Yeah, I’m sure this one’s another no-brainer, use the resources your extended family has to offer. In case it’s not, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family for help. They can give you access to a whole world you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Especially for teens, so much can be done with simply networking. It can be easy to feel responsible for providing every opportunity for your kids yourself, but it’s important for your kids to have their own network. These could be the people who help them find their first job or help them blossom in an area they’re interested in. Networking is so important, but I think it’s often underplayed for homeschoolers and unschoolers alike.
One of the wonderful things about unschooling is following your child’s passion. That’s all well and good when it’s a subject you know something about, but if it’s not, there are more options than to learn together. This is where your friends and family can come into play. They can connect your kids to a whole world of opportunities you’d never be able to provide on your own.
For example, your child is interested in architecture. Well, I know where I stand I’ve got no experience in that field. We could look up books on architecture. I’m sure there’s plenty of information out there, but perhaps it would be better to learn from someone with a passion for it. Put the word out and you never know what might come back. Maybe someone you know has a passion for architecture and studies it in their free time. You might be connected with someone who works in the field, or a friend of a friend that took classes in architecture in college. You never know until you put the word out there.
Then there’s connections to community resources. I mentioned last week about using your local library. Connections with friends and family might alert you to events being sponsored by their town or library that your child could be interested in. I know there have been a few times I’ve had friends offer to take my kids to events that happen to be going on in their neck of the woods. There might be classes advertised in their local mailers for community center classes that might appeal to your kids. You never know until you’ve asked around.
Sometimes asking around can also give your friends and family ideas of what to get your child as a gift that might be better than what they otherwise would have gotten. Maybe instead of buying them a toy or yet another sweater, they might instead take your child on a trip to the local art museum or out to a local theater show. There is so much potential to guide people to what would give your kids the experiences they desire instead of just one more thing to to fill your house (though it may be different if your kid really needed more sweaters!) I’m all for the idea of buying experiences, not gifts.
Friends and family can be an incredibly valuable resource from teaching your child how to network and building their social network to hooking them up with experiences they may not otherwise get to have. Never be afraid to ask your friends and family for help or for what kinds of connections they have. You never know how they’ll be able to help.