The following is a guest post written by Donna Marie Johnson…
In Part 2, you will hear the story of our homeschool family’s transformation from our big mistake of allowing isolation (shared in part 1) to embracing new friends in a supportive community.
Our Family’s Story: A Journey Through Isolation (More about sources of isolation)
Toxic Relationship Pruning
Before we started homeschooling, I was very close to a community for most of my life. As a married mother of three, my children also became close with the same folks. Over the years, I began to grow and mature in ways that they were not. They also explicitly, verbally let me know they had no interest in that type of growth. So, I made a very tough and painful choice.
My choice was to keep moving forward, instead of staying locked into old patterns by stagnant relationships. This tough choice had a lot of consequences that were good. However, the painful consequence was an isolation that I had not seen in my life in many years. It took me years to adjust to that separation, AND I have no regrets.
I do not regret it because I recognize the profound transformation this major life shift created in my life. I can now see the progress that came from that pain. It was a vitally important pruning by my Master Gardener, Father God. Avoiding that pain would have been a big mistake to hinder God from maturing me more.
Co-op and curriculum changes PLUS relocation
When we first started homeschooling in 2007, for several years we stayed connected with an active homeschool co-op group locally. I also became an active volunteer with the parent boosters organization in our virtual charter school. However, our seasons with both were over by 2012. So, when we returned to traditional homeschooling, we found ourselves with no supportive community for the first time in years.
And then, on top of those other shifts, we relocated. The relocation was the final straw that caused us to be more isolated from other people more than ever. The great benefit of relocating is that having to start over helps open your heart up to new things. This was a great new start for us to take some risks we probably would not have taken in our old community.
Supportive & non-judgmental community
The pain of isolation which I felt for years really helped me to grow spiritually. It forced me to spend more time focusing on prayer and Bible study and less time talking to other people. I depended on Father God more instead of on other people for support. As I enjoyed more dedicated time with Him, I also asked him to send me the right new friends for myself and for my children.
Online and Phone Friends
After opening my heart to His help, Father God started sending friends locally, and also online and by phone.
He sent me an awesome homeschool mom friend who is hundreds of miles away from where I live. She and I have committed to hold each other accountable. So, for the last 8 months, we have talked and prayed by phone for an hour or more at least twice each month.
He also blessed me with the CHM online community. I found them during my online search for encouraging homeschool resources. And I am delighted to now also be a member of the awesome writing team here, too. (Yeah!)
I share our story to show that God can and will send you real friends in the most unexpected ways. You simply have to recognize and embrace them as they come. Rest in God’s choices for you instead of trying to choose them in your own wisdom and strength.
Most times, you choose friends based on certain relationship patterns established during your youth. Sometimes the way you choose is not healthy, especially if you come from a dysfunctional family. However, if you release control in this area and open your heart, God will surprise you with great relationships.
The good news about our move is that we have finally gotten settled into our new home and community. So now we have been finding supportive community all around us. This has happened as we open our hearts, try new things and take risks.
We made a decision to start plugging in with some local programs that are not just for homeschoolers. The community leaders who are running these programs are very open and non-judgmental about educational choice. They are educational reform advocates and educational entrepreneurs who totally get us as a homeschooling choice family.
In the CHM community, we get you. How can we become part of your journey to building relationships? Read on to find out.
Did you answer the poll in part 1?
If you did not answer the poll in part 1 of this article series, make sure you take a look and join in on the conversation there. Participating in discussions like this can help you to build your supportive community online. It may even lead to you finding out important information about local opportunities that you were previously unaware of.
Two steps to your transformation are:
- Ask Father God to help you recognize His answers. He can and will send you new friends.
- Choose to accept and embrace them no matter what they look like or where they are located.
God loves you and your family. He will bless your journey to get out and/or stay out of isolation for building a healthier and happier homeschool.
Coming up in part 3:
In part 3, I will share “Seven Benefits of Staying Community-Connected” to help those who answered No on the poll.
Leave comments below- we’d love to hear from you!