Saturday, November 30, 2013

Just What Was Needed

We joined BHEA (Blount Home Educators Association) this past school year. It is a really great support group that has enriched our homeschooling experience. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking going at this without one for so long. (Actually, I know why I avoided them. Support groups had a negative connotation to me. I thought I'd be surrounding myself with homeschool zealots.)

One of the benefits of being part of BHEA is the new friendships and connections that we've all made. Having a network of moms who've felt led to give their kids a Christ-centered education is vitally important whether it is your first year or whether you're considered a "veteran" homeschooler. The kids have also really enjoyed having friends who are "like" them. For so long, I was very intentional about them having friends who were in public and private schools. It seemed (and still does seem) important for them to not have an elitist mentality concerning education and that they have a variety of friends.
However, I underestimated that as they got older it would be very important to them to have friends with a similar lifestyle. 
Because in reality, homeschooling is a lifestyle. 
It is  not something contained in hours, days of the week, or on book shelves. 
No two families do it the same or even have exactly the same motivations behind their decision. 
*It amuses me when people group us together just like I used to do when I thought homeschooling was wacko and you had to dress like you starred in Little House on the Prairie
Back to my point, my children have needed to have friends (not just the few at our church) who are being home schooled, too.
Middle school particularly is filled with peer pressure, insecurity, and the desire to not be different. My middle schooler was feeling  insecure about being hm schl'd and definitely felt a pressure to conform. This was really nothing new, it just intensified. She's had curiosity for years and the grass seemed greener for her friends in public school. I totally understood her feelings, but it didn't change my convictions about education.
We've had a few years of fighting and lots of frustration. This spring, it seemed that the best solution would be that she  go to school next year. Going and experiencing "real school" for herself would clear up all the questions she's had and maybe she would be thrive. 
Something had to give and it wasn't going to be my sanity.

 After being involved with American Heritage Girls and BHEA this past school year, Tater has decided that she wants to continue being homeschooled. Her decision is based not only on what her friends have told her about the "reality" of school, but I know it also is because she has many girlfriends who are being educated like her. Not feeling like the only one has really made a difference.

If I could do it over, I would have joined a support group long ago.

Learn from my mistake. Moms, don't underestimate the emotional needs of your kids to have friends that are "like" them. Church peeps and neighbors may not be enough. Your friends' kids may not  either. We all need different relationships for various reasons.

1 comment:

  1. Fellowship is a gift from the Lord and so we should all be grateful when God places those relationships in our lives. I know I wouldn't be who I am today without my HS mommas like you!!