Gaining Confidence Through Relationships
By now, you should understand your calling and have separated it from the catalyst that has made you consider this bold new choice. Hopefully, you have also taken the time to get on the same page with your spouse and formulate a why story and a mission statement for your homeschool.
So, now, let’s look at some ways to gain confidence in your calling through the relationships you build.
You’ve likely heard the stereotype of homeschoolers… that they are loners, unsocialized, backwards, blah… blah… blah.
If you actually KNOW any homeschooled kids, you’ve probably seen that to be as far from the truth as possible. As homeschool families, we tend to have to guard our children against TOO MUCH socialization rather than having to work very hard to get them socialized.
For homeschool moms and dads, though, that is often not the case. We can easily fall into an isolation that almost overwhelms us because we are often walking a different path than many of our local friends and church family, so it’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside looking in sometimes.
So, here’s another anchor we need to drop to help ensure our homeschool success—> **You were NOT created to walk alone. You were created to live in fellowship, to be part of a group, to have friends, mentors, others around you to carry your burdens and allow you to help them carry theirs, as Galatians 6 reminds us. **
Satan, the roaring lion that he is, would love nothing more than to have you feel isolated and alone. We’ve all seen enough wildlife videos to understand that the animal that wanders off from the safety of the pack is most vulnerable— and our enemy certainly trades on that fact.
**It’s very important that we find people who understand us and the life we’re choosing to lead for the sake of our family. **It’s important that we connect with others who’ll invest in us and give us biblical counsel and solid practical advice.
Before I talk about how to surround yourself well, I want to give you a few warnings about where you choose to get your inspiration and information. There are a lot of people with megaphones right now, but just because someone is charismatic does not make them a credible mentor.
Please. Please. Please. Be very careful about the blogs you read, the pins you love, and the Instagram accounts you gravitate to.
There are some incredibly talented ladies out there sharing stuff on those platforms, but many simply don’t have the experience or perspective needed to truly be a credible voice yet. Often, if you dig down a bit, you’ll find that you are hanging on every word of a first or second year homeschooler who happens to be a great storyteller and a talented photographer. That concerns me greatly, because it’s not too far off from being “the blind leading the blind,” ya’ know.
They may have great ideas— and sharing ideas is awesome— but if you’re looking to them for sage homeschooling advice, you may find that you all stub your toes together in the days ahead.
I just urge you to exercise a lot of discernment as you sort through books, blogs, and feeds. There are some EXCELLENT influencers out there as well, though, and I’ll be happy to point you to some of the writers, bloggers, and Instagram feeds that are definitely seasoned and have been walking the walk, so to speak, for a while now.
So, where CAN you get those positive role models and mentors?
First, look around you. Think of families you know that homeschool— preferably who are a little farther down the road than you are, and whose children seem to be displaying the growth you’d like to see in your own. Invite them over for dinner… or to the park to play… or out for coffee… or whatever… I would venture to say that there is almost a 100% chance that they would be thrilled to help! Because there is little we homeschool moms like more than sharing what we’ve learned along the way and investing in younger moms or new homeschool moms coming up behind us.
Straight up, one of the best things I’ve done as a homeschool mom, I actually did BEFORE I became a homeschool mom. I called this lady in my church who I knew homeschooled her children, and I just asked her questions. I came away from that call not only feeling like I COULD do this, but also super excited to get started.
She even knew my children well, since she had taught 3 of them in Sunday School, so she was able to give me insight into what she thought each of them would like about homeschooling. Stuff I’d never even thought of… How cool is that!?!?
I encourage you to find someone like Tracy that you can call up. If you honestly don’t know a Tracy in your general area, pray that God will show you where she is and will give you the courage to reach out when the time comes. In the meantime, plug in with a virtual Teach Them Diligently group, like TTD365, and start asking your questions there. My heart has been thrilled as I have seen moms get incredible answers and make great friends through the virtual meetups and groups within that community. Investing in each other’s lives is good for new and veteran homeschoolers alike!
In addition to sharing good ideas with each other, it’s a really important idea to have a support group for those days when we’re ready to give up. Even the most decorated soldier gets weary and discouraged sometimes, right? And I have found through the years that there are situations that are so unique to a homeschool family that no one except another homeschool family could ever truly understand—and that includes my mom, to whom I talk about almost everything. She never homeschooled my sister and I, nor did she have a large family, so she doesn’t fully understand my point of view on a lot of things… Plus, let’s be honest, the culture my children are growing up in is a LOT different than the one she grew up in or raised Kristin and I in, right?!?
BUT, I have a dear friend who’s in ministry. She homeschools 3 children about my kids’ ages; and she and I can TOTALLY understand each other. We have a deep fellowship that God uses to keep us both moving forward— and she isn’t local to me, either, but she is a personal, life-long friend of mine with whom I can share things I just can’t share with those I only know virtually.
Electronic relationships are great, and honestly social media allows us to truly feel like we “know” someone simply by following them and interacting with them there. I have some deep friendships with ladies I rarely if ever get to see and have only met online, so I am not in any way discouraging those— it’s amazing that the world is small enough to allow us to interact with new friends all around the world!
But twice last week, a young mom in our church came to me and literally fell on me in tears. We hugged, cried together, prayed together, and chatted about what was going on within her family. That level of relationship simply can’t be achieved through virtual means only. You need to find those friends and mentors locally that you can crumble into when you need to.
If you’re in an area where fellowship is scarce, you definitely need to get connected to a virtual group and then get together with us others regularly at events where we can enjoy each other’s company in person. We have virtual meetups through TTD365— and often the ladies who participate will stay online together until the wee small hours of the morning just hanging out together.
Please remember that isolating yourself instead of surrounding yourself with friends that can invest in your life and you in theirs is a recipe for failure. Pray that God will help you find a great support group both locally and virtually and plug in— I’m talking JUMP IN WITH BOTH FEET!
Glean everything you can. Grow, share, laugh, explore.
The confidence that you’ll gain that way will absolutely overflow into the way you homeschool— and that will help keep you on mission in the days ahead.
So, you’ve done it! You’ve made it through all the preparation work for homeschooling— and you have a LOT to digest!!
In our final module, we’ll be moving into discussions on how keeping our mission in view impacts the nuts and bolts of homeschooling. We’ll be talking about homeschool styles, organization and planning, choosing curriculum, homeschool groups, and a whole lot more! So, let’s finish strong together— I’ll see you in the next module!
Gaining Confidence Through Relationships
You weren’t made to walk alone– and you can great confidence and stability by building relationships with other who can invest in you– and in whom you can invest in return.