Finding your Peeps {a week of homeschooling}

This is by far the hardest part in some communities.

Especially, in my opinion, for those of us who do not choose homeschool for religious reasons. It can be very hard to make connections with other homeschooling families.  I have a few suggestions, but really in the end it's about patience and persistence. I'm far better at the second "p" word myself!

In Wisconsin we lived 15 minutes from Duluth, MN. There was a large enough homeschooling community that the YMCA held homeschool gym/swim classes once a week. Those were lifesavers in the frigid winter! The college had free programs once a month during the weekday, midday. {things like short performances, maori dancers, etc.} We spent an entire year attending homeschool activities and slowly met people. Year number two of homeschooling began with a co-op! More on that in a bit. The big thing is to keep asking around and keep putting yourself out there. If you go to the best park in town or visit the library or nature center at 10:30 on a Tuesday, you're likely to run into other homeschoolers. Occasionally Montessori and Waldorf schools will allow you to participate in their festivals. Ask!

When we moved to a small town in the deep south, we became very aware that we were spoiled in the midwest. It's tough when you feel like the only hippie in town. I felt like standing next to the organic food section (of about 2×2 feet) in our grocery store to scout out new friends. It was rough. We recently decided to join a group in a pretty progressive city nearby and make a weekly trip. If you get together with the same group of families once a week, you can definitely be very connected, even though you aren't in the same town. For us, it's especially worth the trip because we'll spend the whole day hanging out with homeschoolers or attending very cool, and free, community events. Live music in the park with a sack lunch, we are so there!

Then you have the online community! It certainly isn't the same as hanging out with real people, especially for the kids, but as a mama it can save your sanity and give you some like minded folks to bounce ideas off of. I am part of a few Waldorf and Unschooling based online groups and some very helpful mamas have answered about a zillion of my questions! 

Now for my favorite part, the co-op! Cooperative education has truly been an amazing experience for our kids. In Duluth we had a group of 10-12 families. Parent's took turns teaching a topic to the kids over the course of a month. We split the kids (over 20 of them) into two groups by their age. Every Friday we spent the morning together and often had a picnic lunch as well. We had our own yahoo group to coordinate all our activities and stay connected. The group had children from ages 2-16, enough of each age so no one was left out. We all came from different walks of life, beliefs and learning styles. And it worked out beautifully! It was a fabulous year. 

The kids learned. A lot. And more importantly, they had a great time. Each month we had 3 weeks of "lesson" time at our meeting place and ended with a topic related field trip on the fourth week. We put on a play and held it in a beautiful theater at the local charter school, we visited the newspaper, art museum, planetarium, aquarium and studied local geology. Our families really connected, and the kids as well. This type of group only works well with 100% participation and parents that are willing to talk and share a lot…. we didn't always agree, but we did always compromise.

After a year in Louisiana we've met a few homeschoolers in our town and most recently joined a group in a city nearby. We're driving an hour {each way!} once a week to visit a nearby city. We're just beginning another co-op with a new group of families. As your kids grow and become teenagers, there are less homeschooled kids their age to meet. It can be tough. However for a twelve year old girl, the next best thing to a pal your age is a group of mamas who think your an awesome young lady. We're very excited to begin a journey of learning with new friends.

Our path has been different than most because of our gypsy lifestyle, we move every 2-4 years for my husband's job. About the time we've got it figured out we're packing boxes and trying to remember a new zipcode. For the typical family, by the end of that first year you've got yourself a group of pals to rely on and you've found your peeps. And peeps are good πŸ˜‰

 

*here is you link to the other parts of this series : day 1day 2, & day 4

 

10 thoughts on “Finding your Peeps {a week of homeschooling}

  1. I know there’s a co-op around us somewhere but I don’t even know where to begin!
    We’ve got names of people who homeschool (it’s a small town) but I’d feel funny tracking them down (even though one guy is about a block 1/2 away from us).
    I do like the idea of a co-op a lot!

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  2. I think your family and the number of in it, you are so lucky. Am glad you have found a community there…I know you have felt alone.
    Typing 1 handed with babe in arms. Not mine, but I could get used to this again!
    Nicola

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  3. Inspiring to hear of the co-op. I know that is the only way homeschooling could work for me. Someday I’ll e-mail you for more details.
    Have a great weekend,
    Rachel
    ps: thanks for the e-mail, the writing classes are currently in person. We’ll see what the future brings.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing your homeschooling journey. I have truly enjoyed reading every post. My son is still young, however I have been investigating all types of education for him, and homeschooling is something that I keep coming back to. I appreciate your honesty and your advice. So helpful!

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  5. Ask! Homeschoolers are passionate folks, most every one I know would love to talk to “newbies”. And of course, always feel free to drop me a line if you ever should want to πŸ˜‰

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  6. Just had our first co-op meeting with the new mamas today and all I can say is these words were ringing in my mind “find your mama tribe”. You are a wise woman my friend, and truth be told that post of yours was just the kick in the rear I needed to suck it up and drive 1.5 to hang out with them. In the past month that drive seems to be getting shorter and shorter…. kindred spirits make the world go ’round πŸ˜‰

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