Taking the leap and creating a social network for you and your children.
When you leave the school system, or choose not to get involved with it from the start, you bypass a large and readymade social network for yourself and your kids. With your kind relatives banging on about ‘socialization,’ how do you find your people? I assure you, they are out there, but you may have to do some work to find them.
Us homeschoolers talk about leaving ‘the bubble’.
Which insinuates that there is a bubble, and the bubble is often where we want to be. It’s a place where we don’t have to explain ourselves, where we can share honestly without fear of judgement, talk about the highs and lows, get advice or support and generally, feel like we are doing the right thing for our families. The bubble is a place where you are with your people, they get you, and you get them. So how do you get into the bubble?
Well the bubble starts at home first. It’s the place where you find your rhythm and where you feel safe and comfortable and hey, even EXCITED about your decision to homeschool. You feel passionate about it and you feel that you have made the right choice for your children’s education. But day after day of working away on your lonesome is never going to feel right, so we all want to take that bubble on the road and fit some lovely people in it with us. How do you find these people?
These days many groups are run via Facebook, as is the one in my local area.
Many moons ago when we began homeschooling I really wanted to extend the bubble, but found no cohesive way of meeting people. I started a Facebook group called “Geelong Home Educators” that is now over 800 members strong. Just a newbie homeschooler, yep, I started it, and I started to find my people. Get searching and see if you can find any contacts in your area, and if you can’t, start something.
Home Education Network in Australia has an extensive list of contacts in all states.
Go to things. If there aren’t things to go to, organize something. Going to events in your area, if there are already some happening will be a surefire way to meet people who are like minded. Locally we have a gymnastics group at our local YMCA, a weekly Supertramp meet up, a weekly park meet up, a weekly gaming meet up and various other one off events. New homeschoolers often want to get together and do academic stuff. Really, we have found it works way better to do that at home, and meet up for fun and connection. Do what works for you.
Going to homeschool camps opened our eyes to new friends and extended the bubble interstate.
HEN has a list of homeschool camps which you can attend. If there is something you want to do particularly, organize it. The difference between school and not school is that you are in charge, which can also mean you are doing a bit more to find your people. I can honestly say I was strongly encouraged by a local home ed friend to start going to camps and we haven’t looked back. Our camp people have become our people for sure, and even after years of homeschooling, we have enriched our social network incredibly, around the campfire, dirty, muddy and connected. Love you camp people (you know who you are).
In a world of online interaction I can’t stress enough how important it is to connect in real life. Getting yourself and your family along to any events or gatherings that you can will give you a chance to meet someone, chat and hopefully, find your people.
When we first started out there was a weekly meet up, offered by an experienced home educating mum, for company and friendship. I honestly believe if we had not had that group, feeling totally out at sea and alone, we would not have made it this far. Maybe you need to attend a group like this, or start one?
Finding and being with our people is a constant need for all of us (mum and four kids all at different stages). We move and flow with those needs, and truly appreciate the connections we have made. May you find your people too, and enjoy some beautiful bubble time with them.