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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Help Wanted! - Finding Homeschool Support

Last Thursday, my husband drove me to San Antonio so I could spend the weekend with a group of ladies that I met on the Sonlight forums. When I joined the forums 4 years ago, I never imagined they would become such a huge source of homeschool support.

I chat with my Sonlight friends about everything from curriculum to potty training to presidential elections. I'm so thankful I've had them to walk with on this journey.

I've always prided myself on self-sufficiency. (Notice the ugly word there - pride.) But, a few months ago, I reached a point where self was no longer enough. Cleaning became an act of collecting clutter from every room in the house and putting it on my desk in our schoolroom. My desk would get messier and messier, and when I knew visitors were on the way, I'd slide everything from it into a box and put it behind closed doors in my husband's office. Rinse and repeat.

By the time Jackie, a new friend from church, asked if she could stop by and deliver my Tupperware order, I was too tired to bother running through the house to collect all the clutter and lock it away. I said, "Sure, girl. Come on over." And I sat on the couch and waited for her to arrive. What seems like a little thing was a huge turning point for me. When I set aside my pride and kept it real, the blessing began.

Jackie is a professional organizer, and despite my protests, she insisted on "gifting me" four hours of her time. She wrote my name on her calender, pulled out a business card, and told me to get another bookshelf and a few other items before she returned the next week.

When I told my husband (Mr. Self-Sufficient), he said, "Why do you need Jackie's help? The house normally looks great." He was right. The house normally looked great, but it hadn't looked normal in months.

Jackie helped me realized I'd outgrown my organizational system. I'd added 2 businesses and another student, and my kids were getting older. I no longer had a place for everything, and my routine didn't fit our needs. We sorted through four boxes of junk, filled the trash bin to overflowing and donated a trunk full of books and toys to Goodwill. I'll show you the amazing results later this week.

When Mr. Self-Sufficient saw the transformation, he said, "What did Jackie do that you couldn't have done?" The truth is - nothing. But Jackie came by at a time when I needed someone to walk with me. In less than 4 hours, I was back on track and life was normal again.

There's a widespread fear in the homeschool community that if you're honest about not having your act together, someone's going to judge you. Unfortunately, that fear isn't unfounded. If you really know some do-gooders, they just might pat you on the back, tell you you've done your best, and suggest you put your kids in school.

But you know what, "Who cares what they think?"

Be honest about your struggles and find someone to walk with you. Have lunch with a friend, meet up with a local support group, join an online forum, or ask grandma to sit with your sick little ones while you nap.

You don't get extra credit points for walking this road alone. Start keeping it real. Ask for the help you need.

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Renee said...

This is such a great post. This last pregnancy I was so sick I had to have help and wow is that ever humbling.

However, God used it and now I feel more free and open with others.

God never meant for us to be Lone Rangers, but to be a part of a community.

Love You!

Luke said...

Excellent post! I totally fall into the trap of believing that I "get extra credit points for walking this road alone." A great reminder that I should reach out to others when I need it.


Beverly said...

Thanks for this post! I love that you have a friend that would help you clean out and organize!!!! What a blessing!

**** April **** said...

I love this post! It's kind of like natural child birth... you don't get a trophy for NOT having the epidural! :) ha ha... and sometimes, it's just nice to have someone's help because we all know most of it falls on our shoulders. Most of us really are too proud to ask for help. :) What a blessing she was there just when you needed it!