Written by Erin Loechner of Other Goose
What a wise mentor shared with me about going first – in friendship and life.
Daily, the emails arrive:
“I haven’t found my people yet.”
“My mother-in-law thinks I’m crazy.”
“No one I know is homeschooling; I feel like I’m on an island over here!”
Same, same, same.
I hear you. I’ve been you.
I remember the gilded August morning my friends’ kids all donned backpacks and held chalkboard signs outside their front door: Kindergarten! 1st grade! Pre-K!
From my kitchen window, I watched mothers as they passed off brand new lunchboxes and held back tears, whispering last minute encouragement in each timid ear as the big yellow school bus came around the corner. On my afternoon walk, I saw fathers lined up in the carpool lane anxiously awaiting the 3:40 mark, witnessed their children tumbling out of school buildings for wide hugs and exuberant smiles.
And I wondered if I’d made a mistake. I’d wondered if I’d been left behind; if my children had, too.
School offers 8 hours of shared experiences daily; without the commonality, where would we find our community?
How would we find our people?
Were we all alone in this?
Swirling with doubt, I called a wise mentor begging for some hope-filled perspective: I just feel so alone, I confessed. Were your kids ever lacking in community? Were you?
Her answer was this: “Yes.”
But then she added something I’ll always remember:
But I wasn’t alone for long. You just have to go first, Erin. You have to create what you need, both for you and the kids.
Remember when you were readying your home for your first baby? The gathering of a crib, a high chair, a baby bathtub? The folding of those impossibly small onesies? The making of the nest? You’re going to do that again this time. You’re going to make a nest with other people, a soft place to land, a whole village of parents to come alongside you and your children, and you alongside theirs. You’ll find your people. You just have to go first.
I still, six years later, haven’t forgotten her challenge to me. Not when I met my first homeschooling friend after spotting her in the library during school hours, not after all-but-running up to her and her three toe-heads, not after brazenly asking, “Are you by any chance homeschooling?”
Certainly not after she smiled wide with an emphatic yes, explaining they had just moved from CA and were in desperate need of friends.
And so, today, I happily pass along the same challenge my wise friend shared with me. If you’re feeling alone in your homeschooling journey, if you’re feeling misunderstood or lacking in community: Go first.
Gather the flock.
Make the nest.
Rally the village.
If not for you, then certainly for the California sun-streaked blonde in the library who’ll be over for tea at 2.
Your Turn: How do you cultivate a homeschool community for you and your kids?
A note from Jamie: If you feel alone and are still looking to find “your people,” Erin has created a beautiful, heart-felt gathering place, Other Goose–an online co-op for those homeschooling the early years.
Other Goose blends simplicity with rhythm and childhood with creativity. Find out more.