We have only lived in our little Missouri town for about 3.5 years. While we moved from a large, crime-ridden city in Florida, the lack of resources in this town makes homeschooling and socializing a little tough. I know that a lot of rural families benefit from homeschooling, and any of them born and raised in a rural town probably know all they need to about the town. However, for homeschoolers who move to smaller places it can seem like they are all alone. Quite frankly, homeschooling in a small town where you know no one and there isn't much to do can get lonely.
That was our dilemma when we moved. I was homeschooling my son who was in K, and I had a 10 month old baby. All of my family and friends were back home soaking up the Florida sun, while I was busy winterizing our new home. I knew that hunkering down would drive me and the kids insane, so I went out of my way to find resources for homeschoolers in this town. Here are some ideas that will work for any family living in a small town and for those enjoying the city life, too.
1. Talk to the local library, specifically the children's librarian. The library here was familiar with a local homeschooling group that had used the library for a couple of occasions.
2. Get online and see if there is a local Yahoo email group for homeschooling. By typing in your city and the word homeschooling any local groups should pop up. Yahoo Groups
3. Check out local message boards for your town. Topix is a popular message board that has forums for cities around the country. While the forum for my little town is full of gossip and nonsense, some cities do have productive conversations happening. Just creating a message that says, "Hey, anyone know if there's a homeschooling group around?" That's actually how I got current contact info for the local homeschooling group.
4. Talk to people you see around town that seem to have school-aged children with them during school hours. Homeschooling families know that if there are errands to do in the day, the kids tag along. Just starting a friendly conversation like, "Oh, do you guys homeschool or is school out today?" will get you lots of information.
5. Depending on your town, some of the local churches may be familiar with local homeschooling groups. A couple of the churches here allow homeschoolers to take state tests using their facilities. Any church associated with a small private school may be familiar with homeschoolers, too.
Hopefully these ideas will help you out if you're in a small town and are looking for other homeschoolers. If all else fails, start your own group and advertise online, at churches, at the library, and on bulletin boards. You may be surprised how many others are looking for homeschoolers, too.