Support for homeschooling is something that so many say is necessary. I’m not going to deny that; however, I would again insist that it really depends entirely upon you.
When I made the decision to homeschool, the entirety of support that I received from my husband went along the lines of, “I won’t interfere.”
Now, before anyone goes and writes Jay up as a deadbeat, at this time he was working 14 hour days 5 days a week, and many, many hours on weekends. Then, of course, there were the TDYs to other states.
The worst thing about that locale was that we were at a training post. Training posts are a little. . .anal, in the rules and traditions of the military. So, trainees and their families aren’t supposed to be friendly with permanent party. Enlisted soldiers and officers (and their families) are supposed to stay separate. And Jay was assigned as permanent party, and going to school to become an officer (from enlisted). I found myself and my children in the proverbial no-mans land!
My parents were on the far side of the country, my brother across the ocean. . .
The support I found came in the form of two public school teachers. Seriously, who would have thought?! The first was Tyler’s kindergarten teacher. (I took Drew out to homeschool, but Tyler’s education situation was well in hand, so I left him in school.) She became my sanity anchor, and she will never know how much I truly needed and appreciated her friendship. The other was the teacher assigned to us, as we were homeschooling through the state. She had taught in the school system for 20 years, but had signed up for the homeschool department and had been working for them for over 5 and she was an awesome wealth of information, and fantastic tutor for me.
We moved to England, and I stuck my kids back in school (Tyler had been taken out in 1st grade), as it had never been my intention to homeschool more than necessary. Except it became necessary, again, in England. So, I pulled them, and truthfully the only “support” I had was online forums. This was true in Germany as well. (England and Germany were both full of short-term deployments.)
Here, I have a lot of support available; although, there are only two that I have anchored myself to. I think if I had any support greater than that I would desire to pull my hair, and find a place to bury myself. (introvert, remember?) These women are completely *real* and I can talk to them about anything, (not just school-related), but they also have amazing insights, both instinctual and instructional in education.
Now, Jay does offer support to me. . .but in no way related to education (which I will admit is disturbing to me). However, he will do things like interrupt my school day and suddenly announce he’s taking the kids out for a bike ride. (His schedule is all wonkas now as a nurse, so he’s home plenty of school days.) When I grouse that he is interrupting my school day, he will give me that all-knowing look of his and say, “I’m going to take the kids for a bike ride, and we’ll play at the park and thus be gone for about 1.5 hours. I can wait till later, but I’m thinking now may be a good time.”
Invariably, he’s read me right, as my batteries are running low, and an hour and a half of no people time? Lord love the man! When he’s home he takes over kid duty in the evening, so I can escape, and just. be. quiet. Additionally, because he knows I need the time, he has never fought me on the early bedtime I force on the kids. (In fact, while he never had a bedtime as a kid and would have never thought to do such a thing, he says that he actually finds that he appreciates the kid-free time too.)
It is funny to me, as here, I actually get quite a bit of unsolicited support from outsiders. For example, I have two elderly neighbors that seem to delight in helping me. “Christine, I was at a book sale, and saw these things, and thought you could use them in your home-schooling teaching.” (That’s honestly how he phrases it.) Or, “Christine, I have all sorts of National Geographic magazines, if you would like to use them.” (I think his family started subscribing with the first issue.) The checkout ladies at the commissary seem to delight in asking my kids questions related to price comparisons or nutrition facts.
Nowadays I also get support from my older boys. Once my oldest got his driver’s license, he would take the younger guys on a weekly library trip and also took on the responsibility of remembering to get all the books in on time. Tyler, will frequently take the boys out to play, things like roller hockey, or baseball, or wave boarding, and in the summer, to the pool. I have also always been able to count on the older two for babysitting responsibilities when I need to be away from home.
My family still lives far from me. I think, when I started homeschooling, my parents probably experienced a near heart-attack feeling but quietly took the wait-and-see approach. I’m also pretty sure, my brother sees homeschooling as a major disservice to the child(ren) involved. (My family generally stays mum when it comes to expressing their opinions about family members, so I’m honestly guessing.)
TIDBIT: You know, staying quiet when you have doubts is actually a form of support, and even respect — true for parenting too. (Umm, not true, when it’s a major something that could result in death, or other serious life altering issues.)
Support is indeed something you need to consider for yourself, if you choose to homeschool. But, you really need to know yourself and how much support you can handle / require. Does it need to come from your spouse, family, or can it be from others? Do you need a cheerleading squad, or quiet acceptance? Do you have it in you to support others?
The journey is just beginning, all these “side-issues” will be life-lines once you begin.