One thing about homeschooling that has been challenging for me is the feeling of isolation that can sometimes accompany it. I went from being involved in my children's public schools and having the common bond with other mothers whose children also went there and we could vent our frustrations to one another and support one another. When you begin homeschooling you might start to notice that it can be polarizing in many situations. It can be a conversation starter or a conversation ending topic depending on who you are talking to. Fortunately, most people are pretty open minded and just kind of go with it. They might ask you a question or two, but generally they are pretty supporting. I'm glad for that. Especially here in Florida I feel we have a community that embraces parents doing what they feel is best and I haven't felt much judgement or negativity at all.
For all of the talk of socialization concerns when it comes to homeschooling, one of the hardest parts for me has been deciding what activities to say no to. You could literally be out of your house doing something social every day of the week if you wanted to. Even with all of that socializing it can still feel a little lonely at times. I guess because every family does it just a little bit differently. One thing that has helped me a bit when I start to feel doubt, or discontent, or I just need a word of encouragement is to read blogs. And the funny thing is that some of them are written by women who I don't agree with half of the time, but they still encourage me all the same. So I wanted to share some of them with you. These blogs are not 'how to' types of blogs. I don't really read those too much. These are more 'why do' type of blogs. They are looking at the big picture and that really speaks to me more than the type where they give you more specific homeschooling tips.
Here is my list in no particular order:
The Pioneer Woman Homeschooling
One thing I love about this blog is the Community Question series. They take questions from the readers and then people answer them in the comments section. This is a huge community of people, so you always get a vast variety of opinions which I like.
This isn't even a homeschooling blog, but it encourages me anyway. She sends her kids to Catholic School but one thing I love about her writing is that she never apologizes for her point of view. She is very affirming to stay at home moms and I always feel uplifted after reading her posts. Think 'vintage parenting'. If you struggle with feeling like the only strict mom out there, the only one who doesn't let their 10 year old have Instagram or the only one who sets limits on electronics, then read her blog and you'll feel encouraged that you aren't alone.
We aren't unschoolers, but a lot of the movement's theories about education intrigue me. I stumbled upon this blog one day and it just spoke to me. I like reading about her adventures homeschooling in New York City and her relaxed attitude inspires me to chill out when I start talking to myself in my head about how I'm not doing enough and the negativity starts getting me down. What? You don't talk to yourself? ;)
Okay, a word of caution when reading Penelope...she can be very polarizing. I don't agree with a lot of what she says (she tends to be a very black and white, all or nothing type of person) but I still enjoy reading her blog. She is so firm in her convictions and I admire that. She offends people left and right and doesn't bat an eye about it. But the thing I really like about her is that she challenges me to think outside the box. To look at the world in a different way than I normally would. For that reason, I will continue to read...and honestly, the comments are sometimes like a car wreck that you just can't look away from...know what I mean?
Heather is a contributor to The Pioneer Woman's homeschooling blog. Her own blog is an encouragement as well. She is a more traditional homeschooler and I admire her organization and the way she shares about her curriculum choices and what has and hasn't worked for her. She's honest and doesn't sugar coat the homeschooling experience. I feel like she's that mom who's been there, done that who you can go to for advice and know you'll get good, honest feedback. I really respect her choices and she's an excellent writer as well.
Hopefully some of these woman will encourage you as they have me! Happy reading!