Friday, January 24, 2014

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: Friends and Mentors

Homeschooling Essentials: Friends and Mentors


I'm wrapping up my 5 Days of  Homeschooling Essentials with the topic of friends and mentors.  Is it possible to homeschool totally independently? I'm sure it's possible, especially with the internet.  You can look up just about any curriculum and see what it's all about, and get an idea of if it will work for you.  (You might even use the reviews here on this blog!)  You can choose classes and curricula based on the course descriptions and reviews, and if it's not exactly right, just try again next semester.   There are enough websites and blogs out there than you can homeschool in your own bubble, and probably do a darn good job of it.


 But as much as people say "What about socializing?" for the kids, it's just as important for Mom to not retreat into that bubble.  I'm not saying you need to surround yourself with tons of people and join every homeschooling group there is.  We don't belong to any in-real-life homeschool groups ourselves.  I'm not anti-group, right now we are just not in a season of our life that will accommodate the meetings and commitment that a traditional group would require.  And even if we did join a group, we might not fit right.  (Just because we're homeschoolers doesn't mean we'll gel with a group any more than I expect Celia to be BFFs with every girl in her class just because they're all nine years old.)   At some point, we probably will join a local group, but this isn't the year for it.  However, I know that for me, I can't do this totally alone.

Again, the internet can be a big help. There are SO many Facebook and internet groups out there.  I belong to a few homeschooling groups online, and it has made me a better teacher.  Logic says I can't be the only person who is dealing with special needs kids, or juggling so many levels of schooling, or being not brand new but still a "first timer" to each grade.  But it's good to belong to groups that have families in similar situations, because they understand my "normal." I've found a lot of support in groups that have a wide variety of homeschoolers.  And it's important to recognize when you just don't fit into a group -- if you're homeschooling because you don't want to keep jamming your hexagon peg child into a square school desk, don't feel you have to do the same with yourself and a homeschooling group!  There have been some times where I've needed to say, "Thanks for having me be a part of the group, but it's time for me to move on,"  because a particular group's philosophy just was incongruous with my outlook.  It's all good experience -- if nothing else, I may not know exactly where I stand on something, but I've learned where I don't. 


What has saved my sanity many days is having a homeschooling friend who is also a mentor.  My friend Cristi and her experience in homeschooling (she currently has a high school sophomore, a 7th grader, and a 2nd grader) has been invaluable.  When I started homeschooling Jude, Cristi was the person who said, "Keep breathing, you can do this." She was the person I contacted first when we decided Luke would be homeschooled, because she knew high school curricula.  Yes, I had to choose for Luke what I thought would work best, but it helped to have someone say, "Don't bother with this," or "Did you know that course came with a DVD option?"  It helps that we are friends "for real" (we have been friends for almost ten years), because it means she knows my kids and their quirks.  As a mentor, she's been invaluable in helping me find programs that might fit my kids' needs -- even if it's just tagging me in a status share on Facebook and saying, "Hey, my kid likes this, I bet yours would!" or "Did you see this?"  It's been a double blessing that my mentor was my friend first (how she got roped into the mentor gig!).  When you're first starting out -- and even as you're going along --  I would highly recommend finding someone who you can ask for advice - whether it's an individual or a group.  If you don't know too many homeschooling families, you may need to become friends with a person before you feel comfortable asking advice (but no, you don't have to evaluate each new person you meet as "Are you mentor material?")  However, finding someone you are comfortable with asking to help you navigate the day-to-day curve balls homeschooling throws is priceless.



5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials Schoolhouse Crew ReviewThere are 90 Crew Members sharing what they think is essential to them.  That's a LOT of reading.  It would be awesome if you could read all 90 blogs, but almost 450 posts in one week is a tall task.  However, to make it a little easier for you, we've divided ourselves into smaller groups.  I'd love if you'd take a few minutes to visit the others in my group - I know there are MANY great ideas.

 

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Julie @ Nurturing Learning
Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures
DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor
Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Nicole @ Journey to Excellence
Adriana @ Homeschool Ways
Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool
Sarah @ Delivering Grace


iPad Mini Giveaway


Don't forget to enter the giveaway I'm co-hosting - enter to win an iPad Mini! In our house, an iPad is a homeschooling essential, too!














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3 comments:

  1. Brandy brockhausenJanuary 24, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    I am so thankful that I have quite a few people in my life who have homeschooled much longer than me, and have already graduated a few kids. I got to them for advice and support all the time. Having others to turn to for encouragement is so important.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm very glad to have friends who can be approached with questions and challenges.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Friends are essential. I couldn't imagine not talking to anyone. Personal experience is more important than descriptions on a website. Lots of people have asked me for input and I do the same. It's about collaboration. I have learned so much from other people.

    Thanks so much for this post and for linking up with us at the homeschoollinkup!

    ReplyDelete

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