I’ve always been told that the homeschool community is a warm, welcoming place. People talk about it as if it’s a fun club – everyone is supportive and understanding. Maybe it’s our state and our specific area, but that community seems to be spotty.
I certainly agree that the online homeschooling community is warm and welcoming. Specifically, the 2e and special needs community goes way beyond welcoming into something of a support group. If it wasn’t for a few Facebook groups that I’m a part of we would still be wildly swinging around trying to get our bearings on the whole 2e thing.
Someone said on one of those groups that we just needed to “find our tribe.” Meaning, we need to keep looking until we find a group of homeschoolers that fits what we need, and that we can be an active part of.
I should point out that “tribe” doesn’t refer to simple race, economic, or belief factors – in this context it refers to a group of people who teach in a similar manner. Everyone teaches differently, and an Unschooler will have little in common with a Charlotte Mason homeschooler.
So far we haven’t found a good fit yet. Judging from the responses to a question in a local group, neither have a lot of new homeschoolers with kids our age. We all got together and started a field trip group: hopefully that will help people connect and grow that support network.
It’s hard. It’s difficult enough deciding to homeschool. Having a good support network around you will make or break that decision. It’s tough trying to re-invent the wheel, to replicate a learning environment, and to do a job that you may not be best suited for. Having people to bounce ideas off of and pool teaching resources makes it much easier.
Our family is in a uniquely difficult situation. We’re isolated, like so many families around the DC area. All of our family are in different states and far away. We moved here for a job opportunity and left friends behind, scattered along the trail of our moves from place to place. I don’t regret coming here at all, but it’s difficult for me to put down new roots quickly. Growing into a place takes time and work.
Homeschooling isn’t for the faint of heart or the lazy. There are lots of days I wish I could just pop my child on the school bus and wave goodbye. As a second generation homeschooler I didn’t want to homeschool my kids because I knew how much work it would be. Call me lazy, call me selfish, whatever. I knew what I was getting into.
Funny how things never work out the way we plan!
(note: image is one of my cyanotypes, from my Project Joy series.)