SummaryElizabeth Turajski, a homeschool mom of six, shares five lessons she found help build a homeschool community and why such a community is important to her.
When we started homeschooling, we did not have much of a community.
We knew homeschooling was the best option for our family and wanted to meet other families to learn from one another, support each other, and perhaps form new friendships with one another.
There was a homeschool coop available, but instead of helping us foster connections, the classroom style format caused my kids to have additional work on top of their Seton assignments.
Frustrated, I thought of ways to help my family and me to meet and spend time with other homeschool families. Along the way, I have learned these lessons about building a homeschool community.
1. Start with an email or online group.
When I was new to homeschooling, I met other families by joining a homeschool email list. Through the list, I learned about local field trips and other outings. We went to a few events and not only met other families, but learned about other homeschool groups.
Through these events, I heard about many local homeschooling resources, such as a homeschool PE class.
2. Find a format that allows everyone to participate.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I join a new group of moms and a few women inadvertently dominate the conversation, leaving less assertive members silent.
Last year, I was a “table leader” at a mom’s group and, determined to avoid this problem, I tried to bring quieter members into the conversation by asking their opinions.
We got to know those women a lot better, because they felt more comfortable and included.
3. Have events with and without kids involved.
Sometimes, homeschool events can get loud and overwhelming. It’s hard for me to talk to other moms while trying to stop my three year-old from running out in the road while on a field trip. And while my kids get along with my friends’ kids, we moms need time to ourselves.
To make this happen, my friend and I hosted a book club for homeschooling moms, where we read Catholic books and discussed them. Other times, we have mom’s night out and go out to dinner together.
4. Don’t make everything about homeschooling.
Although it is often necessary to start by doing homeschool-related events, once you form a group, I think it’s important to spend time together doing things unrelated to homeschooling. Parents need a break, and kids need a chance to socialize without structure.
I think our community would remain fairly superficial with no non-homeschool related events, like casual barbecues or park get-togethers.
5. Do what works for you.
While I hope you find something helpful in this article, many of you will not resonate with everything I say. That’s ok. Some of my friends are coop people and some are not. Other homeschool families desire a lot more social activities than my family does, and some want fewer. Some moms prefer to plan events and organize groups, and others like to join preexisting groups.
All options are fine, and you need to do what works for you and your family.
Homeschool moms, how do you build community?