Thursday, June 2, 2011

Core Group

I considered homeschooling for two years.
Actually, I really wanted to homeschool for two years before we brought the girls home.
(Jason would have homeschooled from the beginning.)
What held us back?
The girls.

Last summer, I realized they were concerned about having friends.
So, I set about meeting other homeschool families.
I had already joined the local yahoo group
(at the suggestion of a high school classmate who homeschools).
Last summer, the girls & I started attending events.

They saw that they would have friends.

Over the year,
I have read countless posts by other homeschool bloggers
about their "core groups".
And I have to admit, I was envious.
I wanted a core group.

We tried many groups,
several co-ops,
many park dates.
We organized our own park dates.
We went to library meetings an hour away.

I was determined that my girls would have homeschool friends their ages to share this experience with.

Then, the other week,
it hit me like a ton of bricks.
We had spent the weekend with what we call
"our homeschool neighbors"
(they live down the road and they homeschool their 2 girls)

It is so common for these girls to stop by on their bikes or scooters and invite our girls to play.
Or, for us to stop there with our sleds in winter or our bikes in spring and ask them to come along.
It's not uncommon for our families to share a meal on the weekends.
Or to have a few beers together on a Friday night.

That Monday,
we spent the day with some other homeschool friends,
who I met last summer
and we all just hit it off,
as did our girls :)
We spend a lot of time messaging each other on facebook and making plans: go to the beach, the sprayground, each other's homes, the park.
I made plans with one of the moms to
attend a homeschool conference in June.

Later that week,
we hung out with some other homeschool friends
at a park.
These girls are A's age and we've been to each other's homes,
the moms and I email regularly.

Another day that week,
we met up with some other homeschool families
that we really liked
right off the bat.
They are a crafty group and my girls like crafts.
The moms were warm & friendly.

We attended one event with this group,
and they invited us to another.

Last week, 
we attended an end of homeschool party
with a Maypole.

I've always wanted to be part of a Maypole dance.

The girls had a blast.
They ran around and played with friends.
 I got to chat with other moms.
 We made plans for the Sprayground next week.

on the way home,
it hit me like a ton of bricks.

We don't have a core group,
we have several core groups
of homeschool friends
that we enjoy being with,
that are cool
and interesting,
people we genuinely enjoy spending time with,
not people we spend time with because of their close proximity
or living in the same town
or being in the same grade.

So, while other kids are toiling away in steamy classrooms,
their mind a million miles away,
dreaming of beaches and playgrounds,
splashing in water and building sandcastles,
my girls & I
will be hanging out with friends,
at the beach,
at the sprayground,
at our lovely park
with their cool cavern shielded by tall pine trees,
collecting pine cones and building dams in the stream
learning about life & friendship.