Finding Friendship and Support in Your Parenting and Homeschooling Journey

I knew well before we had children that I wanted to homeschool. Jason and I were agreed that it was something we both wanted. I looked forward to it eagerly because I love teaching, and I love learning. I think we “did school” from quite early on. (Does all the pointing to pictures and making animal sounds when they were babies count?) Because I knew that we were on the path to becoming “real” homeschoolers, I wanted to meet and hang out and learn from other homeschoolers early on. I joined my first homeschool support group when my oldest child was two or three. Yes, really.

As the years have passed, we’ve been part of many different groups. Things change with the ages of kids and the seasons of life we’re in. Sometimes a group will be a good fit for a few years, and then we find that we have different needs. But throughout all of the groups I’ve been a part of in all of my years homeschooling, I’ve made some great friendships. I’ve learned so much. There’s nothing like learning from people who are doing the same thing I’m doing but who have children who are slightly older than mine. I know they’ve walked this path and that they can give me good information. If nothing else, I can cry on their shoulders because they’ve been there, and they understand.

Homeschooling support and encouragement

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So where can you find these groups, this support? If you’re a new homeschooler who isn’t so sure what you’ve gotten yourself into or a veteran homeschooler who has suddenly hit a new stage and doesn’t know quite how to proceed, you’ll find that we all need support and encouragement. Whether you’re looking for a small group, a large group, a strictly social group, a co-op where you can share teaching responsibilities, or an online community that you can be a part of without changing out of your pjs today, here are some suggestions and resources for finding people who will understand and support you.

Large local support groups

Most communities have local support groups. There are areas throughout the world where there are more homeschoolers or fewer homeschoolers, and if you live in an area where there aren’t many local homeschoolers, this may not work for you. But for many homeschoolers, a local community group is a great place to build friendships and find support.

Small, personal groups

If you can’t find a local support group or if the idea of being in a large group terrifies you sometimes (any fellow introverts out there?), try finding one or two other homeschooling families and forming your own small group. Sometimes the fellowship and community that you can find with a couple of likeminded people is even better than the activities and programs offered by a large group.
For quite a few years, my family and two other homeschooling families from our church met once every other week for a few hours in the afternoon throughout every school year. We originally got together because we had some of our kids in the same grade and wanted to be able to do science lessons and experiments in a small group environment. Although our other kids were younger or older, they often joined in, and science time became an extremely popular part of the week. We moms took turns hosting and teaching lessons. But our group turned into so much more than science. It turned into a time of fellowship for the kids and for us as moms, and I think we looked forward to it as much as the kids did.

Online groups

Sometimes it’s just not possible to get together with other local homeschoolers. Maybe you live in an area where there truly aren’t other homeschoolers. Or maybe you have many young children that make it difficult to go out to activities often or a child with special needs that has a hard time coming and going frequently. Whatever the reason, even if you can’t leave the house, there are many places you can find support and encouragement online. In my early homeschooling years when I had little ones- especially babies- and had a hard time regularly getting out to attend groups, I found so much encouragement from online groups and blogs. 
I’m an introvert, and even though I know that friendships in real life are important, there were times when dressing myself and four children and loading strollers and carseats and diaper bags only to go and be a part of a large group where I may only know one or two people required too much emotional energy for me. But online groups didn’t require me to get anyone ready to go out. I could hop online in a free minute, and if a baby started screaming, I could leave to go solve the problem. If you’re looking for some online support, here are a few resources.
  • CHF Web (Christian Homeschool Fellowship) is an awesome and supportive group of mostly women and mostly homeschoolers. But there are a few men here and there, and there are moms who don’t homeschool who enjoy the fellowship. You can browse the forum without becoming a member, but to post you need to make a free account. I’m mostly a lurker here now, but as a young mom, I found invaluable advice and encouragement from the moms here.
  • The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Facebook page is a great place to go for resources and encouragement. It’s not an interactive group, but there is some good and encouraging stuff here.
  • Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook group is an interactive community. Members can ask questions and respond to others.
  • Last but not, least, you can now become a part of the Facebook group- Sharing the Homeschool Journey– I began a group, separate from my Facebook page, because it’s a little easier to interact there. I’m hoping that we can share information, questions, and encouragement together. And if you’re a homeschool blogger, come share your encouraging and informative posts and sign up on the blog roll.
Finding support, encouragement, and opportunities to fellowship with people who are walking the same road you’re walking is important. If you don’t have that, try one of these ideas. And please hop over and join the Facebook group here.
Where do you go to find encouragement and fellowship?

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