Speaking of community, let’s talk about joining a homeschool community. And I don’t mean the online one but a real life group of like-minded families. Even when you don’t all agree on curriculum or teaching models, even when you don’t agree on politics or religion, it’s still helpful to have local support. It’s helpful to band together for the purpose of field trips. Even if you have a church community to help teach manners or develop friendships don’t neglect the impact your kids can have helping other children learn those things! And a fresh perspective can often be helpful. Just remember we are all free to make our own decisions about what, how, and when you’ll teach you own kids. So a certain sense of boundaries can be helpful. Here in North Texas a great resource is www.nthen.org. I would recommend using their fine directory for finding support groups that meet near you and I can’t say enough praise for their bi-annual conventions! In fact, I hope to get back in the swing of things and start attending conventions again…maybe I should find an appropriate volunteer position.
Another thing regular meet-ups with other homeschoolers provides is the opportunity to participate in group activities like drama/band/choir, basketball/track/president’s fitness/martial arts, foreign language practice, art/crafts/maker’s spaces. Imagine getting a group of kids together to dive into STEM and enter robotics competitions. Or role-playing with kids interested in helping each other learn empathy or need practice reading facial expressions. You don’t even need activities to be that explicit…just have game days! Not to mention the options for tutoring: both giving and receiving. I miss the joy of teaching my own kids but leading groups of students is exponentially more rewarding! Besides friends for your kids, it’s nice for parents, too. After all, there is no obligation or even expectation of friendliness among parents of classmates in the public or even private school settings. And don’t get me started on ‘socialization’ when everyone is the same age. Dealing with whole families is sometimes messy but infinitely more interesting.