You made the decision to homeschool.
Yet despite your resolve, all those first day of school photos got to you, didn’t they? We are on our fifth homeschool year, and they still give me a tiny twinge of something I can’t quite put my finger on. I always enjoyed school. Am I depriving my own children of the experiences? What about your own life? How are you going to survive?
One aspect of homeschooling that I think was the hardest to adjust to was finding friends. Most of my friends sent their children to school. Sure, we did after school playdates for a time, but they can’t go to the park mid day. They didn’t understand curriculum struggles and asked questions like “How are you going to socialize your children?” This question always amused me and still does because, well, we were at the park playing, wasn’t that socializing?
The first year we homeschooled, we joined a park play date co-op. I wasn’t ready to commit to an academic co-op yet. The park co-op was a bit awkward as all new things are. A lot of the moms knew each other so I felt like the out of place newbie. Thankfully, because it was the beginning of the year, there were other moms standing around equally as shy. My oldest, thankfully, is super social. He started playing with a little girl about his age. Her mother was one of the other newbies so I sucked it up and introduced myself to my first homeschool friend, Deanna.
I only went back to that park co-op one more time. Deanna and I decided we hated being new and struck out on our own. Our children got along fabulously as did we. Then they moved away, and I may have cried. Hopefully your first homeschool friends won’t move away so quickly! Making friends with Deanna’s family encouraged me to try again. Finding these gems of homeschool friends isn’t hard, it just takes a bit more effort than you may be used to.
One thing I can promise you, is that you will find friends.Good friends. Fast friends. Friends you can call in the middle of the day and get it. Friends who help you rationalize why you decided to homeschool and who remind you that one bad day or week doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.
If you’re lucky your first homeschooling friends may find you. You may have to awkwardly introduce yourself to someone. They may awkwardly introduce themselves to you. I’ll let you in on a secret, we’re all a bit awkward in the friend making department! I have usually let my children gravitate towards others and then I start the first date like ritual of talking to a random stranger. But I have also made some amazing friends this way.
Next year about this time of year, you’ll see the first day of pictures again. That little weird twinge won’t be as big. Instead of second guessing yourself, you’ll text one of your homeschool friends about going to the park later that day. Then you’ll lie back down and try to grab a few more zzz’s before you try to to make your child understand long division.
This post is written by Kristina Roegner, a homeschool mom of 3. She enjoys sharing about homeschooling with others and is always happy to help local homeschoolers connect.