Since we began homeschooling nine years ago, our family has moved into a new home six times. Families likely exist who have moved more often than we have but, not being members of the military, moving six times in nine years can be quite stressful brings with it a good bit of instability. Learning how to find your way around in a new city, meeting new friends, complying with all of the homeschool laws in a new state, finding a Jesus-following church that meets your families’ needs, and more top the I-just-moved-and-need-to-get-these-things-done list!
Here are a few ways that our family has made the transition after a move just a wee bit easier over the years.
Find a local homeschool group. This is one of the first steps I take after moving to a new town or state. Getting involved with a group or co-op allows us to learn about field trips in the area, gives us access to classes that may be offered, and offers a chance to meet new friends. A homeschool group is also a great place to ask questions of other parents and learn how to put the homeschool laws into practice in your particular state.
If you know ahead of time that you are moving, research the area for churches that might fit your needs. Plan to visit them upon your arrival. The area in which we currently live was a place to which my husband and I had been several times together before our move. We had attended two different churches, and knew about a third through friends we knew in the city in which we then lived. These were the first three churches on our list to try upon our arrival. It turns out that God had other plans for us. Before we made it to any of those on our list, though, we ended up visiting a church that was recommended by a new neighbor. It was close so we thought it worth a first shot. We attended three weeks in a row, loved it, and stayed. We never did visit those churches on our list. So, make your list, but be open to God’s prompting and be willing to chuck your plans out the window when He calls.
Get involved in city sports or those run by local homeschool organizations. Each state to which we have moved has offered some sort of sports program for homeschoolers or a city league of which to become a part. Most often these will be found through other homeschoolers that you meet, but sometimes you may find a wonderful program by searching online. My oldest three children were a part of SAINTS when we lived in South Florida and they loved it! I did too because not only were they getting regular exercise, they were getting in that all-important socialization that we hear so much about. 😉
Jump into serving at church right away with both feet. Once we arrived in our new state and decided on a church, I applied to serve as soon as I could. My reasons for this are threefold: as I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ, I simply want to do more to serve His people; I know that as much as my service will help others, I will be blessed as well; serving alongside others is a fabulous way to meet new people and to grow real, authentic relationships with other Christ-followers, which we all desperately need.
Invite families that seem to be in your same stage of life over for dinner to get to know them better. We began doing this almost as soon as we got to our new residence. It can be difficult to make schedules work out but I feel spending time with other families, having people to do real life with, is of utmost importance so we really work hard to organize gatherings. Not only do my husband and I gain friends this way, but so do our children, and we parents get a front-row seat to their interactions!
Encourage your children to get involved, too. We have found that moving is difficult on children. Depending on their age when the family moves, it can be extremely difficult and they could even become withdrawn. We have struggled to balance encouraging our children to get involved at church and with sports, art, community activities with allowing them space and time to grieve the loss of their friends and to become ready to meet new ones. It is more difficult for young people to realize that letting go does not have to mean not being friends; it simply means living in the now instead of the past. I must admit, it even took me some time to realize that for myself. My advice to you is to continue talking with your children about this topic. Keep the lines of communication open, be there for them as a ‘shoulder to cry on’, but also act as the re-enforcer to get them started embracing their new home and community. The path is not easy, but you will make it through!
Explore the area as a family. Any time you move to a new town or state, this is the perfect time to learn the history and geography of your new area. There are many ways to find this information. Keep your eyes open as you drive around town. Are there any exciting landmarks or museums nearby? Do some research about your town online. Who was born there that may have served as president, first lady, explorer, or architect? Find books about those people at the library. Travel an hour or two to explore their old homes. Find out which galleries in your state display drawings, paintings, or sculptures from local artists and visit those galleries. HINT: Many area dentist offices, hospitals, and restaurants display local artwork. Just pay attention while you’re out and about and you may discover the same in your hometown.
Add studies of local landmarks and history to your homeschool learning time. Find unit studies, printable packs, and possibly even full curriculum packages that are centered around the landmarks, people, and agriculture of your town. Ask your librarian or local bookstore associate to help you find books that are written by locals. These would be a fantastic addition to your homeschool year!
Though not every idea listed here is focused on the homeschool and academics, each one still counts towards learning and growing in your homeschool. Be sure you count it all, and don’t discount anything simply because it isn’t learned from a textbook.
Do you have any helpful tips for adjusting in your homeschool after a move? Please share your wisdom with me in the comments.
Wendy’s heart’s desire is to encourage women, from all walks of life, in their God-given roles as mamas, home educators, and wives. Whatever it is that God has called you to do, He will equip you for the journey. No matter the adversity you may encounter, His plans are good.
HE is good.