How to Cultivate Friendships as a Homeschool Mom is a post from Amy from Rock Your Homeschool.
Homeschooling rocks! It is an opportunity to watch your children learn and grow in your very own home. It is a chance to develop special relationships with your kids as you teach and learn together.
Homeschooling, however, can get lonely. Very lonely.
With those blessings of close relationships made during spontaneous kitchen science experiments or family real aloud times, many days may go by where your only adult interaction is with a telemarketer or your spouse. As much as you love being with your children day in and day out, you might start to feel a bit claustrophobic, especially during the winter months.
You may remind yourself daily (even hourly) of your homeschool blessings. Despite these frequent self-reminders, feelings of isolation or being misunderstood can creep in. All of these emotions may be magnified depending on your personality type as well. If you are an extrovert, you may have a strong desire to go out and interact with other adults yet feel stifled. If you are an introvert, you may lack the motivation to get out and make friends. Of course, there is the never-ending to-do list which could sap the energy of the Energizer Bunny.
You tell yourself that it’s no big deal. You are being selfish or worrying about unimportant things. You can do this alone or have plenty of time once the kids are graduated to make friends.
Friendships as a homeschool mom, however, are important. A study by the APA (American Psychological Association) shares why it is vital to our health to have friendships, especially in the area in which you live. Introvert or extrovert, homeschooler to one or many, healthy relationships with individuals outside of your home are good for you!
Here are a few reasons why you need to cultivate friendships as a homeschool mom:
- help remind you of your former self (a.k.a. before kids)
- connections for help and information
- support when you feel alone or confused
- understanding that you are doing your very best to fulfill your calling
- increased happiness
- developing new interests
Are you nodding your head in agreement but saying to yourself, “But, I don’t have time for friends!”? Did the word “busy” cross your lips? If so, you are not alone. Although our modern age is full of technology to make our lives easier, our schedules are packed with activities and to-do lists.
Indeed, you probably are busy with home management and family related tasks. Add homeschooling to the mix and it genuinely may feel like you are too busy.
But, consider this: if your feelings of loneliness and isolation are significantly upsetting you, it is time to make time to cultivate friendships. Do it for your health and well-being. Make time for friendships to be a positive role model for your children. Most of all, cultivate friendships for the sheer fun of it!
How To Cultivate Friendships as a Homeschool Mom
You may think that cultivating friendships with other homeschoolers should be an easy task. You share a common interest, right? Well, depending on where you live or your schedule, it may be a challenge to connect with other homeschoolers.
For example, there are not many homeschoolers in our immediate area. My family must travel a significant distance to participate in homeschool group activities. Also, our two older boys have intense soccer training schedules that can make it difficult to connect with other homeschoolers when they are available.
No matter your homeschool situation, try these ideas for finding homeschoolers in your area to cultivate friendships:
- Co-op: Do you have a local homeschool co-op? If so, find out more information to determine if it would be a good fit for your family and style of homeschooling. If not, consider starting one yourself!
- Local Homeschoool Meet-Ups: Find or start meet-ups where homeschoolers can casually or formally gather. Topics of interest could be used to organize the meet-up or just allow for conversation and fellowship.
- Homeschool Field Trips & Group Outings: Join with other homeschoolers for educational and fun field trips. Use the opportunity to meet new friends and establish connections.
- Online: Social media can be used in a positive way! Connect with homeschoolers to cultivate friendships. Facebook, Periscope, and other social media platforms are all buzzing with homeschool chatter. I have met some of my very best homeschool friends online!
Developing & Maintaining Friendships With Non-Homeschoolers
Just because you homeschool does not mean you have to live in a bubble! You do not have to wear a scarlet “H” on your clothes or feel like you can not mingle with non-homeschoolers.
There are a variety of ways to make friends outside of the world of homeschooling. Take a class about something that has interested you for some time. Use this opportunity to get to know other participants. You will have a common ground in the shared interest and may find a new friend.
Develop interests that have nothing to do with homeschooling. It is super easy to become obsessed with homeschooling and its many topics. It’s our job after all! Many homeschoolers are driven to provide the best home education for our kids. Excellent! Learning new things will make you a more well-rounded individual and contribute to your overall awesomeness.
Find a local gym or workout facility. Take time to take care of your physical health-and meet others who have the same idea. You will feel better physically and have the chance to cultivate friendships.
Church is another great place to find friendship. Volunteer opportunities can provide an excellent way to get to know other members of your congregation and make friends. Small groups like Bible studies and community outreach programs can also create ways for you to make new friends.
One tip before you go out there and start filling up your Contacts list: while it is important to make time for friends, it is essential that you establish clear boundaries for your homeschool schedule and family time. If you want to make your friendships last, set these boundaries early in the relationship and stick to them. Psychology Today agrees that true friends will respect your responsibilities and support your decisions.
Now that you are pumped up to go out and cultivate friendships, make a list of steps to get started. You may need to challenge yourself with specific steps that make you feel a bit uncomfortable but it will be worth it. Taking time to cultivate friendships will improve your overall well-being as a homeschooler which will bless your family and yourself.
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