SummarySeton is ready to help you be a Mentoring Mom, helping friends and family, new to homeschooling, by sharing your trusted insight and hands-on experience.
The world has changed in incredible ways since our last issue.
At this writing, I’ve been in quarantine for ten days with nine other people, and while the rest of the world has slowed down in terms of work and being busy, I’ve been inundated in requests for help from moms who suddenly find themselves homeschooling due to the shutting down of the entire school system in the United States. It’s both gratifying and overwhelming.
As homeschool moms, we can shine and be a beacon of light to those moms who are finding out that homeschooling is a great choice but are afraid to make the leap. We are in the position to guide and encourage families thrust into this lifestyle and share with them the freedom and joy that comes with homeschooling.
If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze -St. Catherine of Sienna
Those words of St. Catherine’s should serve as a beacon for us to gently and carefully set the world on fire for homeschooling.
The families who are suddenly faced with the loss of the only academic structure they know can be shown that homeschooling is not only the best way to educate children but is very doable, even under stressful circumstances.
In fact, the freedom offered by homeschooling allows for great flexibility in different family situations. Those moms who believed that they could not homeschool because they work outside the home or that they do not possess a teaching degree, are finding out that these issues can be worked around and children can and do learn better from those who love them best.
How do we guide these families and provide the right amount of support and encouragement without coming across as preachy or, heaven forbid, pompous?
Here are a few ideas.
Nothing inclines people to listen more than acknowledging their pain. Recognize that, at least at first, this is not what they chose. School at home and homeschooling are very different things, and to transition from that mindset is difficult.
Those of us who desired to homeschool planned for it, researched it, and attended conferences and meet-ups. We invested a lot of time before we began. These recent homeschool moms are diving into the middle of third quarter without that investment in time and without the planning for a lifestyle change.
These new homeschooling moms don’t have the materials, spaces, and set-ups that we have spent years developing. We should be sympathetic and positive. Let them know that they are doing the best they can do. No one expects perfection right out of the gate. Or ever. Treat them like the superheroes they are.
Long ago when I first contemplated homeschooling, there were few options available to Catholics. Seton was the most time-tested and solid (still is). Now there are many options available, and it’s overwhelming. Clearly though, Seton provides moms who are new, with everything they need right out of the box.
Make sure that they know that Seton will meet them right where they are in their education journey and accommodate any situation. Special needs, half a semester, multiple grade levels, testing, all in one place from one company with people passionately devoted to making sure each family is successful.
3. Invite them in
When things return to normal and we can have people visit again, invite the new-to-homeschool mom into your home and let her see how this works day today.
Have her “shadow” you as you teach lessons, clean the kitchen, and supervise the mayhem. Show her the realness of your day, that it is possible to do laundry, cook a meal, and teach math, all in one day.
I think one of the stumbling blocks that people run into when considering homeschooling is that they are so busy now, they feel that having the kids home all day will make them even busier and result in a breakdown of their home and of their sanity.
By inviting her in, you can show this mom that it can be easier because the kids are working right along with you. The extraneous nonsense that parents find stressful about school (long hours of homework, permission slips, volunteer hours, extra “fees”) all disappear. Kids learn to help with the house as a matter of course, they learn to work and think independently, and they learn that God and family come first.
Prayerfully consider if you are called to be a mentoring mom, and if you are, reach out gently to your friends, neighbors and relatives who may be considering adopting the homeschool lifestyle. Make sure they know that you are available for them and make sure they know Seton is available as well.
I’ve included Counselor Cecilia’s and my email addresses above. We are available to help you mentor your new-to-homeschooling friends.