First of all, let me introduce myself. I'm Terry Yaceyko. I'm happily married to Richard and we have 4 daughters (24, 19, 14 and 12). We have home schooled since 1991 and I am very passionate about Home Schooling and Home School Support Groups.
Through the years, I have received home school support in different ways.
At the top of the list would be support from God. Whenever I have struggled with a home schooling or parenting issue, I have prayed for wisdom (James 1:5 – 6). Sometimes it takes a while, but I have always been amazed at how God has answered my prayers in creative ways.
My husband continues to be a huge support for home schooling in my life and our home. I was talking to a friend today and she reminded me about how hard our husbands work so that we can stay home to home school our children. That alone is a big support for our home schooling. (I also pray for the home school moms and dads that are parenting and home schooling solo – it is tough, BUT do not forget that God is there for you as well, and will fill in where your spouse will or can not.... AND dear Home School Community, let's be there for the Home Schoolers around us. Do something to lighten their load.)
My older sister started home schooling the year before we did and has always been a huge support for home schooling in my life. We even lived in the same town for a few years and our children enjoyed Country Days (and more) with each other!
However, the one *best* support for my home schooling comes from our local Support Group. I live in rural Alberta, so it isn't a very big group – only about 20 of us in a hour radius, with 8 to 15 moms meeting regularly once a month. I know sometimes it is hard to fit Home School Support Group Meetings in our busy lives. It is also hard (sometimes) getting your house clean for the meeting, too! Making time for each has been worthwhile in my life, though....
We have to watch how busy we are and what we cut out of our schedule. I would recommend making sure you get the support you need to continue home educating your children. Home School dads, make it easy for your wife to get to a Home School Support Group Meeting. She really needs to be with like minded women at times – it's a great place to get inspiration, vent and share!
Home schooling our children is going against the norm. Home Schooling traditionally (parent directed) is tiring at times. Some of us have children w/ learning issues. Some have young adults (aka teens) with attitude problems. Some of us are home schooling many, while others are only home educating one. Some have been doing this for years, and some have only begun their home school journey.
No matter who you are, please *know* you should leave a Home School Support Group Meeting feeling encouraged. That is my top goal for our Support Group Meetings. Why not make it a priority to encourage other home educators at Support Group Meetings AND whenever else you can?
Yes, it is easy to compare ourselves w/ others. Remember that leads to pride or discouragement. Avoid comparison. Share what is working AND enjoy what is working for your family – no matter what others share. If something isn't working for you and yours, try something new!
I had the opportunity recently to call all of the Support Group leaders in Alberta. I updated information (see the AHEA website for the current list of Home School Support Groups in Alberta!) and asked Support Group leaders what the *one* best thing their support group does....
It was great to hear what was working for Support Groups around the province. Some are very active w/ lots of members, while many have fewer members and concentrate on only a couple of things during the year. A few leaders said it is easier to get to know each other in smaller group settings.
Here are some ideas that are working around the province:
- Monthly Support Meetings for parents (some w/ guest speakers)
- A History Fair Day (with a theme, presentations and opt. costumes)
- Home School Track Meet (in the spring or fall)
- Weekly Sports Program - weekday evening with different ages at different times w/ a yearly fee (hopefully a member will write an article about this. It sounded amazing AND they didn't have a huge group – only about 20 to 40 families in their area!)
- Home School Swimming Lessons
- Education Fair (includes science, art and more + they have a Science in a Crate as an extra and a speaker for the afternoon)
- Moms meet for an early meal and meeting at a restaurant
- Lots of extra activities for the children – moms visit at those times
- Email Newsletters or Yahoo Groups elists
- Year End Celebration (OR Back to Home School Celebration)
- Kid Activities one afternoon a month (3 – 45 min. classes – archery, pottery, art and more)
- Weekly afternoon coffee at one member's house – moms visit while children play
- Home School Youth Group
- Monday Afternoons at the Park
- Home School Family Monthly Meeting (potluck supper – then some parents supervise the children while the other parents have a mtg.)
Why do I share so many different ideas? Because our home school communities and needs are different. The ladies in our area love our monthly Support Group Meeting. It is working for us. BUT there are many ways for a Home School Support Group to meet – the above list shows the creativity of Home Schooling families in Alberta.
Are you wishing you had more home school support? Why not see if there are other home schoolers in your area that are interested and just start getting together regularly FOR support? Get the word out there. Be willing to open your home if you live in a rural area. Being hospitable is a lovely way to live. Try some of the above ideas OR come up with some of your own and see what will work with the homeschoolers in your area.
Start developing a Home School Support System today!