The homeschool journey can be a lonely one. I found that when I decided to change the way our family did school some of my friendships changed. I have had a few friends “break up” with me for lack of a better term. No, no one has told me we can’t be friends because I homeschool, but that’s when the friendships ended. The change was gradual, but in the course of one year I lost a couple very special friends. I don’t know if it’s because of our lifestyle difference, or maybe just lack of time. It hurts none the less. I’ve reached out to them asking how they are and I’m always met with the same response… “I’m great! We need to get together! I’ll call you soon!” They don’t call. They don’t invite us to play anymore. My kids see their pictures on Facebook, pictures of their old friends doing fun things together and of course they ask why we didn’t go. I always tell them we were busy. I don’t want them to know they were excluded, I’d rather be the bad guy than have them feel that sting of rejection. People just look at homeschool families differently. Most of my very close friends these days are fellow homeschoolers. They understand the lifestyle, the mindset… they get it.
Homeschoolers aren’t all like the Duggars. We aren’t all making as many babies as we physically can. Yes, children are a gift from God. Yes, I love my kids. But no, I don’t want anymore. Three is a good number for our family. I have friends who have 4, 5, even 6. That’s great for them. I’m happy seeing their big families and I know they are truly blessed. However, I am a mother of 3. Period. My family is complete.
We don’t all sit home and teach nothing but the Bible. Yes, I’m Christian. I’m proud to be a Christian, but my kids learn Math, English, Spelling, Science, and History. They read classic, secular literature. No, our spelling lists aren’t books of the Bible and our History goes beyond Biblical times. People sometimes assume that homeschool families are hyper religious. We are Christians, we have a deep relationship with God but we are normal, every day people, we just like the peace and freedom that homeschool brings. There’s something special about being able to drop everything and take a family adventure without having to send in excuse notes or make up work.
We don’t look down on traditional school families. In fact, my homeschool looks very much like traditional school. We just have fewer students and one crazy toddler mascot. Everyone has to make the right decision for themselves. We want our kids to be friends with your kids. We want them to be social, we want them to have friends from all walks of life, just like they will encounter as adults. We aren’t sitting around hoping your public school kids don’t talk to our children. Our kids need to feel included. It’s one thing to understand the change in a friendship as an adult, our kids don’t understand the change in theirs.
Our kids aren’t starved for socialization. Mine specifically are probably over socialized. Between baseball, co-op, church, our running club, and their friends from the neighborhood, our kids are super social. Our calendar is as full if not fuller than every other family we know.
We aren’t in the business of recruiting new members. We aren’t judging you for sending your kids to school. We aren’t a weird family now…
We just do school at home.
That’s it, there’s no big difference between your kids and mine. So if you have a friend who’s starting out on a homeschool journey, please don’t abandon her. Please support her decision. Don’t exclude her kids from playdates and fun trips. They still want to come, they still want to be a part of your life. You wouldn’t stop being her friend because of a job change right? So why is homeschooling any different. I am just the lowest paid full time teacher and mother you know.