Last week I had the opportunity to be with a group of LDS homeschool moms for 2 ½ days. What an amazing group of women! We had congregated as a planning committee and that was the focus of our meetings, but as you can imagine, we took the time to network too.
I am grateful that I was privileged to be in the company of such strong and dedicated women. We were a diverse group, some just starting out homeschooling, some having done it for 20 years or more. Some of us had large families, some small. Most were from the east coast, a few of us from the west and mid-west. But 2 things bonded us together- our testimony of Jesus Christ and the desire to do the best we could for our children.
We had our “required” planning meetings, but as we planned for the homeschool conference next spring our thoughts went to all the homeschool families across the nation and what their challenges were and we brainstormed what were the best ways to help them. That lead us to talk about our own struggles, then how we met the challenges. We offered encouragement, ideas and shared the inspiration we had received in our own lives. In other words, we talked and talked and talked.
When we weren’t in our formal meetings we talked about the challenges we faced as moms, as parents in today’s world. We talked about canning, gardening, our favorite recipes, home births, herbal treatments, church callings, etc. We talked about toddlers, teens and tips and tricks to help cope with the ups and downs of family life.
At one point it seemed that all we were doing was talking, not planning. But the talking was what we wanted to do. It was wonderful to talk about our favorite subject – homeschooling- with a group of moms who understood exactly what we did each day and why we did it. It was safe to talk about the challenges as well as the joys of homeschooling.
We were coming to the end of our time together and I was a little worried that we would not accomplish all that we needed to before we all went home. But a remarkable thing happened. After all the discussion and commiserating and supporting we had done, we suddenly saw the meat that we need to plan into the conference. The meat that homeschool moms everywhere needed to be able to continue homeschool their families with confidence and faith.
One of the things we discovered was homeschool moms need to have joy in what we do. Just as President Monson told us in October Conference 2008 we need to find the joy in the journey of our homeschools now. Not when we don’t have toddlers anymore, not when we finish the math text book or when we finally get our homeschool room organized. We are homeschool moms because we want to have an active part in our children’s education. We are homeschool moms because we want our children home with us. We are homeschool moms because we value the lifestyle homeschooling brings to our lives.
So let’s look for the joy in our homeschools this new school year. Let’s take time to spend with our children, just because. Let’s not worry so much about what we are not doing and focus on what we are. Let’s not have our schedules so tight we cannot stop and smell the roses or we will be late for our next activity.
Men are that they might have joy. We moms need to homeschool in ways that we might have joy! I pray that in each of our homeschools we might make it so.