Connecting with other homeschool families seems like a natural thing to do when you begin homeschooling. But finding other families, and forming friendships is easier said than done.
I was blessed to have that in my homeschool years. And after talking to so many homeschool women I realise that many don’t have anyone, and don’t seem to know how to go about finding ways to connect with other homeschool families.
I didn’t know any homeschoolers in my region when I began eighteen years ago, but over the years I was fortunate to find a large group of like-minded homeschoolers to share the journey with me. We are all still close even though we have finished our journey.
So, I thought I’d share some ideas that helped me create community. Some of my suggestions may not work for you, particularly if you live in a very remote area. If you have other ideas that really helped you make homeschool connections, then please leave a comment so others can benefit from your experience.
Find A Local Group To Connect With Other Homeschool Families
Find a local homeschool community. This is easy to do through Facebook or the HEA. Find ones close to you and summon up the courage and go to a few events. It will take time and these groups can seem clicky but persist.
My first few attempts were a disaster. I went there heavily pregnant, with my five-year-old boy, a pre-schooler, and a toddler. It was an effort to get there and I was totally ignored. There were about twenty women all sitting around having lunch and happily chatting, so I approached one of them and asked, “Is this the homeschool group?”, and was told, “Yes”, and then ignored again. I went home that day disheartened, without making a single connection. But I tried again and eventually got very involved with the running of group events.
In my local group we had a wide range of philosophies and ideas about how we could and should homeschool. This was enriching and we all learnt from each other. You don’t need to find a group that only believes what you believe. True, some groups may not be right for you but give them a chance before you make a judgement call.
A Friend of A Friend
If your lucky enough to already have some friends who homeschool then finding ways to connect with other homeschool families can be easy. But many of us don’t have that luxury – I know I didn’t. However, you often meet people who know ‘so and so’ who homeschools. I encourage you to try to meet those people because even if they aren’t going to become your bestie – they might help you make connections and put you in touch with others.
One of my closest homeschool friends was made this way. A friend rang me to say another homeschool mum was moving to my area; I did a cold call and we met up and we all hit it off – including the kids. Yesterday, I had coffee with that mum and my girls still hang out together even though they are in their twenties.
Organise An Event And Invite Some People
I did this a lot. I worked out things I wanted to do, and I invited others along. I often did this by personal invitation rather than a group event. This was a way to get to know the people I had met at various events a little better. I tried to make the events a win-win; something for the mums and kids.
We did art classes, book clubs, beach days, museum visits, Shakespeare plays, poetry recitals, concerts, drama classes, and many more things.
If you are shy or feel like you can’t organise things – start small. Ask a few people over for a coffee or a park play. Don’t give up if the first person seems reluctant. Try with someone else. There are a lot of mothers wanting to make connections.
Homeschool mums are as busy as anybody and they often have lots of activities so finding times can sometimes by tricky. Don’t take that as a rejection – give people options.
Connect With Other Homeschool Families Online
Online connections are, for many, the first point of call and I loved the virtual staff room feel. Today Facebook is very popular and you can join some very specific groups but there are other options.
At My Homeschool we offer a forum for our members where they can connect online. This is more intimate, and you can get to know people. It also offers you more privacy.
Connect at Conferences
These conferences often open opportunities to be mentored and challenged to think beyond your local experience. They are also times to focus and reflect. When you discuss new homeschooling ideas with others, you often form deeper friendships.
The Anne of Green Gables Prayer
My last suggestion may be controversial, but it was one I taught my children and have often prayed myself. The reason I called it the Anne of Green Gables prayer is because Anne always wanted a kindred spirit – and finding those can be hard. And my prayers and my children’s prayers were answered. We were proactive in seeking out friendships, but we prayed for them as well and we were blessed to find them.
I hope you will be blessed also and find ways to connect with other homeschool families.