Homeschooling can feel lonely sometimes, especially if we’re struggling to find meaningful connections with other families. If you’re wondering how to find your homeschooling community, these 3 simple steps are just what you need to get started!
The other day I remembered a conversation I’d had years ago. It started with an inquiry. The question was asked by an older woman sitting next to me on a park bench. She was there with her grandchildren and had just asked me what school my daughter went to. After I mentioned that we homeschooled, she inquired about socialization.
Her question was sincere. She was kind and curious. It was obvious by the gentle look in her eyes and the way she leaned in towards me.
We ended up chatting for quite some time; a perfectly lovely and comfortable conversation. Before we parted ways, she told me that she really admired the way that we were homeschooling. She thanked me for shedding light on the socialization questions she had always wondered about.
“Clearly, your children are getting plenty of socialization.“
But on the drive home that afternoon, a nagging feeling weighed on me. It was a feeling directly related to socialization. But it wasn’t my children’s socialization that I was worried about.
It was mine.
Homeschooling can often be a lonely road.
While homeschooling continues to grow and become more popular, it’s easier than it’s ever been to connect with other homeschooling families. But while more families are indeed choosing to travel this path, we homeschoolers are still in the minority. We’re doing something that continues to be far outside of the mainstream.
So it’s no surprise that we’re bound to feel lonely sometimes!
Now some homeschooling parents are lucky and they find a supportive community right away. They settle into an established co-op. Or they connect with fellow homeschoolers at church. Or they have friends with older children who have been doing this for some time.
They settle in and connect.
Discover their people.
Find their community.
But for other homeschooling parents, this whole finding your community thing, well, it feels scary and overwhelming.
Maybe the established co-op didn’t feel very warm and welcoming. Perhaps their family doesn’t attend church regularly. Or they might not know anyone who has homeschooled.
For some homeschooling parents, it can be really hard to find their community.
Now understand that communities vary in size and what works for some, might not work for others. Some people thrive within big communities while others are content with smaller settings; sometimes just a few people.
But in order for homeschooling to be sustainable for you long term, you need to find your community!
If you’re struggling to find meaningful connection, if you’re feeling lonely and isolated, let’s go over some simple steps you can take to help you find your community.
How to Find Your Homeschooling Community:
Step #1 – Get Online
YES, an online community TOTALLY COUNTS! (I’m pretty sure all of the introverts among us just gave a collective sigh of relief.)
One of the most fantastic, inspiring, spectacular gifts of homeschooling at this moment in time is the internet. Connection is literally at your fingertips. And while I’m not suggesting you draw the blinds and rely solely on your online connections, I do recommend STARTING HERE.
Check out the following FREE homeschooling resources first:
Get to know Cait and Kara. Listen to their podcast or read their blogs; whatever floats your boat. They are both so warm, smart, encouraging, creative, and REAL. They are the perfect place to start when searching for your online community.
Also, spend a little time over here. I have been following Jamie for over a decade. She has lots of wisdom and practical tips to share. She also has a group of regular guest contributors so there’s plenty of variety.
Next, consider PAID support options:
Head over to Brave Learner, a paid membership group created by Julie Bogart (who is also the creator of Brave Writer, a comprehensive language arts program, as well as the author of Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life). Julie homeschooled her five children, (now all adults) and has a wealth of knowledge and homeschooling experience under her belt. She is a fabulous homeschooling mentor!
Note: I am not affiliated with Brave Learner or Brave Writer and receive no financial compensation for promoting them. This is an online membership site that I personally pay for and I believe is worth every penny!
If your children are between ages 2-7, Other Goose (established by Erin Loechner, author of Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path) offers a paid monthly membership and lots of support. Other Goose didn’t exist when my children were younger, otherwise I would have enthusiastically signed up right away!
Note: I am also not affiliated with Other Goose and again, I receive no financial compensation for promoting them. I simply admire and support what I’ve seen of their services and want other homeschooling families to know about this resource!
Look for online resources specific to the area where you live. For example, over the years, I’ve belonged to various Facebook groups where homeschoolers who live in my area have posted questions, resources, field trips, and other opportunities.
This is also a great way to begin to put your finger on the pulse of the homeschool opportunities in your area.
So get started ASAP. Google away, my friend!
Step #2 – Identify Your Support Team
These are the people in your life who love you and SUPPORT your decision to homeschool.
Is your husband on board? How about your sister? Next-door neighbor?
Look, you might have plenty of people who love you but who DO NOT support your decision to homeschool!
These are NOT the people you should gather around as part of your homeschooling support team!
From personal experience, I know that it is NOT wise to seek homeschooling support from loved ones who do not believe in your educational choice. I have ended many a conversation in tears when I reached out for support only to be told I was crazy to be homeschooling in the first place.
Trust me, these are not the individuals I want you recruiting for your homeschool support team!
This obviously doesn’t mean that you love and care for these individuals any less, it simply means that you don’t need to bring them into your inner circle of homeschooling fans and supporters.
Once you’ve identified some good homeschooling support team candidates, write their names down.
Or put the names in your phone. I want you to have this information in an easily accessible place so that when you have those days where you feel like you’re losing your mind, you can go straight to those names on your handy little list! (or phone!).
Reach out to these people and ask if they’d be willing to be a member of your support team. Make it sound super official and VIP – friends and family love that! Chances are, they will be touched and feel honored.
Now, read my words: When you are feeling overwhelmed, isolated, discouraged, and in need of support, you reach out to your homeschooling support team!
Alright, good. Moving on.
Step #3 – Get out there
I know, I know. This is often the toughest step. But here’s the great thing: You have children that will no doubt, force you outside of your comfort zone, as I’m pretty sure they’ve already done countless times.
So continue to put yourself out there.
Visit some local co-ops, attend a field trip you’ve seen posted online, engage another parent in conversation when you drop your kids off for an activity, and remind yourself that many homeschooling parents have been in the very same spot that you’re in right now.
I wish I could offer a guarantee that you will find your community within a specified time frame.
But I can’t.
It’s harder for some of us than others and as humans, our needs vary greatly.
But staying connected online, checking in with your loving support team, and continuing to put yourself out there are without a doubt, THE BEST WAYS to find your people.
Remind yourself that finding your homeschooling community might not happen right away. And there is absolutely positively nothing wrong with that! It often takes trial and error and a bit of time.
But you’ll find your homeschooling community, you will!
Please know that you can reach out to me ANYTIME, either in the comments section below or by contacting me directly via email. I am always happy to offer specific suggestions for finding support and resources!