Human beings are social creatures. Despite Adam’s perfect relationship with God in the garden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and He created Eve. While our primary relational needs should be met by the Lord and our families, we need others to challenge, encourage, and enrich our lives.
Many homeschooling moms quit because they become lonely and disconnected. They spend day after day at home with no adult interaction. They miss the companionship of other adults and put undue stress on their relationship with their husbands because they expect them to meet all their needs for conversation and companionship. Their children are lonely too, and seldom have the opportunity to play with other children.
As you begin your homeschooling journey, I encourage you to do everything you can to seek out a support network of other homeschooling moms. Go to the internet to search for homeschool support groups or organizations in your area. Attend a support group meeting, visit different groups, or frequent places where homeschoolers go. If you see a mom with children at the library, grocery store, park, or museum during the day, you can usually assume that they are homeschooling. Take the initiative to introduce yourself and your children. You can make lifelong friends by being the first to reach out. Don’t give up if your efforts don’t produce results immediately. Even if you are extremely isolated due to geography or other life circumstances, you can check out online homeschool forums that network homeschooling families from all over the world.
Most importantly, pray
and ask God to direct you to other homeschooling families. Ask Him for a special friend for each of your children. Don’t homeschool alone.
I am often guilty of reaching for a butter knife to tighten a screw instead of searching in my husband’s tool box for the proper screwdriver. The results are usually ineffective and frustrating. The same can be said of homeschooling parents who attempt to educate their children with curriculum that is ill-suited or inappropriate.
During my years of homeschooling, I made some terrible curriculum decisions. Sometimes I used curriculum because it was free or cheap. Occasionally I would purchase the same curriculum as a friend, even though she and I had very different personalities. Once I saw an advertisement for a program that promised my child would be reading in 30 days or my money back. Thankfully, I got my money back.
Unlike the early days of my homeschooling journey when there were only four major curriculum companies from which to choose, today’s homeschooling families have many options, sometimes too many. To successfully navigate the choices, I recommend you take several factors into consideration.
- Take a realistic look at yourself and your child. If you need structure and accountability, don’t choose an unschooling approach. If your child hates reading, don’t choose a literature-based program. If you have a budding engineer who learns best by taking things apart, stay away from a curriculum that is heavy in worksheets and workbooks.
- Seek the advice of like-minded women who are successfully homeschooling. Ask for recommendations. Find out what they like and why. If you can, go to a curriculum fair or homeschool convention where you can see the products and ask questions.
- Don’t be afraid to ditch a curriculum if it’s not working for you. While it often takes several months to adjust to new material, don’t continue using it once it becomes obvious that it is not a good fit. Accept the fact that you will make an occasional mistake and chalk it up to experience.
- Use the assessment tests to help find the best curriculum that suits you and your child at the Mardel Homeschool Resource Center.
The decision to homeschool your child is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. You can be successful if you start with a calling, develop a community, and choose appropriate curriculum.
You can do it.
|Bio of Lori Hatcher
||Lori Hatcher is a 17-year veteran homeschooler and mother of two young adult daughters. For 10 years she led a homeschool support group in Columbia, South Carolina, where she lives with her youth minister husband, David, and four-footed friend Winston. She is the author of the devotional book, Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms (now available at Mardel.com), and the blog Be Not Weary (http://www.lorihatcher.com).