One of the things about running a homeschooling support group is the odd thing that happens when I need support: I don’t ask for it. I do, a little bit, but it’s funny how as soon as I enter a leadership role how efficiently I segregate my needs from meeting the needs of others. I find it hard to be the one with questions and doubts. I see that people need me to be honest about my struggles, absolutely. But years of leading La Leche League meetings and Weight Watchers has drilled into me the concept that I am there for them; they are not there for me.
It isn’t helpful that there are so very few parents homeschooling teens around here. My peer group is tiny. I hardly ever see them, and when I do I’m busy managing the needs of the various people around me.
I would love to have someone ahead of my in this journey who also knows my kids. I can’t always feel reassured when someone online tells me I’m doing fine by my kids. That we’re ok. What if we’re not? I wonder. What if I’m just really good at laying out my case in words?
Right now a small committee of us is setting up the very first local homeschooling conference. It is inevitable that we will see none of the sessions we really would love to see. It is inevitable that we will give and give, because the need is there.
Giving is incredible, and it’s a thrill that leads me to be the kind of person who provides support in nearly every aspect of community life I am involved in. I’d love to have someone to talk to about spelling, though. And the conflict between my son’s personality and my plans. Someone I could be really honest with when I am confronting my weaknesses as a homeschooling mama.
One thought on “Who Supports the Supporter”
It always amazes me how in a world so overpopulated with people we find ourselves so often alone. In this highly specialized and compartmentalized society we are, each one of us, waking up to a different reality than our neighbour, our friends and even our spouse. Sometimes I lament the fact that I naturally keep a little to myself ensuring that when the time comes for a shoulder to lean on I am invariably surrounded by those I’m leaning from. A wider circle of friends maybe? Finally reaching out to other homeschooling families in the neighbourhood? At each stage in our lives there has been something that has made us feel a little outside the norm (being young parents, having an ill and then disabled child, having four kids, living small, unschooling) but mostly these are just the lies that keep us away from potential support. In truth everyone has their barriers, their private battles, to overcome if only we would really take the time to look.
Over the last year I’ve been trying to push myself to talk about the things that need talking about and this isolation in a crowd is something that I keep coming back to in my mind but I have yet to write about. Perhaps it is time.
It may be cold comfort, and my children are younger than yours but the thought that keeps me moving when I feel the homeschooling doubt creep up is this ‘you are one of the small percentage of parents that really thinks about how to help your children reach their goals, and takes action on those thoughts, your children are already better off for the effort’. Take these doubts as a chance to re-evaluate and recommit yourself to the job and cut yourself a little slack. Would they be where they are without your efforts? Probably not. You’re doing a great job.