Image courtesy: Averie Chapman
We all need friends. Friends make everything more fun. Good friends add richness to life. Lifelong friends are jewels, rare and special. And being friends with entire families is an extra blessing.
But, how do you go about finding such friends in the homeschool community? First, let me say that having friends that are not homeschoolers is great, but it is nice to have homeschooling in common and to be on similar schedules. It is nice to have some free time to get together early in the day. Our family often reserves evenings, weekends and holidays for family time, so we want to be able to get together with friends during the week.
The easiest way to find new friends is to be a greeter. Be the one who speaks to all the moms you see at meetings and activities. Do you remember when you were the new one and how much you wanted to see a friendly face? Be that friendly face. You can do it, and most importantly, you can teach your children to do it. Knowing how to greet people is a skill that will help children at all stages of life. Your children will remember being greeted by a friendly face, and it may give them motivation to be a friendly face.
After you have met everyone, begin looking for those you want to know better. We often have homeschool activities that allow moms to drop off their children. Please don’t do that! Stay and visit with other moms. I know it would be nice to run errands, but if you do, you will miss a wonderful opportunity to build friendships.
Moms who get to visit together for an hour or two at a time can learn a lot about each other as they share information and experience. You can find out who has children similar to yours. You can find out who has similar values and who likes similar activities. If you’re new to the area, then you can also find out about shops, doctors, classes, and churches. And the biggest help to me, personally, is finding out what new recipes they love! Sharing at least one weekly activity is so helpful in developing a friendship. You can make friends at monthly activities as well, but it will probably take longer.
During these visits you can also plan field trips. Joining with a couple of other families helps you to enjoy a field trip even more! Plan a park day, a hike, or share information on area homeschool days. You can also make plans to attend another homeschool activity that week or maybe meet for lunch or a play date.
We often invite other families to go out for a snack after an activity, to prolong the visiting time, and include the children. The children get to know each other during their scheduled activity, of course, but moms get to observe the interaction at snack time. Doesn’t the best fellowship involve food? When you are suggesting where to go, it is considerate to choose budget-friendly places.
When you start reaching out to people, very soon you will look forward to all gatherings. You will see your favorite people at all activities. You and your children will be friends with whole families. You will have a meaningful homeschool community.
How does this help you? Well, children really appreciate hanging out with friends, especially in the teen years. You will be glad to know their friends and the families they come from. You can share the growing pains with your mom friends. You will want to guide your children to know what’s important in a friend. You might want to plan or host guy events if you have sons. Teach your children that their friends are important for all of their life. You will enjoy seeing your children share all of their special life events with those friends. You will enjoy keeping in touch with all of those mom friends. You will be very satisfied that you made the most of your time and the homeschool activities you participated in. And you will be happy that you made sweet memories for your children, because friends are the best!
Dava Banner has been married thirty-seven years and has three fine sons. She has been a happy homeschooler for seventeen years and counting. She and her family live on a small farm in Crouse, NC.
Looking for your homeschool tribe? Find homeschool support groups in your area and your NCHE regional liaison right here. NCHE also offers a number of online support groups via Facebook. Connecting you with other homeschooling families is our mission! Support our work when you become an NCHE member.