Finding true friends for gifted kids can be a real challenge. Often times they may feel like they don't quite fit in which can leave a deep feeling of loneliness. They may wonder if there is something wrong with them or if they will ever find someone who truly gets them. What is a homeschool mom to do?
When I started homeschooling I took my daughter to quite a few park days to try to find community. We had come to this journey quite suddenly and unexpectedly and we were feeling pretty isolated. To be honest, it was awkward and uncomfortable. The other moms were generally warm and welcoming but somehow we just didn't quite fit. My daughter would spend the time with her headphones on and a sketchbook in hand and pretty much ignored the other kids attempt to engage her. I tried hard to make small talk something just wasn't quite right. It was so frustrating! Imagine being at a park day with tons of other families and feeling utterly different and alone.
About 5 years ago I decided to start my own group. It was pretty obvious that we were not going to find what we were looking for without creating it ourselves. So OC Gifted Group was born.
OC Gifted Group is a community for families who are homeschooling emotionally intense, creative, neurodiverse kids. I will never forget that day when we arrived at our first park day. My introverted daughter who had refused to interact at all those other groups park days.... happily walked off with a girl her age. This girl had a ukulele and had taught herself to play. Those two spent the entire afternoon together talking, laughing and sharing. It was beautiful and I could sense something wonderful was about to happen. When we got into the car my daughter told me she had made a new friend. Listening beneath her words and seeing the emotions flowing from them, I felt deeply what she really meant.
We all need to feel seen, heard and understood to thrive and gifted kids are no different.
These days our group has grown into a thriving community with over 100 members. Families come and go. Kids go back to school. People move. As is the transient nature of homeschooling. But something so wonderful has remained. Our group is a place where kids who have refused to go back to other park days- beg to return. It's a place where gifted and twice exceptional kids find true peers who finally get them. A place where they belong- often for the first time in their young lives. We have parents who drive an hour each week to be with us. It is that worth it they say.
Our group has weekly park days and field trips, we go hiking together and have bookclubs. We have parent workshops and moms night out. We go on trips and have campouts. Our kids take classes together and learn from one another. We have become a family. When conflicts arise we are not quick to judge- we have all been there once or twice. We support each other during the challenging times and cheer each other on for our successes and for that I am so grateful.