by Charity Silvers, CHEA Board Treasurer
Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is an excerpt from a speech Charity gave at one of her PSP’s parent meetings, as she was ending her homeschooling journey of 25 years, with her youngest’s graduation later that year.
Homeschooling communities are unique, unlike any other groups I have been in. During our 25 years of homeschooling we were involved in 5 different groups – some for just a year and others for much longer. Homeschoolers share unique joys and struggles, and only other homeschoolers can relate to our mutual experiences.
In Second Corinthians 1, Paul tells us that God comforts us so that we may be able to comfort others with the same comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted. I want to encourage each of you to reach others in your community, whether to offer help to others or to seek help if you are the one in need.
There have been so many times I have seen fellow homeschoolers reaching out to others. While I could go on forever describing such situations, I will just highlight a few. I share them so you will have real life examples of how you can help others in your community and how you can also be helped, no matter what the need might be.
Practical help can come in many forms. As Christians involved in a local body of believers, we are well familiar with providing meals and other assistance when an illness, birth, death, or other trials occur. The homeschooling communities we have been involved in have also stepped up to the plate many times to help in these ways. But as homeschoolers, some have gone so far as to help with the homeschooling of children from other families. And sometimes the infants and toddlers of families have been cared for by other moms to give a homeschooling mom a break or to allow her to deal with other situations in her life.
Another way that homeschoolers uniquely offer support to each other is by sharing curriculum. Whether it is simply giving a review on something that did or didn’t work or letting someone borrow or even outright have curriculum you are no longer using, this aspect of being part of a homeschool community has been invaluable to me. God has always provided for our curriculum needs, and many times it was through others who shared what they had.
A very special aspect of the homeschooling community is when other moms have come alongside me and helped me deal with difficult situations in our homeschooling and parenting. I will never forget the time when two of my friends, who are also sisters, helped us deal with two of our daughters who weren’t getting along together. If I recall things correctly, they took the girls to one of their homes where they were forced to learn to work together with their hands tied to the other. On a different day, they might have even had them wear one extra-large size t-shirt and go around all day having to do things together. I’m sure if you presented a problem, any kind of problem that you were having in your homeschool, that at least one mom in this room would have a good suggestion for resolving it.
While all that I have shared thus far describes very beneficial aspects of being in a homeschool community, the most valuable support that I have ever received from other homeschoolers is prayer. We have been part of prayer chains, both telephone and email ones, and about 10 years ago I got involved in a mom’s prayer group formatted after Moms In Touch. It was our homeschool version, called Bagels & Blessings. Up until a year or two ago I had still been meeting with several of these moms even though some of them were all done homeschooling. When we have common struggles of teaching our kids and being with them much of the day, it really unites our hearts so we can pray in one accord.
At different times I have reviewed the entries in the prayer journal I kept during those years, and it is amazing to see the way that God answered so many of our prayers: from seeing children grasp a subject, to having a true change in their attitude, from figuring out what curriculum to use, to seeing our children graduate, get married, and have children; God gets all the glory in how He has worked in our lives. I encourage you to find a prayer partner even if all you do is touch base over the phone before you get started with your school day several mornings a week.
One final comment I want to make about the homeschool community is that I believe we’re all kindred spirits. As we go our separate ways as life leads us on and then later meet up again, it’s as if we are long-lost friends and just start the conversation where we last left it. I still keep in touch with homeschooling friends from years ago, either by email, on Facebook, or crossing paths around town. And I love it when I’m at Trader Joe’s and see one of the cashiers who homeschooled years ago. We spend a few minutes updating each other on our current lives now that we’re both grandmothers!
If I had to do homeschooling over again, I would probably put more emphasis on relationships: relationships with each other within our own family, and then with those outside our family, and foremost our relationship with God. You can never put too much effort into relationships.
I encourage you to be more proactive in our homeschool community. Reach out to those around you to meet their needs or to request help in getting your own needs met!
Are you considering starting a homeschool community? Join us at CHEA’s Leadership Conference on July 13, 2023 at Calvary Chapel Downey where we will host a practicum to help you sort through all the things you need to consider. Registration is scheduled to open later this week.