...my favorite part of marriage
...how we all make it through and instill in our kids the education and character they need.
I am not one to fully endorse the "It takes a village" mentality of raising children. I am more in the camp of "It takes two parents." But I do see the merits of and benefit from having a village around me. A community: A whole bunch of interested and intentional helpers.
- One of my communities is my church. I have never, never, never had anyone in my worship community (i.e. church) respond negatively to me because I homeschool. A big, "THANK YOU" to all my people who show their love to me and my kids just by saying, "That's cool," and occasionally asking them what they are learning. (Love that question, by the way. Keep putting it in front of them!)
- One of my communities is my family. My parents have really supported us in this endeavor. My mother worked in the school system for years and she truly understands that all of life is a learning experience. When traveling in the car with the boys she’ll do math problems with them (how is it that Grandma’s make math seem so fun?). She’ll send them postcards from her travels with interesting facts about where they are visiting. She even waits to call us until the afternoon when we are more likely to be done with school. The way she (and my dad too) give me blessing and support is awesome. My brother and his wife have a 3-year-old daughter and they decided to homeschool her before she was even born. So, I don’t feel like I have to justify myself at all with my family. I accept this for the huge blessing that it is.
- A third community I have around me are my neighbors. Again, many homeschoolers have to justify their choices to their skeptical neighbors. I live in a circle of eight houses in which live a pair of grandparents whose children homeschool; a family with three boys who homeschooled them until 6th grade and the father teaches some classes for the homelink program in our school district; a family with a son my middle son’s age (1st grade) who has become my homeschooling buddy as they have decided to educate him at home as well. Everyone else is just nice. How cool is that?!
- My fourth community is my co-op group. We love, love, love this group. Every Friday for 8 weeks each semester we gather to teach each other’s kids and help one another along. There are about 45 families involved. When I walk in each week I feel like I’m among people who understand me even if I don’t know their name and even though every household does it differently. It is essential for this homeschooler to know that she isn’t alone and to be able to share the struggles of the day to day or at least roll her eyes and sigh a bit and get away with it. This is what happens at “Friday School”. It is a good, good thing.
So, while I don’t want to hand my children over to others to do the teaching and the raising, I DO want to put myself into supportive communities who can encourage me as their teacher and them as life learners.