Have you found yourself longing for the connection of friends? Have you moved from out of state or maybe even just across the state? Maybe you have just stepped into the wonderful world of homeschooling and you feel alone and you don’t know where you fit in? Or, perhaps you find yourself in a new season of life; maybe you’ve entered the tween years and your child is aching for a deeper connection with friends. 

Making new friends can seem like a daunting experience, but we are here to offer some helpful tips and resources. Whether you moved, just started homeschooling, or find yourself in a new season of life, you are not alone! Indiana has a thriving homeschool community with families from all walks of life. 

First Steps

A great first step to take is checking out the resources from Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE). As soon as we decided to move to Indiana, I found IAHE’s website and was able to locate several great resources for sports, co-ops, and organizations. IAHE also has a Facebook group that is active and full of amazing homeschool veterans ready to support you in whatever walk of life you find yourself in! 

Here are just some of the great resources to get you started from IAHE: 

Get Connected – Discover a variety of ways to get connected with the Indiana homeschool community. 

Group Directory – Find co-ops & support groups in your area. (Sign up for a free IAHE account to access this directory.)

Sports Directory – Find local homeschool sports teams.

Facebook Group – Learn from other homeschool families. Get your questions answered.

Special Learners Support – Discover resources and support for teaching your special learner.

Extracurricular Activities

Joining extracurricular activities can be a great step towards finding your village! Indiana has several great homeschool sports teams across the state! You will also find homeschoolers sprinklered into various types of dance classes, martial arts, gymnastics, etc. Often the owners/managers of these studios can introduce you to other homeschool members or even offer classes during the day. (They might just be homeschoolers themselves.)

While not exclusively a homeschool activity, 4-H offers another option to connect with other homeschoolers.  Indiana has a very active 4-H program and offers students a variety of experiences from not only showing animals, but also aerospace, archery, natural sciences, robotics, communications, woodworking, sewing, and so much more. Start by reaching out to your local extension office to get connected with clubs, workshops, field trips, and more. You can find your county information HERE

If an internet search doesn’t provide helpful for finding sports teams, classes, or activities in your area, reach out through social media. Many counties have local Facebook groups for homeschoolers. If you have trouble finding one of these groups, a search through IAHE’s Facebook group can be extremely helpful. 

Church & Volunteering

Church is another fantastic way to make friends. If you are new to the area, try reaching out to church leaders in your town. See which church fits your style and has a thriving homeschool community. 

Look for volunteer opportunities in your community, in your church, and in your child’s extracurricular activities. You might just be surprised how many activities are driven by fellow homeschoolers. 

Co-ops, Events, & Libraries

Co-ops give families an opportunity to connect as well. Many of the state’s support groups and co-ops can be found HERE. If you are struggling to find a co-op near you, reach out on IAHE’s Facebook group to see which co-ops are accepting new members and when their enrollment starts. 

Attend IAHE events—from our annual conference to virtual classes, IAHE has several opportunities to connect with other families! Check out their events

Check out your local library and surrounding libraries. Some libraries across the state even offer homeschool classes. If your local library doesn’t, still show up! You might just find other homeschool families hanging out at the library during the day. Libraries are also a popular choice for homeschool clubs (like chess) to meet up at—so check the bulletin boards or ask your local librarian what clubs might meet at the library. 

Explore Nature & Museums

Go for a hike or visit a nature center. Several counties have nature centers and parks with homeschool ecology classes or meet ups. If you are unsure where to start, ask one of the park naturalists or rangers what programs they offer or what groups they know of that meet up at the local parks. Indiana has some amazing parks to explore. 

Explore zoos and museums during the typical school year. Several of the museums across the state offer homeschool days and events. Check your local museums and zoos for hours and programs. You can check out Indiana Historic Sites for homeschool programs. Bonus: IAHE Members get into Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites FREE! For a list of field trip ideas where you might run into other homeschoolers, check out our field trip guide

What’s next?

  • Pray and give it to God! He will guide you to amazing opportunities and help you find your village. 
  • Show up! It can be intimidating to show up to new adventures and places, but you got this.
  • Start a conversation! Say hello to another family and get the conversation going. You never know who might be waiting for you to say hello. 
  • Organize a field trip and post it to IAHE’s Facebook group! A simple invite can open so many opportunities. 

Don’t give up! Your first conversation may not be the friend or village you were looking for, but it will happen.