I’m a big fan of seasonal change. I love watching summer succumb to fall, winter melting into spring, and feeling the warmth of spring turn to the haziness of summer.
But what about major changes in your homeschool and family life? How do you weather those?
For the last year or two we have been discussing whether or not a major move might be the right thing for our family. We’ve always thought that spending time overseas would be of great benefit to our children. About seven years ago, we relocated from the west coast to the east coast, and the transition was not an altogether easy one. There were days when I wondered if we had made the right decision — removed from close friends and family, there were plenty of dark moments and tears shed.
We had just started to homeschool and it took us some time to connect with other homeschoolers, make friends through activities and sports, and get a feel for where we were living and what was available to us. All these years later, we have built a substantial network around us of like-minded homeschoolers who we enjoy being around on a weekly basis. The kids have made friends in the neighborhood and through their sports teams. So, how do you leave it all behind and decide to start over again?
It isn’t easy, but here are a few things I learned the first time around:
- It’s okay to feel sad, even after you’ve said goodbye. Acknowledging that you have made deep connections that you will miss terribly is perfectly normal.
- Resolve to nurture those friendships by staying in touch frequently. When someone moves, it’s usually up to the person that leaves to preserve the relationship. Your friends need to know you value the time you spent together and you have every intention of keeping them in your life. This goes for children, too. You never know who they will need to reconnect with as they get older.
- Keep the thread of your routine going as much as possible, even if you are jumping over boxes and unpacking. It will help everyone feel like the world is still turning despite the fact that it feels upside down.
- Once you get settled, do the things you liked to do at home. If you always signed up for homeschool classes at the local art museum, check out what’s available in your new town. Even if you don’t love the class or make a lot of new friends, it will get you out of the house. Chances are someone there will have a tip or two of what else is available in your area.
- Avoid making quick decisions about joining another group. It takes a long time to make good friends, the kind that can last a life time. If you have the option, ask to come to an open social gathering before committing to anything that you might regret later. If there are several groups in your area, don’t feel bad about shopping around before making a decision.
- If your children play recreational seasonal sports, check the town’s website and make sure you are aware of any sign-up deadlines.
- Get a library card. When you’re feeling a little bored or lonely, a library is a good (and free) place to hang out. There are almost always educational programs going on, especially for younger children.
- Time heals all things. While big moves are never easy, with time, it will seem like you have lived in your new home forever. When I first moved to the east coast, I thought the people seemed awfully rude. Seven years later, I can honestly say I have met some of the nicest, most down-to-earth people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Wonderful families who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. Which leads me to my last point:
- Stay open to new experiences. Realize that this is an opportunity for personal growth. If your children see you are not closed to making new friends or accepting a culture that might be different from what you are used to, then they will be more likely to stay open, as well.
Has your family made a major move recently? Was it in the middle of the school year, and if so, how did you cope with it?
Have you moved to another state, or even overseas? What’s your best advice for holding everyone together and making it through the difficult days of readjusting?
Leave a comment. I just may be taking your advice!