I love my homeschooling friends. It’s always so fun to find someone with children the same ages as mine. These ladies know all too well how hard it is to teach Kindergarten in the middle of potty training a toddler and nursing a baby. They encourage me and provide wonderful opportunities for play dates.
But just as much as we need homeschooling peers, we need homeschooling mentors.
When I talk to older moms who have homeschooled, I gain perspective that I miss if I simply stay among my peers. No, they may not be up on the latest curriculum options (but then again, maybe they are!). But what they might lack in relevance, they make up for in wisdom.
In fact, when I talk to my peers about homeschooling, I always feel like I should be doing more in my homeschool day. But when I talk to older moms, I come away feeling refreshed, encouraged, and challenged. They usually have a “less is more” perspective and often encourage me to spend more time snuggled up with a children’s book and less time with the latest printables online. One friend just simply said “let her be three” when I asked a question about my daughter. Now that’s the wisdom and truth I need.
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In this context, when we talk about finding homeschooling mentors, I’m not talking about formal discipleship. Yes, I’m a big believer in discipleship and it has impacted my life immensely to have an older, godly woman to meet with on a weekly basis. In terms of our relationship with Christ, it can be a real game-changer–a real life-changer, in fact.
But today, I’m talking about more of an informal mentor. I’m talking about finding one or two (or more) older women who can speak truth to us. We need older friends, not just peers, who have been down the homeschooling road. They can point out our blind spots and help us sort through the myriad of homeschooling decisions that must be made. I have a handful of women that I can call or email when I’m sorting through homeschooling decisions. These are godly, Christian women who have raised children who treasure Christ and have been through the homeschooling trenches. They are nothing less than a treasure to me.
Where to Find Homeschooling Mentors:
This is ideal because you already know you’re on the same page with your beliefs about God, so it can be the perfect place to find a like-minded mentor. Even the busiest of homeschooling moms would love it if you called to pick their brain about something. I’m notorious for asking moms homeschooling questions in the hallway after church. It’s how I gained the confidence to ditch my phonics curriculum and move on to reading real books.
2. Local Homeschool Groups
These groups are a gold mine for building relationships with other homeschooling moms. I miss the group I belonged to before I moved. It was an easy way to catch up with some of my favorite seasoned homeschoolers and receive information & training in various areas.
3. Past friendships
Facebook and social media are a great way to connect with old friends. And you know your old friend you haven’t seen in 10 years, the one who homeschools now? Yeah, I bet she would love an email from you asking about her curriculum or how to balance homemaking and homeschooling. You just never know what kind of friendship will come from it. My friend, April, is one of these ladies for me. I can always go to her with a homeschooling question and I have no doubt that she’ll speak the truth to me, even if it’s not what I want to hear. And we met for formal discipleship when I was in college, so that’s an added bonus.
4. Homeschool books
I call this the “make your own mentor” option. If you don’t know other homeschooling moms, then read books from godly, homeschooling women like Sally Clarkson. I remember reading Seasons of a Mother’s Heart many years ago. She said that when she talked with moms who began homeschooling with her 20 years prior, they all agreed on one thing that they wish they would’ve done differently. No, it was not about curriculum. They all wish they had spent more time praying for their children. As this thought came to mind this week, it has actually made me pray more for my children.
5. Homeschool blogs
Now I love a good homeschooling blog, but I think this should be our last option for mentoring. Online relationships are no substitute for real life relationships. But if you have no other option, then follow some homeschooling bloggers avidly and talk to them about school! If you have a question, email any of the women who contribute to this blog. I assure you, they won’t mind a bit.
These seasoned homeschoolers have the perspective that comes from years of homeschooling combined with years of motherhood. They are gems. If you’re one of these women, thank you. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and enduring the questions of a newer homeschooling mom.
Do you have any homeschooling mentors? How did you find them?