So, you’ve made the decision to homeschool and now you’re wondering how to go about finding your local homeschool community? Luckily, with the number of homeschooling families on the rise, there are likely plenty of opportunities for finding homeschoolers in your area!
When we first started homeschooling, I will be the first to admit that, for a number of reasons, I was scared. Our kids had been going to public school and we had established friendships within the school community. Leaving the public school setting meant that I not only had to figure out an educational plan for my kids, but we also needed to find a new community of friends.
It’s ok to be scared. Finding your local homeschool community can totally be scary if you don’t know where to start. It’s a big world out there. I totally get it!
Get comfy in your seat, take a deep breath, and let’s get you some new homeschooling friends!
Why You Need a Homeschool Community
If you’re anything like me, friends are an essential part of life. If I need to get someone’s feedback on something or just need someone to talk to, my friends are there to help out just as I would be there for them.
When it comes to homeschool friends, you should not only be able to count on them for emotional support, but it’s very possible they’ll be full of homeschooling tips and tricks for you! Homeschooling parents are typically a wealth of information and, from my experience, they love sharing their experiences and lessons learned.
Think of those in your local homeschool community as both your friends and your colleagues. They’ll be around for a good time, but they’re also happy to help you to navigate the sometimes confusing and overwhelming world that is homeschooling!
How to Find your Local Homeschool Community
These days, it seems everyone is connected digitally so it’s no wonder that one of the best ways to find your homeschooling community would be to head to the world wide web!
Before you start your search, you’ll want to first figure out your focus by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you want to find a general homeschool community or are you looking for parents of elementary-age homeschoolers?
- Would you like to find a group that gets together in person or would you rather keep those friendships on a screen?
- Is it important that your local homeschool community members have similar religious or political viewpoints?
- Would you like your community to be hyper-local or would you be ok making friends that live out of state?
Once you figure out the type of community you desire, go ahead and search some keywords in your favorite search engines and social media platforms and see what pops up!
While searching online for your local homeschool community could bring up the most results, definitely don’t discount the value of doing some good, old-fashioned in-person searches throughout your community. Local churches, libraries, community centers, and even child-play centers are all places that could host homeschool get-togethers. Check their community bulletin boards for any possible leads and/or ask a staff member at a help desk.
Want to take your homeschool community search a step further?
Say you’re on the search for parents of elementary-age kids. What could you do? Consider taking your kids to a popular playground during typical public school hours. If there are other kids playing on the playground, it’s a possibility they’re homeschooled! If there are kids playing, parents can’t be too far away, if you catch my drift…ask if they’re homeschoolers!
If your kids are older, scope out some popular nearby tween or teen attractions during public school hours. It can’t hurt to look around local hot spots for your new homeschool community. At the end of the day, even if you haven’t made any new homeschooling connections, at least the kids had fun, right?
Becoming an Active Member of the Community
Ok, let’s pretend you have found what you think to be the group. You did a search, found a potential community, and you’re ready to give it a go. The involved kids are great ages/levels for your own kids, the parents seem awesome, and you are excited to get started! Before you join your new community, you might want to check for the following:
Is there a fee to join this community? If so, is it a one-time fee or a recurring fee? What do the fees go towards? What happens to your payment if you’re no longer able to be a part of the group?
Is this community more of a casual group for get-togethers at the local playground or will there be lesson plans and instructional time involved? Are you required to participate in a certain matter in order to remain an active member? Do parents drop off their kids for events or are parents expected or encouraged to attend as well?
Not every homeschooling community will require certain fees or parental involvement. Before you get too far into the process, you might as well dot and cross all the appropriate letters, you know?
Finding your local homeschool community is invaluable to both your homeschooling experience and, if you’re asking me, your sanity as a parent. Even if you don’t find the right community right away, don’t give up! Keep trying, keep searching, and I bet you’ll come across a great group sooner rather than later.