In my life I’ve had a wide variety of mentors to help me through various seasons. I have also been a mentor to others, which I consider a great privilege. As a new homeschooler, I see my need for mentors almost daily. Today I’m sharing the places I go to find help, both online and off and the kinds of moms I look to for mentorship.
My friend and fellow blogger Rebecca of Mom’s Mustard Seeds. She is a gifted writer and a continuous source of encouragement.
A Local Homeschool Mentor Mom
Finding a local mentor is invaluable, especially if you live in a state with a complex filing process. We have lived in New York for just over a year, and in that time I have found other homeschooling families very easily. The first place I looked was online, searching for local groups. I found two in my area which both meet at local churches. One is a support group for parents that meets monthly, but does not have any regular (weekly) events for students. The other is a classical co-op that meets once a week during the traditional school year. (We have enrolled the boys for the coming year – more on that in another post.) I also met two homeschool moms at the library during story time and they helped me connect with the local groups.
A Mom with Kids Close in Age to Mine
This could very easily be a local family, but several of my “mentors” currently are bloggers. I read A LOT of blogs, especially ones written by homeschoolers. I’ve found a few that have kids similar in age to mine who provide me with continuing encouragement and ideas to use with my kids. My longtime favorite, and the first homeschool blog I ever read, is Carissa at 1+1+1=1 (It took all my composure to not squeal when I met her in real life at the Teach Them Diligently conference this summer). I could list a whole bunch of other blogs I love, but the point is that YOU need to find the moms who inspire you.
A Mom who Uses a Similar Homeschool Approach
For the past three years we’ve been almost exclusively a Montessori inspired home preschool and I looked to other Montessori Moms for mentorship (and read just about every Montessori blog out there). As we enter our year of transition with Bebop, I’ve started talking with my local homeschool moms for insight and suggestions for kindergarten. Additionally I have expanded my search for online mentors, particularly moms who use either the Classical or the Charlotte Mason approach. In addition to blogs, there are many online homeschool forums where you can ask questions that you may not be able to have answered in real life. (I’m currently a member of the Mother Culture Connection for Charlotte Mason Homeschoolers group on Facebook).
My Experience with A Homeschool Consultant
Over the summer, I worked with a homeschool consultant to address a few specific concerns I have for the coming year. Full disclosure: I was offered the consulting sessions free in exchange for a testimonial. I was not obligated to write any kind of blog post, but have chosen to do so because it was such a wonderful experience. I had two, one hour sessions with Dollie Freeman to focus on implementing the Charlotte Mason method with Bebop. Before this I never considered paying for a consulting session, I just didn’t see the value in it. At the end of our two sessions, I had a well articulated set of goals for Bebop, a method to break the goals into practical weekly steps, and coaching on how to implement Charlotte Mason basics like copywork, dictation, and memorization. The confidence and organization I received from the consultation is priceless. If you do not have a local mentor with experience in a homeschool style that matches yours, consider a paid consultant. I highly recommend Dollie!
After the first round of consulting appointments, Dollie noticed the new homeschoolers (like me) all had very similar questions. As a result she wrote The Charlotte Mason Way Explained. If you are considering implementing the Charlotte Mason method and have general questions, this is a great resource. You can use my affiliate link to buy the book and use the discount code EXPLAINEDLAUNCH for 50% off through Thursday, August 22, 2013.
Do you have any homeschool mentors? What are your favorite online resources? Feel free to leave links in the comments!