Back to Homeschool Week, Getting Out There
While I was living in Germany, one thing really stood out to me that I have never really experienced in the United States: the sense of community. There, when someone says "drop by anytime," they mean it and will be insulted if you never show up. Here, we make superficial invitations, accept them casually, but never would dream of actually following through. In the area where I lived, tea was served at 10, 4 and 8 and dropping in at these times was never an imposition.

I've been reflecting on this a lot recently, because I have been feeling painfully isolated. My husband works for the railroad, so is gone a lot. We live several hours from my family. And we really have never made any real friends since moving here. Acquaintances, yes, but no one I feel comfortable just calling out of the blue to chat with.

I've tried, but it really seems like I'm just in a different place than those with whom I should naturally connect. The homeschoolers in our church meet now and again, but they are looking for an evening out. That would be wonderful...but I am not going to hire a sitter just to go have a cup of coffee with the ladies from church. All of the social functions the women put together in our church presume a father who is home in the evenings. So I feel a little shut out.

And I would so desperately like for my children to really know what community means.

We have given her plenty of social opportunities. She is involved with Sparks at church and loves her karate class, where she even gets to teach the beginners once in awhile. She is a natural leader with a strong personality and this has given her a good means to develop her God-given talents. This year, she will be starting 4-H which will allow her to meet some children a little closer to home. And, of course, there are always the children in the neighborhood.

I would like to set up some volunteer work for her. There is a lot for her to learn serving others, but something seems strange about driving her into Lincoln in order to teach her some sort of lesson about Christian love. It seems so disconnected from how things are supposed to work. What I would really like is to know our neighbors well enough to teach my children about community service in our own community. I would like my daughter to learn to act when she hears that the lady down the street broke her hip rather than just say, "How awful!"

I would love for her to grow up knowing our neighbors, pulling weeds for them, walking their dogs and helping with simple chores here and there when they are out or need help for some reason. But no one is ever home. There are few things as still as a neighborhood in America during normal business hours, while "after hours" is an endless stream of rushing about to squeeze everything in.

How do you teach community when there appears to be so little community left?

This post is part of Back to Homeschool Week being hosted by I have to say...Check out some more posts on the topic by following the links she is collecting over there.

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