Moving can mean a lot of change, but it can be good change! There are some things you can do to help your child make a smooth transition to a new location.
Moving to a New State
For homeschoolers, finding friends can be a priority. A homeschool co-op might be the best way to find homeschool friends. You can also look for homeschool support groups that have teen activities. Search local activities to see if they have special times for homeschool groups. In our area, there is homeschool skating and homeschool bowling, for example.
Remind your child that they may experience culture shock. Teenagers in your new location may dress and talk differently, and listen to different music. Remind your teenager that it may take her a few months before she feels like she fits in, but that's normal.
Cultural changes can take many forms. The local homeschool co-op may require you to be there the entire time your child is on site, or they may require all parents to babysit infants while your teenager takes classes. The culture of the co-op may be very different from what you are used to.
As you are researching your new environment, make sure you look at the state homeschool information, NOT the state public school information. It's often quite different! This article will help you locate your new state homeschool law: Know Your State Homeschool Law
As soon as you know you will be moving, try to find a homeschool co-op, and visit them as soon as possible. Many co-ops will register for fall classes early in the spring. To participate, you may need to invest financially in the co-op before you move, to reserve your spot. Be ready, so your child will have fun and be able to make friends. If possible, try to have your child take non-academic, fluffy and fun classes in the group setting. That way there will be little performance anxiety, and they'll have more opportunities to make friends. Plus, you don't really know the academic quality of the co-op before you move. Use it for fun activities, not core subjects, until you can be sure they will offer the best academic preparation for your child.
As you plan your high school classes after the move, keep your homeschool hours reasonable, so your child has time to find and develop friends. For example, it takes so much time to complete an AP class, you may want to forego that opportunity right after a move. During this transition, taking "normal" classes is a great idea. You want to keep your child challenged, not overwhelmed, so they have enough time for socializing in their new home. AP classes could definitely be overwhelming.
You might be surprised by a change in the academic expectations and worldview in your new location. These changes can be shocking at times. One state may have exceptionally high expectations or requirements in high school, and another state may struggle to provide a basic high school education. Expect a change in the state-wide attitude toward education. Without judging others, remember that you are responsible for the education of your own child, to the best of your ability. Don't compare yourself to others, just do your best.
Be prepared for a cultural change in your new homeschool group. Each group may have very different attitudes and rules. In the beginning, dress conservatively when you visit. I know that my Seattle, clothes look radical compared to how women in the south sometimes dress! Especially in the beginning, make sure your children don't show the belly button, tattoos, or body piercings until you are comfortable with the local group norms. It's not a good time to color hair purple, either! You want your child to see the group norms first, with nothing standing in the way of their friendship with others.
And just between you and me, save some money for a wardrobe upgrade about a month after you move. This may be most important for girls, I suppose, but teens may want to wear the same style of clothes as their new friends.
Have you moved while homeschooling high school? What advice can you share that would help others?