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Lack of community is leaving me discouraged - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
zeldamomma- IME, at least where the OP is, the Christian groups make you sign a "statement of faith", saying you accept Jesus as your lord and savior, and you won't teach evolution. You can not participate without signing it. Not sure how it is elsewhere, but this is how it has been in the 4 states we've homeschooled in.
Huh. I have experience with homeschool groups in 3 states, and I've never met a group that required a statement of faith. Once a member of a group required a statement of faith for a specific activity, but anyone was welcome to the vast majority of the group's activities.

I wouldn't assume a group requires a statement of faith just because they are a Christian group. It doesn't hurt to ask! And it's possible that even if the Christian group is a bad fit, they will be able to connect you to a part of your local homeschool community that isn't a bad fit.
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
I thank you all for the ideas and encouragement. It's given me some direction as to what to do next. Which is great because I was lost for a minute.
post #23 of 36

As Great As You Want To Make It!

I am moving in a few weeks to a new town and I too was looking for a homeschooling community that wasn't like 40 minutes away. I couldn't find anything at all. So I started a Meetup.com group of my own - it cost $36 I think for six months but well worth it (tip - if you start to make a meetup group and stop right when it gets to the paying part and leave it, after a few days or a week and you haven't come back to meetup.com to finish making your group they will email you a coupon for half off your first fee). I made it a holistic parenting group, so not specific to homeschooling, but just trying to find like-minded parents in the area, and so far everyone who has joined it is either a homeschooler or knows people who homeschool, so i'm definitely getting linked in with the homeschooling community there. When I went browsing the internet I didn't find anything though - it's not well advertised. But by meeting "those kinds of parents", i'm finding out now through word of mouth what's going on. So anyways, i'm just saying, if there isn't a meetup group near you, make one - worked for me!
post #24 of 36
I tried the group thing when I first started HSing. And what I found was everyone is doing different things anyway. Plus I'm an unschooler, I didn't use a curriculim, I don't schedule out how much time is spent on XYZ subject in fact and I'm very independant anyway and I suck at group expectations because I don't follow the accepted protocol of group dynamics in general. After giving the group thing a try I quit and never looked back. Whatever personal support I needed at times I got my BFF or online from fellow unschoolers.

My daughter had tons of friends in the neighborhood of all ages that she hung out with so social interaction for her wasn't an issue.
post #25 of 36
another thought... most time in school isn't really spent socializing..... why don't you just hang with her friends / neighborhood kids after they get out of school...?
post #26 of 36
FWIW there are lots of secular homeschoolers in my neighbourhood, and I don't 'click' with and of them (yet....?) It can be hard to make new friends, especially when you are trying to make it click for specific reasons : ie/ homeschooing philosophy.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you did drive all that way to meet up, you might find that you are still a bit on the outside because the others have maybe known eachother for quite a while (being that your dc is only just 5 and the others could be many multiple ages...)

Just wanted you to think about the grass not necessarily being greener where there are more secular homeschoolers.

I would say just keep putting yourself out there, be available and a 'click' will clack when it's clunkable!
post #27 of 36
we're in the same type situation. we live in a very rural small town & there are few homeschoolers here (and the few here, we don't have a common denominator outside of homeschooling, so it makes it extra awful). so i drive 45-60 minutes closer to the city for all of our homeschool activities. it's a real pain honestly, but i find it's worth it.

to make connections locally, i do let my kids attend the awana at a church in walking distance. even though we don't attend there, my kids really love it and are making friends (which i'm so glad about, as the kids at awana actually live in our town). otherwise, i just drive a lot, so we pick & choose our activities carefully. i hope it works out for you. just wanted to chime in and say you aren't alone.
post #28 of 36
i can't handle it alone for weeks at a time. so i do commit to driving at least once a week to some park some place so the kids can play with others and i can talk to some adults. it has made all the difference to me. in fact, while some parents may say something like "if you don't do such and such there will be no park next week" i am like... no freaking way! that time with other like minded adults is just as important to me as it is to my kids. lol

h
post #29 of 36
my homeschooling dream would be to have in my neighborhood 2 to 3 other families who were of like mind, and who had kids my kids' ages (and maybe an awesome hsing family with an older daughter who was superbabysitter), and within my town there were about 50 other hsing families who organized stuff and i never had to leave town to see lots of people and i wasn't the only one at the playground on a tuesdy morning. unfotunatly it is just a dream.

but, even though i live in an area with lots of homeschoolers, (and by area i mean between two cities and the surrounding suburbs there are a lot of hsers) and there is a great co-op that i recently joined, many of the people who are in the co-op and in other groups, don't actually live in my 5 mile radius. within the co-op i am trying to get a kindy age playgroup together and we all live 30-40 minutes from each other. all of our activities are 15-40 minutes away. our field trips are minimum 30 minutes away. i think it is the downside of hsing. i think it is the nature of the beast that we have to drive to find people.
post #30 of 36
I would say just keep putting yourself out there, be available and a 'click' will clack when it's clunkable!

This is what I am currently doing...waiting for that clunkable time!
In the meantime, my 6 yr old daughter has one "best friend" who is public-schooled. We do spend some time together during the school year, but her friend's spare time is getting smaller and smaller as time goes on. It is frustrating to have to work around a school year that you are trying to avoid, but, oh well, we go on. She is very friendly and tries to make friends wherever she goes. I do notice that kids are getting more and more "stand-offish" as they get older with a kid they do not know from some other aspect of their lives. This I was not expecting at this age!

Then you add to it the reactions to the fact that you homeschool, because eventually conversation turns to school. In our situation we also deal with the fact that I am an "older" parent (I turned 51 this July) which I try to keep a secret as long as I can! This tends to isolate us in some ways, depending on how people deal with each - either way the reaction is that we are "strange." And yet we persevere!!!

Still available and waiting for that clunkable time!!

Lenore
post #31 of 36

homeschooling and isolated

Hi, this is a great topic! I have been homeschooling in Alabama for 11 years, and we have two children in college and a 14 yr old and a 15 yr old at home. It has been hard to find community. In the earlier stages I went to great lengths to seek people out - no matter what! - and we were more busy. I also taught a weekly class for homeschoolers for about six years, and this worked well. Now the home is fairly peaceful, and we are all four at home a lot together. My daughter has a church and youth group she is active in, and my son has a few buddies that he shares interests and occasional activities with. Here are some thoughts that have been liberating for me:

1) I don't have to find a community, ready-made or otherwise; this means that children can and do thrive regardless, and my children have;

2) The realization that isolation is the problem is itself liberating; it's like other problems. You don't have to solve it right away!

3) I don't think that children necessarily need a complex social life - approaching the school model - any more than we do. A grandmother, a special neighbor, an occasional visitor, the mailman... How social do we all need to be?

4) Inviting people to your house to do something you and your child like to do is a great idea. It could be making bread, crafts, academics or just play and talk. The idea of a weekly event works well. It could be guests on Monday night for pizza, or it could be lunch on Thursday. This at least sets the stage for other people to do similar things, offering their special skills.

In summary, I would suggest to take a more proactive and positive approach and make things happen, with the understanding that - like always, other people may or may not come along. What do I mean by positive? I mean, you can wake up every morning knowing -- woo hoo! I'm free...I'm free...it's all up to me!

My three cents...
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post


I also wonder where the neighborhood kids go after school. I think a lot of them go to afterschool or something because we hardly see other kids around when school is on. I am signing DS up for basketball and violin and made sure to sign up for afternoon/early evening classes because I'm thinking that might be a good way for him to make friends.
I'm not a homeschooler, but in our neighborhood there are no children hanging around to play in the afternoon, either.

There is a very good afterschool program and many of the children of WOHPs are enrolled in that. There are also afterschool activities, such as sports, scouts, etc. that many people get into. Also, there is the never ending insane load of homework that sucks up the kids' free time. My kids do much of it in the afterschool program, but if I were at home, we would have to devote quite a bit of time every day to that.
post #33 of 36
I'm glad I found this thread so I know I'm not the only one with this problem! We are not officially hsing yet (kids are only 3 and almost 1), but I have been looking and looking online to find a future homeschool group for us. I think it will be really important for our family to have other hsing friends, as many of our friends and family are not very supportive of hsing. I have not been able to find anything besides Christian groups in our area. I've been feeling really down about that.

However, the other day I found a K-8 charter school in our area (well, 30 min away). Basically the students homeschool, but parents and kids meet with a "teacher" every six weeks to discuss curriculum and progress, I guess. Also, the school offers various once-a-week classes that are (I believe) optional. And extracurricular activities, like putting on plays, science club, chorus, band, etc. So, from what I've read, you can be as involved as you want.

Now so far I've been leaning towards unschooling, but after searching for (future) support networks and finding nothing; I could see possibly being okay with this charter school. Especially since DD is so social and is already asking when can she go to school. I still need to find out more info (we've got two more years).

But maybe you have something like this charter school in your area? I don't know how common they are...
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta View Post
I thank you all for the ideas and encouragement. It's given me some direction as to what to do next. Which is great because I was lost for a minute.
It is hard! I have a similar situation ... in my semi local area there are plenty of homeschoolers, but anytime anyone takes the initiative to plan something nobody can be bothered to come out & be part of it! Drives me nuts. I DO put myself out and drive the 40minutes to the big, well organized group on the other side of town. THey have a weekly co op style day, and organize other things here & there as well. By doing that I HAVE managed to find a couple of families that live a little closer to us They got just as depressed about the lack of community minded home educators out here as I did, and we both had the same idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
i can't handle it alone for weeks at a time. so i do commit to driving at least once a week to some park some place so the kids can play with others and i can talk to some adults. it has made all the difference to me. in fact, while some parents may say something like "if you don't do such and such there will be no park next week" i am like... no freaking way! that time with other like minded adults is just as important to me as it is to my kids. lol

h
that is so totally it for me!
post #35 of 36
I skimmed through this thread and I don't think anybody has mentioned Yahoo Groups. That's where I found the homeschool groups that I belong to, so maybe you'd have some luck there?
post #36 of 36
Have any of you tried Secular Homeschool? They have tons of forums about different topics much like Mothering has. There is one for each state as well as all the other topics. It was great for me to be able to connect with homeschooling families who have dealt with serious illness.

I also feel the isolation. We do drive 40 minutes to an hour and a half to attend activities with people in our meet-up group. We drive over an hour to soccer. Being right outside New York City, we have to drive to everything. But I need to spend time with other mamas and my son needs to hang out with friends. There is a park day every week that is about 40 minutes away from us. We go to it unless we have something else scheduled. We use the time to talk about all kinds of things. I consider this a part of our homeschool time.

Lenore, I can totally relate to the age thing. I'll be 60 in a couple of weeks. I am older than all the mamas in our group. I have children older than some of them. I am also pretty much a hippie type person so I don't fit in with these kids in that respect either. My son is adopted so that is another difference for us. Fortunately their are a lot of adopted children in our group.

We do have groups in our area that require a statement of faith to join. And the best co-op in the area also has a statement of faith. They don't require you to sign it. But you can not have any leadership roles if you don't. You also can't teach. I have talked to a couple of people who did not sign the SOF. They felt so excluded that they finally left the co-op.

Good luck in finding support in your area. It is so important.

Kathi
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