It’s homeschool park day, and we all know what that means! We’ll be dragging our children to the playground in hopes of adult conversation. But how do you identify and befriend a homeschool mom? This is my quick guide to homeschool moms, their patterns, habits, and how to lure one into a friendship.
The Military Mom:
Appearance: Her hair is done and her makeup is well done in subtle, neutral shades. She is wearing durable clothes like jeans and a T-shirt. Her clothes are clean and neat. She knows that she only has 2 years in this location to make friends for herself and her kids. So every outing is like a first date.
Her Kids: Seem almost too normal.
Reason for Homeschooling: She believes that the continuity of a home education is better for her kids than being pulled out and put in new schools every 1-2 years.
Her Curriculum of Choice: Classical Conversations because no matter where they move, she can find classes for her children to join and make friends.
How to Befriend: Invite her and/or her kids to anything! Park day, field trip, mom’s night out–It doesn’t matter what. She wants friends and will do her best to come to almost anything, even if she hates the sound of it.
The Hippy Mom:
Appearance: She looks like she got dressed at a thrift store. You think “So that’s what they mean by bohemian!”
Her kids: Don’t appear to own shoes and the younger ones make you think the word “feral.” The oldest ones, when asked what they are studying, give impressive answers like “genocide and economics” or “the political implications of astrophysics.”
Reason for Homeschooling: She believes that schools are a prison for children
Her Curriculum of Choice: Unschooling
The Eclectic Mom:
Appearance: Also jeans and t-shirt, but hers look more worn, and she probably didn’t bother much with makeup.
Her Kids: Have run off to play and you aren’t sure which ones are hers.
Reason for Homeschooling: One of her kids has a hidden learning disability and the schools didn’t work out for them.
Her Curriculum of Choice: She’s tried them all. At this point, she is writing her own and using a smattering of random things from many different companies.
How to Befriend: Ask her which curriculum would work for your middle child. She’ll tell you all about your choices.
The Classical Homeschooler:
Appearance: The most frazzled of the homeschool moms. She was actually a college professor but trying to teach her own children how to speak Latin is breaking her. There are bags under her eyes from staying up late working on lesson plans.
Her Kids: They are the loud ones on the playground burning off tons of energy and suggesting everyone play tag.
Her Curriculum of Choice: Classical education that includes more subjects than you can name. She even teaches poetry and art history along with Latin to her 6-year-old.
How to Befriend: You might not be able to. She will be spending the entire park day reading her lesson plans of what she has to teach tomorrow. But try asking about her life before kids and mention that you too were once a person that didn’t answer to tiny tyrants.
Appearance: She is the only one there who is actually continuously watching her child. She interacts with her child so much, you at first wonder if she is even a homeschooler.
Her Kids: They are right there near her, unsure about the wild group of children who clearly don’t care how old anyone is and can’t answer simple questions like ‘What grade are you in?”
Her Curriculum of Choice: She is using a curriculum her friend recommended, but she doesn’t know if it is working out.
How to Befriend: Ask her how long she’s been homeschooling, and encourage her she can do this. Suggest getting a cup of coffee and that you will bring your curriculum for her to look at.
Do these sound like the moms you know?
I’m pretty sure that I’ve fallen into several of these categories over the years. What I love the most about the homeschool communities that I’ve been a part of is that, despite our differences in reasons or homeschool styles, we come together to do some pretty great things for our kids. Putting our children first to ensure they get the education they deserve is a great common ground for moms of all types.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.