The great thing about homeschooling is there are people in different stages of the journey. New parents jumping in, experienced parents nearing the end…and a whole bunch of people in between figuring out where they are in the game.
We all need each other.
New homeschoolers have a drive and a passion, an excitement about all that the homeschooling world has to offer. They’re in love with the freedom. They’re in love with the options. They’re enticed by the sparkle of possibility. There is choice. The walls of the “classroom” have been shattered and they stand in awe of what might lie ahead.
Veteran homeschoolers sometimes need to be reminded of this. They need to remember the why of their jump into homeschooling, even if it’s not the same reason they continued along with it. Sometimes veterans become numb. Homeschooling is just a part of life they are used to. They’re into a rhythm and they forget about the options. Or they’ve lived so long with incredible opportunities that they don’t even realize what options are out there anymore. (Too many choices makes it hard to know what’s even a choice anymore.) Even if veterans are satisfied with where they are, the sparkle and shine has probably been rubbed off…which can be a major bummer.
To be honest, after many years of homeschooling, I miss that sparkle and shine. And my kids do, too. When we hang out with new homeschoolers, we see a bit of it and it inspires us to grab for it again in our own journey.
On the flip side, new homeschoolers can get discouraged. They can get overwhelmed. Homeschooling is hard, especially when you feel like you’re in the minority, and it’s tempting to give up when you feel there’s no one there who has walked where you are.
Veteran homeschoolers can be there with a pat on the back and say, “Been there, done that, hated it, might have cried a lot, but we survived.” Experienced homeschoolers are there to offer hope. Inspiration. A shoulder to cry on. A different math curriculum. A suggestion of it’s okay to scrap it and go out for ice cream today because we did it and the world did not fall apart. And if all else fails, experienced homeschoolers can show up with a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or some really good chocolate…because someone did that once for us and it did wonders for our soul. 🙂
Community can be hard. We can choose to be annoyed by newness (as in “they don’t even know what they’re getting into”) or frustrated with experience (“they are just stuck in their ways, and my situation is different”)…or we can hang out together and take the pieces from each other that help us on our own journey. We both need a little of what each other has and, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, let’s be willing to give it to each other when it is needed.