5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: Essential Support
Welcome to Day 5 of Five Days of Homeschool Essentials.
On Day 1, I posted about the things I don't think are essential for homeschooling.
On Day 2, I posted about the supplies I think are essential for homeschooling.
Today's topic is essential support.
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There is a tendency with some homeschoolers-maybe myself- to become hermits. It certainly isn't the norm. Most homeschoolers I know are super involved in everything. But for some of us who are introverts, the temptation to "lay low" is a big one. When I do sign the kids up for an event, my temptation is to hang on the fringes, to talk to no one except my kids, and to get out as soon as I can.
In my more than ten years of homeschooling experience, however, I've learned the value of joining with other homeschoolers. I've learned that it's important to have the companionship and support of other homeschoolers. It's still a hard thing for me sometimes when my natural tendency is to (1) not need anyone and (2) hang back and not make contact.
There are many reasons that having the support system that can be found in community is important. Here are just a few.
1. Prayer support. When I was a young homeschool mom, I found an online web group of fellow homeschool moms. It was amazing to me that there were so many other (crazy?) people all over the world who were homeschooling. And it was incredible to know that I could bring prayer requests to these ladies and that they would really and truly lift me up in prayer. It is an incredible feeling to know that other homeschool moms who know exactly what you're feeling can lift you and your kids and your homeschool up to God. Living in community with other homeschoolers- whether in person or online- gives you those people who can lift you up in prayer.
2. Curriculum and methods advice. There is a plethora of homeschooling curricula available. There are so, so many things to try. It is so important to be able to ask other homeschoolers about the things that have worked- or not worked- for them.
3. Commiseration. I don't mean that you should sit around and have a pity party every time you are frustrated about your homeschooling. But it is nice to be able to discuss problems with other moms who can relate to what you're going through.
4. Suggestions for how to make things work. There have been some times through the years that I've felt as if I've reached a brick wall with a particular child. I have tried and tried and don't know what else to try. My husband is a very willing sounding board, but he hasn't had any more experience than I have. It's very nice to be able to ask the advice of another homeschooler. There have been plenty of times that other homeschool moms have been able to help me think of another approach to a problem that has been stumping me.
5. Encouragement. There are days in the life of any homeschool mom when we dream of the giant yellow bus coming to take away these little (or not so little) squirmy balls of contrary energy. There are days when- despite what my head knows- my heart wonders if it's worth it. When I can go online and join in community with fellow homeschoolers or when I can go to a local get together to socialize, I come away feeling encouraged and supported and renewed. I have the energy to keep going, and I have a new vision of why we do what we do.
So where can you find support?
1. Local support groups. HSLDA has a page that can help you look for local groups.
2. Online groups. The Old Schoolhouse, The Homeschool Lounge, and CHFWeb are three online communities that I know of. I'm sure there are others. And there are many, many Faebook pages that are communities of homeschoolers.
3. Homeschool conventions. One of the best decisions we ever made as a couple was to begin going to our local homeschool convention years ago. We use it as a date weekend, and we listen to some speakers and browse the vendor hall while we are there. There are many opportunities for talking to other homeschoolers in the workshops and in the vendor hall, and there is much instruction and encouragement to be found. Many states have a local convention each year. And there are two bigger, regional conventions that I know of- The Great Homeschool Convention and Teach Them Diligently. We've been to both and really enjoy Teach Them Diligently. We've been twice and are already registered for this year.
Don't overlook the awesome value of homeschooling support. It's definitely an essential!
Don't forget to check out what other Crew members think about homeschool essentials. You can start by checking out the blogs below:
Rebekah @ There Will Be a $5 Charge for Whining
Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Heather @ Thrift Schooling
Joanie @ Simple Living Mama
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos
Amy @ Homeschool Encouragement
Monique @ Living Life and Learning
Jenn @ Fresh Start Academy
Lori @ Special Connection Homeschool