By guest author Shari McMinn
As home educators, we can often be isolated from those around us – on our block, in our surrounding neighborhood, and in our community, whether a small town or large city. Studying together as a family at home in the morning, running errands and participating in extracurricular opportunities in the afternoon, home chores on Saturday, and church on Sunday – we are busy all week long, yet often neglect relationships with those around us.
Perhaps one of the reasons that non-homeschoolers question our ability and motives is because we are not connected with them?
When our family lived in a large metro area and began our homeschooling journey more than 20 years ago, many adults questioned what we were doing and were concerned about our children being “socialized.” We chose to put our best foot forward and engage these doubters on a regular basis. Relatives, friends, neighbors, and church members were all placed on our “acts of kindness” list.
We began by visiting the seniors on our block, one each day on our after-school walk. We helped form a playgroup in our neighborhood to connect with other families with young children, meeting weekly for play and fellowship. Our family helped with our church food bank, distributing to those in need each month. At Christmas time, we baked treats and delivered them to the significant adults in our children’s lives.
During each of these times of connection, we prepared our children to share what they were doing in homeschool and how they helped with the gifts we distributed. Throughout the years, our children became very skilled at conversation, learned to appreciate relating to adults, and gained a joy for serving Jesus Christ by helping others.
Now that we live on our remote farm, we make an effort to connect with others when we go to town for our weekly errands. My children have been coached to greet cashiers at the store, thank those who help us carry things out to our vehicle, pay and greet the gas station attendant, and graciously answer when asked by adults, “Why aren’t you in school today?”
By performing acts of kindness for others during our homeschool days, we enlighten non-homeschoolers as to who we really are, what we are doing for and with our children, and the blessed success we experience because of a child’s Christian home education. This not only blesses our family but also extends the positive message of homeschooling into the far reaches of our community.
There are many areas of need in each community. Find one that your family or support group can fill and plan to meet the need. I encourage you this year to start blessing others as a way to spread the “good news” message of Christian home education and as a great way to “socialize” your students!