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If there are no homeschool groups in your community....

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

How do you create a sense of community for your kids? I know it can be done...just trying to wrap my head around it. We have been very fortunate to live in a place with a great homeschool network. There is so much for a homeschooled kid to do around here, we couldn't do all of it if we wanted to. The groups and classes available were a big part of my decision to homeschool. Other kids around here who are homeschooled were obviously having so much fun!

Now...we're looking at a house about an hour away, across state lines, where homeschooling seems much less common. It's a great house and waay closer to DH's work, so it would be good for us in many respects. We might travel back occasionally to meet up with friends, but it wouldn't be the same of course.

It just seems so daunting to move to a new place and not have that built in "school community" for my son.

post #2 of 5

When we started homeschooling we were the only ones in our village and region doing so. Maybe the microscopic size of our community has made some aspects of community-building easier, but it has worked out fine for us.

 

We found communities that were based on our interests. My various kids have over the years been involved in music, aikido, ecology and gymnastics/dance. All in the after-school hours, thus including school-kids as well. Those activities all attracted at least a few kids who were highly committed and pursued their interest over the course of years. I think that some ways if a kid is doing an activity in addition to school, by choice, he's likely to be doing it because he really wants to. That shared interest and self-motivation was a very strong connection for my kids and was a stronger connection than "neither of us goes to school." For instance they had the sense of growing up within a broad musical family: kids and families they'd known since they were very little, who were still friends and still very much committed to violin or cello throughout their childhood years and teens.

 

We defined "community" very broadly. Not just homeschoolers. Not just age-mates. Not just children. We put ourselves in places where we were likely to meet interesting people and make connections. Volunteered at community events and charitable institutions, hung out at cafés where loquacious characters befriended us and shared their interests and experiences with us. My kids always had friends from 2 to 80+.

 

And with some initial trepidation, I put myself out there and created some events and activities that I thought might attract a community of like-minded kids and adults. For instance, I put out some feelers, talked to a couple of other parents, did some research, eventually secured a small start-up grant and began a gardening and ecology club for families and children. We took on the development and management of a small organic community garden space. We did crafts and projects and had guest speakers and did field trips and planted and watered and weeded and hosted a harvest festival each fall.  We definitely formed a sense of community amongst the group during the four years we did that.

 

Now there are 10 other homeschoolers in our region and there's a homeschoolers art class every couple of weeks and some other activities that bring us all together. It's nice, but we had grown a strongly rooted sense of community already, even before that started. Hopefully you'll be able to do the same. It may take time, but perhaps you can maintain some connection with your current community of homeschoolers during the transitional year or two.

 

Miranda

post #3 of 5

We have an extensive population of homeschoolers in our region, and the best connections we've made had zero to do with homeschooling.  I've poked my head in to what others are doing, but we have been happy with local connections on our hill, with one set of school kids but a great lot of adults, our girl scout troop (our nod to peer groups) and the local 4-H community in small doses but especially around fair time.  We've met people willing to share their knowledge almost entirely outside the homeschooling umbrella.  

 

If the community is strong, if attitudes towards homeschooling are open-minded, I'll bet you find a fair substitute.

 

I would say that if there was a disadvantage with our lives with schooling families is that our activities are at the mercy of school schedules, week to week, season to season.  If we are planning for our own family, it's nice to be able to do something when everyone is away, but often we are stuck with scheduling according to schools:  all weekday gym classes are at 4 or later, we have a hard time scheduling outings with their gs troop.  It's a small downside.

post #4 of 5

Following....while we live in an area with TONS of homeschoolers, we don't at all fit with 99% them, including the local homeschool center. Most here are very conservative, WASP/C {White Anglo Saxon Protestant/Catholic}, 2 parent large families - think Duggars {actually some of the main local families are close friends with the Duggars. I keep waiting for Mrs. Duggar to be the main speaker at the local convention :( }.

 

We on the other hand are Native American, Muslim, and a single parent 1 child household. Very much a square peg in a round hole! I've poked my head in for a couple field trips, and looked at some co-ops, but nothing was a good fit for us. My dd plays with 2 girls from next door who are also quasi-homeschooled, but they are only here every other month due to a divorce & custody issues. And honestly I would rather find my dd some new friends as I don't feel they are the greatest.

post #5 of 5

We have activites through our church, library (love, love, LOVE the library), and paid classes like yoga class and gymnastics class. All of this is with kids from the neighborhood/town/community -whatever you call it. They almost all go to school. 

I do actually live in an area that has a huge homeschool community because we are a no regulation state. We don't do most of the homeschool stuff though. It's nothing against anyone but we have already found so many other things to do. When you add in actual school time and family time we are almost overwhelmed in the things to do department .. lol. 

I'm sure you will find new friends and activities wherever you go!

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