Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Get a Homeschool Mentor

I realized when my first child was just a baby that it's very helpful to find another mom who had a child about 6 months older than my child so I could glean from her.  Someone beyond where I was but not too far from the "trenches" that they forget.  

Find someone "real" and see what her child is doing and what she does, etc.  As a matter of fact, I STILL do that, but now I will often find a mom with a child about a year or two older than my oldest boy or my oldest girl so I can get a glimpse of what might come...adolescence, shaving, peer issues, college preparation.  

Same deal for homeschooling.  My mentors are usually people I'm friends with already.  I've found that most homeschoolers, especially "veteran" homeschoolers, are glad to give their input when you ask them questions about homeschooling.  You aren't bothering them.  Really.  They may not think they are an expert, they don't need to be.  They just need to be "real" and open and honest.

I'll tell you about two of mine 

First, a few years ago a homeschool family with nine children moved into our town.  We had some kids the same age, went to the same church, the kids played sports together.  You get the idea.  I would ask her questions about what she did for school with her kids, especially her older kids.  At that point she had two girls in college.

One particular question and answer still sticks with me.  I asked what she did for writing for them.  She said she didn't do much.  When they got to high school she sent them to a community college for a writing class.  And they did perfectly fine (my words).   As I said, they were both in college- one was on an ROTC scholarship for nursing.  I felt a weight being released, knowing that no matter what I teach for writing, it could be possible for me to send the kids to a community college course and they could be okay- wait a minute, even more than "okay!"  Yes, her girls did perfectly fine.   I play that scenario over and over in my head when I need reassurance.

Second After meeting her through the wonderful Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and emailing/calling back and forth for about a year as I agonizingly planned my high school courses, I actually met Becky at The 2:1 Conference this spring!  I had no idea she would be there.  She is a former homeschool mom working as a counselor in the high school department of HSLDA and has three grown children.  I always think of her as my consultant although she probably talks to others who contact HSLDA too.  Anyway, I think of her as my Becky and I told her that when we met.  Now, when I email her it's to "MyBecky". 

If you don't have a homeschool mentor, what it one thing you could do to find one?  Are you a mentor?



  1. It has been incredibly helpful for me to talk to other homeschooling moms. It has made a world of difference. That's a major reason I was so excited to find your blog-it's so encouraging to me, Sue! :)

    1. Hi Kathy, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, bloggers are real people who you can have a real relationship with. I didn't really think that possible until I went to the 2:1 Conference and I met all these other women who blog and they are real, sincere, caring, sharing, techy friends!

  2. Looking back to my homeschooling days, having mentors was so important. They're great resources for finding answers to questions, ideas to spice up your program, a shoulder to cry on and more. Thanks, Sue, for this suggestion and encouragement. Becky

    1. Hi Becky, I just saw your reply. Sorry, somehow I missed it before. I like what you said, " ideas to spice up your program. a shoulder to cry on and more."

      Thanks for visiting and encouraging me too.

      Are you mentoring someone now?

  3. Thanks Joy. My husband asked me yesterday about whether homeschoolers talk about having a homeschool mentor. I don't know...

  4. Hi, We are going to be homeschooling for the FIRST time the coming school term.... after reading your posting I am definitely hoping to find someone in my area to talk too.. =) a fellow homeschooler =) ... although excited.. i am a bit nervous also... as i absolutely FEAR the Public school's board of education and how the will act/react... hopefully it will go smoothly... ((fingers crossed))

  5. Hi MissyBug,

    I highly recommend two things for you, and I have third possible reacommendation:

    1. Go on Homeschool Legal Defense Association's (HSLDA) website and check out the homeschool laws in your state. Also, you may contact them so that you are PREPARED when you talk to your local school. BTW, do you have to talk to them? Or can you just NOT re-enroll your kids? I don't know, but HSLDA will! I recommend you join HSLDA too.

    2. Contact a local homeschool group in your area. Join one. Get on their email loop and ask others about their experience with pulling their kids out of the local school. Usually there is more than one family who has done that and can be of help. I've heard moms say it's been a breeze. I'm not sure if maybe something has happened to give you that fear, but I don't think there is anything any school can do to stop you. Just keep repeating as necessary, "I am taking my kids out of your school. I am taking my kids out of your school. I am taking my kids out of your school." They'll eventually get it.

    3. Consider taking someone with you if you must meet with the school. A support person. Maybe someone from Philly like me who occasionally thrives on a good fight...ugh confrontation.

    I've never pulled my kids out of school (they've always been at home) so I don't have personal experience with this, but I've had lots of friends do this. Most have had NO issues!

    Bottom line, they are your kids and you are going to do what's best for them.

    I am going to do a post on "how to find a homeschool mentor" soon. So, please check back or follow my blog if you want.

    Let me know how it goes!