Monday, August 30, 2010

Going it alone?

I never imagined that homeschooling would be something I would do in isolation.  I always thought that when I was ready, I'd go looking and I'd find a cohesive, vibrant homeschooling community to be a part of.  So far, this is not the case.  There are few homeschooling groups I'm a part of but they are not co-ops   Co-ops generally meet consistently and have an agenda/goal for each meeting.  They are more structured and this is what I would love to have.  The homeschooling groups I'm a part of have mailing lists with all kinds of activities and interesting (though often expensive) programs and I keep thinking I'll get involved with some of the activities (like the playgroups and all that) but the truth is going to these groups would involve 40+ minutes of driving.  One group would have me driving to the city and fighting for parking.  The other would have me driving north further into the country and while I wouldn't have to worry about parking, I would have to worry about the lack of diversity.  

But so far, I haven't been able to find anything going on close to home.  I've tried starting my own playgroup but after weeks of showing up and being the only one there, I'm starting to think that there are just not that many homeschoolers where I am.  And it's discouraging.  I know that I cannot commit to driving 40+ minutes multiple times a week.  But I really don't want to homeschool "on my own".  I can handle the academics but socially, I need the [I]consistent[/I] support and friendship of other homeschooling families.  DS is starting kindergarten this year and I felt myself hesitating to buy his materials just because I don't know how to keep going.  I often feel so alone doing this.  Summer has not been too bad because the neighbors' kids are around.  When they go back to school, I cannot bear to hear my Z1 complain about not having friends to play with and not wanting to play with his baby brother all the time.  I'm kind of at a loss.  And dreading winter.  At least now we can go out to the playground or pool and hang out for hours. 

I really don't need to have a large group of homeschoolers.  Honestly, one committed homeschooling family that we click with would be fine.  I don't know.  I know that having that kind of community relieves a lot of the pressure that builds when it's just you and your children all the time.  When a friend comes over to hang out, even the toughest of days becomes more manageable just by virtue of their presence.  I need people who I feel comfortable with so that we can barter childcare, help each other do this work of raising our children in an environment that encourages learning. 

I often say I'm taking homeschooling one day at a time but honestly, in my heart of hearts, I want to homeschool.  Already, there are so many wonderful reasons I can easily identify that make homeschooling perfect for our family.  But this one issue of social isolation is a huge sticking point.  And I'm forced to take a look at schools just to know what's out there just in case I can't 'make any headway in this regard.

I mean, in many ways, this issue of social isolation that comes with homeschooling is just a continuation of the isolation I've felt as a stay-at-home mom in an area where there are very few stay-at-home moms.  I wonder why I'm drawn to do things that are just not that popular where I am?  I'm not the most social of people but I know I'm not willing to go it alone. 

I'm not giving up hope yet. I recently met a great homeschooling family.  I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.  And I'm thinking about maybe taking the train on down to the city to try one of the playgroups.  Hopefully, the efforts pay off. 


Anonymous said...

Just found you through MDC. Have you tried looking through your local AP community? I've found a small co-op (4 families) through our region online board. Now ds has a few close friends he sees consistently for play and learning.

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Why not be the change that your looking for. Perhaps the members of the groups feel the same way and are just looking for someone to get them started?

Your not alone. I'm here in Atlanta reading you adventures!


shumim said...

where do you live? we are in the "same boat" and looking for homeschooling friends as well.

shumim said...

also forgot to add, maybe check out the holistic moms network.

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