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View Full Version : Do you ever wish there were a HomeschoolMatch.com?



Deb417
11-20-2011, 01:58 AM
Sometimes (no, a LOT) I feel like finding a peer group for my kids (and myself) IRL is like dating!

There are really only a few ways to meet other homeschoolers if you live in mainstream-land where everyone public schools their kids.

- park days, usually posted on yahoo group emails
- homeschool conferences (which don't happen often and rarely in the city where you live)
- homeschool or "mommy" forums, but you have to sift through tons of other subjects to find people, or post threads and HOPE someone reads them, responds to them and then follows up on whatever is discussed there
- enrichment classes - but often people come and go, kids may talk in class, but if the class is weekly or bi-weekly, and the kids are young (elementary age), they don't necessarily arrange their own social activities AFTER class, and their parents are often eager to just pick them up and get home or off to the next thing and don't stop to talk. Also, I've found, even if you go to the same class, people come from all over the place and don't necessarily want to socialise or do a co-op with people who live far away.

I wish there were a way to go to a site, enter all your particulars (ages, genders, interests, availability, etc....) and find people with similar needs/kids so you could create your own small groups without tons of back and forth and lost e-mails and unreturned phone calls, etc...

JUST LIKE DATING! ;)

Am I the only one who has found this whole process frustrating? I mean especially as a secular HSer! Seems in Charlotte NC where I live, most of the ready-made groups or long-standing well-organized groups are very religious (and far from the city itself, at least 20 miles out in any direction). I go on local forums hunting for others like me, even going so far as to stalk threads put out by lonely newbie moms, hoping they'll want to make new friends even more than veterans. I've tried several times to start book clubs, little home-based "co-op"/playgroups, nothing. And when people post about openings in their co-ops, 9 times out of 10 they want tween boys.

UGH!!

Here I am desperate to keep HSing with three girls, one of whom has ADHD and needs tons of stimulation, and myself craving adult interaction with like-minded parents, and I can't find it. I swear if one more person I meet at a park day says "You really ought to join a co-op! I'd invite you to ours, but we're full" I'm gonna SCREAM.

Does anyone else feel like this? If you have and have found ways to deal with it/find friends for yourself and kids that I haven't tried, please please let me know!!!
Thanks for reading!

theWeedyRoad
11-20-2011, 07:53 AM
yes, but I've felt that way since my children first met other kids ;)

I feel it's a bit like 'courting'. I know.. that sounds awful.

Seems like my parents BARELY knew my friends' parents growing up.

Laina
11-20-2011, 08:34 AM
I very much know the frustration you describe! A match site is a great idea. How long have you been homeschooling in your area? Now that we have been "out there" looking for homeschool friends for almost a year, this feeling is finally starting to go away for me, and we've met several families we feel comfortable with and who WANT to get together. I hope the same holds true for you.

Deb417
11-20-2011, 09:07 AM
yes, but I've felt that way since my children first met other kids ;)

I feel it's a bit like 'courting'. I know.. that sounds awful.

Seems like my parents BARELY knew my friends' parents growing up.

LOL!!! Good point!!

Laina, we've been at it for two years, actually more if you could that I had a preschool homeschool playgroup that worked out well for about a year, then people started dropping out opting to ps instead :(

Park days have yielded ZIP in the way of friends for me or DDs, most kids are much older and/or boys and/or uber-religious. :(

farrarwilliams
11-20-2011, 09:26 AM
Well, I think you know how you're going to make your millions, Deb. :)

Deb417
11-20-2011, 09:41 AM
Lol! Yeah, in my copious spare time! ;)

CatInTheSun
11-20-2011, 10:14 AM
We've moved every 2 years since we had kids. Every time we get the social thing figured out, we move. We've been here for over a year and ZERO friends here. They do an MA and recently I noticed everyone seems to run to ask my 8yo dd to be their partner (esp the boys, yikes!) -- but your right that for the rest of the parents there, it's just a stop on the way home from school. A couple women just sit there playing games on their cell phones the whole time.

There are NO midday activities at the libraries or YMCA or such. The two local hs groups I e-mailed never replied -- I think I was *too* brief, didn't do the bee waggle dance right?

My dh is great at reading people and trained in surveillance, so I find myself asking him to look at hs group webpages and profile the group leaders from the pics. :_laugh: "Mid-30s; wearing jewelry and makeup, nice blouse, hair regularly professionally cut and colored, so appearances are important to her; kitchen cabinets in the background were used by local builders in the mid-90s, so newer home likely south part of town...." If nothing else it always makes me laugh.

Maybe we need a special signal that other hs mom's recognize as "looking for other hs'rs" -- kinda like the foot under the bathroom stall thing the politicians were doing at the airport, or colored bracelets like the ps kids wear... :_lol:

Oh well, time to send out a new round of e-mails. :p Both the kids and I need some IRL interactions. Being an introvert I can be too complacent.

ETA: is it a bad thing that I look at some of the leaders and think, "Wow, I bet she has time every day to shower AND brush her hair. We're not going to have ANYTHING in common." <sigh>

Accidental Homeschooler
11-20-2011, 10:46 AM
Do it! Or better yet, assign it to your husband. He is the computer guy right?

dbmamaz
11-20-2011, 12:27 PM
oh, thats really funny! I tell you, its so frustrating we've been homeschooling for 3 years and 3 times had really good freinds move out of the area. It is SO hard to find people.

Deb417
11-20-2011, 01:18 PM
The two local hs groups I e-mailed never replied -- I think I was *too* brief, didn't do the bee waggle dance right?

ETA: is it a bad thing that I look at some of the leaders and think, "Wow, I bet she has time every day to shower AND brush her hair. We're not going to have ANYTHING in common." <sigh>

OK, LMAO! But I will say that you *may* be prejudging a bit too much on appearances ;)

I live in a new home in Charlotte, but only b/c when we moved here the older ones with character were WAAAAAY overpriced OR if not, on the market a matter of hours before they sold, often for more than asking. I was 8 mos pregnant at the time, moving here from MA and only had two days to find a place to live b/c DH's company was moving us and he was already living here. We chose our home on price and location (in that order) and all that was available was new build. So if you saw me in my kitchen, you'd think the same :)

I don't shower EVERY morning, but I do put on some makeup, mostly b/c I feel nekkid (and pale) without something (though I'm not sure it shows in pics, I think I just look not-dead), and yes, I'm a bit OCD so my house might be a teensy bit more tidy than the avg. homeschooler on an avg. day (though lately not so much).

I wonder if I'm written off by a lot of HSers I see for the same reasons! They spot me from a distance and think "Oh, forget her, she looks too put-together" or something. But underneath this mainstream appearance is a person who sends her youngest to the world's CRUNCHIEST preschool, dressed in outfits that would embarrass a hobo, co-slept and b/f each and every one of my kids until they were at least 2 (Catie until she was 3), won't eat any dairy that isn't organic, recycles everything (including used plastic ziploc bags) and is as happy sewing and cooking as getting my hair did ;) (more actually, all I do is color my gray roots my natural brown, and yes, I have someone else do it b/c the one time I tried it at home it was a disaster).

Oh, and did I mention I'm Presbyterian and go to church weekly, but refuse to teach my kids anything but evolution (if they hear about intelligent design, IT will be purely as par of "cultural studies" or humanities. I believe in the TruthS in the Bible, not the TRUTH OF the Bible, near as I can tell, our whole congregation feels the same way).

My point is, because we are a small insular community (secular HSers in particular), we have to reach out a bit more, not make blanket assumptions based on appearances, especially online! If someone lives SAM shooting distance from me, I'm willing to talk to them, maybe even meet them if our kids are the same age/gender or have the same interests, and if our HS styles are remotely similar. I actually have LESS in common with people who look like me and live in homes like mine than with those who live in vastly different circumstances. If they won't talk to me b/c they assume they have nothing in common with me, they're missing out on a potentially good friend with some cool (if eccentric) kids :)

Deb417
11-20-2011, 01:37 PM
Oh, and DH would be all over this if he had more time. As it is, he works 14 hours a day :(

BUT, he did suggest that we do a little "Functional Analysis" to figure out what we would want the thing to do, and try to come up with those features, come up with use-cases (and user types) and flesh the thing into a full-blown "idea" and try to pitch it to the T4L people to ADD onto sites like this where profile info is already in place, as are advertisers and business relationships.

It might be a new thread, I dunno, but what would you want such a site to do? Seems to me the technology/algorithm skeleton is already there for sites like real estate sites, or maybe even yelp--sites that take your location and allow you to enter some basic criteria, either in a profile or on the fly, and perform searches for (in this case) co-ops with open spaces (those who run them could maybe post openings or just post and if they are "open" or "closed" with a wait list perhaps, playgroups, park days, meet and greets, MNOs, etc...We could even set up a feature for curriculum swaps and sales in your area, stuff like that. To make it an extension of a site like this would be ideal b/c there's an audience already.

But see I'm an idea gal, I'm not big on follow-through when it comes to the finer details of execution. I can gather parameters all day long (it's what I did when I worked, I was an information architect/business analyst for e-business) but I can't do strategy, don't have a good feel anymore for what technologies are out there, pre-packaged, how to formulate a biz plan/marketing plan, etc...

dbmamaz
11-20-2011, 02:09 PM
I actually have LESS in common with people who look like me and live in homes like mine than with those who live in vastly different circumstances. If they won't talk to me b/c they assume they have nothing in common with me, they're missing out on a potentially good friend with some cool (if eccentric) kids :)
Its funny, i spent most of my 'adult' life living as a hippy - dressing as a hippy, hanging out with hippies, even living on a commune. I still feel like I'm a hippy inside, but it feels like most of the people who look like hippies that I meet these days are just so . ...immature, irresponsible, self-centered and judgemental. I end up having more in common w the normal-ish moms I meet at various things.

(also, I get tired of making freinds and then telling dh, in shock, about some incredibly STUPID thing they did, and he just seems to think that every single one of my freinds is seriously crazy)

CatInTheSun
11-20-2011, 04:50 PM
There is definite truth in keeping ourselves open to new connections.

To be fair, even if the pic was of a woman who looked just like me I'd probably not expect to have much in common. <<redact>> Let's just say I'm weird.

So, I'm not even looking for people truly "like me" -- I have much more modest goals: to just find some other homeschooling mom's with whom I can fake my way thru enough superficial conversations to support my kids having friends. Maybe an excuse to clean my house more. I guess I'm looking for co-workers in homeschooling, not friends. Friends would be great, and I'm open to that. At least, I have awesome friends -- unfortunately they live 1,500 miles away. :(

As to adding a service to a website -- trouble is privacy. This site does have a map of member's locations, but to have too much personal info visible...wouldn't do it. I mean, I wouldn't want to share the depth of my weirdness with a new IRL friend for quite a while! LOL

farrarwilliams
11-20-2011, 07:06 PM
Maybe there's a way to create such a thing tagging on to something that already exists. It seems like it would need to ask, obviously, your location and also maybe your willingness to travel - like, 10 mins, 20 mins, 1 hour... And then it would need to say what your homeschool style is, whether you're secular or religious, how long you've been homeschooling, how old your kids are as well as basic interests - legos, art, anime, video games, etc - and the type of activities you'd like to do - outdoorsy, park days, museum meet ups, etc. And then what you're looking for - your flexibility, so to speak. Presumably there are some people out there for whom religion is going to be the number one criteria, but there are probably a lot of other parents who are just desperately looking for another kid into Legos or something.

Topsy
11-20-2011, 07:18 PM
Deb...barging into your thread to ask if you belong to this group yet: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hbec/? I'd kill to have a secular group close-by that touts to have 731 members, like this one does. ;)

Oh, and pandahoneybee and I are meeting in Charlotte this week if you get desperate for secular companionship...only one problem...we both have teen/tween boys. LOL!!

Deb417
11-20-2011, 07:52 PM
Topsy, I'm a member of hbec, and here's what I have to say about it:
- I hate yahoo groups. Hate 'em. Hard to navigate/use, cumbersome to read, repetitive. I belong to at least four other Yahoo groups for hsing in NC, and feel the same about each. I subscribe, but don't like using them to communicate, I use them purely as a means of *getting* information from others (sorry to say)

- Most of what I see on hbec I see in at least one other place (if not two), and often it's not timely if you just get the daily digest e-mails as I do. I've routinely gotten e-mails notifying me of things that have already happened.

- They may have that many members, but you see the same dozen names over and over b/c there are people who like using Yahoo groups, and then there are people who have lives to live ;)

- The vast majority of people most active and best served by hbec do have middle school or older kids (and most of those are boys).

- Did I mention how much my techno-snobby self LOATHES Yahoo groups? They are just sooooo last century.

:)

Avalon
11-20-2011, 11:19 PM
I'll be your friend! Unfortunately, I live about 3000 miles away, I think. I also had a hard time making real connections with people. I attended lots of events and signed my kids up for lots of field trips and classes, and volunteered to organize lots of stuff. We met a lot of people, but it didn't translate into actual friendships. We've been homeschooling for about 6 years now, and we're finally starting to feel like part of something in the past year. I think the real turning point was when I truly broke down and flat out TOLD some of our acquaintances that my dd was desperate for friends, she wanted to go to school, and I was at my wit's end, and asked for their help. A few ladies, who probably just didn't realize that they should call us and include us, actually started doing so.

These people are not necessarily the best match for me personally, but my daughter likes their kids and they have a lot of fun, and that is good enough for me.

kewb22
11-21-2011, 07:47 AM
It is totally like dating. I actually it described it that way to a new homeschooling mom I met. It is not easy to meet like minded people. Especially if you have not been homeschooling since the beginning.

CatInTheSun
11-21-2011, 11:57 AM
Oh dear, sounds even grimmer than I thought! <sigh>

lafemmedesfemmes
11-22-2011, 08:54 PM
personally, i treat my social needs and my kids' social needs as two separate problems. i currently work full-time outside the home and homeschool kid1 in the evenings after work. but when i was a sahm, i spent time with my two or three super-close friends and a fistful of acquaintances. none of them homeschool, and i consider it a bonus that our children all get along reasonably well. now that my kids are signed up with co-ops and go to park-days (my husband handles transportation for that, now that he's home with them during the day), they each have a kid or two that they look forward to seeing, which is awesome. if i happen to make a friend among the co-op parents, that would be a bonus.

christina in lawrenceville