Homeschool Troubleshooting – Feeling Alone

So, you’ve made the decision to stay home with your kids. Then you made the decision to keep your kids home for their education.

Whether you felt boldly rebellious or frightened but resolved, the Big Decisions were made.

And here you are, swimming upstream, and you’re feeling alone.
feeling alone: homeschool troubleshooting
Fellow homeschooler: I’ve been there.

Despite being a homeschool grad myself, when my husband and I started homeschooling our oldest children, we were the only ones in our church doing so. We didn’t know any other local homeschoolers.

And, honestly, that was OK for a while. Our kids had friends, we had friends and acquaintances, life went on.

But eventually, being DIFFERENT wore on us. And it happened gradually but got progressively worse and caused some negative feelings and actions.

Enter two things that changed my “feeling alone” situation:

1.The Internet

God bless the internet (and I mean that sincerely not sarcastically). It allowed me to be inspired by other moms who were trying to do the same things I was trying to do.

It exposed me to some ideas I hadn’t found on my own, yet.

I had that glorious, “You too?!” feeling.

You can find homeschoolers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and even Google+ (does anyone use that anymore?). Side note: you can find me on all of the above, except YouTube. Video is Not My Thing.

And that’s not even mentioning all the homeschool blogs out there. (Some that encouraged me most when I really needed it are no longer active. But many on this list are still around: Must Read Homeschool Blogs. Anyway, I assume you’re familiar with homeschool blogs because you’re here now.)

Right now my favorite way to connect with homeschool moms via the Internet is Instagram. I do have to guard my heart against envy (those gorgeous homes and spaces that I don’t have) and also against overwhelm (because there are so many good things out there, my little homeschool family can’t possibly use / know / do them all), but all in all, it’s a lovely place to find like minded people.

But the internet is just one tool. And it wasn’t enough on its own.

So, enter:

2. Fellow Real Life Homeschoolers

group of friendsNow, there are several methods for finding these folks, but the two I know best are

Homeschool support groups

Honestly, I’ve had very little success with these but some people love them. It doesn’t help that the one closest to me became less and less active. And I don’t like paying membership fees for things that don’t really exist (call me crazy).

But it may be the best option, particularly if you can’t find a co-op that suits your family’s needs.

Homeschool Co-Ops

I’ve written about some silly and serious reasons we love our co-op. But the thing that I like best is our co-op aims for a middle ground between “We are here for Serious Academics” and “We are Getting Together for Fun.”

Now, either one of those types of co-ops may appeal to you and / or be available in your area. But this works for us.

Finally my children have the opportunity to make friends who do not ask them questions like, “So, do you do your school in your pajamas?” or “But what do you DO?” or my personal favorite, “Do you ever wish you went to real school?” (Yes, these are real questions my children have answered from their peers. That last one seriously annoys me. Homeschooling ≠ imaginary school.)

Knowing that there are other homeschool families out there doing life in a similar way helps my children feel less like Living Science Experiments on display.

Now, I have to tell you this: all the families in our co-op do not homeschool the same way. We have different philosophies of education. Different motivations. Our own challenges and unique kids. Different parenting styles, honestly. Our co-op is large enough that even the board members (of which I am one) don’t always agree.

And I’m glad of that.

Sometimes my decisions are reinforced by seeing how something did or did not work for someone else.

And sometimes it’s just nice to have friends who understand that I’m not serious, but I totally mean it, when I say something like, “Forget the school bus, I wanted to flag down a circus yesterday and ship my kids off FOREVER.”

Homeschool Mom: find your tribe.

Maybe it’s online.

Or, and I really hope this works for you, maybe it’s in “real” life.

Probably it will be a combination of both. (And I hope I can be part of the online encouragement you need!)

You need fellow parents who have your back and understand your life. Because you CAN homeschool alone.

But you shouldn’t have to.

This is the 21st century and you have options. Even if it’s just Skype or Facetime with a homeschool friend who lives Far, Far, Away. That conversation could turn your day around.

Email. (does anyone still email?) Text messaging. Facebook, Instagram, and so on. Get in touch with like minded folks and stop feeling like you’re the Only One.

Because you aren’t alone. Someone, somewhere is right there with you.

And that can be the thing that makes the difference when the circus train big yellow bus is looking like a pretty good option.


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