In last month’s blogpost, Anna wrote about community and how to be a part of it. In this post, I’d like to share the "How" of building community. I hope through sharing my experience, you’ll find something that will help you in your own journey.
I’m going on my 6th year in homeschooling and I have 5 kiddos aged 14 months to 11 years old. We’ve been homeschoolers since my oldest hit kindergarten, with a 1 year hiatus in there during a crazy year of job searches, 2 moves, my 4th pregnancy and living with my mom in my childhood home.
As an extroverted introvert, with a mix of introverted and extroverted kids, I wondered how the social part would work out for us. Our first year was delightful, and, I have to say this because I know I’m not alone in this, we were also L-O-N-E-L-Y.
My eldest’s friends were all suddenly in public school, and therefore, so were their moms. We managed to see people, but it was more in the form of friends who had preschool aged kids, sweet women at the gym's childcare, and my mother.
That year started my passionate and essential venture into the realm of finding friends for my kids, for myself, and for other moms in the homeschool community. Everyone will have their own way; this is mine. I hope it will inspire you on your own journey.
Meeting your family's needs for friends and a supportive community is most often done successfully through reaching out to family, neighbors and people in the homeschool community who have similar interests to your family and who want to join in on the fun. Heads up right now--we're all feeling the strain, organizing consistent things is hard for everyone, and you CAN do this. The greatest part about working to find friends for you and your kids is that once you do, there will be more who will want to share in on the workload because it is so rewarding for all of you.
And a note to those of you who are thinking you could maybe do this but who are nervous no one will show up--it's okay. We all share this same fear. And, no worries. I'm not going to let that happen to you. I've got tips to share to ensure you have a successful experience!
Groups, Clubs, Field Trips
Lessons: Baking, Piano, Handwriting, Woodworking, Art, Running, etc.
Preschool age: Playdates, Form a rotating preschool, Music & Movement, Park Days, etc.
Groups: Girls' Service Group, Tween Group, Knights Club (ie learn chivalry and fight with swords), Quilting Group, Slime and Science Group
Enlist retired neighbors to teach what they know best
Clubs: Pokemon, Game Clubs, Sewing Clubs, Book Clubs. You name it, it can be done!
Meeting up at the park
Fieldtrips: Friday fieldtrips, Utah History fieldtrips, Adventure or Hiking fieldtrips, etc.
Youth Church Groups
Many lucky folks in Utah have a plethora of family members who live nearby and who form a natural community for their family. Congrats! I used to be one of those…but then they all moved away and then I moved away. But my mother still lives within 30 minutes of our family. She is a core part of our homeschool since she is passionate about education and her grandkids. She has played many roles for our family. Piano teacher, Cooking instructor, Reading Specialist, PE teacher, Fieldtrip Supervisor. When you don’t have much of a community, family is hopefully something you have to lean on. And the Covid pandemic showed us that it doesn’t even have to be in person--conversations and playing games over the computer count, too.