And that is why we need to get ourselves together and talk. We can meet for coffee or margaritas, in a home or at a park, with or without kids, but I firmly believe it needs to be a priority for us. The simple act of getting together will benefit our family, our children, and our personal growth every single time. I guarantee it!
This "road [least] traveled by" is not only counter-cultural, like many Catholic families who strive to live authentically the vision of the domestic church, but it is also a choice to turn away from the model of education embraced by most first world countries. While being Catholic with a strong faith is often isolating, homeschooling can stop a casual conversation or end a friendship in a flash. A parent is usually immediately labeled as odd (or worse things) as soon as we admit we homeschool. (I admit we are odd, of course, but I would prefer people get to know me before assuming that.)
We have undertaken this monumental work of not only raising saints but also raising lifelong learners. Our choice to educate our children at home and not hand that responsibility to "professionals" is a heavy weight on our shoulders. When we get together, our conversation is inevitably going to turn to curriculum or lesson planning, as it should, because these are significant aspects of our daily lives.
As we connect with other Catholic homeschooling families, we create communities of learners and have opportunities to help one another through co-ops, tutoring, loaning materials, bringing meals, swapping babysitting, sharing advice, and more. The bonds that we form over math test woes and catechism lessons are just different than those with our friends from our family, church, or community who do not homeschool. In my experience, these Catholic homeschooling relationships are the friendships that go deep through thick and thin, because we simply understand each other.
The reality is when you are home with your children all day and are trying to teach them spelling, discipline has to look differently. The cute Pinterest ideas have a place but most likely not before reading lessons and handwriting. Even mundane things like cleaning and cooking are different in a homeschooling family, and so we need to talk about these things with one another.
And as I said about all moms, we need to pray together. Lifting one another up in prayer is the single most important thing we can do to help each other homeschool successfully, according to God's plan for our families. Honestly, this is the one act that slips my mind the most. I am so excited to be with my people that I forget to suggest, or sometimes am embarrassed to ask, that we pray together (even at a park day or moms' night out)!
So, please help me make up for that and stop the one whose goal is to distract us from God. Get together with other Catholic homeschooling mothers. We will talk practical ideas next. Then when you get together, pray together. I will do the same, and we will all be better for it.
How often do you get to visit with other Catholic homeschooling moms? What is your favorite topic to discuss?