I have been reading through the Old Testament for a long time now. Often people speak of the Old Testament as if it is antiquated, a history document with little to teach. Yet, I find such richness in understanding who God was before Jesus came to earth, how He interacted and covered His people, and the timeless lessons taught even in the most unlikely of events. As one example, I am reading Ezra’s account of the kings of Judah. Understanding that Ezra records this history for a totally different reason than it was written in earlier books allows me to take it in differently. Today while reading, I thought about how often the men of Judah were outnumbered in battle, and how, as they cried out to the Lord, He faithfully allowed them to trample their enemies.
This is the message of this continuation of the “Are You Ready to Homeschool” posts. It really is all about relationships, because honestly, I do not know anyone personally who hears a voice coming from a bush. (At least, I do not know anyone who would admit they hear voices coming from bushes 😉 ). I have never met a soul who was swept up on a mountain or taken away on a ladder or in a wheel. The Lord walks in shoe leather, and the steps of those in the larger homeschooling community can be of major help in some specific areas.
- Support, especially if you don’t have it. Once you express that you are going to homeschool, those you tell will fall into two camps: those who support you or those who question/ doubt you (I place the indifferent in this latter category). I think this is especially an issue in the African-American community for two reasons:
- Our ancestors fought hard to get on level educational playing ground
- Most of us do not come from familial situations where stay-at-home moms are the norm
For these two reasons and several others, we have to seek out those who understand what we are striving to do and why. The lack of support issue is not uncommon, even when hubby is not fully on board, but we must be honest enough to reach out to someone who has been there.
2. Socialization (Whoop, there it is). But… I am not speaking of your children. I am talking about you, and about tapping into a fountain of wisdom regarding even the most basic questions.
I am blessed to live in an area that is very homeschool-friendly and very diverse. But if you are not as fortunate, even the online community (via blogs, Facebook, etc.), can be an excellent place to connect. I have met women online who are as close to me as physical friends. I have watched their kids grow and sent presents to newborns, prayed over life’s circumstances, and experienced the shared joy of graduation, marriage and the next generation of family. A word of caution, however: with the increase of homeschooling families, especially in the African-American community, a rash of “consultants” has emerged. Some might have educational qualifications, but no homeschooling experience; others’ homeschooling experiences are still too new to give proven advice. In this latter case, a “near peer” can be a welcome respite, but understand the difference between someone walking with you and someone who has walked before you. Seek out the elder, that Titus 2 woman who has lived and homeschooled long enough to validate her words.
3. Stimulation. The homeschooling community, with its very active blogging, posting, tweeting, selfie-taking, Pinning, chatting self, is a vibrant source of ideas and encouragement. Your homeschool can be whatever your time, energy, and children’s tastes desire, if you commit to the research. Feeling isolated? Burned out? Half-crazy? Someone else is, too, and maybe you can find tools to help both of you get unstuck.
I am not suggesting that you add hours to your computer time, but instead, if your community is largely online, that you use your time strategically. Whether in person or online, just like with any relationship, you might hit a bumpy road or bad intersection before you find a place that looks and feels like home. Yet you might also find a lifelong mentor and friend whose presence makes all the difference.