Sometimes being a homeschool mom is like being in middle school all over again. You are awkward and shy in this new situation, especially when you are the only one of your friends that has even considered this crazy, unpaved path—let alone embraced it, and fighting to find your way. That can be discouraging, whether you’re just starting out, have just moved to a new home, or just want to find your place in the homeschool community.
Picture this… a homeschooling mom reads that her local library offers free classes once a month for homeschoolers.
Perfect, she thinks. This will be a great opportunity to meet other homeschool moms and kids, so we can all make friends. After all, all of the homeschoolers we know live at least 45 minutes away, so it’s a challenge to meet up regularly.
People come to homeschooling for a lot of different reasons.
- Some feel called to homeschool from the time their kids are small.
- Some realize that they don’t want their kids to be gone from them for so many hours at such a young age when they face the prospect of all-day kindergarten.
- Some try to send their kids to school — after all, isn’t that what you’re supposed to do — and then realize for a variety of reasons that school is not the right place for their child.
Regardless of how or why a family comes to homeschooling, new or transplanted moms may feel isolated. It can be tough to get to know other homeschoolers in the area. She might be facing incredulity, or downright animosity, from those she once counted as friends. Or she may have a family who rails against her family’s choice to go against the norm education-wise.
Homeschooling moms need to know local moms who are in the homeschooling trenches alongside her. SHE needs friends that get it — even more than her kids do.
So that mom, upon hearing about the local library’s classes, may head there on science day, despite the difficulty in packing up two school-age kids, a headstrong three-year old, and a fussy two month old, and just make it there on time for the morning class. Loaded with a diaper bag, baby wrap, stroller, and snacks for the preschooler, she may head to the children’s section after dropping off her big kids, especially if the librarian told her that the other moms hang out there, talking while the little ones play.
Her heart seeking friendship, she may sit there listening and yearning for a way to break into the conversation. But, since all the moms seem to know each other, and have scores of things to catch up on, she may hold back, not knowing what to say.
Like a wallflower at a middle school dance, she wants to join in, but doesn’t know how, especially as the women sitting near her pay no attention, even though her tu-tu garbed three year old is playing with their kids.
Experienced homeschool moms, take notice. You might have been that woman once, and you might be again someday. Life’s seasons ebb and flow, and you never know when you’ll be in a place of yearning, trying to break the ice and make new friends, for yourself and your kids.
If you see a mom with little ones hanging out while there is a homeschool class going on, chances are she’s there for the same reason you are — waiting for her big kids to finish using PEEPS candies to learn about science, and looking for a little fellowship. Reach out to her and invite her into your conversation.
While I’m not a brand-new home school mom, I am living in a new city. I know many homeschoolers with kids my kids’ ages, but they live too far away for casual drop ins when the work gets done or the weather’s nice.
I was that lonely mom last week.
I sat for an hour next to a group of women, good Christian homeschoolers from the sound of their conversation, who talked around me and my little ones. I longed to join in, and meet some new, local friends. I wanted to find a few kids near Trevor’s age that live close. The poor guy is stuck playing with little ones all the time as the neighborhood kids are all under 5.
I didn’t know how.
I was ignored, and so I wrote while Isaac napped and Logan twirled in her tutu. And afterward, when Trevor and Molly joined me and talked a mile a minute about all the cool things they did in class, still the moms took no notice of the new family. We chose books to take home, played with the toys a bit longer, chatted with the librarians, then packed up all of our things and headed home to make lunch.
It probably doesn’t seem like I’m reserved when you read my blog or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, but it’s true. I find it difficult to initiate conversation in new situations. I’d much rather stay home and read a book or play with my kids.
I’m that awkward middle school kid who is unsure, and awkward, in those situations.
While it was a tough hour for me, and I left the library discouraged, I’m glad God put me in that situation. I know how sad and uncomfortable it was to sit there while the conversation swirled around me, and I resolve to pay attention the next time I’m somewhere and see a young mom who may need another mom to reach out and draw her in.
I implore you to do the same.