If you are homeschooling without a group or community (or planning to) please take a minute to read this. When I first began homeschooling I did it on my own. It was a sweet time and it certainly was effective, but something was missing. Community. Homeschooling groups are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes and there are so many good reasons to join one. Here are a few:
1.No more complaints about “socialization”
If you are a homeschooler or even thinking about homeschooling chances are someone has said to you, “How will they be socialized?” in horrified tones. While joining a community is not the only answer, it shuts these people up faster than anything else. Most community days have several classes, group activities, science experiments, gym time or sports and more. Post a few photos of your kids on community day to social media and suddenly no one will ask you about “socialization” anymore.
2. You’re not the only one going crazy
Parenting is hard enough and then you add homeschooling on top of it and believe me, you will feel nuts sometimes (especially in February). When those crazy days get you down, there is always someone who knows exactly what you are going through to talk it out with or to give you good ideas on taming the wild things in your home. Homeschooling challenges are really only understood by other homeschooling parents and joining a community will connect you with a support system that gets you.
3. Like minded people traveling together in the same direction
There are few places I feel free to be me, but my homeschool community is one of them. We share similar values, views on the Bible and morality, what’s appropriate for kids, who we vote for and much more. These shared interests and beliefs help us move forward together to raise our children to value family, God, and community. When the outside world seems to overachieve on a daily basis in its disgust for our values, it’s a welcome relief to be with like-minded parents, creating our own culture of traditional values for our kids to thrive in.
4. Science experiments and art projects
Don’t lie. You hate doing science experiments and art projects at home. We all hate it. It’s messy, involved, requires supplies we might not have on hand and planning time. Joining a community will solve this issue. Not only do most homeschool groups do group science and art, but they put together much more detailed and fun projects than you ever could on your own. One year we dissected owl pellets and put together the skeletons of the contents to identify the prey. There’s no way I would have even thought to try that at home. And when are you going to pull out the tie dye stuff to make cool t-shirts at home? I’ll tell you when. Never.
5. Support in trying times
When our community members have a baby or suffer a loss, there’s always a hot meal coming to the door. Being a part of a tight-knit group will help you get through the tough stuff life throws at you. It also gives an opportunity to have your kids involved in caring for others, and volunteering their time and energy to show love to those in need.
6. Special events
Think you can’t have a graduation ceremony for your senior if you homeschool? Think again! Most homeschooling groups will provide opportunities for graduations and other milestones like dances for those high school kids. In fact, there are social activities that your kids won’t find anywhere else. In our high school program, the students have many special occasions to practice their social skills at dinners, dances, and events. Some communities have old fashioned country dances with dance cards, where every girl and every boy will have a different partner for every dance so no one is left out, offering lots of opportunities to practice those all-important intersex communication skills so lacking these days. (No texting allowed!) Teens are taught basic country dances (think Jane Austen) and rotate partners all evening long. The reactions from these events have been nothing short of effusive. Contrary to popular opinion, teens don’t really want to be thrown into a dark gym to rock back and forth awkwardly to bad music. They much prefer to learn something new, develop a skill and have a great time with no one left out on the sidelines
Tell me this doesn’t look like a blast!
7. Life long friendships
No matter where life takes you, the friends you make in homeschooling groups will be yours for life. Over the years people have moved away, but we all still keep in touch because the bonds made in the homeschooling world are solid. Our homeschooling experience exploded when we found our community. Don’t do it alone! Here’s a short video of the community I chose, Classical Conversations (nationwide! Find one near you! ).