I was surprised and blessed by the turnout for our local support group’s first New Homeschooler Workshop. Our group hasn’t ever hosted a workshop like that before and we really didn’t know how many people would show up or what they would be expecting. In fact, I wasn’t feeling well the night before and seriously considered just staying home. I’m so glad that I didn’t though.
We had seven families show up for the workshop. Our President had done a wonderful job of creating a helpful brochure answering many first time homeschoolers' questions, as well as preparing handouts with helpful websites, samples of schedules and record keeping forms and other basic information. She even brought her two oldest children who were such a blessing. Four of the families brought children with them and Heidi’s children did a great job of keeping them entertained during the meeting time. I stood by with my trademark nametags and a Sharpie marker (I have to see names to remember them) and my copies of The Old Schoolhouse of course. Gotta start them off with a good first impression of homeschooling you know.
As the new homeschoolers introduced themselves, we were so blessed. One was an Army wife preparing to homeschool for the first year even with her husband deploying. Two were pulling their children out of the local Christian school as their children asked to be homeschooled. (Isn’t it amazing how God can even use our children to lead us to homeschooling?) Another mom has a daughter with Asperger’s, is dealing with a high risk pregnancy and preparing for her husband to leave for Iraq as well. The next mom was just trying to prepare for the future since her children were only 2 ½ and 10 months (Don’t you just love how some people choose homeschooling early on?) One whole family – Mom, Dad and three children- came as they were preparing to officially homeschool for the first year. They are blessed to go to a church with many homeschooling families, but surprisingly none of us had heard about that church before. We were pretty glad that they came just so that we can point others towards that homeschool friendly church! Then our last mom came in. She has a daughter graduating from our local public high school this year, but is pulling out her 7th grade son to homeschool him. She was so appreciative of the us taking the time to help her wade through curriculum choices and we were just so blessed by seeing her willingness to do the best for her son’s education.
I’m so glad that I didn’t stay home and miss out on these new families. They all needed information and were so appreciative of our modest little workshop. It wasn’t a big production and it didn’t need to be, but it was what God wanted – an encouragement for those families considering homeschooling and an affirmation for Heidi and me of the importance of reaching out and being visible in our community. If your support group hosts a New Homeschoolers' Workshop, go and be blessed. If your support group doesn't, you might want to consider organizing one. There may be some families out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.