Your Friends and Homeschooling

How’s it going with your non-homeschooling friends? Do they get what you’re doing? Do they think you’re crazy? Or are they just drifting away……?

A dear friend of mine and I lost our friendship over homeschooling. It wasn’t that she was mad at me for choosing to homeschool, and I doubt that she felt guilty that she wasn’t doing it. Those are the usual reasons that friends split up over homeschooling, at least from what I’ve heard. No, my friend was thrilled to put her kids in school and go back to a job she loved and missed while staying home while the kids were little. I think we just drifted apart because I was so busy having babies and homeschooling them while she was busy working and going back for more education.

Now we just send Christmas cards to each other. As far as I can tell, her kids have grown up fine, and everyone is doing well. I’m happy for her. But do I miss her?

A little. I guess I’m just more comfortable with the homeschooling crowd. They get me. They get what my life is like. And I get them.

To make things even better, being a homeschool mom means finding new friends all over the place. I meet them at conferences, when I speak to support groups, and online. No matter how they homeschool (Charlotte Mason, traditional, unschooling, etc.), we have the joy of homeschooling our kids in common.

So don’t be blue if homeschooling has put some distance between you and the friend(s) you used to hang out with. You’re in a different season of your life, and that may call for new friends. They’re out there waiting to meet you. Why not find a local support group or an online group* and start making new friends?

* I highly recommend The Homeschool Lounge!

15 thoughts on “Your Friends and Homeschooling

  1. I believe it’s extremely important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of all that you do. It’s a shame that you lost that close friendship, but sometimes those things just happen.

  2. Maybe I didn’t have any friends to lose at the start of homeschooling?? But I’m noticing at the tail end of homeschooling that I’m missing the homeschooling friends I’m losing. No matter how good the intentions to stay in contact, and no matter how much you enjoy each other’s company, when you’re not getting your kids together for fieldtrips and play-days, life’s other realities just get in the way of my Socialization and my PlayDays with MY friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Most of my friends are actually thinking more about homeschooling now than they had in the past. Schools are getting worse and what was once weird is now very acceptable.

  4. My in-person friendships are not the same as they used to be because I haven’t been well enough to keep up with other moms. That was discouraging, but then I discovered blogging!

    In the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve made some wonderful friends online.

    I think friendships change all the time due to circumstances. Some fade away, some only change, but none stay the same as life goes on.

    I want to hold on to my old friends, if they wish to be held on to.
    I want to treasure my current friends.
    I want to meet new friends as life goes on.

    Blessings,

    Annie Kate

  5. Next year will be different for me – perhaps even a little lonely?! A close friend of mine is putting her kids back into school after three years of homeschooling. She and I have worked together to organize many events & coffee nights for our local homeschool group and I’ll miss her. Our relationship will change; we both recognize that. On the other hand, I feel God is whispering to me about wanting to bring about something new and wonderful in my life over the next year – start a new season in my life and I am working hard at trusting Him. Still, I find myself fighting back tears often because as much as I enjoy bouts of solitude and tons of time putting around with my family, I fear loneliness.

  6. Hmmmmm….what an interesting post. Let’s see….my best friend does not homeschool but I personally think she would excel at it. She is fully supportive, however. I do find that when I am teaching we have a harder time keeping in touch because her mornings are usually free and I am teaching and won’t go near my phone. Many of my other friends homeschool. In fact, most of them. My other friend is my mom and, although she was a public school teacher and completely hated the idea of us homeschooling, is now fully on board and loves to talk with me about it. So there you have it, a mixture of both worlds. I agree with Annie Kate, friendships sort of wax and wane. I have a few that have stayed solid over the years, and some that have grown apart. As long as I have my Lord, my husband and my family, I’m a happy camper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I went through the friendship shift not because of homeschooling but rather because I got married and had kids on the youngish side. Now that my high school and college friends are finally settling down, I’ve found that all of a sudden I’m in demand as the “veteran” mom with all the answers. Funny how that works!

  8. Iva, I think it was inevitable given the differences in how we looked at raising/educating our children.

    Susan, good point! When I do get a chance to talk to one of my longtime homeschool mom friends, we can go two or three hours on the phone because we miss each other so much ๐Ÿ™‚

    Michelle, that’s good to hear. Back when we started homeschooling, it was definitely not common.

    Annie Kate, sorry to hear that. Hope you’re feeling better these days.
    My grandma used to say if you could count five true friends over your lifetime, you’re really lucky. She had two friends she met in kindergarten and they stayed close until they died in their 80s/90s.

    Kika, sorry to hear about your friend’s decision. Hopefully, you’ll remain friends, PLUS you’ll gain new ones. So many wonderful people homeschool their kids.

    Janet, you’re right, it’s God and family first. But friends are like the icing on the cake, aren’t they?

    CW, they’re fortunate to have you around to help them! The early years of parenthood can be challenging.

    Thanks, everyone, for weighing in!

  9. I feel as if you wrote this TO me… did I tell you about the friend who’s basically ditched me because she has too much going on in her life to deal with me and her misunderstanding what I’ve tried to convey? It seems like I must’ve. Probably didn’t. But your post on the topic was wonderful! Thank you.

    Also, I finally was able (used some of my allowance) to buy The Imperfect Homeschooler. LOVE it. I especially love that it’s so easy to read… part of that is the short-ish chapters. So the book is easy to pick up and put down… both of which are SO constant in my house of 5.5 yr, 2.5 yr, and 8 month old girls! ^_^ I’m about 1/3 through and working on it a little at a time (because I have to read the library books first… the ones I’m reading to read ahead of my daughter!). Anyway. I’m enjoying it. Thank you for your blog and your site and your experience… and friendship? I ALWAYS appreciate your comments on my blog!! ^_^

    YOU are a GEM!

  10. Aw, Tori, thanks so much for your kind words! I’m glad you liked the post, and the book! The friend thing is hard, but I have to tell you that homeschooling friends are the best, they last and last! BTW, I enjoy your blog, too…..brings back memories of the little ones that used to live in my house ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Thank you, Barbara, for writing about an issue that has affected us all. I haven’t really lost friends over homeschooling; my friends’ children are all older than mine, so they were always in different phases of life, and any talk about our kids was always about different things anyway — so my unschooling was just another “difference.” But since the homeschooling way of life is so foreign to “schoolers” in some ways, as you point out, the issue is always lurking somewhere behind every conversation, unspoken.

    Again, thanks for the post.

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  13. I’m finding that this phase of my life is one with many people I’m friendly with but fewer with whom I am close friends. On top of homeschooling, I’m also military, so even people I get very close to tend to be relationships that become long distance ones after a year or two because one or the other person has to move.

    At our last duty station I had a couple very close friends. I have no idea if that will happen here or if I will just have many people that I’m cordial with. I think that I’m comfortable with either situation.

  14. It’s nice that you point this issue out. I haven’t officially started to homeschool my daughter yet, because she’s only 3, but I have begun teaching her preschool. Most of my friends and family are very supportive of the decision we’ve made to homeschool her once she begins Kindergarten, but a few have looked at us funny, especially family. No one in our family has ever even heard of homeschooling, so we’re educating them about our decision, and answering lots of questions. But it’s ok. We don’t care what other people think. This is what’s best for our family, and we’re happy with our decision. I’m making new homeschooling friends every day. If people judge me harshly without understanding, then they’re not my true friends anyway.

  15. Glad you liked the post, Susan ๐Ÿ™‚

    You seem like a very well-rounded person, Sebastian; maybe it’s because of the flexibility you’ve developed living the military lifestyle?

    TFHM, you have a good attitude about this. Being prepared for the possibility sounds like a good defense!

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

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