Welcome back! Today is day 3 of Five Days Of Homeschooling In The Military.
Despite all of the benefits to homeschooling in the military, it can sometimes feel like a lonely position. When your spouse is deployed or gone for training, when you are the new family in town, and even when all your homeschool buddies move away- it can be hard getting to know new friends.
We have been down that road many times. When we moved to Washington we didn’t know any homeschoolers for about 5 months. I think it was actually harder to connect with a group because they were gigantic in size and I always felt very intimidated.
We have been fortunate to be part of an awesome group here in Kansas. However, this spring a lot of the families that we were really close with moved on. That left the kids and I with a lot of grief, and a desire to get to know some of the other families in the group on a deeper level.
No matter where we have been though, we have always been able to connect with like-minded families; either through the community or through a homeschool group.
Getting Plugged Into Your Community
Usually we don’t stress over finding other homeschoolers when we move. We try to plug ourselves into the community at large first, and then make connections from there.
Following Our Faith
As Christians, usually the first connections we have at a new station is through a place of worship or faith. We visit churches, join Bible studies, and pray about where God is leading us to serve.
We are blessed because several of the churches we have attended over the years included active homeschooling families. This is not a necessary ingredient in our minds, but it is an immediate connection that helps us connect with other homeschoolers in the military later.
Another great place to look for connections is through PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) or MCCW (Military Counsel of Catholic Women). You can also get to know the post chaplains as they might have information on any groups or families that homeschool.
Other Community Outlets
Even if you are not Christians, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in your community and meet fellow homeschoolers.
Places like the library, art museum, nature center, and even the school liaison on post have probably met homeschooling families and/or given tours to a local group.
And even if they haven’t, you are making great connections to friends and resources that will benefit you and the group you may join down the line.
Finding A Local Homeschooling Group
You should start your search before you ever get to your next duty station– but if you have arrived without even thinking about it, there are plenty of ways to go about looking for one.
My greatest resource for finding local groups has been the internet. I do a search on Google, as well as Facebook, using the area’s city names and the military station name along with “homeschool” and “group”.
Our local group has a website, Facebook group, Yahoo group, and we are mentioned on the website of our Army post.
Even if the contact information is out of date, they might be able to tell you more information.
Other places to look/ask:
- School liaison on post
- On the duty station’s or unit’s Facebook page
- In online forums and groups where military homeschoolers might gather
Sometimes you will have many options for groups. You have to decide what kind of group you wish to be a part of. Do you want it to be Christian? Do you want to pay dues or be involved on a voluntary basis?
We like being involved in our all-inclusive, voluntary group because it specifically supports military families (although you don’t have to be military to attend) and we get to befriend people from all walks of life, faith, and cultures.
Making Deeper Connections
The hardest task of being a military homeschooler is being stationed somewhere, and having others stationed long enough with you, to grow deeper relationships with them.
I have talked a lot with friends about how the military inadvertently creates people that don’t know how to build mature, lasting relationships because they never have to deal with friends long-term.
As the nomadic tent-dwellers we are, we have to be intentional about our relationships. We really can’t say that we will do it next week, or next year.
A homeschool group, church, or Bible study is a great place to meet friends and fellow military families (homeschooling or not), but real relationships need to go beyond that.
Volunteering to teach a co-op class is helpful, but taking a sick mother a meal is even more so. If you are a seasoned homeschooler, have younger families that are just starting to homeschool over for coffee, help them sort through the world of curriculum buying, or just be an encouragement to them.
If you are just getting started, don’t be afraid to ask questions, to ask for help when your spouse is deployed and you haven’t taken a shower in days, or to just hang out once in a while.
Part of the greatness about homeschooling is that you can take the time, as a whole family, to get involved in your community and minister to fellow military families.
How do you connect with other homeschooling families in the military?
We are halfway done with our Five Days Of. . . series! I have been really enjoying some of the other bloggers and their wit and wisdom. What has been your favorite post so far? ;0)