By Guest Author Barbara West
This fall when you see geese heading south for the winter, you will notice them flying along in a “V” formation. What might be of interest to you is what has been discovered about why they fly in this formation. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in this “V” formation, the entire flock can fly a minimum of 71% farther than if they flew on their own.
What do geese flying in formation have in common with homeschooling? So much! Below are a few lessons we can take from the geese.
We Need Each Other in Order to Succeed
Just as geese are able to advance farther when flying with the flock, so too, can homeschoolers achieve goals quicker and easier when becoming involved in a homeschool community; be it friendships, a homeschool co-op, support group, or sports league. We can rely on the trust and support of other homeschoolers in our community because we share common goals: establishing the principles of God’s Word in our lives and in the world, and bringing our children up in the fear of the Lord. Like the geese, we can go farther because we have a community.
Whenever a goose falls out of the formation, it quite suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone. When this happens, the goose will quickly get back into the group formation. This way it can take full advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. As homeschoolers, we too should stay in formation — or in community. If we stay in community with those who are headed in the same direction God is calling us in, we can benefit from those who have gone before us and those who are right beside us.
Help and Rest
When flying in formation, the lead goose eventually gets tired or finds the pace a little too demanding. When that happens, the lead bird rotates back in the formation and another goose flies point. It benefits the entire flock to take turns and take a break. As with the geese, homeschool moms need to take breaks and rest. Being part of a community can help provide the practical needs you may have in order to get some rest (exe: maybe another mom can watch your kids while you take a little time off!) A break can bring renewed vision and refreshment. We need to remember during these times, we are not falling behind. We are right where God wants us to be. The pressure should be lifted and joy intensified. Keep your eyes on Christ.
Geese honk from behind to those in front. This honking encourages those in front to keep up their speed and to continue the endeavor onward towards the goal. We, too, need to encourage those with us. We just need to be alert and careful about what we say when we “honk.”
When a goose gets sick or wounded or falls completely out of the formation, two other geese will leave the formation and follow it – all the way to the ground if necessary. They will stay with the injured or sick bird until it is either able to fly again or it has died. Then these two geese will launch out together or join another group formation to continue their trek. If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other, encourage one another, come to the aid of those who may have a need, and we will stay in community. As you give support, others will support you.
We can learn a lot from geese! Find a homeschool community that aligns with your goals and become a part of it. Large numbers do not necessarily define a community. To make a community you just need one other homeschool mom. As you support this mom and her family, you will be honoring the Lord by caring for others and will have taken a step towards gaining precious community. Like the goose, remember to rest. Whether rest comes in the form of a good night’s sleep or taking a step back from the busyness of life, it benefits everyone to take a break. And lastly, remember to mimic the goose in your encouragement of others — guard your words and stay in community with like-minded moms.
My desire is that the Lord would guide you into the blessing of community. Trust him in the crush of everyday life while handling daily challenges. As we are shoulder-to-shoulder with homeschool friends, I hope you will be refreshed and encouraged. Find joy in your homeschool community!