We started homeschooling the first week of November, as a knee-jerk reaction to a power struggle with school administration. I am a 39-year-old mom to two children: A first grader girl and a crazy monkey of a two-year-old boy. I'd always toyed with the idea of homeschooling, but my husband of eight years wouldn't even consider it. Then, in October, some issues snowballed at the private school we were paying DEARLY for, so I dis-enrolled her and happily sent off our notification to the state the same day.
Then reality set in. Since I was born, raised and educated here (APS/UNM), we used to have no shortage of friends, but have gotten the cold shoulder from most of them, since homeschooling tends to be viewed in a negative light. Many think I have been drinking the "Kool-Aid." We appreciate most types of value systems, though I strive for a fun & structured educational plan and put my Christian faith as the priority. Are any of you in similar situations?
There are wonderful homeschool communities in Albuquerque - so many, in fact! Shop around and see which group has "the feel" you guys like best and jump on in - there are endless field trips, classes, playdates, park days . . . so many, you could fill almost every day with something . . . You'll love it!
On this site, you'll easily find a list of local groups - a great way to get to know people is to visit their park days & field trips. But totally want to encourage you to give it a half-year . . . there is a social transition your kids AND YOU will be making . . . you have just stepped out of "The Matrix." With that, there is a process called "deschooling" that occurs . . . an educational-version of thinking-outside-of-the-box that you're probably already experiencing . . . like getting your sea legs It's a process w/ups-and-downs, doubts and confidences, good days & bad days. Trust the process . . . time REALLY DOES do the trick in this case. When it comes down to it, what you've just decided to do is RAISE YOUR OWN. Your instincts are powerful, you'll become increasingly in-tune w/your kids as they show you their natural interests & innate gifts . . . you've such a wonderful adventure ahead and we all stand behind you w/lots of support and TLC.
You're hardly alone here, and all of us were new to homeschooling at some time! For me, that was over a decade ago, as the 21yo boy is now a grown man and my 12yo girl is in the midst of midhigh. Cassie's exactly right about the variety of homeschooling experiences here-APS is a fantastic recruiter for homeschooling and there are thousands of us in town. We have classes, co-ops, workshops, field trips, play dates, homeschool bands, homeschool dances-basically they won't miss a thing.
If you're friends bring up the socialization question, we do socialize differently. We socialize between ages/grades, as the big kids play and look out for the smaller kids. We socialize without the stigma of being different (since these kids all know what it feels like to be 'different'). The kids seems to grow up without the fear of weapons, without the pressure to conform, without the pressure to be sexually involved so young, etc. They just socialize to be friends, and since you're in town, there's plenty of opportunity for that kind of socializing!
I hope you and your family have as much FUN homeschooling as we have! Enjoy! -Chris