This started working on me when I attended a workshop at a convention many, many moons ago about what to do when the homeschool nest was empty. We were encouraged to stay involved, to give back to the local homeschool community, the lessons we had learned in our own school of hard knocks. They assured us we would be filled with wisdom which might be of inestimable worth to the younger families coming behind us. I started feeling guilty even then, knowing I probably would not be that person.
Yet, they had a good point. Where would I have been had other veteran homeschoolers had that attitude?
Les and I were on one of the first waves of home education. At the time, we were living on a rented farm in the middle of Western Illinois literally surrounded by corn fields. (Oh, those were the days -- we just didn't know it.) The nearest town had a population of 145, including the cats and dogs which freely roamed the dirt streets. But, in the glorious sovereignty of God, He brought another homeschool family to that little town, a former pastor, his wife, and two lovely teenage daughters. It was this older homeschool mom who then introduced me to a whole group of families nearby with whom we could meet and be encouraged. They had caught the wave just before us and were such a blessing to these newbies.
After 20 years since we first met with our little ones around the dining room table in that run down, shabby farm house, many more waves have come ashore with many more behind them. And, so it begs the question: Who will reach back and encourage these new families?
One day recently when I was feeling particularly useless and alone with all the kids gone, I felt that undeniable tap on my shoulder. "You will."
So, I Googled the homeschool groups in town and met with the leader of the one which has a monthly meeting. As I shared my heart with her, she was thrilled, and I was scared. But, tonight I finally made my first meeting.
What a joy to be back among my peers in the homeschool community! I never realized how much I have missed it. I not only shared a few things we had learned from our own journey, but I learned a lot, too. And, the camaraderie was still just as sweet as in days of old. There was still that sense of "we're all in this together," but each in our own family's unique way.
So, it looks like I'm back in the homeschool loop. :) May the Lord put His blessing upon it, both to me and through me.
Have any of you continued to minister within the homsechool community after the kids were done with school? Tell us about it. We'd love to hear your story.