JMJ *Homeshooling is much more mainstream than it used to be, and it is not as difficult to find friends, unless, of course, you are completely isolated from civilization, and even then, there are hopefully neighbors with kids.
Ring the School Bell 4/180 days
Understandably, after the misadventures of yesterday I was ready for a new day. After a satisfying morning and afternoon of academics, packing and household chores, we arrived at Malibu’s Leo Carillo Beach Campground in the pitch black of night, the moon peeking through a thick marine fog. Of course, in keeping with our most annoying tradition, we set up camp in the dark of night, not without a little frustration. I am so looking forward to a good night’s rest in our humble little camper, as well as some mental refreshment and good times with the five other families who have joined us, families who are an integral part of our “Village”.
A word about our “Village”. An important question that I ponder repeatedly as my family is growing up, is this: Who do I want my children to be socialized by? I think most people are familiar with the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I certainly want to have a say in who comprises this village! Who will influence my child most profoundly. I find this all to be a very serious matter, as I do believe that we are molded in part by those we associate with. Personally, I like to be well acquainted with the peer group. I feel so very blessed that I have found a group of like-minded parents with families, which I call our “Village”. We may not see each other every day, but our events can last a whole entire day, giving the kids large blocks of time to play and bond together, and yes, giving the parents time to socialize too!
How to make homeschool friends:
The importance of having friends can not be understated. They bring joy and love to life. If you have been homeschooling for a while, this is probably not an issue for you at all. Homeshooling is much more mainstream than it used to be, and it is not as difficult to find friends, unless, of course, you are completely isolated from civilization, and even then, there are hopefully neighbors with kids.
But maybe you are new to an area, or new to homeschooling. Initially I felt so all alone with my clan of kids…
Ideas to make homeschool friends:
- Attend a local homeschool convention. Here you may find a list of local groups you can try out.
- Join a homeschool charter for a year or more. SoCal has quite a few available, and so might your area. We also have hybrid schools where children attend school part-time and then do the rest of their work independently. Charters usually offer numerous social opportunities to take advantage of.
- Homeschooling is so prevalent compared to what it used to be. Simply ask around to find out where there might be homeschoolers in your area. The internet may have listings. Be part of more than one group initially. After a while, you and your kids can decide which ones to stick with. It does take an investment of time and energy to do this, but it will be worth it.
- Homeschoolers are such a diverse group of people, that you really can not lump them all together. Maybe start your own group. My good friend, Veronique, and I decided to do this, about 12 or so years ago. We decided to form a faith-based group. Veronique started calling churches and putting notices in the church bulletins. We would meet at the park for meetings, and for many weeks, it was just us with one stroller and 4 other kids in tow. Slowly it grew to over 25 families, and we now enjoy camaraderie with so many like-minded friends. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.
- Offer a class and invite other kids to join in, perhaps inviting some of the neighborhood friends also. Many children I have encountered over the years have wished, oh so much, that their parents would homeschool them. Not all kids are so lucky to have had the opportunity of homeshcooling, so invite some of them too. We hosted a cooking club for 3 years and currently host a monthly craft club. Friendships bonds have grown during this time.
- Be open to kids of all ages for your kids to connect with. Homeschooling is not like a building school, where the kids in the classroom basically share the same birth year. In my family, Sabrina has always connected more with the older kids, and that has continued throughout her university experience. She has always felt a bit more mature and serious than her same-aged peers. Sarah has often connected with kids a little younger, I think because she loves to share her factual knowledge of stuff. Melissa is the only one who has pretty much stayed within her age range.
- Plan and prepare field trips, and invite other families.
- American Heritage Girls and other groups often have troops that may have large numbers of homeschoolers in them. Do some internet research and make some phone calls.
- Check out the local science center and museums. Many of them offer workshops and homeschool days, where there is an opportunity for learning and socialization.
Good luck! I hope some of these ideas were helpful to you and your family.
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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.
May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine. Annette