If I could identify the one thing that has helped me maintain my sanity over the last 13 years of homeschooling (and my husband and chocolate didn’t count), it would be mom’s nights out with the ladies in my homeschool support group. I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t want to go because I knew I’d be a downer, only to come home so refreshed and encouraged after spending time with ladies who truly understood.
I’ve also been blessed to be able to be the encourager many times. There is just nothing like that moment when you realize that you’re not alone and you’re not the only one who has ever experienced that thing that is driving you batty.
It’s so important to get out and spend time with other homeschooling moms – but what do you do? Following are some of my favorite homeschool mom’s night out ideas:
I mean, seriously. That probably goes without saying, right? We used to close down some restaurants, y’all. We would typically throw out a few choices and vote to choose a favorite. Sometimes it was a casual dining place. Other times, we’d choose a place with counter service where we could sit and chat for hours without driving the servers crazy.
A few tips:
- Check to make sure the restaurant you’re considering isn’t running a crowd-drawing special. A couple of times we made the mistake of trying to go to a Mexican restaurant unaware that it was $0.50 taco night. Not a good idea when you’re trying to seat a small crowd yourself.
- Tip your servers well. When you’re taking up the majority of their station for an extended period of time, plan on tipping enough to compensate them for additional tables they would have served.
- Most places don’t allow reservations, so try to arrange to have a couple of moms arrive a bit early to get your group’s name on the waiting list.
Pot-luck dinners were not our favorites because most of the time we all wanted a night off from cooking. That being said, we never regretted a quiet pot-luck dinner at someone’s home or a church fellowship hall. These gatherings allowed us to mingle more than we could at a restaurant and we could all hear one another much better. It also made it possible for the entire group to listen to one person – something extremely difficult to accomplish in a noisy restaurant.
Another benefit to meeting somewhere other than a restaurant is that we could play games. Some of our favorites were:
Non-musical chairs. I’ve heard this game called a number of things, but it is so much fun – and slightly dangerous! You start with everyone sitting in chairs in a circle with one person standing in the middle. The person in the middle states a fact about herself. Everyone who shares that fact has to get up and move to a new chair with the person in the middle trying to grab a seat, too.
Whoever is left standing becomes the next person to be in the middle. If I haven’t explained it well, click here for a better explanation. We laughed until we cried every time we played this game. Tip: Be careful when you play with pregnant moms.
Pictionary. We always played this Win, Lose, or Draw style on a white board with two teams. Tip: Don’t put the Sharpie markers near the dry erase markers. That’s how I learned how to remove Sharpie from a dry erase board.
White elephant gift exchange. At Christmas time, it’s always fun to host a white elephant gift exchange (click the link for the rules and variations). Tip: This is an excellent opportunity for re-gifting items you’ll never use – and chances are, someone else will love it.
Considering the fact that I’m the introverted homebody sort, I’m probably overlooking lots of good ideas. The ones I listed are tried-and-true ideas from our group’s mom’s nights out. Some other ideas that might work for your group are:
- Make something – Go to a paint-it-yourself pottery or art class.
- Host a curriculum swap.
- Arrange for dance lessons and make it a couple’s night out.
- Go bowling.
- Host an overnight or weekend event at a bed-and-breakfast or scrapbook/quilter’s retreat
- Meet for ice cream.
Whatever you do, for our group the key to success was making sure there was a chance for moms to talk, commiserate, and laugh. Anything else is just a bonus.
What mom’s night out events have worked well for your circle of friends?
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.
Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos.