“Can I still homeschool?”
This was the question that weighed so heavily on my heart as I looked at the leap of faith I needed to take to provide for my family.
I was lucky. My children weren’t toddling around; they were teens. My youngest was 16. It would be easier for me, but it is still hard.
Leaving home and trading my time for money instead of hugs was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. After all, weren’t they the ones who were supposed to leave the nest?
There are a thousand ways to homeschool. Thankfully. And self-direction with accountability is what works for us. We planned at the beginning of the year, and check-ins on a weekly basis provided enough accountability. We were getting it done.
But, to be honest . . . my heart was broken. I don’t think any homeschool mom really thinks she’ll find herself going it alone . . . even though at times in a marriage or family, the duty of homeschooling often falls to the mom. Being at home was a blessing. Every hug, smile, first steps, and first words are mine to treasure forever.
But, the thing I learned in this very hard way, was that I wasn’t alone. Friends. I have wonderful friends.
Rather than give you hollow advice on how to do it if you’ve got littles (because honestly . . . I don’t know personally), I’m going to share what my friends and family did for me that helped it work. And maybe, if you know a single mom who is trying to homeschool . . . you can reach out to her and support her like my friends did.
Offer to be a taxi.
Yes, my friend Karen was the “other Mom” to the girls, who oversaw getting them to and from work and piano lessons, waited on repair men, and kept the boat afloat.
Spare a dime.
She won’t ask, but that grocery gift card and extra in her Christmas card mean a lot. At times they mean the difference.
You’re busy. She’s busy. Don’t wait on her to call you, just pick up the phone . . . or text. Ask how she’s doing and just listen.
Pray for her.
She needs it.
Listen to her.
Without judging, or even offering advice. Chances are she’s feeling her way through most of this and unless she’s careening out of control, she needs support, not hand-slapping.
Offer to teach her kiddos.
She may not take you up on it, but an offer to shadow your husband on his job as a way to “teach”, shows her you’re on her side in this. My friend, Val, does this often and it helps remind me of the needs my boys have that I might not have thought of.
Hand-down your curriculum.
It’ll bless her and her children.
Learn to connect with her in ways other than homeschooling.
This was hardest for me. I felt disconnected from the homeschool crowd, though my Facebook feed didn’t reflect it. I was making new friends and doing different things. It was wonderful to see my friends support my big events in the retail world! Seeing the faces of Jen, Marcy, and Karen on my “big night” meant the world.
I couldn’t have gotten through the last two years without the support of my homeschooling friends, and they’ve shown me that when the homeschooling days are gone, we have built strong relationships that will stand the test of time.
(This article was written by my friend, Gina, homeschool mom and friend extraordinaire. She has mentored me as a homeschool mom over the past few years. She amazes me all the time. I am grateful she was willing to share a piece of her story with you.)
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like another one she wrote: 10 Things I Did Right Homeschooling High School.