Saturday, October 1, 2011

Encouraging the New Homeschooler

 Around this time of year (late summer, early fall), I get phone calls and emails from mamas who are at that place of decision regarding homeschooling their children.  Some are older moms, pulling kids out of school for a variety of reasons, but some are younger moms, just starting out, facing the expectation to send their baby off on a yellow bus to strangers, and not liking that option.   In both situations,  a mom finds herself at that starting place, just answering that calling on her heart, to disciple her children and keep them at home, where they belong (my bias).  : )
  I love to talk to these new homeschoolers, because it renews my passion for homeschooling, and it feels like an opportunity to pass the baton, and keep the flame of independent, home discipleship alive for another generation.  As I share with them the many benefits and options and blessings of homeschooling, I am vividly reminded of all the joys and blessings the Lord has poured out on my family through homeschooling.   What is interesting though, is to try to answer the many questions and speak to the nagging doubts and fears, in only a short phone call or email.  How do I take 30 minutes and tell them all about it.  I can't.   But I try to reassure them that this is a viable and sensible choice, and yes my children are "normal", and yes, I know lots of other "normal", thriving young adults who were homeschooled, etc.  Yes, homeschoolers can go to college someday, if they want to.  Yes, we have friends.  No, we aren't perfect.  
    Quickly, I can offer a few recommendations for curriculum options or co-op opportunities, magazine publications, books to read, and an invitation to join us at Mom's Night Out to glean from others.  But ultimately, it is up to that mom (and dad), to pick up that baton, and begin their own race.  They must walk their own homeschool/parenting journey, allowing the Lord to lead them, and shape their family, to guide them in educational choices and family priorities.   Like every aspect of life, it must be experienced first hand, to really "get it".   But, I can offer to walk along side them in some fashion, offering support and encouragement and occasional advice or suggestions.  They can learn a lot by watching me and other veterans make our mistakes, share our struggles and trials, and also share how God is faithful in spite of it all. 
    And as they seek the Lord's will for their own family, visit with other homeschoolers, read articles from magazines, blogs, etc., written by Christian homeschoolers, and just do the next faithful thing on their own journey... eventually, gradually, they become the seasoned veteran, mentoring and encouraging another generation of parents who are taking that first step in following God's call on their lives to homeschool and home disciple their children. 

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