Setting Up Your Homeschool Space

Many new homeschoolers wonder how best to set up their at-home learning space. The possibilities can seem overwhelming. Here are some tips as you envision and establish a practical spot in your home where homeschooling can be comfortable and productive.

Photo credit: The Marino Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: The Marino Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Keep an open mind. Your homeschooling area doesn’t need to look like a classroom! You will need a work area with a flat surface, comfortable seating, good lighting, and space for storage. Ideally it should be located near wherever the parent or home teacher will be so that they can be available for questions when they are not directly involved in the student’s work. In larger homes, there might be an entire room dedicated to homeschooling. In a smaller home or apartment, the homeschooling space might be a tabletop in the kitchen or dining room.

If possible, dedicate a table or large desk where work can be spread out, left undisturbed, and returned to as needed. If the work surface must meet more than one family need, consider using a table that is only used occasionally or for just one other purpose. With a shared surface, make it a priority to always keep it clean and uncluttered, and develop a family habit to clean up thoroughly between uses.

Make sure your workspace is comfortable. Choose a chair that you don’t mind sitting in for a long period of time. Uncomfortable seats make for fidgety students – and parents! Make sure you have enough space and comfortable seating for each student as well as the adult(s) who will be helping them. Consider seating for additional collaborators, too.

Your home learning space will need good lighting. Can you position it near a window? Natural lighting is ideal, supplemented with general lighting and focused task lighting. If your homeschool work surface doubles as a dining table, consider bringing a desk lamp to the table for homeschool use and moving it off the table and out of the way at mealtime.

Locate shelves and organizational units nearby so that materials can be kept easily at hand. You’ll want some combination of shelves, drawers, and other storage options to keep supplies organized. You will also need a place to store curriculum, reference books, and library books. An inbox and outbox or a set of dividers can be helpful for sorting work in progress. Lesson books, desk supplies, art supplies, science tools, math manipulatives, and other materials also need storage space.

If there are small children or younger siblings in the home, try locking storage tubs and/or high shelves for anything that is not safe for little fingers. Label everything! (Use symbols or pictures for those who aren’t fluent readers.) Lower shelves can be stocked with “help yourself” materials that can be used by all ages without supervision.

Photo credit: Lindsey Obliskey (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Lindsey Obliskey
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Place a trash container and a recycling bin near the workspace to simplify cleanup. A washable plastic tablecloth can be helpful in quickly transforming an academic workspace into an arts-and-crafts space and back again. If budget allows, a prep sink can be a helpful addition for messy experiments and art cleanup.

A single centrally located work space will be enough to meet the needs of most younger homeschoolers. Older students will need an area that is quiet and free from distractions. In families with siblings, this might be need to be a separate space where students can go to study and work on projects that do not require adult support.

It can also be very helpful to have a comfortable reading nook somewhere in the house where children can relax as they read or study. In families with multiple homeschoolers, some will need to get away from the center of things to recharge, and a designated out-of-the-way corner will help to fill that need.

Aesthetics are also very important to consider when preparing your homeschooling space. Are the colors pleasing to those who will be using the room most? If you have the option of repainting the walls, choose a restful, peaceful color such as pale green, light blue, or muted lavender. You might find it useful to paint part of one wall with chalkboard paint.

Peace and quiet may be a very important priority for a distractible student or parent. If designating a completely distraction-free area is impossible, consider protecting the “sound space” by limiting loud activities during certain times of the day, asking other family members to use headphones if listening to audio devices, or providing earplugs for those who might need them.

Create a visible homemade art gallery to display current academic work and artistic creations. If possible, choose a wall that is not directly in the learning space, to keep the learning area simple and uncluttered. You might use a large bulletin board or a series of cork wall tiles to define your gallery, or simply choose a wall to decorate and let it declare itself!

Photo credit: The Park Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: The Park Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Keep your homeschooling workspace as free of clutter as possible. If clutter is unavoidable, find ways to trick the eye by hiding it in baskets, wooden crates, or cabinets, behind doors or curtains, or beyond a folding screen. A fabric “skirt” around a side table can hide many things while storing them nearby until they are needed.

Don’t forget to consider the spaces that are available outdoors! Perhaps there is a porch, gazebo, patio, or garden table that could be used in warm weather. Some of the same principles apply to outdoor learning spaces: comfortable furniture, shelter from the bright sun, and a flat space to work on. A large, flat board can be used as a workspace on grass or inside a tent. A hammock can be the perfect cozy spot for reading and studying. A large basket can be used to store materials and carry them to/from the house. Older homeschoolers might expand their horizons and study at the park, the library, or a local cafe.

As you consider how to set up your homeschooling space, ask the student who will be using it what they would find most helpful. Be flexible and allow your learning setup to evolve as you discover what works best. Reassess your space periodically, and make changes and improvements with the input of those who use it most.

Is writing neatly a challenge? Perhaps the desk or chair aren’t the right height, or the writing space is too cramped to support the forearm. Does your student have trouble staying on task? Perhaps decluttering the walls and space and creating a more distraction-free zone will help. Do library books keep getting lost? Make sure to have a handy basket next to the reading area so that all books are returned to one place.

Above all, don’t worry if you don’t have the perfect space! Let your heart, creativity, and experience guide you. Homeschooling, like life, is a work in progress.

How is your homeschool space set up? What do you wish you had done differently from the start? What helpful tips do you have for someone who would like to make better use of their homeschool space? 

“Mr. President” and “The First Lady”

In 1782, the American bald eagle was adopted as the national bird symbol for the United States of America. It was selected because it is native to most of the North American continent, but also due to its majestic beauty, great strength, and long life span of 70 years. According to American Bald Eagle Information: Bald eagles are found throughout most of North America, from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. About half of the world’s 70,000 bald eagles live in Alaska.

If you haven’t yet heard, there is a very cool live webcam (video camera) showing a pair of American bald eagles who have currently chosen to build their nest site within the United States’ National Capital (the White House) in Washington, DC. The eagles, whose names have been appropriately given as “Mr. President” and “The First Lady”, have successfully hatched their two eggs in the nest. It’s amazing to see the minute by minute activities of our National Bird and their eaglets! Here is the link for you to enjoy: dceaglecam.eagles.org

High School Art at Oak Meadow

~ by Tara Sullivan, Oak Meadow Art Teacher ~

So many times, when I tell people that I teach art for Oak Meadow, I have been asked, “How can a student learn art if they are studying by themselves at home?” and, “How do you see their artwork?” When I explain our distance learning model, the last question is usually, “Does it work?”

The answer is a resounding, “Yes, our system works beautifully!”

Photo credit: Nurbanu Alptekin (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Nurbanu Alptekin
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Our Oak Meadow students consistently engage in the creative process, both to develop their artistic skills and to discover their unique point of view. Engaging in art helps them learn to communicate their feelings and thoughts, and to express themselves in an authentic, original way.

Every day I am excited to open my email and see the beautiful projects that my students have been working on! In each student, I see vast improvement throughout their courses. I see skills develop and confidence grow. I answer questions about technique or perspective, make suggestions about medium or composition, nudge toward consistent practice, and encourage thoughtful reflection of their own work and the work of other artists. I am honored to guide my students in their creative work, and I am proud of the accomplishments they achieve.

Photo credit: Fianna Wilde (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Fianna Wilde
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Each and every day, Oak Meadow art students rise to the challenge of engaging in their work in a way that is meaningful and satisfying. The resulting artwork speaks for itself. Please take a few minutes to view our Student Art Showcase and enjoy the fruits of our students’ creative work.

To view the 2016 Student Art Showcase on the Oak Meadow website, click here.

Oak Meadow’s high school art program is available to enrolled students through our distance learning program, and the art curriculum is also available separately for independent families who wish to use it on their own. To read more about about Oak Meadow’s distance-learning art courses, click here. To purchase Oak Meadow fine arts curriculum and materials, click here.

Enchanted

images-1

It seems as though every library shelf or bookstore shelf I see in the youth section these days is a retelling of a fairy tale. I LOVE THEM!

Maybe you’ve read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, or The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

I’ve just gotten A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce and I’m looking forward to reading it. In 2009 it won ALA’s William C. Morris YA Debut Award. If you want to try some of these retellings, I’ve come up with a list for you. If you have some to add, please let us know!

Try these: Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, East by Edith Patou, Breath by Donna Jo Napoli, The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley, Straw Into Gold by Gary Schmidt, and the Sisters Grimm series. Fans of Neil Gaiman may enjoy The Sleeper and the Spindle.

Jump Into Spring!

Jump Jim Joe

Jump, jump, jump Jim Joe!

Shake your head and nod your head and tap your toe.

Round and round and round you go,

‘Til you find another partner and you jump Jim Joe!

(American Tradition)

It’s official! Spring has arrived! It’s time to jump for joy! 

As we all know, spring is the season of the year when everything comes alive in nature. Spring begins on the day the center of the sun is directly over the equator. This year, the spring equinox (also known as the vernal equinox) arrived on March 20th, as the sun crossed the equator and started moving northward. As the sun travels north, its rays strike the northern countries more directly each day. Spring will last until June 21st; hence, summer arrives! (In the southern hemisphere, spring begins in September and ends in December.)

Springtime brings a new sense of renewal and rejuvenation, and everything bursts forth with a revitalized energy. It always seems like children grow springs on their feet in springtime, for their physical activities heighten at this time of year. One of my favorite activities to share with children during the season of spring is jump roping. It is an old traditional favorite that is often forgotten. Not only is it extremely enjoyable, it also builds physical endurance and is healthy for the heart.

I recently attended a basketball game at a local university. A troupe of jump ropers called the Firecrackers performed at halftime. They are an awe-inspiring performance jump rope team of physically skilled 4th-8th graders from the Kings Local School District in Ohio. They perform at venues around the country, and have even performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Presidential Inauguration, and on The David Letterman Show. Your children will delight in watching one of their video performances.

Anna Banana bookThe Firecrackers’ amazing feats with their ropes inspired me to get out my own jump rope. I have especially enjoyed sharing with my local home school students a number of jump rope rhymes I remembered from my childhood. If you are inspired to jump rope with your children, here is an excellent website that offers a plethora of rhymes. You might also look for a book of jump rope rhymes the next time you are visiting your local library. One of my favorite books is  Anna Banana – 101 Jump-Rope Rhymes, written by the author of The Magic School Bus series, Joanna Cole.

So, now that spring has arrived, we delight in witnessing flowers bursting into bloom, birds beginning their nesting rituals, and bunnies happily hopping about. Spring is the time to shake off winter and explore the great outdoors. Watch your kites soar, splash through puddles, poke some fat pea seeds into the earth, hop like a bunny, or just jump for joy. There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring!

10 Things You Don’t Miss When You Homeschool

Some of the hallmarks of school are blissfully absent for homeschoolers. Here are ten key examples.

1. the morning alarm clock – Homeschoolers can design their schedule to honor their body’s natural rhythms. Many wake each day only when their body is refreshed and ready.

Photo credit: The Hoag Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: The Hoag Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

2. homework – When homeschool work is done, it’s done! There’s no additional pile of work to add on at the end of a long day.

3. school lunches – Whether you pack them or buy them in the cafeteria, school lunch options are limited, and health is all too often sacrificed for convenience. Homeschoolers can enjoy all of the natural, healthy options their parents make available in the fridge or pantry.

4. permission slips – All of those endless slips of paper to sign and return magically disappear when you bring learning home instead!

5. detention – Homeschool discipline is simply an extension of regular parenting. There’s no need to compel a student to “stay after school” to make a point.

Photo credit: The Huenink Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: The Huenink Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

6. report cards – Homeschoolers don’t need report cards because their parents keep ongoing tabs on how their learning is going. Some homeschoolers even consider grades optional.

7. parent-teacher conferences – There’s no need for a meeting because the home teacher is also the parent. As one bit of homeschool humor asserts, “I’m not talking to myself; I’m having a parent-teacher conference!”

8. shortened recess – Recess can happen anytime and as often as it is needed!

Photo credit: The Bessent Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: The Bessent Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

9. the bell – The bell to signal the end of the class period or school day never interrupts your work or that wonderful book you’ve just delved into. And you never spend any time watching the seconds hand go round and round as it counts down the boring minutes to the end of class. You might wish there were more minutes in your day, though!

10. the end of summer vacation – When school vacation ends and school kids head back inside school to their lockers, desks, and workbooks, yours can keep playing outside as much as they want.

What are some other things that you don’t miss when you homeschool?

Celebrating My Irish Heritage

Our blog post this week is written by Deb Velto, the Oak Meadow K-8 Director! ENJOY!

St. Patrick’s day can be a fun day for everyone, and it is especially important to our family because our ancestors are from Ireland. It is one of my favorite holidays, and I wanted to share a bit about my Irish heritage and the way we celebrate this day in our family.

Wearing green is something many people do on St. Patrick’s day, whether they are Irish or not. The tradition of wearing green comes from the Celtic tradition of wearing green during the vernal equinox to symbolize the new life of Spring. When Catholics, like St. Patrick, came to Ireland they adopted the tradition of wearing the color green as a symbol of Catholicism. The Irish flag is made up of a green stripe and an orange stripe with a white stripe between. The white stripe between the two symbolizes the unity of Catholicism (green) and Protestantism (orange) in Ireland, although even today, religious identity continues to be a source of conflict in Ireland. My grandmother always said that you got a pinch on St. Patrick’s day if you weren’t wearing green!

Because we are vegetarian, we do not eat the traditional corned beef and cabbage on March 17th, although I did grow up thinking it was delicious! Over the past twenty years, I have developed my own vegetarian versions of Irish dishes. For breakfast, we always have Irish tea and Irish oatmeal and scones or Irish soda bread. Our dinner table has vegetarian Shepherd’s pie (trust me, it is good), Kilcullen (a traditional Irish cabbage dish), brown bread, stuffed cabbage, and red potatoes. Of course, many people eat corned beef and cabbage, which is also a delicious Irish treat.

Irish music is one of my favorite parts of this time of year, and one that we always enjoy all day on St. Patrick’s day. Many varieties of flute, fiddle, and harp are traditionally Irish. The Irish hand drum is my favorite instrument, the Bodhrán (pronounced boe-rawn), which you might recognize as the pulsating beat in most traditional songs. Uilleann pipes have been played traditionally since the 5th century, and are often recognized in traditional Irish melodies. Irish music is fun to listen to, sing along to, and dance to! Some musicians to look for are the Chieftans and the Clancy Brothers.

Here is a clip of some musicians in Ireland: IRISH MUSIC

One new tradition my children have started is to set a leprechaun trap in our house the night before St. Patrick’s day. We haven’t caught one yet, but sometimes a leprechaun may leave behind a coin or other trinket, and cause other trouble in our house. For example, turning the milk in our refrigerator green!

I was lucky enough to visit Ireland several years ago with my mother. We spent time while we were there researching our family history. It so fascinating to find the documents related to where our family lived, in County Mayo Ireland, and when they immigrated during the potato famine and after. Many Irish immigrants came to America during the Potato famine – it is a sad but interesting part of European history to learn about. When I was in Ireland, I remember being struck by the beautiful green hills, gorgeous hydrangeas, and amazing castles that we saw!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone, whether you are Irish, or only Irish “for a day”!  I hope you have a chance to learn a bit more about Ireland, and Irish culture today!

Perfectionism

PRINCE MARCH

by Myrtle Fillmore

The story of the Sleeping Princess

Most anyone can tell;

How she slept within her castle

Held there by a magic spell.

Till a Prince came, brave and daring,

With a loving kiss

Broke the spell and won the Princess

(You’ve all heard of this.)

We have seen a Sleeping Princess,

Bound by Winter’s spell

Shut within her cold brown castle,

(You all know her well.)

And the Prince, so brave and daring,

With a sturdy smack

Wakes the Princess with his wooing,

Calls her color back.

Life thrills all her sleeping pulses –

March awakens Spring;

Earth is filled with stirring impulse,

Birds are on the wing.

Eranthus_cilicica_Winter_Aconite

March has arrived! The first flowers in my garden, winter aconite and blue scilla, have begun to bloom! It’s a perfect time to think spring! It is a perfect time to feel rejuvenated and reenergized. It is also a perfect time to think about perfectionism.

I have received several letters from home teachers inquiring about their child’s desire for perfectionism and the many frustrations that accompany this need. Working with children who display perfectionist tendencies can be quite challenging, so it is a valuable issue to address.

A perfectionist is someone who sets a standard of perfection and refuses to accept anything less. Unfortunately, in an imperfect world, the perfectionist’s view can be an individual’s worst enemy, especially for a child.

The tendency for perfectionism can often be observed during a child’s school lessons. For example, a child may start writing out a lesson or drawing a picture, then repeatedly tear up the papers, only to begin again and again. A child with perfection tendencies may also easily cry or become quite frustrated if a simple mistake is made.

Perfectionism in children usually arises because there is more focus on the form of the lesson or task, rather than on the process of the activity. This is one of the reasons why Oak Meadow continuously emphasizes focusing on the process vs. focusing on the final form.

Most children go through perfectionist phases, so it is important that we, as home teachers and parents, do not overreact to the minor cycles of perfectionism. Oak Meadow cofounder, Lawrence Williams, believes that what often remedies these phases is to give our children “extra doses of recognition and appreciation for the work that they do.” He also feels that this pattern of interaction is an extremely important part of our children’s development.

When my children would show tendencies towards perfectionism, I not only looked at their individual needs and developmental cycles, but I also observed my own cyclic process. Did I find myself criticizing my own imperfections? Perhaps I said or did something that made me feel inadequate, or perhaps I felt guilty for being an imperfect mother or home teacher.

Let’s face it. We all have the desire to sometimes be perfect. We find ourselves wanting to please others, to do everything right, to make the perfect choice, etc. We especially want to be ideal parents. We also know that, no matter how well we try to hide these feelings, our children still have the ability to  pick up on them and may even start expressing some of the same feelings.

There was no doubt in my mind that, unless I stopped demanding this need for perfection in myself, my children would also grow up with the same tendencies. Not surprisingly, these perfectionist tendencies can result in a lack of self confidence.

To help our children through their perfectionist phases, we need to allow our children, as well as ourselves, to be imperfect. It may require more energy, more love, and more patience. However, embracing imperfection is a crucial step in human development.

Author Robin Lim wrote: Imperfection is God’s gift. It makes us compassionate as well as deserving of compassion. It allows us to take risks, to fail and succeed, to learn and grow, to ask questions. It honors our differences, our individual styles.

Now, go right on ahead! With spring at your doorstep, making its own perfectly imperfect way into the world, take a leap into the wonderful world of imperfection. Ask a silly question, take a risk, experiment with new ideas, laugh at your own idiosyncrasies, and make all kinds of wonderful mistakes!

Spring

Getting Involved by Volunteering

“Those who can, do.

Those who can do more, volunteer.”

~Author Unknown

This week our blog post is written by Abigail Wilson-Kageni. She’s been doing some very special volunteer work in her hometown of York, Pennsylvania and her Oak Meadow teacher suggested that she spread the word and tell other students about her project. I invited her to contribute to our blog post and I’m delighted that she did!  images-1My name is Abigail Wilson-Kageni and I am a student with Oak Meadow. I live in York, Pennsylvania. I have many interests and the opportunity to express myself creatively through the arts is especially dear to me.
The creative arts are an art form that allows people to express themselves through varying art mediums. Many things can fall under the category of creative arts. Dance, music, poetry, and painting are just a few. It’s been proven that children often do well when schools incorporate the creative arts in their curricula. However, in inner-city schools, budgets are a factor that usually decides if creative arts programs will be included in the annual budget. In most cases, schools in under served areas often fall victim to funding cuts which means the arts is excluded from the curriculum. This leaves students from financially challenged homes at a disadvantage. A variety of creative arts is needed to help students develop a love of learning. It is the inspiring base students need to succeed in school.

When I discovered this, I felt that I wanted all students to be supported and inspired by the opportunity for creative expression. After months of brain storming sessions with my mother, Tiered Innovations Initiative was born. This program has been evolving through different experiences that I have been privileged to part take of. For the past three years I have been a member of TeenSHARP, a college discovery program that meets every Saturday through the school year. I also just completed my tenure as a member of Scholastic Kids Press Corp. I was given the wonderful opportunity of covering Mrs. Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move Campaign at the White House, on two different occasions. I was also a member of El Sistema, a music program in which I spent three hours each day of the week perfecting my skills for playing the violin. It is these opportunities that have helped me to expand my curiosity and love for learning through the years.

This year, on February 24th, I officially launched the program. My local library, Martin Library, which is where I volunteer once a week, hosted the event and the event had a two-fold purpose. A local art store, Prime Art Supply Co, was running an art supply drive to donate city elementary school art materials. I decided to help the owner with this cause by inviting my guests to donate toward the drive. I titled the event ‘Encourage Creative Arts in Our Children’ and asked that our guests bring one item of any art supply to be donated the art drive. Monetary donations were also accepted toward purchasing a projector for one of the schools. It was a great success!
The city’s Mayor, Kim Bracey, was gracious enough to deliver a keynote speech while a noted artist and lecturer, Ophelia Chambliss, spoke about the importance of encouraging the youth to tell a story through their art. We were also celebrating Black History Month and as such, three area poets were on hand to commemorate the African American heritage through poetry recitals.
Tiered Innovations Initiative is a youth program that nurtures teens toward global citizenry through the creative arts. I will be offering workshops, facilitating summer camps, and inviting guests to continue to inspire the youth. I was humbled that people came out to support my efforts. I am delighted and excited for the good things that are ahead of me.

 

Finding Community as a Homeschooler

At first, particularly if you are new to homeschooling, it may seem like there are no homeschoolers around at all. But chances are very good that they are just hidden in plain sight!

Photo credit: Hickman Family (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Hickman Family
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Families in many areas have established homeschool groups that meet for field trips, projects, playtime, and even parent-run classes. Finding them can be the hardest part. Some homeschool groups maintain a low profile to respect or protect the privacy of their member families. So it can be challenging to make that first connection. But homeschoolers, in general, are very resourceful and well-connected, and once you’ve found one local homeschooling family, you may soon hear about others.

Have you wondered about how best to find other homeschoolers in your area? Here are some suggestions for where to look.

Ask at the library. Most homeschooling families develop an active relationship with the local librarian. He or she may be able to connect you with other families.

Put up posters at the community center, grocery store, town office, or other places where homeschooling parents and children are sure to see them. Your poster could say something as simple as, “Do you homeschool? We’d love to connect!”

If your community has an online bulletin board or a local newspaper, you might be able to publish a classified ad or notice. Advertise a playgroup, potluck, or not-back-to-school picnic and see who responds.

Photo credit: Laura Nance (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Laura Nance
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Go to the park, indoor playground, or other local kid-friendly venues during school hours on a school day. If you see another family there with school-aged kids, ask them why theirs are not in school. With luck, their reason will be the same as yours!

Although homeschooling is more mainstream than ever, it has roots in the alternative and natural parenting culture. So if you are a secular homeschooler, you might see if you can find likeminded parents through the local natural foods store or parenting groups such as La Leche League. if your homeschooling focus is religious, your faith community is a great place to start.

Sympathetic local or state school officials are sometimes empowered to connect homeschooling families with each other. Inquire with whomever is in charge of homeschool enrollment or registration for your locale.

Seek out regional homeschooling organizations and homeschool conventions, if there are any near you. Attend any local events you can until you’ve made enough connections to sustain you for awhile.

Photo credit: Nevada Wolfe (Oak Meadow Archives)
Photo credit: Nevada Wolfe
(Oak Meadow Archives)

Visit local learning centers and attractions such as museums, environmental education centers, aquariums, historical sites. They often have special rates or visit times for homeschoolers, so ask their recommendation on how to connect with other homeschooling visitors.

Put out the word! Let supportive friends and family know that you’re in search of homeschooling connections. They may not know of any local homeschoolers, but they may know someone whose Aunt Martha has a neighbor whose son homeschools in your town. It’s worth a try.

Look online. There are many groups, boards, pages, lists, and websites devoted to homeschooling. (Oak Meadow’s Facebook page alone has over 27,000 followers.) Some homeschooling support boards are for members only; others are public. Some focus on particular regions. You may find one local to you, or you may need to post something specific asking for responses.

Jump right in and talk with people wherever you go! You never know where you might make a connection or get some helpful information.

Don’t be shy about seeking connection, and be persistent if you don’t find it right away! Being proactive is the best way to find community quickly. What resources are there for connecting with homeschoolers in your area? Tell us about the best resources you know of and where to find information. Other families near you will be grateful! How did your family find other homeschoolers to connect with?