Community is a buzz word in the homeschooling world. Homeschool moms know that trying to tackle the task of teaching our children in isolation isn't any fun and can easily set us up for burn out. When I started my homeschooling mom career, I initially didn't seek out other homeschooling families. I wanted to get started and find my own way before taking in the thoughts, ideas, and opinions of others on the journey. I didn't want to become confused or discouraged because of information overload. After I got my footing, I slowly started to venture out in seek different ways to interact with other homeschooling families.
As you all may know, the number of African-American homeschoolers is growing each day, but we don't always see these numbers represented at homeschooling conferences or co-ops. It can be a bit of a challenge to find other Black homeschoolers especially if you aren't in a city where there is a higher African-American population. When we started our journey, we lived in one of those cities. We were often the only Black people we saw regularly unless we intentionally met up with friends. This experience helped me to seek out the community I needed in a variety of ways.
Where can African-American homeschoolers find community?
Seek out online homeschool communities with a Black presence
When I started seeking out other Black homeschoolers, I started online. It was the easiest place for me to get started. In one multi-race group I joined, there was a section set up specifically for Homeschool Moms of Color. We were a small number, but I was happy to be able to interact with moms who looked like me. It was also the place that connected me with my first in real life Black homeschooling friend who happened to also share my birthday.
Now there are more online communities geared to moms of color. Camille from Homeschooling in the D wrote a post featuring 15 Groups Every Black Homeschooler Should Know About. There's also many African-Americans Homeschool moms who write about their homeschooling lifestyle.
Start here when looking for Black online homeschool communities
- Facebook has a many, many groups. You should check out Black Homeschooling Families, African-American Homeschool Moms, Minority Homeschool Connection, and Black Stay at Home Moms. These communities are really active and there are often threads about connecting locally.
- While you are on Facebook, search out local groups in your area. There are several groups in larger cities geared towards African-Americans like African-American Homeschoolers of Charlotte and Minorities Homeschooling in Houston.
- There are also hashtags on Instagram such #blackhomeschool365 and #africanamericanhomeschoolers that can lead you to Black homeschoolers in your community.
Be the face of your own in real life homeschool meetup
Hanging out online is cool, but there comes a time when you want to see people in real life. Meetup.com has been my go to place for creating new homeschool communities. I choose Meetup over Facebook because it is specific to making real life connections. It's part of there terms. If you start a Meetup account, you have to be willing to get your group together in real life. Since I am the face of the group, I often get families of different ethnic backgrounds to join. It's like saying, "You're welcome here." I haven't been a part of many co-ops, but I have heard plenty of horror stories from other Black homeschoolers when it comes to being the only person of color in less diverse groups.
Start here when creating your own group
- Sign up on Meetup.com. Most of the time there are people in your area looking for something similar to the group you will create. Meetup.com does charge a fee, but you can charge a small fee to the group to offset the costs if you don't want to cover it all by yourself.
- Create a Facebook group for your area with the intent of getting together. Don't make it another online social hangout place since your goal is to interact in real life.
- Remember the purpose of your group. You don't have to start a co-op to have a group. You can get other homeschoolers together for social interaction, field trips, learning non-academic topics like painting, canoeing, or Disc golf.
Hang out at places where all homeschoolers go
This one is pretty simple. Go to where most homeschoolers hang out. You are bound to run into at least one Black homeschool family if you frequent the places all homeschooler go. When we moved to Tennessee, I went to the local gym because a local parenting magazine shared that there was a weekly homeschool gym class. We didn't go to the gym class, but we arrived at the community center shortly after class ended, and I met one African-American homeschool mom. By going to where other homeshoolers go, you also learn about activities and field trips that you would not have learned about if you hadn't interacted with any other homeschoolers. The moms who are not Black shared with me about different activities in the community, too.
Start here when going to the homeschool hang outs
- Think about the places most homeschoolers go. Libraries, museums, community centers, gyms, and parks are places that are often frequented by homeschoolers. Make a plan to go to one of these places each week to increase the chance of meeting other African-American homeschoolers.
- Don't be shy about asking moms who aren't Black if they know any other Black homeschooling families. In our previous city, I did. It not only allowed my friends to help me seek the community I desired, but it also made them aware that we really are minorities in the homeschool community.
Community is important when traveling the homeschooling path. There is so much that we are responsible for from teaching to managing our homes. It is necessary to have support and friends to share our highs and lows with can make the journey more enjoyable.
How have you found community as a homeschooler?
If you enjoyed this post, you should read Thoughts About Being a Young, Black Stay at Home Mom.