10 People Who Make Homeschooling Easier

Today I read an article about 10 People Who Make Homeschooling Harder and rather than commenting my thoughts and feelings on the article, I have decided to simply respond with my own article.  And here it is.

As I walk through this homeschool journey, there are many people who make things easier for me, my family, my friends, and my community as a whole.  This is a list of those people.

1.  Family Members.  My husband and I are blessed with family members who are very supportive of our decision to home educate our children.  Whether they are helping out financially or sharing their Raz Kids subscription with us, they are making our journey easier.  And I thank them for it.

2.  Librarians.  The people who work at our local libraries are rock stars, in my opinion.  Sometimes they organize amazing programs, free of charge.  Sometimes they loan out space so that I can host my own events.  Sometimes they offer to help us find an item on the shelf.  And sometimes they simply offer up a sweet friendly smile and a hug.  Recently our favorite librarian retired from her position and we are miserable without her.  To say we appreciate our library system and the people who run it is an understatement.

3. Dads.  I have a good friend who is a single mom and she homeschools her daughter.  While her parents help her a tremendous amount, I still am in awe of her ability to make homeschooling work without having a partner.  My husband is amazing and I am so glad that he is on board with home education.  He picks up the slack in so many areas in order to make things simpler for me.  Without him, and his willingness to put forth so much effort around the house and with driving kids to and from activities, there is no WAY that homeschool would work for our family.

4. Church Family.  Our church provides my children with opportunities to get their hands dirty in service to the Lord.  It also provides weekly Bible lessons of an excellent quality that take some of the pressure off me at home if we don’t always fit Bible study into our weekly curriculum.  And better yet, our church family members step up to become directly involved with our kids’ education.  One church family member is going to organize a gem and fossil hunt for my co-op in the fall.  Another couple of friends from church came for dinner and played board games with us recently.  And this week my daughter will be spending the afternoon with a church family member learning how to cook a Brazilian meal to serve us for dinner.  Wow!

5.  Public School People.  I am always reminded of how much I appreciate being able to homeschool my children when I read the woes of friends on Facebook regarding the public school system.  So I thank them for their article links and their cries of frustration because it helps remind me why I’m doing this in the first place.  And I especially appreciate my public school friends who agree that homeschool is best for my oldest son.  They’ve seen school and they know my kid… and they agree that it’s not likely a good match.

6.  My Children.  When I see my kids thrive.  When I see my kids have relationships that are extremely close and beautiful.  When I hear my daughter thank me for all of my hard work…  it’s just totally worth every sacrifice I make.  I almost lost my oldest son a few years ago to cancer.  I am so thankful to homeschooling for giving me precious time with my children.  I don’t want to miss a thing.

7.  Co-op Leaders.  I have forever been amazed by the women who have run the cooperatives we’ve been a part of.  And let me tell ya, now that I am running my own co-op, I’m just that much more amazed by those women.  Running a co-op is not easy.  It’s not even fun.  But the pay off is great.  And homeschool is certainly easier because of people who take time out of their busy lives to run these organizations.

8.  Honest People. When people keep it real and are honest about the terrible time they are having, in person, through a text, via Facebook, I am comforted in the knowledge that I am not alone.  Everyone has hard days and I believe it’s more helpful to the world and to your community to sometimes fess up and admit that your day is craptastic.  I know that I feel better when the women I most look up to confess their flaws.

9.  Encouraging Friends.  There are so many people in my life who encourage me and compliment me.  It is their kind words that often-times get me through the day.  If you see someone who is doing a good job, let them know.  It might make their homeschool day a little easier.

10.  Community Members.  Last, but certainly not least, in my list of people who make homeschooling easier are the many members of the community who are reaching out and providing opportunities for homeschool families.  Here in my town alone there are museums, theaters, parks and recreation programs, art studios, historical sites, 4H… the list goes on and on.  Every where I turn there are opportunities for homeschoolers that are both affordable and of high quality.  And behind those programs are members of the community who are working hard to reach out to us and make our lives easier.  How awesome is that?

Who are some of the people making your homeschool journey easier?  Share your thoughts in the comments!



All You Need To Be Aware Of… Is How Awesome We Are

Nearly four years ago my son was diagnosed with leukemia. He was a sweet, beautiful six year old boy with his future ahead of him. He has brought us great joy over the years. His beauty has been beyond measure. However, he has also brought us great sorrow. A pain, a heartache most parents cannot imagine. As much as it hurts me to say this, had there been a test available, a prenatal test, to check for the leukemia gene, I would have had it performed. And I would have aborted him. Because who wants to set themselves up for parenting someone who will bring so much pain?

Are you disgusted? Mortified? Ready to throttle me? Good. I hope so.

Because it’s not true.

I wouldn’t have had the test, even if it was available.

I wouldn’t have aborted him, even if I’d known he was going to have leukemia.

Even if I’d known he’d be dyslexic.

And also even if I’d known he’d be on the autism spectrum.
I hope I’ve made a point.
It’s April. Until this year I didn’t know that April was “Autism Awareness Month”. I’d never heard of “Lighting it up blue” or whatever the heck that phrase going around the interwebs happens to be. But for some reason, this year, I’m seeing it everywhere. My Facebook friends are supporting and talking about Autism Speaks. And every time I read about that organization, I feel really sad. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t support Autism Speaks but the number one reason is because, according to them, I, and a lot of people I know and love, would have been better off not being born.

“But, Mandy, what about those Autistic children much further along the spectrum than you and your son? The ones who are severely affected, nonverbal, violent?”

To you I say, what about them?

First of all, let’s just say that a “severely” Autistic person would be better off not being born. How do we know that, during a prenatal test, we’d be able to tell the difference between a marker for severe autism and mild autism? What then? Kill them all?

Secondly, I believe that, no matter how devastating a situation or condition a child might be born into, that child serves a purpose and is a blessing. We might not be able to see what that purpose is, but that doesn’t make the purpose any less real.

I am horrified to read that many mothers are aborting their babies now that they can test for Down Syndrome in the womb. My children recently befriended a lovely girl with Down Syndrome. She blessed me. She blessed my children. And I know she’s a blessing to her parents. I am so glad she is a part of this world. That no one had a chance to prevent her from becoming a part of it. So thankful.

Over the past couple of years I’ve gotten to personally know a number of adults and children on the Autism Spectrum and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that they are some of my very favorite people. Sure, their lives have been filled with challenges and their parents are often pushed to their limits, I’m certain. But guess what? Most parents are. I have a child who has had cancer, who struggles with learning difficulties, emotional troubles, and is thought by some professionals to be on the spectrum as well. He is my heart. He is the child to whom I can most relate. And he inspires me and many others every day that he is alive. I love him just the way he is, and I wouldn’t change anything about him, even if I could.