Over the past year, there’s been a welcome shift in my homeschooling journey that I want to share with you. I’m not so much becoming a spokesperson for homeschooling as I am becoming more outspoken about my personal experience.
For the longest time I kept mum about my little homeschooling secret. See, I’ve been homeschooling since my kids were born, so it’s not something that automatically started or changed when they turned “school age.” And really, before the age of 5, not too many people worry about what your kids are doing hanging around with you 24/7 so I didn’t feel the need to broadcast the news if I didn’t have to. I mostly wanted to avoid engaging with anyone who disagreed with my parenting choices and homeschooling beliefs.
But around 5 and 6 years old, it’s inevitable that the world wants to know what grade your kid is in- the dentist, the man behind the cash register, the woman walking her dogs,
the grandparents, the in-laws…
And upon hearing they’re homeschooled, it’s even more inevitable that they are going to ask about socialization.
No. Not really. First, I had 4 kids under the age of 5… a mini-daycare or preschool, if you will, or basically my own social experiment. Second, it was relatively easy to maintain friendships with the kids my kids grew up with, the families I found connections with when I became a mom. But soon, those kids were off to school, after-school activities, homework, and class parties every other weekend, so naturally, play dates became few and far between.
So I started venturing out into real homeschooling territory…not sure what took me so long in a town that is beyond rich with homeschooling resources and organizations. I joined a homeschool Meetup group as part of my New Year’s resolution and the rest is history. Within a matter of weeks, I’d met so many wonderful homeschooling families that I can hardly keep up with our new friendships, and my kids are making bonds like I’ve never seen before, with a variety of ages.
The first meetup we attended was at a park, and at least ten other families showed up. I said to my kids, “You see all those kids out there? Well, they’re homeschooled, too.” Speechless, their jaws dropped to the floor and their eyes opened wide. Geez, did they have to look THAT shocked? It was as if I’d been keeping them in a dark corner of the closet memorizing math facts and this was the first time they saw the light of day. I guess they’d be squinting then, but you get the picture…there were more families just like us, and lots of them!
Since that fateful day, this group has become near and dear to my heart, and one of my greatest homeschooling resources. On top of frequent play dates and educational field trips, we have family picnics and Moms Night Out! It’s no longer just homeschooling. Never was actually, but now I can truly call it community schooling.
I’ve become soooo jazzed about my kids’ education I want to get them lunch boxes and backpacks! I want to sign permission forms and join the PTA! I want to have my kids pass out Valentines and do Secret Santa! Wooo!
Ok, got a little off track there, but this group does make me want to shout from the rooftops, “We homeschool and we’re proud!”