life during certain seasons of life. Homeschooling can be all-consuming and a mother’s need for friendship can be forgotten. Honestly, it can be a huge relief to get away sometimes and find support and friendship outside of the home.
Starting a regular meet-up for homeschooling mums will provide a great service to your community. It could be as simple as a coffee morning and chat, or even a more structured book-club. Some mums like to get together to craft or learn a new skill, whilst others enjoy a simple walk outdoors together.
4. They don’t need to be homeschoolers
All too often homeschooling families forget that there is a whole world of support and friendship available outside of the home-education sphere. For fear of difficult questions or judgment, we prefer to “stick with our own” and make friends with other homeschooling families.
This is completely understandable. It’s true that homeschooling presents challenges and victories that “school-parents” may not understand fully. Having people around you who understand your family, and your unique path, can be a huge support. But just because they don’t homeschool, doesn’t immediately imply that they won’t understand you!
Friendships can be made on your doorstep… literally! As I write this, my children are playing in front of our house with our neighbour’s kids, who all go to school! They’ve become close friends. Friends can also be made for mums and children at after-school clubs or school-holiday clubs.
Evening classes for adults are a great way for mums to widen their social circle and find new friends, as well as religious circles or gatherings.
Creating a homeschool community and support network for your family takes effort. But with time, some trial and error to see what works, and a little bit of courage, it is possible to create something that will serve you, your family and your whole community!