Making Homeschool Friends – Conversation

September 11, 2008 at 9:32 am (Uncategorized)

I had an email from Jamie asking me to address making friends while homeschooling. I thought I would use excerpt from our emails back and forth to each other to address the issue. (Slight changes have been made to Jamie’s email to protect her identity.)

Jamie
There has been a discussion lately on my homeschool E-group about not just gathering acquaintances, but developing friendships, this being the "achilles heel" of homeschooling. We were discussing how we tend to have a lot of activities, get togethers and opps for social interactions, but as far as the day to day ups and downs of actual relationship building, that isn’t happening because the occasions for interaction are often "Events" and everyone is on their best behavior because after all it’s for a set amount of time. They don’t have the opportunity of seeing that friendships can stand the test of time and conflict.

I have filled in the void by driving all over the world it seems to attend activities and see the same kids so that over time, relationships would have a chance to deepen, but it hasn’t been easy.

Church would seem like an ideal place to do this, but again it is still taking them, dropping them off, spending short spurts of time with people they never really get to know.

Jamin:

This is very interesting. We have had a very different experience. We have never lived near family and our homeshcool friends have become like family.

The one thing we have done to make friends is to invite people to our house or to go do one on one activities with us. (Like the park, aquarium,  out to lunch, etc.)  Yes, we do activities.  But, when I find friends we are compatible with we invite them over to hang out.  In Las Vegas all my kids had friends.  (We are still working on it here.  It has been hard without a car.)  I offer to babysit, have other families over when we have Holidays and I know someone is going to not be with their family.  Really whatever I can think of.  I would say we have made connections at classes, but true friendships grow from spending time together more one on one.

Part of it is probably that I am a people person.  So, I crave spending time with other people.  So I make a point of coordinating social things for us to do.

Jamie:

Ah, okay. Having people over. That makes sense. In fact, that would be my "duh" moment. LOL

I tell you what, this whole homeschool thing is a world unto itself.

You know as I sit here thinking….I probably have had too many people over at once so we didn’t get to know each other well enough, OR we just didn’t click. Hmm Got to think about that.

You know what is funny…finding people you click with and are compatible with….I have this cartoon image of homeschool moms all across the country going through all the sig lines of people who post on the forums in their area… "Hmmmm THIS one has a tween girl, and 2 twin boys in preschool… AP, CD, Co-sleeping Mama… I think I’ll drop her a line…"

LOL

But seriously you made a good point.

Jamin:
LOL  I know it does sound funny, but honestly I have found myself doing just that!  You better believe if I see someone that has a 14yoB, 7yoG and 4yoB I am calling them up!  LOL

Anyway, I was thinking about the model of small group fellowship that so many churches are going to recently.  There is something intimate about going into a persons home.  You get to know each other better.  You see a little of how they live and who they are.  Yes, we can all be on our best behavior while we rush down the hall to drop out kidlets off in their classes, go sit quietly in church and then rush back to get our kids and dash to the parking lot.  But, if you have people into your home life is going to happen!  LOL  Someone is going to have a temper tantrum or tell a tale that reveals something embarrassing!  LOL  Then you get to witness how those things are dealt with and you find out who those people really are. 

The same is true with homeschooling.  I have REALLY gotten to know people as I have spent time with them in their homes or mine. We have had to explain background things that are going on when discipline issues have come up.  I have learned which people can feel comfortable and hang out in my VERY lived in house.  Discussions have come up over a book, pictures or decor items we have hanging.  Our houses show who we really are more than we do sometimes!

Another thing I thought about is that you can get to know someone pretty well by sharing rides.  My friend Faye and I drove to every field trip together for about 5 years.  Boy, did we get to know each other!  Of course we spent a lot of other time together too.  But, I can’t tell you how many times we had to call each other when we got home to finish up a conversation we were having in the car!  LOL

The last thing I would say is "Don’t get discouraged!"  We have had a lot of people over in the hopes of developing new friendships where nothing happened.  Sometimes we all had a great time and we really liked each other too, But schedules, distance we live apart, or some other factor kept us from becoming real friends.  Developing friendships takes time. 

I hope this helps and thanks for asking!  This has really been a good reminder for me on what it is going to take to grow relationships in our new location.

Happy Homeschooling,

Jamin

P.S. If you ever want to become friends with someone really fast take a trip together!  LOL  My rent-a-kids Mom and I went to San Diego together with 4 of our children soon after we met.  Oh, the funny stories we could tell!  LOL  I am telling you that trip bonded us for life! (Or maybe it scarred us for life?  LOL)

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6 Comments

  1. tn3jcarter said,

    I totally agree about getting together with other families. Sometimes I think our homeschool groups are so structured or busy that we really don't get a chance to know each other as more than just acquaintances.

    I think this would make a GREAT THM topic!

  2. abundantlyblessedtoo said,

    Fortunately, we do live close to family and make it a priority to spend time with them most every week. (Like I said, we are blessed!) My kids truly feel as if family are their friends too.

    My older children have been deepening friendships with people in our homeschool group and others we know IRL by using Facebook. I monitor this to keep things safe and to be involved; they know that I can log into their Facebook at any time to check on things. But it has really been good for my boys.

    Back in June they found that another family in our group was on Facebook and sent a friends request to them. They have been communicating back and forth since then. This made seeing them at our back to school picnic more meaningful.

    So, all that to say, communicating online can also help further friendships. After all, how many friends do you have online? I have quite a few! There are many that I look forward to meeting in heaven one day.

    Blessings,
    Michele ºÜº

  3. HopeRumpca said,

    Jamin,
    Your posts keep blessing the 'sox' of me! Thank you for taking the time to address this very important subject.
    Would it be alright to forward this to my homeschool group? I would of course give credit and link to the post on your blog.
    Thanks!
    ~Hope

  4. Anonymous said,

    For some reason this subject reminds me of breastfeeding the first baby: It "should" come naturally, but sometimes a little guidance and perspective from someone more experienced is really helpful.

    Another rabbit trail off from this is the whole aspect of TIME. How much time spent with friends is enough? And of course how much socializing time one child wants is different from another child. Oy vay.

    Thanks again for addressing this topic and giving some solid suggestions. Oh, and yes you ARE the homeschool guru, Jaminacemaharishikebaba. 🙂

    J

  5. TheElmoClan said,

    I am reading this blog just as I started reading a book last night. It is talking about this same issue, not limited to the homeschool environment, but to all areas of relationships and communities. It's title is Authentic Relationships (discovering the lost art of one anothering) Written by Wayne Jaobsen and Clay Jacobson. It begins with God's simple command to "love one another", this book shows you how to create authentic and loving relationships and communities. I urge everyone to read it. He is also the auther of "The Shack" and other great books. Greattopic Jamin! It really is something that neds to be addressed in such a fast paced world. Unfortunatly even as Christians we can get caught up in it all!

  6. Anonymous said,

    Use caution when traveling together. Joint vacations can wreck a friendship too!!

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