Is a homeschool network important? Yes! Finding the right homeschool tribe can have a big impact on your homeschool.
Venturing into a homeschool journey for the first time can seem somewhat daunting.
If like many, you did not come from a homeschool background, and you are the first person in your family or social circle to make this alternative lifestyle choice, you can expect to be subjected to some negativity and resistance concerning this privilege you have granted your child. Explaining a choice that feels effortlessly natural to people who have not considered the possibility of its advantages, can feel isolating or suppressive. So it can be a very welcome relief to eventually meet and make connections with like-minded parents.
To have your ideas surrounding the upbringing of your children met with understanding and resounding agreement, can be all the reassurance you need that you are positively influencing their lives. As you begin to adapt to your new role as a home educator, fellow homeschool parents are indispensable for sharing your successes and struggles along the way. A listening ear with perspective and the patience for lengthy homeschool conversation will likely only be found in a homeschool friendship.
Aside from having someone to listen, snippets of advice and insight from another homeschool parent can be a game-changer in the strategies, structure, or content of your own homeschool. Stumbling across the content of a friend’s homeschool which you had never contemplated approaching could provide new realms of excitement in your child’s learning. Your child can feel encouraged to try something new when they see or hear of a friend also participating. Watching a friend practice a new skill, play with new props, or discuss a new topic can spark your child’s curiosity and provide a fresh batch of enthusiasm for learning.
No matter how attentive you are to what’s going on in the homeschool community, there are endless events, groups, and resources that can be easily overlooked, and having connections with other parents in the community can prove useful for offering inclusivity and knowledge. Furthermore, discussing your child’s emotional wellbeing with others who have adopted similar lifestyles, can aid in identifying areas where your child may require extra support, or learning coping strategies to employ in areas of difficulty. While it’s true that all children are individual, and the beauty of homeschool means you needn’t measure or label their strengths and weaknesses, the opportunity to recognize that your child displays similar actions and reactions to other children within their age group can be wholly comforting, especially to a parent who doesn’t have another ‘teacher’ to check in with about behaviors and feelings.
Joining together with other homeschool families can provide a sense of teamwork, friendship, and community. Special bonds formed between parents and children alike can blossom into lifelong friendships. Living without the confinement of a school schedule makes it possible to take vacations or travel together, enjoy spontaneous days out, or just relax and play together on a whim. Sometimes coffee and adult conversation while children play amongst themselves can be a necessary break from the demands of homeschooling. An added bonus of forming these homeschool alliances is the possibility of childcare for parents who are trying to juggle work alongside full-time parenthood.
Due to the scale of time, you are able to spend together, your shared philosophies and beliefs, and the comfort you feel around each other, you might find your homeschool friends begin to feel more like family.
Ultimately, teamwork makes the dream work. Sharing your experience and journey with other families on the same path, only adds more joy to the precious memories you are making along the way. And it is every homeschool parent’s hope that within these memories our children will hold appreciation and fondness of their childhood.