I thought I’d post this as it’s a good reminder to all of us why it is important to be a part of a community. I wrote this for our school group at the beginning of the school year, but the concepts apply to so many areas of life. If you are a homeschooler with several young children it is easy to become isolated, or to feel your challenges are unique. Having significant supportive friends is key, to your success and your children’s happiness. This is also true for parenting in general. What a blessing to be walking the road of parenting with others who share our concerns and joys. Our life within the church is another area where community is key. So, with that said, here is last Sept. article.
September 2009 Newsletter…
When Grace Prep school was started we hoped to provide a supportive network of homeschooling parents, a group of friends for our kids to interact with, and expanded learning opportunities through field trips and group classes.
I’m hoping that is why you joined the group…for more than just record keeping services. If you also want these things, want to be a part of a supportive, encouraging group, then just joining is not enough. To be encouraged and supported people have to get to know you. To be a support and an encourager of other, you need to get to know them. For our children to form bonds, they need fairly regular contact.
I’ve watched some famlies come and go through our ranks who handed in their paperwork, sat in the back of the meetings, didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t attend any activities and then quit because they didn’t feel a part of the group. Signing a registration slip doesn’t start relationships.
To get the most of what the school has to offer you have to jump in with both feet. Don’t wait for someone to talk to you on a field trip or at a parent meeting…start a conversation. It’s not hard. We all have kids, we are all homeschooling, we are all looking for books and curriculum. Ask about their kids, ask what books the are using, ask if the kids were potty trained at two or if their thirteen year old does his chores without complaining. I’d wager most of us are more than willing to talk. The problem may be getting us to stop talking. 🙂
If you have younger children you probably won’t have trouble getting friendships started. Young kids tend to incorporate whoever is nearby. It may be helpful to invite a child or two over to play so that some connections get a boost. I’d encourage you to take some proactive steps to get your child comfortable and involved with the group.
We all know that Jr. High and High School kids can be more of a challenge. Kids are more insecure and self-conscious at these ages. They tend to gravitate toward kids they already know because they are more comfortable. They often don’t intend to exclude anyone, it just happens. (And lest we become too critical, lets remember that as adults we tend to do the same thing. We only have a brief time at teachers meetings so we catch up with all our friends without taking time to introduce ourselves to an unfamiliar face.)
There is no way to get around the fact that it takes a little more time to ease teens into a new group. Again, I encourage you to be proactive. Talk to other parents with teens and see if you can find one or two that have interests in common with your child. See if you can establish some connections. Participating in co-op classes, coming to park day, or starting a chess or bunko group can provide non-threatening times for kids to get to know each other. Take advantage of every opportunity that you can.
Grace Prep. is made up of a great group of people with a lot to offer. The only way to experience the benefits all our members have to offer is to make the effort to get to know people, and to let them get to know you. I want each of you to have a great homeschooling year. Having support and encouragement along the way is critical. GET INVOLVED!!!