Thursday, September 14, 2017

Encourage One Another

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For most of us, the school year has just begun and everything is still new and shiny and exciting, and we still feel motivated. If we're very fortunate, our students might still be motivated and excited too. But how long will all of that last? And if it doesn't last (those of us who are veteran homeschoolers realize the question is not "if" but "when") who will commiserate with us and help us get back on track?

That's where a good support network of fellow homeschool moms can really come in handy. I've been fortunate to be part of a very friendly local homeschool community, and have found that supportive network. In fact I belong to two groups with slightly different purposes. One is the oversight or umbrella group under which we homeschool. In our state we can choose an oversight group to supervise our home education program, or have the local school district supervise. There is a wide variety of oversight groups - some offer many services and others offer just the basics. Ours is somewhere in between, and thanks to some of the extras offered, I've made many friends within the group over the years.

A large number of the families from the oversight group also belong to the second group, which is a fellowship group. This fellowship group has membership fees and although it doesn't operate as an oversight or co-op group, it has been active in providing field trips and some co-op class opportunities like the gym class we attended for so many years. It also has offered an Encouragement Group for homeschool moms, and that's what I'm highlighting today.

Encouragement Group is not a flashy and catchy title, but it does capture the purpose of the group. It was started a few years before I joined the group, so I don't know exactly how it came about, but the idea is a very simple one. Get homeschool moms together to share their stories, joys, and concerns. We act as mentors and encouragers to each other, learn from each other, and just enjoy the company and conversation.

We meet once a month, on a weeknight, and usually at a coffee house or restaurant. For a couple of years we had a discussion topic chosen ahead of time for each meeting, but more recently we've just allowed the conversation to flow naturally. Often we've had very new homeschoolers come, or moms who are considering homeschooling, and they are full of questions, so we veterans answer them. We've also had moms attend after recently moving to our area, and they might be more confident about home educating, but they are still looking for a church and friends. And perhaps even an umbrella group!

Although this particular Encouragement Group is an activity sponsored by the larger fellowship group, it is open to all homeschooling moms, whether they have a membership in the group or not. Very often it is their introduction to our group and they do join.

Homeschool moms need this kind of like-minded community, and they need it in a real life setting. As great as the online communities are (and they really are!), I don't think the internet can fully take the place of in-person, face-to-face friendships with others who have a shared experience. And all you need to do is invite the other homeschool moms in your umbrella group or co-op group to join you over a cup of coffee at a local restaurant once in awhile. It's just that easy to extend friendship and encouragement to each other.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 
~I Thessalonians 5:11

Encourage One Another on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more encouragement from Crew members in the Looking After the Homeschool Mom Round-up, which will be live on Friday, September 15th.

Looking after the Homeschool Mom{Round UP}

This post is linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Apron Strings & Other Things.

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collettakay said...

We could all use some encouragement now and then :)


Joanne said...

I have found surrounding myself with homeschooling moms who are supportive to be invaluable to me as a homeschooling mom.

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