It seems strange to be talking about loneliness during the month of love (aka Valentine’s Day), but let’s face it, homeschooling is often a lonely road. It is hard to “buck the system” and not just float along with the crowd, and it is really important to find your tribe. This is especially true if you don’t feel like you have a good support system or if friends and family are always questioning and criticizing your homeschooling decision.
It makes such a difference to be able to commiserate the woes of long division, struggles with handwriting, or overcoming reading challenges with someone who totally understands and might even be able to offer helpful suggestions, or at least point the way to a lifesaving resource.
Here are some tried and true suggestions for ways to find your tribe:
- Pray to find like-minded souls. Some of my favorite people have come into my life as a direct result of my prayers. I am sometimes slow spiritually and unfortunately had to get really desperate before it even occurred for me to ask my Heavenly Father for help. I discovered many of these resources below as an answer to those prayers.
- Check out an LDSHE conference. There is one held in the East and one in the West and both offer top notch speakers, vendors, mentor chats and lots of fun activities. Sure, they are an investment, but one that will be well worth it in the long run. I can’t think of a better place to find people who understand BOTH your faith as well as your desire to homeschool than a fellow Saint traveling the homeschool path!
- Check out other local homeschool conferences. There are many to choose from including ones run by curriculum companies.
- Search for local homeschool groups, forums, co-ops and more through FaceBook. Some groups use FB to schedule in person meet ups, park days and field trips. Others are online forums only, but provide a great place to ask curriculum based questions and to solicit feedback on available resources.
- Google is another great place to run a search. Most states have a clearinghouse website that lists all kind of state or local homeschooling groups.
- Hang out at your local library during the day. The kids you see there will undoubtedly be homeschoolers too. Many libraries host special programs during the day for homeschoolers. Ask your local children’s librarian about other resources in the area. Odds are good they have a pretty good idea about what is happening in your community.
- Search under “Education” on websites for your local zoo, theater, symphony, science museums, gyms, kid’s museums, craft stores, local parks departments, and national parks. You might be surprised by how many organizations offer low to no cost homeschool classes.
- Look around you at the park, at lunch spots with play places, and as you run your errands during the day. Chances are good that the mom you see with a huge cart full of groceries with kids older than toddlers in tow is another homeschooling mom. If you can work up enough courage to start a conversation, you may just make a friend for life. I know of a couple of park groups that got started with homeschool moms introducing themselves over a lunchtime chicken sandwich at Chick-fil-A. (True story!)
A little effort will go a long way in helping you find some great friends and a tribe to call home. Good friends make the homeschooling journey so much easier and fun!
by Tiffany Salter, Texas