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#1 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I never imagined that homeschooling would be something I would do in isolation. I always thought that when I was ready, I'd go looking and I'd find a cohesive, vibrant homeschooling community to be a part of. So far, this is not the case. There are few homeschooling groups but they are not really co-ops just groups. There are mailing lists with all kinds of activities and I keep thinking I'll get involved with some of the activities (like the playgroups and all that) but the truth is going to these groups would involve 40+ minutes of driving (one group would have me driving to the city and fighting for parking while the other would have me driving into the country). But so far, I haven't been able to find anything going on close to home. I've tried starting something but I'm starting to think that there are just not that many homeschoolers where I am. And it's discouraging. I know that I cannot commit to driving 40+ minutes multiple times a week. But I really don't want to homeschool "on my own". I can handle the academics but socially, I need the consistent support and friendship of other homeschooling families. DS is starting kindergarten this year and I felt myself hesitating to buy his materials just because I don't know how to keep going. I often feel so alone doing this. Summer has not been too bad because the neighbors' kids are around. When they go back to school, I cannot bear to hear my LO complain about not having friends to play with and not wanting to play with his baby brother all the time. I'm kind of at a loss. And dreading winter. At least now we can go out to the playground or pool and hang out for hours.

I really don't need to have a large group of homeschoolers. Honestly, one committed homeschooling family that we click with would be fine. I don't know.

Are you okay homeschooling "solo"? If not, how do you handle it?

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#2 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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Have you tried either group? You may find people who live closer to you at these groups, and then you might be able to arrange to get together someplace less far.

Could you drive to one or the other once a week, just for now?

Could you find activities for your son that aren't just for homeschoolers and are closer to home?

Best of luck figuring this out!
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#3 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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I belong to a group of families that meet once a month. They get together to have a "back to school" breakfast, apple picking, and maybe one or two more things and that is it. It is very informal group. Maybe there is something that is by you.

Maybe go to the library and ask if they know of any groups that you fit what you are looking for??
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#4 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:58 AM
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Does your son actually complain when no kids are available, or is this something that you imagine he will do?

My kids are three years apart, and they never complained about "just" having each other. We kept busy during the day, went to park day or other events once or twice a week (yeah, 45 minutes of driving each way), and they played with neighborhood kids after school. They also made friends with a few adult neighbors.

I wonder if this is really about your son or if it's about you. I don't mean that in a snarky way. I have almost always worked outside the home even while homeschooling, and that was my consistent social time. I think being a SAHM would have driven me a little nuts.
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#5 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to start going to one of the playgroups once a week. I'm going to one on Thursday by car. I will probably try to go by train to see if that's better. I just really do not like driving.

DS1 does complain about having to play with his brother but I imagine that as DS2 gets older and can do and understand more, this won't be such a big issue. Already, they are playing better together. Well, slightly. Currently, if we're headed to the playground DS will ask, "Who's going to be there?" And if I respond, "Just us." I get an "Oh . . . well, what's so and so doing?" And for some reason, our playgrounds are usually deserted. I thought they were all in school but it's summer . . . where are they? We go at all different times too. I just don't get it.

It is an issue for me too. I've been a SAHM for some years now and I've been dealing with isolation issues there too. I had hoped that when we moved into homeschooling, I would then be able to connect with more people. I'm just wondering if it's the area where I live, i.e. there are just no sahms or homeschooling families. But yes, as a sahm/homeschooler, I find it very daunting to think about continuing this way. To me, having a community would be support and also a relief. I work very very part-time so I do have a social outlet in that way but I'm thinking it's not significant enough. I think I need to have my social needs met and I'm struggling in that area as well (not a topic for this board but I honestly think I just live in the wrong area because I can't imagine why it would be so hard to find simple things like a running partner).

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.

His one friend that is also homeschooling may be going to school in September. I think that's adding to the pressure I'm feeling.

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Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#6 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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As far as the playgroup I don't get it....Not to many kids around. I don't think that it is "school" I think that most people just don't go out. I is puzzling to me. We go out every day not matter what. Even in the cold. It is strange to people but it keeps me going.

It sounds like your doing a lot. I know that it is hard to be home. My boys are about the same age as yours. If we lived closer I would get together with you. My (5in Nov) is good about playing with 20mn old. But that has come with time. We don't go to classes and for the most part play all day. I'm not one for getting into all the sports and stuff. That will come with time.

I know that this is not making helping....Sorry. Just want to tell you to hang in....It will all work out. It will.
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#7 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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Have you looked for local homeschoolers or homeschool groups in your FYT area?

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#8 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you looked for local homeschoolers or homeschool groups in your FYT area?
Yes. This time and this time.

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#9 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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My dd is only 4 and this already happening. I want to hs her and ALL her friends are in either Preschool or PreK now. I did know 2 families of hsers but they both moved. I just hope we move before she is actually of "age" (according to the state). I don't have any advice just wanted to say you're not alone! I don't really know what I'm going to do when it's time to officially declare us as homeschoolers.

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#10 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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We don't sound like we're in an areas as isolated as yours, but I had hoped to find a group. The only active groups near us are Protestant groups that require a statement of faith signed. Since we don't fit their statement (and really are looking for more diversity anyway), we're kind of on our own. There has been talk of getting together a "progressive, secular" group of homeschoolers, but nothing has yet come of it. So for now we're just doing our own thing. I've realized that we will have to coordinate if we want anything to happen, and I just haven't committed myself to it yet. (Sometimes I get tired of being the one to coordinate everything.)

I've compensated in some ways by looking for mixed adult/children activities for my children. They accompany me to meetings and whatever else I have going on.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#11 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 07:01 PM
 
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I'm finding first grade a little easier here--scouts, 4-h, etc. helps in terms of kids. Our small town also has an afterschool program once a week at a local church. We were told my guys could come though we never followed up on it. That's another consideration though for your child. I get, though, that this is about your need for connections as well.

I hope you'll find a family who lives near you at the playgroup and you can meet regularly. We finally found that and it's made all the difference for me. For you I'd strongly consider joining something else adult wise. Even if you find a local homeschool family or two you may find you don't click with the mom for some reason. Our library has monthly book discussion groups, the library one over has knitting classes and quilting classes and etc., a local church has a exercise based dance class--that sort of thing. We're in a rural area and small town so if we have stuff I can't imagine anyplace not having something. If you can find something to be a part of it might help you feel less isolated.

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#12 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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quick note:

1. have you looked into kid classes (art/dance/music/swim/whatever) they often have classes during the day for homeschoolers.

2. are you going through a state run homeschooling program? if so there are probably outings/meet ups. if not maybe contact one and get some ideas ? they are normally nice and helpful even if you are not using their program.

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#13 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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I so feel your pain. We are very isolated, as well. We have one family we know who homeschools, but they are busy and it's hard to get together on the same schedule. There is a hs group but religiously, we are excluded. So it's very, very lonely and just impossible to drive 2+ hours to a secular group to meet up.

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#14 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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I was just coming on here to post almost the exact same thing. Everywhere I turn, I see references to "successful" homeschooling resting largely on support networks of other homeschooling parents. I was literally in tears last night because I spent hours scouring the internet for some indication that there is a secular group that gathers nearby... but there's nothing. Not only is my state rather unfriendly to homeschoolers as a whole, but it seems that the few people who do homeschool are intensely Christian. I feel like there's nowhere to turn. There are a couple of secular/ alternative/ inclusive homeschool groups in the nearest city, but that's a 45-min drive from me, and it's just not feasible to travel those distances on a regular basis. Whenever I talk to people locally about homeschooling, they always talk about religion. It's just assumed that I'm homeschooling for religious reasons, and therefore would be welcome to a Christian-based homeschool group. The assumption as to my religious persuasions doesn't usually bother me; it makes things a bit simpler, actually. But in this case, it just serves to further drive me into isolation.

I could handle the seclusion if it were just me, but my daughter is seriously missing the interaction. She wanted to leave public school... but she desperately wants to make friends too. I have a couple of friends with children, but most of them really aren't the kind of people I want my kids to play with OR they are in public school, and so their schedules are based on that.

Like you, I would be perfectly happy with just one homeschooling family we could click with. But I just haven't found anyone. Sorry I'm not much help. I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one struggling with this. I'm afraid that if I don't find some support soon, then all of this is doomed to fail. I don't want my children to associate home-learning with loneliness. This is breaking my heart.

I'm me. In love with this guy. We're bringing up two girls: Big A (8) and Little A (3)

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#15 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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I can't imagine feeling that isolated. It sounds challenging. This topic comes up on these boards everyone once in a while. IME, even in a fairly large crunchy town and with a now thriving inclusive group, a lot of the secular homeschoolers are just operating under the radar and are loosely connected and hard to find.

Here are a few ideas that get offered up.

Have you tried contacting the local LLL? asking at the library? putting up posters at the LHFS? posted on a state or area email group? Asked the Christian group leadership if they have contacts for a secular group? Tried planning some activities with the farther away group but in a location closer to you (park days, hikes, field trips, classes etc)? formed your own local yahoo group? Asked about an affiliate membership for groups which are further away so you can tag in on some activities and/or post to find local friends?

Good luck
Karen

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#16 of 36 Old 08-30-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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I don't know where all you have looked for local fellow homeschoolers, but it may be that you just need to start looking in other places! Have you tried Meet-Up? I met some great fellow homeschoolers that way. I also found some through cubscouts. Another thing you can do is ask the Librarian if he/she knows any other homeschoolers that come in. Good luck to you, my fellow homeschoolers are vital. Oh another place to checkis on yahoo groups!
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#17 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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OP, when our DS1 was the age of your oldest, it was really hard for a couple of years. He wasn't really old enough yet for the homeschool groups I tried, wasn't ready for after-school hours sports, couldn't handle field trips with groups of people we didn't know, and wasn't ready to spend much of the day doing school work. And having DS2 who was 2.5 years younger made it even harder to do things. He ended up taking some park district classes in the afternoon (geared toward half day kindergartners), a weekly preschool park district class with his brother when his brother was old enough - I had to get special permission for DS1 because he was over the age limit - and some after-school sports classes for 5 and 6 yos in the next town over. His other outlet was playing with neighbor kids, and playing with random kids who happened to be at parks I took him to.

Now he is 7.5, DS2 is almost 5, and it's easier to find things and participate in them. Most of what I have found is not specifically for homeschoolers but we're making it. It also helps that DS1 is much busier with doing school work during the days now, and the days go by faster. We finish up the day with them both either playing outside with neighbors or going to a park. I know it will be harder in the winter. I will probably look for more after school hours classes for him.

Most of the homeschool support I get is online. I am trying to change that but until I do, I will have to keep looking for after-school and weekend activities.

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#18 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 09:56 AM
 
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We've moved twice, to states very far away from each other during our 12 year homeschooling journey.

The only advice that I can give you is to start a Yahoo Group, and advertise, advertise, advertise. With a Yahoo group, you at least get to start talking to homeschoolers in your area. I recommend advertising yourself as an "inclusive" group, as opposed to a secular group. You will get more interest that way.

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#19 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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I was just coming on here to post almost the exact same thing. Everywhere I turn, I see references to "successful" homeschooling resting largely on support networks of other homeschooling parents. I was literally in tears last night because I spent hours scouring the internet for some indication that there is a secular group that gathers nearby... but there's nothing. Not only is my state rather unfriendly to homeschoolers as a whole, but it seems that the few people who do homeschool are intensely Christian. I feel like there's nowhere to turn. There are a couple of secular/ alternative/ inclusive homeschool groups in the nearest city, but that's a 45-min drive from me, and it's just not feasible to travel those distances on a regular basis. Whenever I talk to people locally about homeschooling, they always talk about religion. It's just assumed that I'm homeschooling for religious reasons, and therefore would be welcome to a Christian-based homeschool group. The assumption as to my religious persuasions doesn't usually bother me; it makes things a bit simpler, actually. But in this case, it just serves to further drive me into isolation.

I could handle the seclusion if it were just me, but my daughter is seriously missing the interaction. She wanted to leave public school... but she desperately wants to make friends too. I have a couple of friends with children, but most of them really aren't the kind of people I want my kids to play with OR they are in public school, and so their schedules are based on that.

Like you, I would be perfectly happy with just one homeschooling family we could click with. But I just haven't found anyone. Sorry I'm not much help. I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one struggling with this. I'm afraid that if I don't find some support soon, then all of this is doomed to fail. I don't want my children to associate home-learning with loneliness. This is breaking my heart.
FWIW, we are secular homeschoolers, and some of our best friends are Christian homeschoolers. Not all religious homeschoolers are looking to only spend time with other Christians.

It might be worth contacting the Christian group and see if they have activities that you might be comfortable trying.
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#20 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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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.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#21 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 11:16 AM
 
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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.
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#22 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#23 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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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!

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#24 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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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.
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#25 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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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...?

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#26 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 05:17 PM
 
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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!

Kate: fumbling through the best years with W, L, F & V...newest arrival coming Jan '11
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#27 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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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.

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#28 of 36 Old 08-31-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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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

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#29 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 09:24 AM
 
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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.
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#30 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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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!!

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