Let's face it, there are times when we all need someone to lean on. In this day and age it is great that when we don't have people near us to turn to we can still get the help and support we need through the internet. For the 5th Home Educating Blog Carnival, in order to learn about different support systems that are available for Canadian Home Educators, it was suggested that we write about our local support groups, or online support groups, that we enjoy.
Homeschooling in Newfoundland and Labrador is not always easy, because our geography has us so spread apart. There is a fairly large group of homeschoolers in the St. John's area, but the rest of us are spread out all across the province.
CHENL, Christian Home Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador, is a provincial homeschool association that was formed in 2003 and is still active today. They offer an annual conference, I attended this year's conference just this month, and also have an email discussion group for members.
In our area this year we have five families that are homeschooling and we have made an attempt to get together regularly. Every second week the moms have attempted to get together one night just to relax and chat. In between these weeks the mom's and children have attempted to get together one afternoon a week for some learning and fun. I say attempted because it didn't always happen, but it sure was great when it did.
These are my only two "in real life" support groups and I am grateful that I have them, but I truly don't find that they completely meet my need for support. For that reason I am so thankful for the online support group that I have been privileged to participate in.
My greatest form of support has come from a private email list that I have been a part of since 1999. It was started by a lady that was at one time living and homeschooling in Newfoundland and knew the need for homeschooling support in Newfoundland. She and one of her friends moved away from Newfoundland but wanted to continue supporting Newfoundland Homeschoolers, so she started the email list. The list, however, has evolved over the years and is no longer specifically for Newfoundland Homeschoolers. New members can be invited to join by present members and members have come and gone over the years. We are presently a group of approximately 20 ladies all across Canada in different stages of homeschooling. The founder just graduated her last child this year. Though there are many miles, or kilometers :), between us we have grown quite close and we support each other through all of the different aspects of our lives, not just the homeschooling. I am so thankful for this group of ladies.
My newest form of support has been checking out homeschooling blogs - both personal blogs and blogs of different homeschooling organizations and resource people. I love getting a glimpse of the lives of homeschoolers around the world, but I especially like checking in on Canadian homeschoolers.
I think it is important to connect with someone, somewhere, somehow, to help you along the homeschool journey. It's not an easy road to travel on your own.