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Homeschooling offers a unique and personalized approach to education, allowing students to learn in a more flexible environment tailored to their needs.
While the benefits of homeschooling are numerous, one common concern often arises: How do homeschoolers make friends? Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers are not isolated individuals; they often develop strong and lasting friendships through various avenues.
You may be asking yourself.. but how do homeschoolers make friends?
1. Extracurricular Activities
Homeschooled students actively participate in extracurricular activities, similar to their traditionally-schooled peers. Such activities range from sports, music lessons, art classes, to community service projects, providing an opportunity for homeschoolers to connect with like-minded individuals.
Among these activities, team sports, in particular, foster a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, enabling homeschoolers to develop friendships through shared experiences and common goals.
One way to find out what activities your children can join is to join your local homeschool Facebook group! You might be thinking I live in the middle of nowhere, but you may be surprised how close other homeschoolers may be.
I joined three Facebook groups within 15-20 minutes of me and now I can parooze their pages for any activities I might want to join. We have homeschool basketball, tennis, swimming, karate, and many more options in our area!
If you are super motivated, you could even create your group for activities. Like a nature club or a book club.
Depending on what state you live in, you may even be able to join your local public school team! No matter what extracurricular activity you decide to create or join it will allow your children to make connections with other homeschool children.
Lauren over at The Simple Homeschooler gave some great tips on a technique she coined 'crisscrossing'. It's a great way to create impurities for your children to meet up with other children. Go check out her post here.
2. Local Homeschool Group
Partaking in local homeschool groups is among the most effective means for homeschoolers to make friends. These groups unite families who have opted for homeschooling, creating a supportive environment for both parents and children.
Through field trips, co-op classes, and social events, students can engage with peers, ultimately fostering the formation of valuable friendships.
For our family, we decided to go this route. We found an amazing small group of women who wanted to create a homeschool co-op. We meet weekly, and we have monthly field trips.
Last year we did world culture studies, and this year we are focusing on United States Geography. At co-op, we are blessed to have two fluent Spanish-speaking moms who teach Spanish, and we also have Bible time, and gym class.
Being a part of a homeschool group is extra work sometimes. Since our group is so small, everyone plays an important role. Some homeschool co-ops are so large, and they are more of a drop-off style. Again go check out your local homeschool Facebook groups to see what is offered in your area.
3. Online Communities
Homeschooling in the digital age offers a distinct advantage of connecting with peers worldwide. With online communities, forums, and social media groups, homeschoolers can share experiences, seek advice, and establish meaningful friendships.
These virtual connections can provide a crucial source of emotional support and a sense of camaraderie, often leading to long-lasting bonds.
Any kind of curriculum you use probably also has a Facebook community page/group. I am embarrassingly a part of probably 15+ curriculum groups. Partially because I buy too many resources, but I also love the engagement!
Having a hard time figuring out how to use your language arts curriculum, go on to that curriculum Facebook group and ask a question! You will have other parents commenting and helping, and potentially making some new online friends who are in the same boat as you.
One great online community resource is Outschool. Outschool offers online classes, clubs, and activities for you and your children. So if meeting up in person isn't an option for you this year maybe consider joining an online club so your child can start fostering relationships with peers.
Again if you feeling the creative bug, you could create your online community! Google chat is a great resource for you to use. You can do free video chats, and organize a space very easily. (We use it as communication for our in-person homeschool co-op).
4. Community Involvement
Homeschooled students enjoy greater flexibility in their schedules, which allows them to participate in community events during non-traditional hours.
Volunteering, joining clubs, or attending local gatherings can offer excellent opportunities for homeschoolers to interact with diverse individuals and make friends beyond their immediate homeschooling circle.
Volunteering is not only good for others but it creates a spirit of gratitude within your homeschool. I know I keep mentioning it but.. JOIN YOUR LOCAL FACEBOOK GROUP. People will often post volunteer options on there for you and your families to do.
For example, we went and volunteered at a recycling center recently. They gave us a short tour, and then the kids got to recycle together! It was a great way for the kids to socialize together while doing good for others.
5. Library and Learning Centers
Libraries and learning centers are frequently popular destinations for homeschooling families, acting as a central point for resources and classes that appeal to this demographic. These facilities offer an additional opportunity for students to connect and socialize with their peers.
Collaborative study sessions, book clubs, and educational workshops not only enhance the learning experience but also promote a sense of community within the homeschooling population.
We go to our local library all the time. Our library system hosts lots of free events every month, has two different reading programs for summer, and winter, and so many other fun events.
Because we frequent the library often, we often run into the same people over and over again. I have also used a library meet-up as a safe place to meet.
For example, if your kids are getting along with someone they met at a park. You could offer to meet up at a free library event. It's a great, free, way to do an activity with another family.
In December we are going to the library at least twice with another homeschool family to make free gingerbread houses, and to create free Christmas ornaments. Fore-warning most of the time you have to sign up with your library card to get a spot at the free classes, since most likely the library will have limited resources and space.
We have one, fairly new, learning center in the area. What I have gathered is they offer a paid space for kids to study, and 'hang out' with each other, and sometimes they offer tutoring or other services as well.
6. Part-Time Classes
Numerous homeschoolers leverage part-time classes or workshops offered by local educational institutions or community centers. These classes give students the chance to engage with peers in a structured academic environment, facilitating the development of their social skills and expanding their network of friends.
The best way to find out is to contact your local public school system and ask them if homeschoolers can take classes! Don't want to teach art or physical education? This might be a great way to take some subjects off of you.
One thing to remember to ask is what are the requirements? Does your child have to take a certain amount of classes? Is it free, or how much does it cost?
Making Friends With Picture Books
Because I am truly in love with picture books, I had to include a few that will help open the door for young or older children seeking how to create long-lasting friendships.
"Enemy Pie" by Derek Munson is an endearing and relatable children's book that explores significant themes of friendship and understanding. The story follows a young boy who discovers that he has an "enemy" in his neighborhood, but his father comes to the rescue with a recipe for the perfect solution: Enemy Pie.
As the boy spends a day with his newfound friend, he learns valuable lessons about preconceptions, empathy, and the transformative power of genuine connections. The charming illustrations and delightful narrative make "Enemy Pie" a timeless story that teaches children about the importance of giving others a chance and finding common ground.
This enchanting picture book is a delightful addition to any library, providing both entertainment and valuable lessons for young readers.
In "The Rabbit Listened" by Cori Doerrfeld, the author beautifully explores the themes of empathy, grief, and the healing power of listening through a tender and poignant picture book. The story follows Taylor, who experiences a difficult and heart-wrenching event, and receives well-intentioned advice from various animals.
However, it is the patient and understanding rabbit who listens quietly without judgment. Through this simple yet profound act of companionship, the rabbit teaches young readers the importance of empathy, support, and the strength found in shared moments of silence.
With heartfelt illustrations and a universal message, "The Rabbit Listened" is a touching story that encourages compassion and understanding in the face of life's challenges, making it a must-read for children and adults alike.
Linda Sarah's "On Sudden Hill" is a charming and heartwarming picture book that captures the essence of friendship and imagination. The story follows two best friends, Birt and Etho, as they create their own special world using cardboard boxes on Sudden Hill.
However, their dynamic is tested when a new friend, Shu, wants to join in and add her own ideas to the mix. The book explores themes of inclusivity, creativity, and the joys of shared adventures, delivering a gentle narrative complemented by the enchanting illustrations of Benji Davies.
"On Sudden Hill" celebrates the simple yet profound connections that blossom among children as they navigate the landscape of friendship, cooperation, and the endless possibilities of play.
"Miss Molly's School of Making Friends," written by Laura Cowan, is a heartwarming children's book that takes readers on an enchanting journey into the world of friendship. The story revolves around Molly, a wise and whimsical cat, who opens a school to teach other animals the art of making friends.
Through engaging storytelling and delightful illustrations, Cowan imparts valuable lessons on kindness, empathy, and the joy of connecting with others, making it an excellent addition to any library. This enchanting picture book not only offers a sweet story but also timeless insights about the significance of friendship and the magic that happens when we open our hearts to others.
It's a treasure for children and parents alike, reminding readers of all ages of the beauty of forming meaningful connections.
Felicity Brooks' "All About Friends" is an exceptional children's book that approaches the theme of friendship in a captivating and educational manner. The book is replete with eye-catching illustrations and lively text, drawing young readers into the world of friendship, from the significance of making friends to the joy of being together.
The vivid pages, and relatable scenarios make for an immersive experience, guiding children to understand the value of friendship and the significance of kindness. "All About Friends" is an ideal read for youngsters navigating the rich and exciting world of social connections, making it both entertaining and educational.
Okay.. here is one last picture book reccomendation because I really cant help myself.
The "Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury" by Arnold Lobel is a timeless collection that brings to life the enduring friendship between Frog and Toad in a series of charming tales. With gentle humor, heartwarming adventures, and delightful illustrations, Lobel captures the essence of camaraderie and the simple joys of companionship.
Through the ups and downs of their daily lives, Frog and Toad navigate various challenges, demonstrating the true meaning of friendship. This treasury is a perfect introduction to the beloved Frog and Toad series, offering young readers a delightful journey into the world of friendship, kindness, and the enduring warmth of shared moments.
Did You Find Out How Do Homeschoolers Make Friends?
Homeschooling does not lead to social isolation but rather yields an array of opportunities to develop meaningful friendships through diverse avenues. From local homeschool groups and extracurricular activities to online communities and community involvement, homeschoolers have ample opportunities to connect with others.
These relationships are critical for social development and contribute to a holistic and satisfying educational experience.