Creating a Homeschooling Community
When I started out on this journey to home school my kids, I didn’t know anyone who was home schooling. I felt so isolated and alone. None of my current friends, who’s kids where already in school, understood what I was doing.
I joined a charter school to get to know people, but though that was great for my son, I still wasn’t meeting people except in passing during drop off and pick up. I began going to the homeschool support meetings they offered, though I was anxiety ridden, being an introvert and having to talk to total strangers! I did get to know one or two people, eventually and was able to plan some park days and field trips.
Slowly we grew friendships and even created a Facebook group so we could easily connect for planning events, sharing helpful or supportive information, and discussion. over the past few years this group has changed dramatically. It’s open to the whole community to join and is now over 400 members. I moderate the group to try to make sure only genuine local homeschool families are approved to join.
Most members that were active the first year are no longer very active in the group, having life changes such as moving or perhaps they found their community elsewhere.
I found myself out of the loop again after a while and major changes in my own life.
Recently I’ve been longing for deeper friendships for both myself and kids.
As well as more time in nature.
I joined park days through other groups here and there as my schedule allowed, but hadn’t been able to attend anything regularly. Finally, I planned my own park day at a day and time that worked for me at my favorite park, in the forest so I can have my nature fix and let the kids play freely in the trees and the creek. I planned this reoccurring event in the homeschool community Facebook group and shared it on a local Yahoo group. People came! Not just one or two, but a great group of people looking for the same connections, came and have continued to join in.
I can’t always make it each week, myself, but it feels good to know that that park day is scheduled for when I can get there and other people are benefiting.
It’s grown in just over a month to be such a wonderful little community of support and friendship, for both the kids and the parents.
If you don’t have a group like that you can post to, you could possibly make up a flyer and share with some of the local homeschool charters and other programs. Go regularly for a while to see if anyone shows up.
Another way I have gotten involved and forced myself out of my comfort zone to get to know my fellow homeschool families is joining the board of our local education center, the Discovery Learning Center. We go weekly for classes and they have a resource center I would not want to be without, so I decided I want to do what I can to make sure this great place continues. Not every town has one, but if there is a place where homeschool classes are held or homeschoolers often attend, get involved there. Or create your own resource center or group.
Tips for Creating a Community
- Join or start a Facebook Group for your local homeschool community
- Search for a Local Yahoo or Meetup Group
- Look for local resource centers or homeschool co-ops
- Join a homeschool charter or homeschool program
- Join a homeschool support group
- Ask homeschooling acquaintances if they’d be interested in a field trip group where one person plans a field trip or two each month on a rotation.
- Ask those same people if they’d want a park day each week. Rotate parks, or choose one central park. Advertise it to get the word out, there are always others looking for the same thing as you.
- Get out of your comfort zone
- Just do it! If you can’t make it, ask a friend to be a backup, in case you can’t attend the planned field trip or park day, or let it be known you may not always make it, but you will as often as possible, in the case of an ongoing park day. We’re all parents, homeschoolers, busy, tired, sometimes sick… we understand if you have to cancel last minute.
My favorite thing about the groups I’m now involved in, including Facebook and park groups as well as the Discovery Learning Center, is they are open to anyone. Any type of homeschooling family, no matter why you homeschool, religious or not, school-at-home or unschooler, and all the variations in between, everyone is welcome.