What’s Your Plumb Line? – Why Homeschool Moms Need Homeschool Friends

Close your eyes and imagine this scene for me.  You are standing in your kitchen. Dishes are piled high in the sink.  Crumbs are crunching underfoot. A stack of math books is on the counter, waiting to be graded. One child is crying over his grammar book. Another is sneaking outside instead of finishing her assigned reading. Your cell phone dings as another unread email comes in and the house phone is ringing for the umpteenth time. Hubby is on his way home from work and you forgot to defrost the chicken.

You’re about to crumble to the kitchen floor in tears.

Imagine that for a moment. The frustration, irritation and emotions that come with it. Then open your eyes and tell me, what goes through your head in those moments?  What’s the soundtrack playing in your head?

Is it your mother’s voice? “You’re not qualified to homeschool.”

The neighbor? “Why don’t you meal plan? I do. Dinner is always on time.”

The mean kid from high school? “You’re stupid…and fat and ugly too.”

Your own worst enemy (yourself)? “What was I thinking, I can’t do this!”

Lonely homeschool mom

Maybe you’re not qualified to homeschool (who truly is?). Perhaps you should meal plan. So what if you are fat? It doesn’t change the fact that you are important, special, beloved…a hero in your child’s eyes.

I want to tell you it’s okay. There’s hope. Tomorrow will be better. And if not tomorrow, then next week. The silver lining is coming. But if you want to have more good days and less of those days, you must learn to quiet that negative self talk. So I ask, why are you so hard on yourself, homeschool mom? What inflated ideal are you trying to live up to?

What’s your plumb line?

If you feel defeated, or not good enough, perhaps you’re using the wrong plumb line. Examine your ideals. Are you comparing your worst against everyone else’s best? Do you want Janet’s clean house (even though Janet is now an empty nester), Kelly’s delicious meals (what you don’t know is Kelly studied culinary arts), Molly’s toned thighs (she’s exercised religiously for years) and Beth’s adoring husband (bet you don’t know he wipes his mouth on the drapes)? A life as perfect and unrealistic as Pinterest?

Adjust your plumb line

Negative self talk is one of the biggest, perhaps the biggest, stumbling blocks for homeschool moms. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with women in the same walk of life — other homeschoolers. Allow yourself to be built up by real women who not only understand your unique challenges, but will inspire you to be the best you can be. And by “real women” I don’t mean negative, continually complaining women. I mean friends who are open, honest and positive.

Online friendships are great, but go beyond that. Connect in real life! Find a fellow homeschooler with whom you can have coffee. Join a moms group, or a prayer group. If you can’t find one, make one.  Could you open your home one night a week? Once a month?

One of the biggest blessings in my adult life has been my homeschool mentor and friend, Mary. Mary is a homeschool mother of 9 (all of whom are now graduated) who opens her home every Thursday night for moms group. Some years I go sporadically, some years religiously. But I never fail to come away with a feeling of confidence and assurance. 

Do you have a Mary in your life – someone to help you find your plumb line? Can you be a Mary in someone else’s life – help others find their plumb line?

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  1. This is rather hard for me, working outside the home and doing schooling with my kids. Thank goodness I only have 2 kids on this journey. It’s difficult to find a support group of members in a like situation. However, I’m finding them online. When I’ve gone to homeschoolers events, I don’t really fit in with most of the parents since many of them stay home with their kids and have the time to put together these elaborate curriculums or attend tons of day time activities. My time is even more limited and because my husband and I flip flop our schedules to do this, it leaves little time to take our kids to various homeschool focused events. Just by chance I met a single mom homeschooling her daughter and she’s been a big encouragement to me. An encouragement much needed. http://homeschoolandwork.blogspot.com

    1. That is a very unique situation Nita, I’m sure it would be hard to find people in exactly the same boat. I’m glad you’re finding them online. I applaud you and your husband for making sacrifices to be there for you children. Bravo!

    2. NIta,
      we should connect somehow! I find myself in the same boat. I work outside the home and homeschool my kids too(I have 4 all age 5 and under) I have found no one who understands this, even online most are stay at home moms. I definitely understand the challenge you face. feel free to email [email protected] me I’d love to get to know you and have someone to share frustrations with!!

      Sheri Ellis

  2. How easy it is to compare our ‘not so greats’ to others’ ‘bests’. That there was an eye opener! And I know I’m guilty too of comparing myself to everyone elses greats as a whole….completely unrealistic when it comes to me being only one person! Very uplifting and encouraging! THANK YOU!

  3. This is so true! Our first two years of homeschooling, we met a lot of moms and kids, and my girls really connected with kids, but it was not until this, our third year, that I connected with another mom and it has made all the difference!

  4. Mine is Mrs. Kelly! I just love her and her family. We meet in the vast lands of West Texas, she was exactly what I needed. She was well in to schooling her two boys, and I was just getting started. She is a wealth of knowledge and such a good person. I cherish her friendship, and admire her devotion to her family.

  5. So true. We can find ourselves surrounded by “regular” school moms and, feeling like you are always going against the grain really wears on you. Connecting with like-minded people always reaffirms my confidence in my decision and reminds me of why I choose to homeschool.

    1. Amen! By homeschooling we naturally go against the grain, and while I generally don’t mind it, having firends who offer affirmation helps me stay the course.

  6. I’m very new to homeschooling but already have trouble even thinking about connecting to the women in our local homeschool groups. Being a brand new homeschooler, and a young mother in general, the vast majority of the group seems very condescending or worse, condemning. These are women who I look up to & hoped to learn from & connect with so it is incredibly disheartening to find the general consensus is that I have to be above 30 years old to care about my children’s’ education. Do you have any advice for a situation like this?

    1. Chantal, I’m sorry you had to experience that. I too feel a bit out of place with a lot of the homeschool groups I’ve joined since I am very different from most as I work outside the home. However, by checking in with the groups in other areas nearby I’ve found people within those groups that I have things in common with. So I’d say just keep trying to find the right fit for you or at least just one person in the group that is genuine.

      1. Thank you! That’s the hope I continue to hold onto- that there has to be plenty of genuinely open & warm-hearted women in the group, maybe they feel as timid and unsure as I do about approaching anyone with any different type of sentiment than what is commonly accepted amongst the rest. My town unfortunately has only two homeschool groups that I’ve found, and they’re both pretty much ran/controlled by the same group of moms so I don’t think joining the second one would be much different. However I have found some groups right outside our area that aren’t too far so I’ve been considering trying my luck there!

    2. Chantal, I experienced the reverse when I first begain homeschooling. ( this is our third year) I am a much OLDER mom (46) and all the mothers I met in the beginning were in their 20’s. I also work full time so I was not like them at all. Their kids were in Classical Conversations, they did the co ops, all the get togethers, arranged field trips during the week etc. We did not fit in anywhere. But, I managed to take my son to science lab once a month where he met a boy who was very similar in personality to him and iy turned out that his mom was in her 40’s. She was homeschooling her 4th child. Tho she was a stay at home mom, she totally understood where I was coming from. She and I are very similar and it has been wonderful. My son and I prayed for Homeschool friends that we could do stuff with and hang out with and God gave us the perfect folks. It took 2 years for us to finally get together as a “group” but now I have one mom who totally gets us. LOL And one is enough. I also joined the FB group for our local home school association and have made some online friends and encouragers. It takes time but you will find where you fit. Good luck!!!!

    3. Unfortunately, I found that ‘old timers’ (and this is probably true in most settings) are less interested in revisiting all the ‘newbie’ issues. Also, they’re plugged in, their kids are plugged in and they have no idea how’d they add in more friends to the mix. Just remember they are probably overcommitted and running too much as it is. I would recommend you offer to start a ‘getting started’ group within those groups- so you can use their networking. Invite a small few to be the mentors and have the stated focus be those homeschooling 3 years or less (for example). Our group has a support meeting once a month at night. So either Dad can stay with the kids or everyone can come (we have a teen for the kids’ room). 2-3 old timers lead discussion and answer questions. Sometimes we have a theme like state homeschool laws, but not always. I’d like to get some new new moms to start a preschoolers at home group, but I haven’t had the time! It would be great to get connected right from the start. I’ve been homeschooling 24 years and still best friends with a few women I met way back then and have added more all along the way! Don’t give up the search! It’ll happen and it’s worth it.

  7. I really needed to see this, this week! We have home schooled our 11 yr old since K and I now have a 19 month old to throw into the mix! We have a home based business and my husband works outside the home and life is so full sometimes it takes over! The first few years of homeschooling I did not have many friends, much less ones that understood. We were the first of our friends to start having children and then when we did, we decided I would stay home – wanna see how fast your friends disappear? lol I now have a few close friends that home school, a few close friends that have their kids in PS and some with no kids at all. When I decided to put the extra emotional work into getting out there and finding places to meet other women it made a world of difference to my confidence and sanity! It took years of finding people to gather the right ones close to me, but well worth it. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. Thank you for sharing Amy! It sounds like you are VERY busy. I commend you for putting yourself out there and making it happen!

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