Today’s post is the final installment of my five part Homeschool Hazard series. If you’re just joining me, please be sure to read Part 1: Over-scheduling, Part 2: Disorganization, Part 3: Overspending, and Part 4: Unrealistic Expectations. Please visit the links to check them out. Today’s topic is Isolation.
When Sweet Pea was an infant, God guided me to a fantastic Christian moms’ group. Over the next two years, these women blessed me beyond measure. They would call to check on me during our off meeting weeks. While I was pregnant with Sugar Plum, they prayed with me regularly, in person and over the phone. After Sugar Plum was born, they brought me meals and diapers. When I was overcome with anxiety, these women lifted me up and walked with me. I never would have survived my first few years of motherhood if God had not sent these dear sisters to walk beside me.
Just as I want and need supportive moms beside me as I raise my children, I want and need fellow homeschool moms to befriend, encourage, and mentor me as I teach my children. When homeschool successes come, it’s a blessing to share your joy with another woman who recognizes the significance of the achievement. When you encounter a roadblock, you’ll be glad to know other homeschool moms who will encourage you to keep pressing toward your God given homeschool goals. Sure, you can go at it alone, but the homeschool journey is much easier when you travel with others.
If you’re ready to break out of homeschool solitary confinement, I have some ideas for you. Step out of your cramped cell, stretch your legs, bask in the sunshine, and breath in the fresh air! Help and encouragement are nearby but…you have to make the first move. Here is a list of ideas to get you moving in the right direction. C’mon fellow mom…let’s go!
Connect through social media. Social media has changed the way we live our lives and has opened doors to communication across the miles. Even if you’re not interested in sharing status updates regularly, considering creating a Facebook or Google+ account so you can join homeschool networking groups. Log onto Twitter and follow homeschool groups there too. Homeschoolers from all over the nation (and even the world!) are extremely active in social media. Join them so you can ask questions, receive recommendations for curriculum and activities, and even share what you know.
Check out a homeschool forum or join a Yahoo group. If the large social media platforms are not for you, don’t shut down your computer. Consider joining an online homeschool forum like Homeschool Spot or Homeschool World Forum. You can network there without the bells and whistles (photo sharing, chat rooms, messaging) of larger social media.
Though I love hanging out on Twitter and Facebook, the most valuable homeschool information I receive often comes through the local Yahoo groups I have joined. These are the moms in my area who can give me to local scoop. Who has the most reasonably priced piano lessons in my county? Where can I find a basketball league for my children? Which local stores offer teacher discounts to homeschool moms?
Join a local homeschool support group. Though online connections are beneficial, they are no substitute for face to face connections with real people. Research homeschool groups in your state. Once you find a statewide support group, they’ll likely be able to direct to county support groups in your area. Homeschool World, the official website of Practical Homeschooling Magazine, has compiled a list of homeschool support groups for each state. This is a great way to see what your state and even nearby states have to offer. You can find the list here.
Participate in a local homeschool cooperative. Participation in a homeschool co-op is a great way to connect with other homeschool families. We have met many homeschool families this way. Co-op can often be a win-win situation for mothers and children. Moms have an opportunity to develop relationships as they work alongside other homeschool moms. Children have the opportunity to take enriching classes and make new friends. Many times homeschool co-ops sponsors additional events such as field trips or Moms’ Night Out.
Go on an outing. Once you find homeschool events and activities, get out and attend them. You never know who you’ll meet. Earlier this year,when the girlies took homeschool tennis lessons, we met another homeschool family and soon added them to our circle of homeschool friends. As you venture out, be sure to spend some time at the park and in the library. Homeschoolers often love both places!
Be friendly! Proverbs 18:24a reminds us of this: A man who has friends must himself be friendly. Getting out to activities and events will do you no good if you are not friendly. Be warm. Be welcoming. But above all, be yourself. You’re a great homeschool mom with gifts and abilities to share. Others want to get to know you. Get out and give them a chance to do so!
Homeschooling by yourself can lead to burnout and feelings of inadequacy. Don’t let fear, pride, or uncertainty keep you in the dark and away from other homeschoolers. You don’t have to homeschool by yourself. Put a few of these suggestions into practice and see what happens. I’m sure you’ll make at least one connection that will encourage you!
© 2013, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.