The “S” Word: Socialization
Socialization: the word that strikes fear in the hearts of all the well-meaning folks that surround you, the homeschooling family next door. Everyone is concerned about your children and if they will be able to function as healthy adults in the real world. By choosing to homeschool, are we excluding them from learning from peers, having crucial interactions with other children and making them lonely only “others” who will never get along with people outside their family unit? Surely, if you are parenting in 2016, homeschooling has become commonplace…everyone knows someone who is choosing to educate their children at home. And certainly, if you know a homeschooler, you know that those children are far from social outcasts, locked away and protected from the outside world. Homeschool kids are surrounded by so many different people, out and about experiencing the world, field schooling or taking classes at the community college while in high school, socialization of the children shouldn’t be the concern. Who should we be worried about? The homeschool mom.
A Unique Story
Every homeschool family has a story to tell about how they came to make the choice to keep their kids at home to educate. As varied as the homeschool world, so are the reasons. All valid, all interesting and unique. Mine is no different. When it came time to register for school, I thought about the fun (and-yikes-hard work) it would be to DIY my child’s education. And our experience has delivered–it is more fun and harder work than I imagined. And far more rewarding. If I thought teaching middle school was cool, teaching in my own house is even more awesome. I do love it. And yet….
A Lonely Choice
My life experience and story is one of leaving the workforce, moving to a new city and then having my first child, which set me up for loneliness. As a family, we remained on the go for years and while I built rewarding friendships in each new location, there wasn’t permanence and stability until we settled and stayed put, going on four years now. Anxious to build connections, I imagined a tribe of other mom friends when my kids started school. But wait–we decided on homeschool and while it is the right choice for us, boy, it has been a lonesome one.
We are on the go, taking advantage of classes and field trips, nature walks and activities. Last year we were involved in a lovely co-op where each child in our family tried out different enrichment offerings all year long. And while the kids made connections and I had some nice conversations with other moms, there was no great zing of friendship for me. I think whether you homeschool or not, if you are a mom, you can relate. Being a mom can be isolating.
Things started to change this year. A new app called Periscope came along and homeschool moms started to find each other. We invited one another, shyly at first, and then with more enthusiasm, silliness, and truth, into each others’ lives. Periscope led us to start connecting on Facebook. We met new allies in education as our community grew. Now we are seeing real life meet ups happening, we are asking for experience and advice, we are commiserating on how to stay sane while spending all our time together with our family (which, admittedly, can be tough to take some days). We are sharing tips and tricks on homeschooling, of course, but also dinner hacks, fashion finds and favorite books we are reading to our kids.
So what can a lonely homeschool mom do? Seek connection and it will come to you! Come and find us-we are just waiting to meet you!
Before homeschooling, I resisted social media save for the occasional post or status update. My instagram feed was private and I was involved in a few Yahoo groups. Something happened when I opened myself up to reaching out and connecting through Facebook and Periscope. My people, a new online tribe, started to take shape. Participating in the effort to get to know other homeschoolers as women, mothers, and now, friends, has allowed for a wonderful blossoming in my life. Extending my comfort zone has drawn others to me. And there are so many moms who want to meet you, too!
But What About the Haters?
It makes me boil how we, society at large, perpetuate the myth that women are witchy, back-stabbing and ugly to each other as a rule. By some grace, I have found this to be the exception and NOT the rule. Perhaps it is age or the exhaustion of motherhood that mellows us, but something good is going on, online, in the Homeschool Community. Connection, commiseration, real-life meet ups and old-fashioned chatter is taking hold. You can get in on it! We, as women, wives, mothers, and home educators are challenging the idea that we can’t get along–and we are doing it together!
Get In On the FUN!
If you are feeling lonely, find some of your peeps in these places. Don’t be shy to reach out and get involved. We would love to meet you! Get some mom socialization!
- The Homeschool Alliance
- Read Aloud Revival
- Facebook Groups here, here, here
- Katch (to watch those Periscopes that have “expired”)
- Facebook Live? (This may be our next foray into connection!)
Where do you find community? Leave a comment and let us know; we need support and friendship to be successful in the world and in our homeschools. Don’t worry about the socialization of the children and get some social time yourself! Let’s find community together, naturally! Subscribe, reach out or find me on Facebook. I can’t wait to meet you!