Friday, January 3, 2014


If I were to be 100% honest, I would say the hardest thing about being a homeschooling family is maintaining friendships.  My girls and I have been through too much with friendships.  We have made friends, chose to end friendships, were saddened when friends moved from just around the corner to over an hour away, had friends leave homeschooling for traditional schooling, met new friends who just came out of traditional school, and through it all remained very close with some friends we have had since always, it seems.

"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
- George Washington

The holidays brought our best friends to Connecticut from Illinois.  We last saw them this past summer and we are grateful that we were able to squeeze in some time between their family obligations and visits.  However much time we get, it simply is not enough.  As they drive away, I am always left wishing they still lived a mile away.  I am left wishing we could swim in their backyard and watch our children grow up together.  We may now be miles and miles apart but we still watch our children grow up, and remarkably they are still growing up together.  Time and distance has not diminished our friendship.  Michele and I still talk at least once a week and when the kids are together, it is like no time has passed at all.  

The holidays also gave us the opportunity to spend time with friends and neighbors.  There are times when I wonder if I had kept Lilah home just one more year and placed her in the same class as one of her closest friends would our family have taken this direction into homeschooling?  They are almost the same age, just a few months apart.   I could see and tangibly feel the stress and tension within Lilah’s entire grade level.  The kids just did not seem cohesive.  The class one grade below her however, was completely the opposite.  I’ll never know of course and hindsight is 20/20.  I am just grateful that this friendship has endured.  It is almost magical in that the three girls get along perfectly.  Perfect is a strong word and I could certainly argue that no friendship is perfect, but this one comes pretty close.  There is no triangle.  No her friend/my friend.  Sometimes they play basketball, and other times they paint nails.  When they are involved in their activities, they text.  And when school is out, they are most likely found at each other’s houses, or somewhere in between.

And then there are family, who seem more like friends.  Isn’t it a blessing when you can have both?  


Shel said...

Oh Jess, so much of this is my thoughts exactly (though we don't have best friends that live far away). I (we) have only recently found the type of friends I have been longing for. The type that if they did move away we would still remain the best of friends much like you described here. It has been a long held wish to have a best friend who's also a homeschoolin' mama and I am so glad that my wish was finally answered this past fall.

We have struggled with the friend thing so much and have pretty much lost all our friends who traditionally school their kids. As a family whose never had kids in the system we started to loose friends the year that the kids Grace and Emma's ages went to kindergarten. And more and more friendships have faded each subsequent year too. We've also had a heck of a time finding "our tribe" within the homeschooling community. And while I don't think we have found our tribe yet having a bestie who lives this lifestyle has helped immensely!

I wish you a fabulous 2014! May this is the year we can meet in person and introduce our girls to each other!

Jessica said...

I do hope this is the year we can meet. Sturbridge Village is on our to-do list. Perhaps we can both attend a homeschool day?

I am so glad you are making connections. Just one is all that you really need, and thankfully I do have that one homeschooling friend who is there through thick and thin. My tribe has changed dramatically from the one I was so blessed to have a few years ago. That has been very hard on our family. We are in a time of rebuilding and rediscovering. 2013 saw one of Grace's best friends go to Catholic School effectively slashing the time they were able to spend together. Her sister, Lilah's close friend is due to attend for high school next year. Other friends we have met this year are only homeschooling for middle school and it is hard to make close bonds when you know they are temporary.

It is super difficult to maintain friendships with highschoolers who live out of district. That is why I could my blessings with our neighborhood friends. On snow days or school holidays it is very easy for our girls to get together. We plan our schedule so that afternoons are free.

I hope that in 2014 I am able to connect with families that are homeschooling through high school and find activities we can do together and make the time to allow for hanging out.

Karen said...

You and I have talked about this so many times Jess. I am so glad you have these people in your lives. As homeschoolers Keilee's friends seem to fall into categories; Co-op, Drama, etc. It is hard when everyone is so scattered. You don't have a school zone where they all live within a few miles radius. I'm so glad your girls were able to spend quality time with friends and family who are also friends. :)

Phyllis said...

Yes! You have spoken many of my thoughts!

Sandra said...

I'm another who finds friendships and homeschooling difficult. We seem to be a minority within a minority in homeschooling circles - not many still homeschooling older kids, and we don't share the same religious views as many that are meaning they don't want to know us or else they want to know us only so they can convert us. I'm really looking forward to next month when my friend and her daughter (my daughter's best friend) return from overseas. For their sakes I hope it is just to visit and sell their things here (they are hoping to remain permanently overseas) but a part of me wishes it was for good.

Jessica said...

I really hope this is the year that you and I can finally meet! We will be in TN at some point and no matter what we have going on, we are driving to AL!!!

Jessica said...

I wonder why homeschoolers seem so segregated by religious viewpoints when we are all choosing this way of life to have freedoms not possible in traditional educational systems? It is the same here in CT. Not with all groups, but with some. I know the feeling of wishing a friend could stay. I feel that every time my friend visits. I hope you get to enjoy some time together to reconnect and enjoy one another's company.

jmommymom said...

We have had many struggles maintaining friendships while homeschooling. Since we are Americans homeschooling in Germany, our community of homeschooling families is small. In addition, since it's military based, friends move every three year, which means we loose at least one good friend every summer. It seems like a constant struggle. The one trick I've learned to make new friends is to offer a class at the home which targets similar age/interest friends. Over the past few weeks I've held learn-to-crochet classes. Guess what? Several girls between the ages of 9-12 signed up and now my daughter has a few new friends. Next week it's crocheted scarves.:)

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