How to Find Kindred Spirits for Homeschoolers

finding friends in homeschooling

You overhear other moms talking about a birthday party their kids are going to this weekend. Your son knows these kids, but he’s not in their “inner circle” of friends. Your mama-heart sinks.  Yet again, your son didn’t get invited to a party. You immediately feel alone…jealous even, and longing for deep friendships for your child. You are determined to help your kids find friends, even though you have chosen to homeschool. But, finding friends in homeschooling feels like a huge obstacle and an uphill road.

There can be a myriad of obstacles in homeschooling as many of us know. That is why I believe we truly need a community of people around us, consistent encouragement, and helpful resources at our fingertips. In this upcoming series of posts, I am going to address ways of overcoming three specific obstacles in homeschooling.

Obstacle #1 – Finding Friends

While we all know the stereotype that homeschooled children are not socialized, I believe that is an inaccurate misconception. However, I do believe there is a common struggle in helping our children find and develop long-lasting relationships. I don’t think that this struggle is unique to homeschoolers only. I know moms who struggle to find quality friends for their kids who are in public schools too.

However, for friendships to develop it takes mutual interests and regular times together. The challenge is real.

Being at home for the majority of our days can lead to isolation. And let’s face it, while there are benefits of our kids not being mostly around other immature children their age, kids do need kindred spirits.

After having moved two times in nine months, I know what it feels like for your kids to be lonely, left out, and desiring friends. Here are five simple ideas that I have found helpful in my effort at finding true kindred spirits for my kids. While they may seem basic, they can often be forgotten!

  • Remedy #1 – Invite Kids into Your Home

What I have found helpful is to be intentional about inviting other children into our home. It doesn’t matter how big or small a home is, how well it is decorated, or if you are even feeling up to it!

Kids just enjoy being together. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make an invitation…to the neighbors down the street…to the kids in church…to fellow homeschoolers. Hospitality is much more about a warm inviting atmosphere than an immaculate and well-adorned abode.

An invitation could be as simple as organizing a Lego creation play date. Baking together. Doing a craft. Or just, playing in your yard. Whatever your kids are into, invite others to join you. Most likely the other kids will love the invitation, and your kids will be blessed to have others in their home. Doing repeated activities together around similar interests can help form bonds of friendship.

Kids-playing-together

And the benefits are for you as the hostess too. Your children are distracted and entertained for a bit…removing the pressure to “entertain” kids who smart the mantra “I’m bored!”  It can be a time of refreshment for other moms who would like to stay and chat with you (you may be making friends too!) or give an exhausted mom an hour or two of free time. Who wouldn’t like that?!

But it doesn’t stop when your kids are young. As your kids get older, you can host a study afternoon in your home. All you have to do is provide some yummy snacks and a place conducive to studying…and maybe some gentle reminders when social interactions get a little too long! But this time gives you a break from teaching and gives your kids an opportunity to study amongst peers. A win-win!

  • Remedy #2 – Join or Start a Co-op

Join other homeschool families for a weekly co-op. Or, start a co-op of your own around a particular subject or interest. Co-ops can take place in your home, at a local park, in your church, or in multiple homes on a rotation.

For example, my family was part of a great science co-op at our church after we first moved into our new area. After a year, however, as kids graduated and moved on, the co-op disbanded. I knew it was one of my daughter’s favorite parts of her week and a place where she connected with kids her age. So I invited a few families into our home the following year to continue the co-op.

Having the same kids over to your house every week, or every other week, throughout the school year can encourage long-term relationships. But, being a part of a co-op doesn’t necessarily mean immediate friendships will form. Just as no kids are friends with everyone in their class at school. Still, the opportunity is there to develop friendships and/or life skills of learning to deal with people very different than yourself. This can be a time where characteristics of patience and compassion can grow too.

Nonetheless, your kids might find one or two friends they connect with in a co-op. From there, go back to remedy #1 and invite those kindred spirits into your home for more opportunities for the friendships to develop. Or, plan regular playdates with them mid-week at a local park.

In doing so, we have found that entire families are often knit together, moms and dads too! Many of my friends are also from our co-ops. So, being a part of a weekly co-op can bring the blessing of friendship to the whole family as well!

Choose something that your family can be involved in. I’m not saying you choose everything and fill your schedule every afternoon. That can have its downside too. But, try to find one thing that interests your kids in which it allows them to interact with their peers. Being a part of a team, club, or group can provide great friendships for them. Not to mention a place to expend energy and learn to work together with others.

Having a similar interest with others their age can create a sense of belonging to something bigger than they are. When kids are working alongside others towards a common goal, friendships often naturally develop.

Extracurricular activities, if chosen wisely, can make your kids feel less isolated and more bonded with others.

  • Remedy #4 – Don’t Overlook Siblings

I have a friend who tells their kids to “invest in each other because you are your own best friends.” I believe this can be true. God put our families together for a reason. While siblings can often bicker and get under each other’s skin, they can also be best of friends. You can communicate this idea to your children. It probably won’t happen overnight. But, in time and with lots of reminders, they can learn to grow in love and affection for each other.

In homeschooling, siblings have the opportunity to be around each other more often – learning together, wondering together, exploring together, and living day in and day out together. Use those moments to help strengthen your kiddos’ relationship. Isn’t our hope that our children would deeply love each other for life?

I know my heart swells when my kids are playing together just using their imaginations, building forts, playing cards, or jumping on the trampoline. Make sure you honor and recognize those times that they play well together – you might notice it sparks them to do it more often!

  • Remedy #5 – Be Active in Your Church Community

A family active in their church community gives yet another avenue for friendships to develop. What I mean is not just attending church on Sundays. But, being a part of a small group community mid-week, serving together as a family, going on a mission trip with other families, or celebrating church baptisms and special events together. Again, having repeated opportunities to interact with other kids from church throughout the week and at special events, can allow your kids to develop kindred spirits with other kids in your church body.

Creating memories together through various activities allows your kids to find others with similar interests. There is a special connection made when people serve together. This can be true for kids as well! Not to mention it allows them opportunities to grow their service muscle too:)

I hope these five remedies for finding friends in homeschooling have been helpful to you. The next time your kid doesn’t get invited to that party. Take heart! Over time, he can and will develop kindred spirits. Commit to praying for friends together. That way your child will get to see the hand of God providing in their life too!

If you have found other ways to foster kindred spirits for your kids, leave a comment below as I would love to hear them!

Here is more information on overcoming obstacles in homeschooling:

Take heart,
Katie

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20 Comments

  • Reply Ann (Neethu) at

    Katie this is so insightful and moreover very encouraging. I pray most at times that the Lord will bring in friends who will help my son grow in love with Him. Keep in mind that many would come with their own bagges and hurt. Also this is what touched me in this blog, “God put our families together for a reason.”

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Ann, I’m so glad you found this post insightful and encouraging! Yes, I too pray that both my son and daughter would have friends throughout their lives that point them to Jesus. I believe the Lord will honor the faithful prayers of mothers! And that my kids would be a good friend to those around them, no matter who they are. Blessings to you! Katie

  • Reply Melissa at

    My husband homeschools our children so that can be a bit difficult as most of the homeschool activities center around moms. He’s fine with it but not sure how uncomfortable with would make some of the moms. Our children participate in church activities and both kids are in various extra curricular activities. They also are incredibly close! I agree. Thank you for the great tips!

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Melissa, I’m so glad you found this post insightful and encouraging! Yes, I too pray that both my son and daughter would have friends throughout their lives that point them to Jesus. I believe the Lord will honor the faithful prayers of mothers! And that my kids would be a good friend to those around them, no matter who they are. Blessings to you! Katie

  • Reply Kristi at

    Since we moved, we have been proactive about reaching out to kids in the neighborhood as well as getting involved in a coop.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Kristi, after a move it can be so challenging to find friends! Sounds like you are doing a great job at jumping in to create community. Remember that it takes time, so hang in there! Take heart, Katie

  • Reply Susan Evans at

    These are all great ways for homeschooled kids to find friends. Most of my kids’ friends are from church activities.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Susan, thanks stopping by and leaving a comment! Church activities are such a great way to meet friends that can last a lifetime! Katie

  • Reply Jess at

    I have a neighbor that homeschools and she does all of these things, which actually debunks the whole ‘homeschool kids aren’t socialized’ belief.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Jess, exactly! There are so many ways to socialize kids, that not being in a public school these days does not equate with being unsocialized! Thanks for commenting, Katie

  • Reply Terri at

    It takes time to develop true meaningful friendships

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Terri, I know, it takes what can seem like forever. We so often want things to happen overnight. But with persistence, perseverance, and prayer over time kindred spirits can develop and that is a wonderful blessing! Take heart, Katie

  • Reply Andrea at

    So many different ways to get together!

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Andrea, yes it is true that there are so many ways to get together as homeschoolers, especially in this day and age. It just sometimes feels daunting when you are first starting out 🙂 Thanks for commenting! Take heart, Katie

  • Reply Annette Breedlove at

    Great tips!! #3, #4 and #5 have been the saving grace in our homeschool!! My husband is a pastor, but that can bring with it a whole other set of stigmas and stereotypes. Being involved in outside activities and teaching them to love each other above all else has proven most helpful for us.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi Annette, Yes, I am sure being a pastor’s family can bring with it a whole different set of challenges. I’m so glad you have found #3, 4, & 5 helpful to you too. The teaching of our kids to love each other can be draining and time-consuming, but so rewarding too! Take heart, Katie

  • Reply Keisha Russell at

    I do not homeschool, but my husband would want nothing more than for me to do so. This was very informative and helpful for anyone considering to homeschool their kiddos 🙂

  • Reply JJ at Chickening-IN at

    I totally agree. It takes a little planning on the homeschool parents part but there are many opportunities to have friends. In fact, maybe more meaningful friendships.

    • Reply Katie at

      I would have to agree as well. I think with intentional planning, quality, meaningful friendships can develop over time. I know I am very thankful for the friends my kids have!

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