How to Find Homeschool Activities and Groups
“I love to homeschool but we get so lonely.” “Sometimes I’m envious of school kids because they have built-in friends- and so do the Moms.” “We want to join and Montessori co-op but aren’t sure where to start looking.” Do you relate to any of these statements? Have you ever had that moment of watching your children working on a lesson and thinking how lonely you were for adult interaction? Does it sometimes feel like you’re the only home educator in your area? We were made for community and our home education will thrive even more with the support of others who *get* it. Try these tips to find or create community in your area.
How to Find Local Homeschool Activities or Support Group
Library- The local library is a great place to start for many reasons. Often libraries offer activities for homeschoolers during the day. Even if they don’t, head to the library in the middle of the day. Chances are that the other Mamas and kids there will be other home educators. The local librarian should also be able to tell you when the homeschoolers they know of regularly come visit. Then all you need to do is strike up a conversation. Perhaps that other Mama has been coming to the library all this time hoping to meet another family too! Or ask the library if you can post a flyer on their bulletin board or in a newsletter. Set up a co-op, play date, or mom’s night out and advertise it at the library.
Search Engine- This might take the most legwork to wade through. However, it’s a great way to search for groups. Your main issue will be finding groups that are no longer active. Common search terms to look for are- “Your town + homeschool group,” “Your town + homeschool support group” “Your town + homeschool coop,” “Your town + home educators,” or “Your town + homeschool activities.” If you use a specific curriculum or follow a specific philosophy you can also try something like- “Your town + ShillerLearning,” or “Your town + Montessori.” If you’re in a smaller area or a suburb you may have to expand outside of your down to the county or nearest large down.
Facebook- There are so many options to find community on Facebook. Try using the same search terms as above. Or head to your favorite home education groups and search for your town, area, or state. If you can’t find anyone nearby try putting up a post. Another option is to browse the events tab. Often local homeschool activities are posted as public. You may also find an event that’s not necessarily targeted toward home educators but you can meet others at in the middle of the day.
Instagram- This one can take a bit more legwork. It can also be a great way to connect with others. Try searching based on tagged locations. Then you can DM other families you’ve seen a post about their home education adventures nearby. Or search for a # that might be pertinent to you. When we moved to our new area I was able to meet several other moms via Instagram! When you post, make sure to use relevant #s and tag your location if you feel comfortable. That will help others find you.
Bulletin Boards at the store- This is similar to the library. Lots of grocery stores have community boards. Browse them for local events and meetups or start your own to share there.
Churches- especially large ones- Virtually every large church has some sort of community for at home learners. These may not always be faith-based either. Often churches rent out their space for any groups who need them. If there are no larger churches near you, try a smaller one. Even smaller churches often have at least one or two homeschool families they could help connect you with.
Local Schools, or Charter School- Local charter schools frequently have bridge programs. These are programs where home education children come to school a couple of days a week and are at home the rest of the time. They’ll also sometimes have opportunities for homeschooling children to come in for special activities and programs. In most areas, local public schools also offer the opportunity for students to come in for specific subjects. These schools may not be able to directly give your family’s information but can pass yours along to others or give you advice on connecting up.
Umbrella School- Umbrella schools are not available in every area. These are schools set up specifically for home educating families. Typically you enroll in an umbrella school just as you would a private school. The umbrella school helps oversee you’re following all state and local laws, helps manage paperwork, etc. Some are set up with a bridge program, others are totally separate, and others have regular get-togethers.
Athletic programs, gyms, YMCA, etc- Just like the library. These can be awesome places to connect during the day, find programs from at home school families, or find community bulletin boards. Plus they often have excellent- and free- childcare so you can get a workout in and meet a new friend while your children connect with other kids!
Zoos, museums, science centers, etc.- Similar to the above, try heading some of these places. Often homeschool activities already exist in places like this. If they don’t, head there during the day to meet others. Or ask if there has been much interest in starting some sort of program. If enough people ask for it, often a program will begin.
Head to the park in the middle of the day- This one almost seems too simple, yet it is how lots of my friends have made relationships. Monday and Friday mid-morning/ early afternoon tend to be the best time. If there are kids at the park, it’s most likely they are home educating too! A growing number of parks now have community boards too- put up an ad saying you’ll be there every week at a certain time.
Reach out to your curriculum (or on the forum/ social media outlets for your curriculum)- If your curriculum is active on social media, use the tips from the Facebook & Instagram section to try to connect. Or head over to their forum and try to connect that way. Another option is to go directly through the curriculum. Shoot them an email and ask if they have any customers in your area. Companies are not always able to accommodate this but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try. They most likely have privacy policies that would prevent them from giving you a mom’s phone number directly- but they can help by passing along your number or email address.
Homeschool Conventions- This is one of the most built in places for the community. Hundreds of conventions occur every year. From small local conventions to large state-wide gatherings. We have a running list of conventions we’ll be present at and we share on our Facebook page. Even if you have to drive a few hours away, you should be able to connect with other families at a convention and make new friends!
Start your own!
If you can’t find a community, start your own. The nature study group I am part of was started a couple of years ago like this. A Mama wanted like-minded home educators and couldn’t find anything nearby. She started a little Facebook group first and it now has over 200 people in our area. We’ve now split up into several small groups that gather once a week.
Try posting an ad in a local newspaper or magazine. Take the leap of faith to ask that family you see at the park every week if she wants to start a group. Put up your feelers on Facebook to see if a friend-of-a-friend is interested. You’ll find a few tips above for starting your own homeschool support group or activity too.
If you truly are not able to find community in your local area, find an online group that resonates with you. I’ve formed beautiful friendships with others at home school Mothers via a couple of online areas. We communicate almost every day and have become great support and friends for one another.
Teaching our children, doesn’t have to feel lonely and isolating. It shouldn’t feel that way. Even though it can feel scary, you’ll always be grateful you took that leap to find community.
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Amanda is a former Montessori teacher who is now homeschooling her only child, a seven-year-old boy. Her family resides in an Airstream that is parked in Washington. She loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When she’s not schooling, works as a Virtual Assistant and loves reading and creating hand-lettering pieces.