Guest post: We lost our homeschooling network in the move

This is a guest post from Elizabeth, who comments here as YesMyKidsAreSocialized. She is the mother to three girls.

We lost our education network in the move. While we were still in Southern California, we had everything we needed for homeschooling the kids — from mentors and teachers all the way to support from local businesses, which offered opportunities during the day for homeschoolers, when other kids are in school. The charter school even gave us approximately $3,000 per kid (that’s $9,000 a year!) to help with paying for all our classes, lessons, books, art supplies, field trips, and more.

Now we’re in Minneapolis. And comparatively, it has nothing. I connected with the people in charge of various homeschooling groups and they’ve told me there isn’t anything like what we had in Southern California. (And of course, the most organized homeschooling groups out here are all religious, and we aren’t religious. I don’t need my kids being taught that earth is only 5,000 years old.)

This is all very depressing. Clearly. Because my oldest kid said she wanted to go to school.

At first, she told me she would give me a chance to get my bearings and find something like we used to have. She mentioned said she might like to do private school for high school. And then the timeline kept getting shorter. Then she was talking about private school for middle school. And suddenly, instead of waiting through the summer to start school in 5th grade, she just wants to go “right now.”

Even though there’s only a few weeks left in the school year, I said okay anyway. Because she is in charge of her education.

But then I cried. Which is something I don’t do very often, maybe three times a year at the most. I was just so sad about all the changes — packing up our old place, then living in corporate housing, and finally moving to a house. And now my oldest kid did not want to wait to see what I can do.

On one hand I feel like a failure because I couldn’t keep it together. On the other hand, I feel very much like a success because she was able to transition so seamlessly. Even with the gaps in her education, she is thriving there.

60 replies
  1. jessica
    jessica says:

    I think your daughter is super smart and noticed all the changes were stressing you and maybe herself too (rightfully so, moving is a top stressor on its own). My son is the same age and talking about going back into school. They might just be exploring their independence. You provide her with so much engagement outside of schooling. Is it hard on you for her to be gone most of the day? I imagine that transition is jarring at first. Your whole life changed a lot in a short amount of time!
    Kuddos to you for following her needs and being the support she needs no matter what is happening in the families’ life. I always enjoy reading about your adventures, lessons, and perspectives on this blog.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      It was very hard on me having so many changes within such a short time frame. But, we have always typically worked on our own stuff during the day, in separate spaces. Then we would come together in the evenings to discuss what we have been working on, what we learned or play games or whatever. It took about a week to sink in and for that pit in my stomach to leave.

      Thanks for being so supportive. This community is so important and meaningful to me.

    • Yocheved
      Yocheved says:

      Ok all religious homeschoolers aren’t anti science. That’s kind of a rude slur. And you’re shutting yourself off without knowing any of them. I’m not religious not even Christian! but I’ve connected with any homeschoolers who’s passionate about homeschooling and family tight.
      In my area religious homeschoolers maybe bc they’re wealthy are very stem oriented and into lessons up the wazoo for music and art. Anyway I think you’re nuts for being sad. You made a huge transition. When I went from ny to fla was like nothing. But Florida to Ohio it was crazy different and I was not happy for a while. I ended up moving within Ohio till I was. It’s so lonely moving. Nothing is lonelier I think other than divorce I imagine. I am not but many friends are. My kids had to go to regular school for two years when my husband switched jobs. We needed the money. I felt like garbage bc they LOVED homeschooling. The guilt was unreal. I promised I’d work hard and get us back and I did. They were so excited to move. We didn’t have a Ton of friends we mostly socialized with family. My three kids are very close in age and have each other which I think is plenty. I visit my family once a month so it’s not too bad. My husband is a god to me he is really my best friend. I Skype with all my female friends at least once a week sometimes more. It sometimes feels like a job keeping in touch. Anyway you have to think what homeschooling is about. We never got a cent and for us it was about choosing our own path which you can do anywhere. You can do a lot there. You sound like you’ve just lost your will. It’s ok if your daughter is in school temporarily or forever why does that make you a failure. She can always homeschool again. She’s happy! You’re just experiencing what’s totally normal for a big change of life.

      • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
        YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

        I didn’t mean to lump all religious people as anti-science. I went to religious private school as a child. I was taught that a deity created different animals on different literal days and that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. It took a lot of time and effort outside of school to learn about real science. I don’t believe most kids have that determination to act against their parents beliefs. And one of my kids is extremely impressionable, and would believe in a million gods given a strong enough argument. She is a magical thinker and not as logical as my other kid. So I do have a lot of bias that I try very very hard to overcome.

        Thanks so much for sharing your story, and I am already making connections out here, plus my best friend already lives out here. It’s just hard to hear your kid say they want to immediately stop something that you believe is in their best interest and try something that you know doesn’t guarantee any results.

        • Pirate Jo
          Pirate Jo says:

          This resonated with me – my religious background was similar to yours. Also, with a lot of the more fundamentalist religions, the focus is on keeping people sheltered from the real world as opposed to teaching them to navigate it successfully.

          I just finished reading J.D. Vance’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and he encountered the same thing while he was growing up. His dad’s religion was full of people who freaked out about Led Zeppelin music and harmless card games like ‘Magic: The Gathering’ as being “of the occult.”

          For me, it was the constant warnings/threats about anything “worldly,” which I came to realize was just another word for “normal.” You had to stay away from worldly people, worldly music, worldly books and movies, college, and anything else that could bring you into contact with “the world.” Armageddon was just around the corner (as it has been for a century now) so you needed to prepare for life after Armageddon and not focus on this “system of things” which would soon be “washed away.”

          Personally, I’m an atheist, but I do see how SOME religions can be constructive, if the “values” they teach are somewhere along the lines of healthy conflict resolution and learning to be a good listener, as opposed to some variation of “never leave your house.” It might not be so bad to go to a church where you could actually help people instead of focusing on goofy dogma all the time.

        • jessica
          jessica says:

          I avoid the hyper religious crowd. The semi- religious I can deal with. Yes, hyper religious do tend to ignore science, semi religious acknowledge science from what I have found. They are lumped together (science/religion) in beliefs due to foundational thinking.
          I have witnessed cultish behaviour upfront and engaged in conversations with hyper religious individuals, so this isn’t a hot air statement.

  2. Virginia
    Virginia says:

    You have so many interesting experiences. Maybe you should start your own blog. I’d love to hear more about what you are going through. Thanks for sharing.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Thanks! I really love the community here on P’s blog. I’ve been commenting here for so many years and have made some great connections. I don’t know that it’s possible to recreate that on my own. But I would love to keep sharing here!

      • Deni
        Deni says:

        Just found this post and I agree, a blog would be nice from your perspective! (I normally don’t read through comments of blog posts because it takes time that I don’t have, but took the exception this time because your post said you moved to MN)

        I live in a western “rural suburb” of Minneapolis and have hemmed and hawed about whether I should homeschool my kids when they get to school age. I have also found in my minimal research that the resources here to be lacking compared to other bloggers I follow who happen to homeschool (like the amazing co-op the gal at NWEdibleLife has) and have been hoping to find a MN blogger that homeschools. You might be able to create the community of like-minded homeschoolers here through that, and/or you could found your own co-op if you can find/create that community.

        If you haven’t found it already, the Three Rivers Parks district has many opportunities – I personally like the idea of the classes Silverwood and Gale Woods offer:

  3. Sarah M
    Sarah M says:

    $3000/kid! I didn’t think there were any states that paid for HSing. I walked into BC thinking it was like Disneyland, which gives you $1,000/kid per year. That would be *very* hard to leave behind…….

    • Yocheved
      Yocheved says:

      They should. It’s gross they don’t that they leave kids out of specials too. We pay the taxes

      • Light Bulb
        Light Bulb says:

        When I was living on the East Coast, my state didn’t pay for any homeschooling activities. But I heard of many stories that cities and towns accomodate families on a case-by-case basis, from speech therapies to a few “special” classes to (in my son’s case) Destination Imagination. DI was an after school program, so he was welcomed. Another way to be involved is moms can agree to lead a group (Scouting, DI, 4H, Lego League, etc) at school and use their venue and get several students.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      High Schoolers get a little over 3k! It’s true! I didn’t think any other states offered anything. CA has a handful of charters fighting over the same group of homeschoolers, so they keep upping the ante.

      On the plus side, my husband only works 40 hours a week now! He was working 60-70 a week at SpaceX.

      • Virginia
        Virginia says:

        Wow, did your husband leave SpaceX because of the insane hours? I saw the employees sued for unpaid work but they only got $500 each. $500 each doesn’t sound like enough to me if you are working hundreds of extra hours.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          He was ready to leave SpaceX for a variety of reasons, but only for the right opportunity. Unfortunately, he was in a salaried leadership position, so no overtime. He did get a lot of stocks and financial incentives. We cashed out pretty much all the SpaceX stock and put a huge down payment on a house in MN. Not only is he working less hours, his new director made a point to tell him that as a senior manager he needs to try to leave by 5 every day so the engineers don’t feel obligated to work longer. He’s also making a significant amount more than most of the directors at SpaceX. It was all a win for him and his stress levels. Minneapolis was one city we both agreed on as somewhere we would relocate if it came up. I’ll have to ask him if he’s heard anything about that payout. His former employees still text him all the gossip going on there.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          I’m going to get more details tonight. $500 is definitely not enough, but I can say for a fact that my husband made sure his employees were taking all their breaks etc. however, I can’t speak for across the board management. I know my husband worked 21 hours one day and worked the next day for 16. We weren’t contacted at all regarding this class action suit.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          He worked there until the middle of March and was there for three years.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

          He just texted me that this class action suit was for hourly over the last five years. People got different amounts. I would expect more suits to follow, potentially. Not a good position for the company to be in right now.

  4. Alli P
    Alli P says:

    While we’re not homeschooling, I was seriously considering it a couple summers ago and connected with some great secular homeschoolers/groups here in the Twin Cities. Would love to connect you in the off chance you haven’t checked them out yet! (Feel free to email me) My oldest is going into 5th grade next year and loves making new friends… (welcome to Minnesota! Sorry it’s been rough. #transitions)

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Would love to connect. We are living in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. I looked into HedFex (sp?) but couldn’t find the math and science we needed.

      • Jenna
        Jenna says:

        I’m an atheist and unschooler in Minneapolis. Welcome! You might like to check out Planet Homeschool for secular co-op classes for kids 12+ (and 9+ if an older sibling is enrolled). I am part of a secular homeschooling meet-up group and can connect you with others as well. My kids are very young, but I know people with older daughters. It’s so hard to move to a new place! I hope you’ll end up finding your community here.

        • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
          YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:


          I remember checking out Planet Homeschool a few months ago, but was told by a friend that they are very strict on age requirements. Maybe I should contact someone from there personally. My 10 year old was taking high school Biology before we moved here. My newly turned 8 year old was taking a high school renewable energy class. School is such a joke! But if I could get them in appropriate classes based on their abilities maybe I could get Savannah to reconsider homeschooling.

          • Jenna
            Jenna says:

            It’s true they are strict on age requirements, but younger siblings can attend if an older one is enrolled. It’s worth a shot looking into it again! Have you contacted MHA in the last month? There’s fresh leadership there, and it’s a secular organization. Homeschool Adventures is another resource to find meet up groups, single classes, activities. They run an Imagination Fair and Maker’s Market that attract a more diverse homeschooling population. But other than HedFex and Planet Homeschool, there aren’t any secular co-ops that offer organized classes that I’m aware of.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      I’m sorry if it seemed to be poking fun at a specific belief. The backstory is that when I was in elementary and even jr high, I was taught that Creation was a real thing, and evolution was evil. I don’t want that type of education for my kids. It’s like a compare and contrast, not making fun of. I hope that makes more sense?

      • Pirate Jo
        Pirate Jo says:

        There’s nothing wrong with poking fun at a belief that is stupid. I think it’s why stupid beliefs exist in the first place.

        • Bos
          Bos says:

          Wait a minute… are you saying God put stupid beliefs on Earth so people could learn to use their reasoning skills?

          I am falling down an ontological rabbit hole now.

  5. Phonics
    Phonics says:

    ” The charter school even gave us approximately $3,000 per kid (that’s $9,000 a year!) to help with paying for all our classes, lessons, books, art supplies, field trips, and more.”

    Where did this money come from? Charter schools are public schools. Public schools are funded by taxpayers. If a charter school has a fund-raiser to make their own money, shouldn’t that money go to the charter school for its students benefits? Can’t wrap my head around this one.

    I think your family does alright $ wise. Why did you need the 9 grand?

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      We hadn’t always been part of a homeschooling charter. They are considered public schools and get some sort of funding percentage that takes away from regular public schools. It’s not a brick and mortar system in the traditional sense.

      I only joined the last year, in part to see how I would be treated as an unschooler. I opted out of all the state testing and worked out a nice arrangement where I could submit photos of my kids “work”. It was a nice perk and I didn’t have to give up anything or do anything that I didn’t want to do. So in that instance, why wouldn’t I sign up? It wasn’t about needing it. But for families that do need it, it’s great for them and makes homeschooling possible.

  6. The Contemporary Homeschooler
    The Contemporary Homeschooler says:

    Thank you for your post. I’m sorry about your tough move. I am so grateful to homeschool in Southern California. The charter school funds you referred to have had a huge impact on the opportunities available to homeschoolers. People from other states are unfamiliar with this concept. I wrote this blog post so others could learn more about it.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Thank you! I met so many families that wouldn’t have made the leap to homeschooling without the homeschooling charter schools that are in CA. It’s a game changer for sure.

  7. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “On one hand I feel like a failure because I couldn’t keep it together.” Hardly a failure, more like a temporary setback. Maybe. I say that because she may have opted to go to school eventually even if you hadn’t moved. And it works both ways – kids are moving from school to homeschooling and from homeschooling to school. That fact shouldn’t be surprising if it’s the kid making their education choice. My niece who’s middle school aged decided last Fall she wasn’t going to attend school anymore. She had very good grades so apparently that wasn’t the issue. My sister-in-law tried to resolve whatever issue it was with the school administration and wasn’t successful. Rather than fight with the school, she and my niece decided they would homeschool with an accredited curricula approved by the State. Nobody moved and yet her education delivery system became very different in a very short period of time. It was a hectic and chaotic time for them for a few months. A temporary setback if one is of the belief that education necessarily takes place in the classroom. Now for my main point. I’ve read on this blog how it’s the parents who are revolutionary. I submit it is the kids who are the revolutionaries if they are the ones who are making their own education choices. Or at least more revolutionary. They are the ones who are doing the heavy lifting. They are the ones who are making choices that will impact the rest of their lives. Sometimes school is the choice and other times it’s homeschooling. It seems to me standing back and watching them make their own choices is the hardest thing.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      “It seems to me standing back and watching them make their own choices is the hardest thing.”

      Yes, it is the hardest thing as a parent. I do agree that it is revolutionary for kids to choose to do something totally opposite of what they have been doing. It takes bravery to come to a parent and tell them they want something different.

  8. Maria
    Maria says:

    Welcome to MN! I’m north of Mpls by an hour, but I’m there pretty often.

    I homeschool my 5 kids (ages 4-12); I find myself surrounded by mainly religious homeschool communities, and do partake in many of their activities, even though I don’t ascribe to the same beliefs. For me it’s like playing anthropologist.

    Hope you find some belonging here. You say west Mpls? The Chanhassen Arboretum is lovely- kids under 12 get in free. I’ll be there soon with my gremlins if you’d like to meet up. 😊

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      The religious communities have some of the BEST run homeschooling classes and opportunities. I would definitely consider doing a higher level math class through a religious coop if I could find a good fit. But, I have found that in general, non-religious people aren’t welcome. And I can’t blame them. If they wanted outsiders to take their classes they would label them secular or inclusive.

      • Maria
        Maria says:

        Lol I just don’t tell them. So far it seems we’ve escaped being under the microscope. But I suppose there are always the ones that require a signed profession of faith or whatever…

  9. Bos
    Bos says:

    I feel for you, YMKAS. I hope things work out for you and your family.

    I can say that, in my experience, there are many hard things about having your homeschooled kid go back to school.

    You point to one – the feeling that you have let them down, that your homeschooling is inadequate and this is why they are choosing to leave you. You’re not crazy for feeling that, but nor is it true. As you say, it’s a facet of her being in charge of her own education. Your support has empowered her to choose.

    It is also hard to see your kid have a hard time at school, as mine did this fall. I’m not going into details, but it was a long year for all of us. My son and I both had important realizations: I realized that I cannot reasonably expect to keep a complete picture of what his obligations are, and help him manage them. He realized that if he shoves his obligations in a corner and doesn’t address them, he greatly increases his suffering, his worry, and the amount of work he has to do in the long run. Now he does his work the instant he gets it, and I limit my inquiry to very general questions. He will tell me what he thinks I need to know.

    I see my job as the parent of a previously homeschooled child in school as mostly to help him keep perspective, to remind him that it’s his choice, based on his opportunities, to be there and that he is choosing to do it in pursuit of his goals. I try to help him remember that the tasks assigned him in classes are only part of his self-education, not the whole of his education.

    I’m sure other homeschooling parents have heard the exclamation from others: “I could never do that! It must be so hard!”

    There are ways in which having your kids in school is harder. It’s not as time-consuming, but it’s harder when you’re on deck. You have to maintain your connection and support in less time.

    I will never regret homeschooling my son for six years. I hope I will also never regret letting him go back to school last fall. So far, I think it’s been a valuable experience for him. Competence, autonomy, and relatedness: it’s all coming together.

    Best of luck to you, YMKAS. Keep the home fires burning ’til the girls come home.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      It’s been great following your journey with your son as well. I would hope that middle school would give more opportunities than elementary. I truly feel it’s a waste of her time, but honoring her choices now is one of the best things I can do to help her make good decisions in adulthood.

      Moving totally sucks when you are in the middle of it. And logic says that everything will be ok on the other end, but it takes me longer to process everything emotionally and let go than most of the people I know.

      • Bos
        Bos says:

        That’s another thing that’s hard. It’s hard to know that a large part of class time is completely wasted time. Kids sitting through math classes at grade level just because their school has a policy of non-promotion despite actual student level. Dumbed down public school science classes. English classes that repeat the same grammar, year after year, to a mixture of kids who will never learn it and kids who already know it.

        It’s likely your daughter will have a reaction against some of these wastes of her time. And it’s also likely your daughter will find some other things that are not a waste of her time. My son is spending a lot of time at school tutoring other kids, leading working groups, helping out in the nurse’s office, and coaching other musicians in his orchestra.

        It’s relatively easy to figure out how to support other people when there’s just a handful of you. When you’re thrown together 450 at a time in a huge, sometimes hostile institution, figuring out how to support your peers is an admirable accomplishment.

        If you don’t think it has to be forever, and your daughter doesn’t think it has to be forever, she can concentrate on learning what she can, or what she wants to, from the experience.

  10. Donna
    Donna says:

    I will start following your blog now! Minneapolis native here. As I was reading the first few sentences of your post about your losing your network I was thinking “I bet the Catholics have bomb home schooling networks.” I have a few Catholic friends in that area who home school.

    Catholics aren’t uneducated rubes who believe in creationism, (I don’t believe Protestants can be dismissed as that either, but I won’t go in to that). Catholics are far more sophisticated than that. Look it up! Maybe you should network with the Catholics and tap in to some of their resources! Might teach you a little bit more tolerance and less backhanded snit, too!

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      I prefer the word snarky over snit ;)

      I am happy to let everyone know that I get along with people of all stripes. I only mean to protect my kids from the intolerance that I grew up with. Fwiw, my kid’s school is filled with religious people, and the principal is very religious. It’s a public school though, and he emailed me the entire science curriculum, so I know exactly what we are receiving. But, I will check out the catholic homeschooling network and see what math and science options they might have available for my atheist kid. Thanks for the suggestion!

      I truly hope that most people can see the real message of the post and overlook the snarky parts.

  11. pat sommer
    pat sommer says:

    Recently uprooted SoCal Hschoolers ourselves: to Mexico.
    Yanked my daughter around the globe every few years.

    When we arrived in SoCal we took a longer time than usual to get our groove on because of the wide choices: counterintuitively, the Hschoolers weren’t just sitting there waiting for us to find them as in Beijing.

    Used the transition time at each new home as genuine tourists. We have to become experts quick so that we can host guests.

    Lovely time of year in MN to see and do everything!

  12. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Maybe think of it this way, too:

    This is evidence that you have been successful in raising a child with the self-assurance to persist in pursuing what she feels to be best for herself – in a sense, she is really taking charge of her own learning. So she will have the confidence to step back from traditional schooling and back into homeschooling, if and when she needs to.

    It may happen in middle school. It may happen in high school. Or it may not happen at all. But it sounds like you’ve brought her up to have the guts and self-monitoring to be able to know when that might be and push accordingly.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Thank you so much for the kind words! It totally helps to reframe it like that.

  13. Karelys Beltran
    Karelys Beltran says:

    I love your pics on fb.
    I think your kiddo is going to do just fine. Because, as you said, she is in charge of her education.

    It might not look much different from the outside but mindset is everything.

  14. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I have this same issue. My husband and our three small kids moved from homeschooling-friendly New Hampshire to the middle of nowhere in southern Virginia.
    There are no secular homeschooling groups here, but even the Christian group I joined doesn’t seem to be doing much in the way of meetups and activities. It’s depressing, but we have a wonderful house, woods, pond, and live near family for the first time in forever, so things have become much more home-based for us, which is good and OK. I just wish it were easier to connect with other homeschooling families without driving two hours.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Hi Ashley,

      This really reminds me of when Penelope moved from New York to rural Wisconsin. She has written so much about life on the farm, and all the unschooling lessons learned. But she also wrote about the loneliness from not having a community because most kids go to school, and she was alienated from the christian group for being jewish.

      The home-based option worked really well for us until my oldest turned 9 and spent a day at a small experimental school at my husband’s work. We had lots of books, games, and plenty of documentaries to watch, and all we really needed was a good internet connection, art supplies, and legos. Once she experienced a taste of something different, she started blossoming in other ways. Consuming book after book, and she had read 40 books in a month! Prior to that her main interest was comic books and graphic novels.

      Home-based is a great option when kids are younger, and internet connections become really important for homeschool parents when they don’t have a physical community. Are you on facebook?

  15. Fatcat
    Fatcat says:

    The most important thing that needs to come out of this is that you preserve a good relationship with your daughter. Relationships matter more than quality of education. Hopefully you’ll get through this rough patch soon and start to make connections in your new community.

    And yes, I have to address the religious statements with saying that not all Christians believe in a young earth and certainly not all disagree with science. Here are a couple of websites.

  16. aquinas heard
    aquinas heard says:

    I always look forward to Elizabeth’s comments on this blog – even when I disagree with them. It’s obvious to me, over these years of her comments, of how much thought and consideration she puts into assisting her children in their value-pursuit. I really applaud her for that and when I find myself disagreeing with her on some particulars or even generals (such as worldview) I remind myself of this top value of mine that we share in common.

    I can imagine how difficult it would be to move and then not have a similar education network supportive of homeschooling (unschooling). That would be very tough.

    I hate to hear you say like you feel like a failure when your oldest daughter chose to attend public school. I see your daughter primarily making this choice because of a lack of a social network. But I also seeing you still making an effort to make it possible that she can (eventually?) choose to unschool if she would like. I don’t see what else you can do. Your effort to do this still shows (along with a bunch of other things, I’m sure) how much she and her value-pursuit means to you. I commend you for that.

    As has been stated elsewhere here, I would really enjoy reading a blog by you about your continuing unschooling with your other two children, and also about what is going on with your daughter in public school – if you were willing to share.

  17. Light Bulb
    Light Bulb says:


    I have been enjoying your comments in addition to reading Penelope’s blog for several years. I have been going through similar situation as yours since last year because I moved from another state to the LA area (near Pasadena). I think moving is difficult for anyone, but particularly for somebody who had every network for everything. I believe your resourcefulness will bring more opportunities, and discover something unexpected.

    When I came from Asia to East Coast to go to school, I went through many things. Although I planned to do it with my own decision, cultural shock was big. Then, I moved to countryside with my husband and unborn baby, thinking kids need nature and we as a family needed a house. It was more shocking. I thought it was a big mistake back then, but now I miss the nature, much less traffic, fresh air, rivers and ponds and amphibians and fish. I used to think there was “nothing” where I lived, but my boys learned a lot.

    Now I have to start all over again. I’m still looking for high-level STEM clubs which are volunteer run, because they tend to be more nurturing than fee-based classes with one instructor. I do like those little theaters all over in my area. I’m also wondering how you find mentors, community service, or businesses that support homeschoolers? My kids are 12 and 8. I want to get them out of the house because they really thrive in social settings, but not necessarily schoolish settings.

    Your charter school’s funds ($3k) sounds amazing. From what I hear, the highest amount a charter can offer is $2600 for K-8, and $2800 or $3 for high schoolers. If you don’t mind, can you tell me which one?

    I think back 2016-17 “school year” and think I should have sent them to school for the first year, so I have more time to do research about the area. It was crazy doing all kinds of paperwork, taking them to different places, doing research, etc. So your daughter may have good instinct… First of all, she has only a few weeks this school year, so she can always go back to unschooling if she chooses to do so. Second, it’s a new place, and she’s at the age when kids crave friends. Going to school is on the opposite side of spectrum, but the way she made the decision really quickly is very unschooler like. That’s how I felt about her decision. Also, I think she knows she will always have you as a safety net (about schooling) if she needs one, perhaps possibility of going back to unschooling, so it shows how secure you make her feel. I know you miss where you lived, but if your husband is making more or has time, perhaps you can travel even more often. Vermont has a very nice unschooling camp in October. Perhaps you can do travel schooling now and then.

    I hope everything goes well with you and your family, and hope to see your comments here. I wish you had a blog or Facebook page. (I don’t have a blog, but on Facebook)

    Light Bulb

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      You are so brave to have moved so many times. I’ve moved cross-country several times, but this time was really challenging. My father moved to the US from Eastern Europe in the 1970’s leaving his family back in his home country and started from scratch here. I think that is incredibly brave and inspiring hearing about your move!

      But moving to SoCal as a homeschooler, the options are almost too many! It can take time to find what one really likes and works for their kids because there are so many offerings.

      Have you looked into Face LA? They meet up in Glendale. Glendale was a little too far for me, but much closer to you in Pasadena. I always wanted to join that group though, and I really like Glendale.

      As for the high level stem that are nurture based and volunteer run, I don’t think you will find anything. Anything free or volunteer run tends to become overcrowded really quickly and loses whatever benefit would have been gained.

      My friends and I always liked IEA in Pasadena. The teachers there are great. More nurture based classes can be found through city recreation programs, usually for a nominal fee, but they aren’t at the high level. We were able to get together with other homeschool families and hire a chemistry teacher to teach our kids at home. There is something for everyone.

      I don’t think I’m done homeschooling forever, but I’m slowly letting go of the plans that I had made. She knows she can always come back.

  18. Rita
    Rita says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I appreciate your candour! I can understand how disorienting the move and the lack of support must be, and on top of that your daughter asserts her independence by choosing to go to school.
    We just moved to another part of town, I shouldn’t be surprised at how spaced out I’m feeling, but there are a lot of decisions to be made, extra jobs that need doing, and stuff that needs unpacking, and with master 3 and master 5 (who’s very intense!) I can barely get anything extra done.
    We just bought a cargo bike so I can take the boys out and get some exercise for myself. And I remind myself that when I stay up till midnight I will not cope tomorrow…

  19. Amy A
    Amy A says:

    Not having any support can be the best thing for an adult–for growth and maturity, to learn a deep sense of self-reliance, to really learn who you are and what you’re made of, and so forth. This has been my experience. It’s not been easy whatsoever, but it’s been nitty-gritty real, deep and healing; and I’ll take that over the easy-route any day. I regret all the years I spent trying to find “community.”

    As a result of going at it alone, and going _back_ to Christianity recently (the Bible kind, not the P.C. church kind), I’m incredibly at-peace and calm. Life is so much easier not looking to the outside in order to be okay.

    (You have a husband there for you, so that puts you at an advantage. And your mom will fly from anywhere to help, right?)

    I’ve moved about 35 times in my life. It always works out. No matter where you go, there you are. ;)

    The Twin Cities are very liberal (even many of the Christians). So I’m sure you’ll find your people very soon.

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