Making the decision to homeschool can be one of the easiest — and most difficult — decisions ever! It’s the only job where people judge the totality of your results by one child’s behavior on any given day. I often say it’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. Today I want to speak a little bit about finding support, because support is as essential as oxygen in a homeschooler’s life.
No matter what camp your family falls into, you, as the primary instructor, need to find a circle of encouragement, whether it’s your best friend, your spouse, or your homeschool group. For each of us, encouragement is different.
I remember the friend who called one day when it was NOT going well, and I was trying valiantly to remain patient, keep my wits about me, and manage to get a semblance of instruction done in a day that included both a vomiting newborn and dog, two fighting siblings, a broken washer and burned pancakes for breakfast. By 10 AM, I was d.o.n.e.
Within 30 minutes of my phone call, there was a pointed bing-bong, bing-bong, on my door. I confess to thinking I was going to break the neck of the person who rang that bell! I went to the door, opened it, and there, in the wreath on my door, were three candy bars and a note that said, “One for now, because you need it, one for later, because you WILL need it, and one for the future, because you need to know it will be there for you.” Yes, that dear friend was amazing, and in that small gesture, gave me the encouragement I needed to stay in the fight that day.
But where do you go to find information if you have not yet constructed a circle of support? There is plenty of support in the online world. Facebook groups and forums are tremendous. A Google search for local homeschool groups may find you someone right next door, as it did for a North Carolina friend of mine.
In the years I was homeschooling I enjoyed a particular podcast called The Sociable Homeschooler. My friend, Vivienne McNeny, is no longer producing live episodes, but I know you can still find archived editions of the show. Look for a podcast that speaks to you, because there are many.
I have a wealth of young homeschool moms who tell me that Instagram and Pinterest have given them great encouragement and wonderful ideas. Depending on how intrepid, or crazy you want to be, there are close to 800,000 references to homeschooling on YouTube.
Is everything you find good, or correct? Yes and no – the true answer lies in what YOU want for your family. While seeking those pieces of encouragement, I would ask myself several questions: Why am I going to homeschool? What are my goals for homeschooling my children? Where do I see them – and myself – in a year, in five years? What kinds of character attributes do I want to create for my children? What do you see our lives looking like. As crazy as it sounds, setting some goals on paper for your family’s homeschooling experiences will benefit you in so many ways. You can refer to them on the tough days, and celebrate them as you accomplish them.
This, I believe, is the best time to homeschool ever! There are so many resources wait at the end of your fingertips on your smartphone, tablet, or computer! Find support today – because you need it, if not today, sometime in the near future. You may not yet know where to turn, so we’ve created a list that may help. These are going to be the candy bars in your pocket when you need them.