Tuesday 21 January 2014

Homeschooling essentials: a support network

My post today is about support networks for home educators. This is part of a five day series of Homeschooling Essentials.

Day 1: a reason to home educate.

As a home educator life is often lonely. Most of the other mothers of your acquaintance will have children in school. They will be posting pictures of children going to school/nursery/preschool for the first time. They will talk about having more time in September and will meet up for coffee during the day. They may think or even say that they think your choices strange. Others may be more supportive but just won't quite understand what it is like to be a homeschooler.

So it is really important to have a support network but how do you get a support network if you are the only home educator in your family/church/area? These are a few thoughts.

  • The Lord is always near. We can always call on Him. Others can be busy and not really understand but the Lord knows all about us. 
O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and my uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 
Psalm 139 v1-2
and one of my favourite verses:
My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12v9

  • Your spouse should be the next most important member of this network. It is difficult to see how a Christian wife should home educate without her husband's encouragement and agreement. This doesn't mean that the husband will be doing the home educating: he will probably be far too busy earning the family's one income but he can and should be a sounding board for major decisions and issues. There is also no problem with talking about difficulties that it might be unfair to mention to non-family members. Obviously, there are single parents home educating who do not have this source of support who will need the next category more than those of us who have supportive spouses.

  • Home educating friends. It really is worth looking for local home educators. There don't need to be many but it is worth having people to actually meet, from time to time, and who can be at the end of the phone/e-mail. I really appreciated having people to talk to during my first term as a home educator and still run things by a local friend. Sometimes going on a group trip can be a chance to chat with other mothers, help the children build up friendships and encourage everyone!

  • Prayer warriors. Several older friends have let us know that they pray for us as a family. These people are supportive of our decision but aware of the fact that this isn't an easy route. Most of these people did not home educate their children, most of whom have been adult for many years. I am profoundly grateful for these people. Even if you aren't a home educator yourself, do think about putting some home educating families on your prayer list. 

  • Internet support can be invaluable. I personally, feel that the Facebook and Yahoo groups are best for questions such as 
Which geography curriculum would you recommend for an 11 year old?
What are your favourite read aloud chapter books for a 6 year old?
I've had really useful answers to such questions.

There are some links to UK groups on my page about UK home education resources.

Do remember though that you are also part of other people's support networks. 

Other home schoolers are contributing to this five day series. 

 Julie @ Nurturing Learning
 Adriana @ Homeschool Ways
or pop over to the Schoolhouse Crew website for more.

This is linked to Teach me Tuesday.

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  1. Oh yes, I treasure my other homeschool mommy friends I have met through groups and other events. When I have a bad day, I know I can always go to them for support!

  2. I also wrote about support for day 2, though I labeled it people. Great delineation of where in the support system everyone falls. God does have to be first and if I don't start my days with Him, nothing else goes well. I am very blessed to have a fantastically supportive and involved husband. We have people who pray daily for us and are supportive. - Lori

  3. Absolutely! I am writing about this same thing for my Friday post!