Homeschooling can be a lonely endeavor. Homeschooling is a borderless enterprise. But homeschooling can also be isolating. On one hand, it seems that there are homeschoolers crawling out of the woodwork (you know, like when the science museum hosts a homeschool day), while on the other hand, there are days when we feel like we need to dilute the pool of people with which we spend time. In short, we need to meet new people.
But where does one homeschooling parent go when she already knows all the people around? How does she meet new friends for herself and her kids?
You could move to a new neighborhood, but that might be overdoing it. You could always join a new affinity or hobby group, but who has time to learn something else besides the 12 multiplication tables we already are re-learning with the kids? Perhaps you could take a yoga class, but the extrovert would chat the whole time and ruin everyone else’s zen. You could volunteer somewhere, but aren’t we already volunteering to homeschool?
After thinking through all of my lame options, I decided to do what I am already doing but with a new group of people that are also already doing what I am doing. That was a really long way to say that I joined a new co-op. Gasp! My kids and I hadn’t been in a co-op in a number of years (by our choice…and we loved it!) so it was high time to round up the backpacks, figure out how to pack an occasional lunch, and meet new people.
On the night we set out to participate in the “Meet-n-Greet Ice Cream Social”, we were all equally excited and nervous. This was an entirely new group of people that we were discovering. Would they like us? Would they accept us into their circles? Would we have anything in common?
Well, as it turns out, they are just homeschoolers like us (shocker, right?) and were super friendly. About half of the families we met were also newbies, so we didn’t stick out entirely. We did the polite handshakes and initial small talk that night while my kids stared at the other kids while simultaneously trying to keep each other close enough for comfort but far enough away to be cool.
Meeting new friends is fun for this extrovert. Have a friend or two with which to link arms as we march to accomplish this goal of parenting and homeschooling is essential. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and look for a few new ones.
This reminds me of that old song I learned in Girl Scouts, “Make new friends but keep the old! One is silver and the other is gold!” Life, in general, is more fun with a friend or two.
HomeschoolFacts.com has a complete directory of homeschool support groups available by clicking here.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.