Today I am linking up with The Homeschool Village, talking about a homeschool mom for which you are thankful. They specifically have asked it to be a blogger mom, but when I think about being thankful for people, three people automatically came to mind, and they don't blog. I have gained support from the blogging world, but not quite the kind that I have from the relationships of the three women I will tell you about. I struggle with my computer time, and feel like I spend too much time on the computer. I am trying to cut back. For me, I get stuck in the online world while my real life gets a little out of control and the relationships around me could be stronger. I'm trying to work on this.
When our family began thinking about homeschooling two years ago, I went to a woman in our church (who I didn't know that well) who had home schooled all of her children. I had worked with one of her children in the music program, and she was a sweet, thoughtful, respectful, and insightful girl. I was impressed. So, I asked my friend (her name is Ellen) about homeschooling. She didn't pressure me to pull my daughter out of school. Instead, she listened when I talked and was just a good ear. She brought me a stack of books to read during our upcoming vacation to Florida - wonderful books about homeschooling in general and the Charlotte Mason method.
I read every single book that week! I was so excited to begin homeschooling, but because of a medical situation, couldn't start right then. I told Ellen rather sheepishly that I had "chickened out" and she didn't judge me. Instead she asked about my daughter's teacher and was once again a good ear. It wasn't until the following school year that I finally got up the courage to pull my daughter out of school. I couldn't wait to grab Ellen in the hall at church and tell her. I got a huge hug and I knew I had at least one homeschooling friend! Ellen invited me to her house and gave me lots and lots of resources and answered so many of my questions. She got my daughter and I involved in a literature fair (which we did just a month after we started homeschooling!) which was a great experience for the both of us.
The first few months of homeschooling went pretty well. Ellen invited me over again and gave me a TON of resources. She had finished her homeschooling journey with her three children and was passing on things to me. We sat on her basement floor and she listened (again) and gave me lots of good ideas, which I am using now. I was getting to know her better, and was beginning to see what a blessing the friendship of veteran homeschooling moms can be. I am not sure if I would be homeschooling if it weren't for her. I am so grateful that God placed her in my path and at just the right time.
At this same time I also had a veteran mom friend who (although her children went to public school) supported me in so many ways. She listened as I thought through the decision to homeschool, and never once said a negative word. After I started homeschooling she even took my daughter and I on a nature walk and taught us a lot of things. She is now one of my biggest supporters and I feel as if I can talk to her, even when I'm having a bad homeschooling day. Lynn is such a good friend to me, and I'm grateful God has placed her in my path as well.
My sister, Katie, is the third woman I am thankful for. She told me, from the day we decided to homeschool, that she would support me no matter what. She told me it never paid to criticize someone's decisions. How wise. She sends my children resources, books, postcards from trips overseas, and just is one of my best cheerleaders. We visited her this summer and she was a second teacher to my children... teaching my daughter how to wind yarn and knit, and taking us all to the Erie Canal and Niagara Falls. God blessed me with a wise sister who is twelve years older than me.
What is it about these women that was so special? I think (and I'm learning this as I get older) that judging and criticizing someone never pays. God wants us to have a gentle spirit and listening ears so that we can hear the needs of others and find ways to serve. Both of these women are 10 or more years older than I am. I think they have survived the motherhood thing longer than me, and have grown wise in the process. They genuinely want to help other moms and their children. For this I am so grateful.