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Five Ways to Encourage a Fellow Homeschool Mom

Mom shaming is real.

I think it’s always been a thing, but the advent of the internet and social media have exacerbated mom shaming. Mothers (particularly homeschool mothers) feel quite free to proclaim “It’s MY way or the highway!”.

Your homeschool method is too relaxed. Your homeschool method is too strict. You are a secular homeschooler?

You let your children listen to secular music? You allow your children to watch PG-13 movies?

Your child has a phone? My child will NEVER have a phone until they can drive a car.

Harry Potter? Captain Underpants? Diary of a Wimpy Kid? (such twaddle!)

“I would NEVER allow my child to play Fortnite.” (never say never, my friends)

You have a glass of wine at the end of your homeschool day? (Curses.)

Five Ways to Encourage a Fellow #Homeschool Mom

These are just a FEW of the points we squabble over and just a few of the “specks” we tend to point out in our neighbor’s eye.

Sometimes criticisms are subtle, and sometimes they are blatant.

The effect, however, is always the same: mom shaming discourages and disheartens the very people who need the MOST encouragement.

I believe in strong moral values and rules for my children, but I also believe each family is different. Not one person will be converted to my way of thinking simply because of what I say. In fact, the most powerful influencers in my life are the people who say VERY LITTLE.

I want to propose a revolution of sorts. The next time you feel tempted to criticize another mother’s choices, how about speaking words of encouragement and life instead?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

~ Proverbs 18:21

I am learning so much from a Godly group of homeschooling women in my community. I am proud to call them friends and co-laborers in this endeavor of teaching our children at home. These women lift each other HIGH on a daily basis - and they don’t just lift each other, they lift all those they encounter.

I pray these five ways to encourage your fellow homeschool mom give you a starting point for how to speak life and love into your homeschool mom friends. We all need encouragement and support!


Ways to Encourage a Homeschool Mom

Share an Encouraging Read

I’ve done this on many occasions!

It doesn’t have to be a “homeschool” book - it can be something you’ve chosen because of your friend’s personality and interests. Recently, I loaned the book Harry’s Trees to a homeschool mom friend of mine who loves nature and magical stories. She LOVED the book. I know, too, that this book provided her a bit of an escape during a particularly tough time for her.

You might want to share your favorite children’s book with a young mom, or a book of poetry with a mom you are encouraging on her homeschool journey.

When you take the time to choose a book, write a note to go inside of it, and deliver it to your friend, you are telling them you are thinking about and value their friendship. You ENCOURAGE them because they know they matter. (You might even be giving them valuable insight and resources for their homeschool journey!)

Recently, these are some books I have shared:


Say It With Coffee!

(or whatever beverage your friend likes!)

Inviting a homeschool mom to coffee seems like such a little thing - but believe me - it can be HUGE.

Could you surprise a friend who needs encouragement by arranging for some childcare and then picking her up to go to a fun local coffee shop? Or, maybe you could get your friend’s favorite beverage and drop it off at their house with a note of encouragement. Or, write them a note of encouragement with a small Starbucks gift card and pop it in the mail.

I have a sweet friend whose husband travels a lot. She is a fabulous homeschooling mom, but when her husband is gone and it’s just she and her three young children at home, life can get lonely. Oh… how about when those three children are SICK and she can’t get out?

That’s the perfect time for a Starbucks delivery from a friend, with a special treat of cookies for the kiddos.

Many times we face our greatest discouragement when children are sick and our husbands are away. We feel isolated and alone.

Just being remembered can be such a gift to a homeschool mom!

Five Ways to Encourage a #homeschool Mom



Lavish Public Praise

Have you ever noticed the warmth you feel when someone praises you publicly?

Take time to praise a homeschool mom you admire. The next time you are with a group of friends, lift that person up publicly. “I love the way so and so is always so positive and fun with her children, don’t you?”

Leave a message on your friend’s FB wall praising them.

If you have a group text of mom friends, publicly praise them there.

Have enough faith and confidence in YOURSELF to praise someone else. The effects for them (and you) are beautiful.

There is never really an occasion for a homeschool mom to receive praise for her job. It a mom is homeschooling teenagers it can be an especially lonely time. Praise is free and effective. Use it liberally!




Practice Hospitality

I have a friend who is particularly good at this. Denise has that knack for opening her open and speaking life abundantly into everyone she encounters.

My first year of homeschooling she invited me over to look at her stash of old lapbooks. She had met me at a homeschool literature fair and saw I was new to homeschooling. From that moment she took me under her wing and taught me so many things.

I recall one morning when she called me (she knew I had just dropped a child off at CC) and asked me if I wanted to come over for coffee. We just sat and chatted. It was immensely encouraging to me. Sometimes we just need a FRIEND and we just need someone to let us know we matter outside of our roles as homeschooling mothers.

Even if you don’t think you are hospitable, just open your doors to your friends. Believe me, they don’t care about the state of your house. The state of our hearts is much more important!

Everyone’s kitchen table is a mess! Why not share the mess with others?!?!

5 Ways to Encourage a #Homeschool Mom



Actively LISTEN!

Truly listening is a gift not many people possess. It is a skill that must be honed and practiced.

The next time you are standing in a group of moms while the kids are on the playground, try simply LISTENING. Don’t speak, just listen and truly HEAR what the moms around you are saying.

Can you pick up on a struggle someone is having? Do you hear a prayer need?

Contact that person after your get together (whether by texting or calling them) and let them know you heard them and you are thinking about them. Better still, is there some way you can meet their need during that week?




I’d love to know how you have encouraged a fellow mom, or maybe been encouraged yourself.

Or, have you been mom-shamed? About what?

Share with us in the comments below!











What We've Been Up To Lately: Literature, Logic, and Learning Experiences

Life is rich, full, and BUSY when you have teenagers in the house.

I thought life with toddlers was tiring and mentally draining, but life with teenagers is a different kind of busy. (God bless the families that have toddlers AND teenagers.)

We’re tackling some BIG ideas - both emotionally and academically.

I can see, however, how much homeschooling our children has equipped all of us for this point in our children’s lives. The relationships we have created and the habits we have developed over the past several years are equipping us to tackle high school and college.

By God’s grace everything ahead of us seems GOOD - even if it is hard. Usually a chai latte, a good book, and some quiet time for prayer have been helping me put everything into proper perspective.

Literature, Logic, and Learning Experiences - What We’ve Been Up To Lately in Our #homeschool @ Homegrown Learners

Literature

Books really do help us escape to other worlds. Finishing a book also gives me a sense of accomplishment and purpose - not to mention learning loads of interesting things while I’m reading.

Some really cool things have happened recently in our house with literature.

  • My son is reading a new collector’s set of The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings. He is suddenly intensely interested in reading Tolkien - and his friends from his homeschool group are all spurring each other on with what they are reading. One of my prayers for my son has been for his love of reading to continue as we make our way through the Challenge years.

  • My daughter is tackling a part of Le Mis in her 12th grade World Literature class. (Have you seen how BIG the book is? I bought it a few weeks ago and it scares me!) The two of us enjoyed seeing the Broadway production of Le Mis a couple weeks ago - it was spectacular! We had a great discussion about the themes of justice and mercy surrounding the story.

  • I am making a lot of wonderful history connections in my 2019 . My first big book of the year was One Summer: America, 1927. Now, I’m almost finished with The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Interestingly enough, the historical fiction I chose to go along with these was Next Year in Havana. I learned so much about the history of Cuba through this book. All three books together have given me a deeper perspective on life in America in the 1900s.

  • Several of you have been joining me for the Beauty in the Word book club study. I highly recommend reading this book when you have dedicated time to truly dig into deep ideas about your children’s education.

  • Reading aloud is also a staple in our homeschool - and yes, even big kids like to be read to! We just finished Homeless Bird (beautiful) and are in the middle of Nowhere Boy. Both of these books are turning the kids’ attention to issues in other parts of the world - through stories of children their own age.

  • Finally, I love to use our time in the car for listening to audiobooks. Grant and I have been listening to Bold & Broken by the Benham brothers. The theme of being broken is surfacing a lot in my life, and I am finding great power in admitting my own brokenness - and how sharing that brokenness can be a bridge for others to Christ. This book is humorous but also poignant - it’s just the right mix for a teenage boy. Because the Benham brothers were pro baseball players my son relates to them quite well.


Logic

Logic studies this year have been difficult. My son is a bright boy and this is one of the first times he is encountering true difficulty with a subject.

My mantra has been “process over product”.

So much can be learned from struggling through this logic curriculum - and I hope I’m freeing him up to struggle by letting him know it IS difficult and I’m not expecting perfection, just his very best effort.

I can see great value in studying logic, but I will tell you it isn’t something I would have selected for him on my own. This is a part of his Challenge B curriculum.

And let’s pause for a minute to talk about grades. This is one of those subjects where I’m not strictly keeping “grades”… after all, I don’t want him to get a C on a test and leave it at that. If he gets a C on a Logic test then we will struggle through the answers until we come to understanding. After working towards mastery with his best effort that seems like an A to me.

I’m setting up children for lifelong learning, not learning to regurgitate on a test.


Learning Experiences

The middle and high school years are bringing huge learning experiences for my kids.

We’ve always required our children to take piano lessons.

When March rolls around it is time for the Federation festival. This year Grant memorized two pieces and played them for a judge. I’m proud of him for receiving a Superior rating.

Anna did this festival for nine years in a row, and this was Grant’s sixth year. It teaches them perseverance, patience, and valuable performance/presentation skills.

This year Grant’s pieces seemed to kind of fall apart in the week leading up to the festival. I assured him it was a normal part of the preparation process, and he managed to pull out a Superior at the festival.

A little bit of nervousness, facing our fears - and then performing well - is such a great learning experience!

grantpiano.png

Meanwhile, on the same day, Anna drove to Spring Fest at the college she is attending next year. She did this on her own! The drive is two hours - which made this mom just a little nervous.

She learned a lot more about the college and came home with all kinds of details about their Special Education cohort program. The students move through their last two years of school together, student teaching throughout. They also offer a study abroad program focusing on special education in other cultures.

I could have gone with her, but she wanted to do this herself. She has always been my strong willed child (a challenge for this homeschool mom!), but I can clearly see that strong will working for good as she gets older.

Moms, if you have a strong-willed child just stay the course. Be firm, loving, and allow them plenty of opportunities to be independent. Let them take control of their education. I’ve learned my daughter needs to own her successes and failures, and the entire college application and selection process has been no different.

She’s also had a setback with a roommate situation. She thought she was all set with a roommate who is a friend of hers now, but the roommate has decided to attend another school. I must admit, my heart broke a little for her because having this one thing settled was making Anna feel so much more confident about school. This setback, though, has been a good opportunity to stress God’s hand in the process, and it is the first of many obstacles that Anna will have to overcome in her college career.

Another learning experience. You cannot control a situation, but you CAN control your reaction to the situation. (a good reminder for all of us!)


As we’re preparing for the change of transitioning to high school for my youngest and college for my oldest, we’re still in the process of settling my father-in-law’s estate.

Yesterday was the first time to go to his house after the estate sale. The house was totally empty. Talk about a sucker punch to the gut.

I think is one of the hardest things we’ve ever been through.

(At that same time we received news that my niece had a new baby - a precious little girl. The cycle of life is one thing we can be sure of, isn’t it?)

The theme of our lives this year is CHANGE. So much change. Even through all the changes and hard times we are OK — we are blessed in so many ways.


He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4


Now I will be turning my attention to planning a graduation celebration for Anna and a Confirmation celebration for Grant - two big events coming this spring!


I’d love to know what you’ve been up to in your homeschool lately!

Leave a comment below to share with us…


Literature, Logic & Learning Experiences - #homeschool encouragement to stay the course