No matter how rewarding homeschooling is, it can be lonely sometimes. You might be the only parent who homeschools in your area and it feels like you’re going at it alone. Or maybe you are new in town and don’t know anyone, or you live far away from your family. All these situations can make homeschooling parents feel socially isolated. But there are things you can do to cope with the loneliness. Here are some things you can try when homeschooling gets lonely.
Figure Out How Much Social Interaction You Need
A good place to start is identifying how much social interaction you need, and what kind. You may want to write in your journal, make a chart, or create a document to help you collect your thoughts and feelings. Are you more introverted or extroverted? Do you enjoy joining groups and socializing, or do you prefer laid-back evenings and one-on-one discussions? How much social interaction would you like in a week?
For example, if you are introverted you may prefer to go for an occasional coffee date with a friend. If you are more extroverted, you might want more regular interaction with friends. Once you are clear on your social needs, it will be much easier to come up with a plan of action that works for you.
Look for Local Classes for Homeschoolers
In some areas, there are many classes and extracurriculars that are geared towards homeschoolers. Getting to know other homeschooling families can certainly help to ease feelings of loneliness. It’s definitely worth checking to see what local classes are available.
A good place to look is your local YMCA, which sometimes offer swimming classes and other activities geared to homeschooling families. Libraries also sometimes hold classes and group activities for homeschoolers, so it’s always a good idea to speak with your librarian.
Also keep an eye out for attractions like nature centers, state parks, historic sites, and children’s museums, which are often great resources for homeschooling families.
Join a Homeschool Co-Op or Support Group
Another way to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation is to become involved with a homeschool co-op or support group in your area. If you can find a group that aligns with your values and lifestyle, that is ideal. Some homeschool groups are very faith-oriented, while others are much more secular.
The best case scenario is to develop a connection with a homeschool family whose lifestyle is similar to yours. If this happens, do what you can to nurture that connection. Plan some events and activities that you and your fellow homeschool families can do together. Staying in regular contact with these families is an excellent way to feel more connected.
Plan a Weekly Night Out
Once in a while, parents need some time to themselves. This can be especially true for parents who homeschool their kids during the day. All mothers need a little time away from their kids, and one way to secure some precious time to yourself is planning a regular mom’s night out, or parents’ night out.
Set aside one night a week where you can get out of the house. You might go out to dinner with your spouse, meet a friend for coffee or drinks, or attend a yoga class. These will all give you the chance to interact with others while doing something you enjoy.
Make Time To Connect With Others
It’s important to make time to connect with friends, family, and other homeschool parents to prevent feelings of isolation. This can be an extra effort, especially after a busy day of teaching, parenting, and running a household. But it is important to take some time away from the homeschooling bubble to connect with others.
This doesn’t need to take up a lot of time, by the way. Having a short but meaningful conversation with your spouse, meeting your friend at a cafe, or chatting with your sister over the phone can really make a big difference. And if you are lucky enough to be in touch with other homeschooling parents, try to find some time to talk with them and nurture your connection. No one will understand your decision better than other parents who homeschool, and being in regular contact with them can make a world of difference.
Homeschooling gets lonely sometimes, no matter how rewarding it might be. These are just some of the things you can try to overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness and stay connected.
If you are a homeschooling parent, we’d love to hear from you! What are some ways you stay connected with family, friends and other homeschool parents? Leave a comment or a Facebook post and let us know.