I think every homeschool mom needs to have support for the homeschooling journey. Here are my top recommendations to find support.
1. Support Groups - For first five years of homeschooling I was a "lone-ranger" homeschool mom. This was not by choice, but that was the way it was. Thankfully, there was a lady who worked at the library who homeschooled her children and she kind of took me under her wing and was a great source of encouragement (and still is).
Eventually, we moved to another city and my library friend was able to hook me up with a homeschool mom's group in our new city. I can't even begin to say what a great blessing this group has been to me and please notice, I said "me." I realize that I wasn't the only homeschool mom out there that was struggling to get her kids to learn, etc. Here was a group of women who were sharing ups and downs in their homeschool day that I was experiencing also. I wasn't alone with my feelings of frustration. It was like a heavy load had been lifted off of my back (or more realistically, my mind!)
Overall, going to my homeschool mom's group makes me a happier and more relaxed mom AND wife. No longer am I unburdening every.little.single. problem to my husband (okay, I may slip on this a little), but now I have an arsenal of ideas to implement when struggles come and can leave bigger problems are for him to deal with.
2. An Experienced Homeschool Mom(s) - I am now in my 11th year of homeschooling and I still experience moments of being unsure of myself. There is nothing like a mom who has double, if not triple the years of homeschooling, to come along aside of me, listen to me, share what they struggled with and tell me, "It will be okay." To every woman who has done this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope I can be a blessing to younger mom one day.
3. Homeschool Conventions - If you were a teacher in a private or public school you would be required to attend educational conferences or continuing education classes. Well, I consider attending my local homeschool convention to be my educational conference. Maybe every year isn't feasible, but make a goal to go every couple of years and follow through. You won't regret it. Oh, and make sure you attend the teaching sessions and not spend every minute in the exhibit hall.
4. Online Groups and Blogs - This was my support back in the days when I was the "lone-ranger" homeschool mom. If it hadn't been for online groups I would have used boxed curriculum and been extremely frustrated.
Since I am drawn to the Charlotte Mason method my biggest online support was the Ambleside Online Yahoo Group which now has it's own forum. I also heavily browsed The Well-Trained Mind Forums in my early years of homeschooling.
Blogs are another great means of support and encouragement, though the nitty-gritty of homeschooling isn't shown as much as it should be (and for a good reason.)
My favorites forums and blogs:
- Ambleside Online Forums
- Teacher's of Good Things
- Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler
You can see all the blogs I follow here. To be honest I add and subtract blogs pretty regularly so it is never the same.
5. Books, Magazines, & More - I love to read, and my if I want to learn about something I read about it! I also find homeschool magazines to be a great resource, though I will usually pick up a book first. Homeschool audio resources are also another great way to get support.
- When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason's Philosophy for Today - Elaine Cooper
- A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning(TM) - Karen Andreola
- Honey for a Child's Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life - Gladys Hunt
- Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families - Sarah Clarkson
- Keeping Our Children's Hearts : Our Vital Priority - Terri Maxwell
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (free digitally)
I always try to save a little money and buy some of the sessions that I couldn't attend from my local homeschool convention to listen to for later.
Keep your eyes open. Many times homeschool talks will be available for a free download. I have accumulated many this way. There are also many programs you can listen to for free, but you have to listen to them at a certain time and a download isn't available unless you purchase it.
Please stop by the following blogs for more Homeschooling Essentials. Also, head on over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew for even more!!
Jenni @ Conversaving
Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Karen @ Tots and Me
Beth @ Weavings
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling
Karen @ My Harbor Lights
Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings
Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
Tara @ This Sweet Life