How to Find Other Homeschoolers in Your Area
Schoolbooks strewn all over the kitchen table, household chores left unfinished, and children pounding on the door while you’re in the shower – any homeschooling parent can tell you that homeschool life isn’t easy. And if you’ve just started homeschooling or moved to a new town, you might feel isolated and overwhelmed. The good news is that you’re not alone, and a whole community of homeschoolers is there to offer you encouragement and support.
Where are these elusive homeschoolers, and how do you find them? As with many searches, a good place to start is online. Sites such as Home-school.com, HomeschoolFacts.com, and HomeschoolCentral.com provide contact information for many area support groups. You can also Google the name of your city and state with the word “homeschool.” You’ll come up with even more results.
If your internet search yields accountability organizations, write to them and ask for homeschooling information. Often they will know of the support groups in your area, as well as co-ops and other class offerings.
In my town, our local recreational businesses host homeschool events. Check with the skating rinks, bowling alleys, and the YMCA in your city and ask if they have times set aside for homeschool activities. It’s an ideal opportunity to meet others in a relaxed atmosphere.
Area churches often provide classrooms for homeschool co-ops and supplemental classes. If the church you call doesn’t host a co-op, they might be able to tell you which churches do.
Libraries offer programs for children during the day, and you can find homeschoolers there. Our Monday morning story time is geared for preschoolers, but homeschooling parents bring their older children along as well.
You can also connect with other homeschoolers when you have a lot of errands to run. Go into a grocery store in the middle of the school day, and you’ll see parents shopping with their children. Chances are, they’re homeschoolers.
Visiting public parks and playgrounds, especially during school hours, is another way to meet homeschooling families. It’s also an easy place to start a conversation with another parent while the children are playing.
Start a conversation? Yes – once you’ve found other homeschoolers, it’s time to be bold. If you’re a shy person by nature, it might be difficult to introduce yourself to a stranger. But each time I’ve done so, I’ve found it was well worth the effort. By simply asking, “Do you homeschool?” I have begun many conversations that have resulted in new friendships and valuable information.
After the ice is broken, you can pose other questions to help you get connected. By asking another family about their extracurricular activities, you can find out about 4-H clubs, field trips, and playgroups. Are they involved in a co-op? If so, where do they meet, and how often? Are there many homeschooling families in their church? Do they have an active youth group? Is there an online support group in the area? Do they have an email loop or a yahoo group? Are there any homeschool sports teams or music organizations like band, orchestra, or chorus? Is there a drama, dance, or art class designed just for homeschoolers?
If your new acquaintance offers her contact information, take it and follow up with a call or email. Networking with other homeschoolers is one of the best ways to find all the resources and opportunities available in your area. It’s also one of the best ways to meet others in a similar situation – working at home, schooling their children, and learning as they go – who will gladly lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, and a hand to help.
Photo By whgrad