Are you wanting to help your homeschooler make friends?
Worried about how they are ever going to meet kids their age?
You are not alone!
Many parents struggle with understanding how a child can have solid friendships without going to school every day.
They have visions of their child staring out the window as the school bus drives away with laughing, happy children.
You worry that all of your homeschool dreams and excitement may result in isolated children with no friends.
If this is your fear – Congratulations! You are probably a fantastic parent and will have a lot of success with homeschooling.
Surprised? Wondering how I know that?
You are already anticipating and concerned about the needs of your children!
You recognize that friends are not a want – they are a need!
I have a very extroverted older daughter, so I knew from the beginning that friends would be a need for her. But as all my kids have gotten older, I have seen the importance of solid friendships for all their personality types.
I have realized that forming and supporting these bonds is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the many other things I keep in balance as a homeschool mom.
I am not a child psychologist, but here are the benefits I have seen in my kids from making friendships a high priority:
Having solid friendships with other kids will do so much for your children – they need to be a priority in your homeschool!
Yes, there is a wrong way!
When I started homeschooling, we had just moved to a new city and we didn’t know ANYBODY.
I took the kids to the park daily, sometimes twice a day. They had a lot of fun, but we rarely saw the same kids twice.
I signed my kids up for scouting, sports, and co-op, but they still didn’t make any close friends. Just acquaintance type friends that only lasted as long as the event was going on.
Lesson learned: Don’t sign your kid up for every activity under the sun and just hope for the best.
Okay, fast forward two years and my daughter was surrounded by friends at her birthday party.
She actually had to narrow her list down because I told her too many kids might be overwhelming.
Yes, I developed a strategy to help my homeschooler make solid friends and it works!
I call it “Criss Crossing.”
Nope, I’m not talking about Kriss Kross of 90s fame – “Jump” – Even though that was awesome too 🙂
Criss crossing means that I work to make sure that our schedule criss crosses with the same group of people multiple times a week.
I realized that we had pockets of individual friends that we saw throughout the week, but none of those friends knew each other. And none of them were close friendships.
First, I decided to pick which one of those groups was the most important – the group I wanted to most influence my kids. I ended up going with our scouting troop.
I then signed my daughter up to go to a short summer camp (even though it was inconvenient) with this scouting troop. (Shared painful experiences -no air conditioning in July! – promote bonding!)
Then I switched co-ops, so that we were in the same co-op as our friends from scouting.
I signed my oldest daughter up for softball because the friends from co-op AND scouting played softball.
When I found out our softball, scouting, and co-op friends were signing up for winter basketball, we did too!
We have spent so much time with this group of friends (and their awesome parents!) that we are looking into moving to a house that is in their neighborhood!
When you make intentional steps to criss cross your schedule with other people, it helps in a lot of areas:
Making friends is not as easy as it used to be, regardless of how your child is educated.
Everyone is on their cell phone, everyone is busy, people don’t trust each other very much anymore, and kids stay inside more than ever for lots of different reasons.
My best friend public schools her kids (which I completely support – everyone has to do what’s best for their family), and she just told me the hardest part of summer is that her kids have no friends.
All of their friends are from their classrooms, and they live in different areas all over town.
My friend has no idea who their moms are and has no way to contact them to get together.
Her kids also play sports (with no criss cross) and everybody goes their separate ways when the season ends – no lasting strong bond friendships.
This is very similar to my experience from when my oldest was in public school.
So don’t feel sorry for yourself for having to make a strong effort in this area – homeschooling or not, you would have to make an effort if you wanted to invest in good friendships for your kid!
In most circumstances, friendships take work in our current society.
I can tell you from experience that the work is WORTH it!
So, take what you learned in this post and start thinking about what you can do TODAY to criss cross your schedule and help your homeschooler make solid friends.
What kids do you want your kids around the most? Which ones do your kids have the most fun with?
Commit to approaching those parents at the next event and start chatting about other things you can meet up at!
If you don’t even have a starting point for that – get involved in a local co-op, scouting troop, or sport. That will likely give you a great launching pad!
Want to make sure you remember this for later? Pin it to your favorite Pinterest Board! Or go one better and share with your friends and followers!