On a faraway mission field in a land of hardened hearts, my mother labored day after day to teach my siblings and me all the things we would need to know for a successful, Christ-focused life. Through bitterly cold autumns and long, frozen winters, she pressed on, certain of her mission. Now and then there was a desperate note in her voice during morning prayer and a heavy sigh or two as she balanced housework with lesson plans. Notes, calls, or visits from friends always lifted her spirits, giving her the boost she needed to keep going.
Somewhere near you, there’s a homeschool mom with that hint of desperation in her eyes, that weary slump to her shoulders. There’s a worn-out young mother who has only just begun to teach her babies the ABC’s. With encouraging words, a simple gift, or a few hours of your time, you can be the hand of God to your homeschooling sisters in Christ, helping them through a time in their lives that is as exhausting as it is joyful.
1. Offer Your Help
When your friend who homeschools gets that weary look in her eye, get creative with offers of help. Maybe you can take that stack of books back to the library for her, and while you are there, pick up some new books that suit the family’s reading philosophy and fit the reading levels of the children. After assuring her that her house and yard look amazing, you may tactfully offer to pitch in with bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, weeding, raking, or anything else that she needs.
2. Give Her a Treat
Like many other moms, I wake up to tiny hands pulling at my legs, constant demands for explanations and help from the older child, and a house that seems to grow ever-deepening piles of laundry and stacks of dishes. Amid all the things that I do for everyone else, I often forget to care for myself. The same is true of young moms and homeschool moms the world over. A visit from a friend, who comes bearing a cup of specialty coffee or a box of soothing herbal tea, may make the difference between a bad day and a blessed one. If your budget allows, offer your friend a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure or a full spa day.
3. Schedule a Field Trip
If the two of you are close friends, offer to take her children out for the day on an educational field trip. If you both homeschool, the setting should be one that works for both sets of children, given their ages and any special needs. The zoo, a local farm, a museum, or a nature preserve are all excellent options. While you and the munchkins are out, your friend can clean and organize the house─or stay in her pajamas in bed with a good book, enjoying a much-needed day off.
4. Combine Classes
If a field trip is not an option because of weather, location, or other factors, consider combining your families for a joint homeschool class. For something new, try the one-room-schoolhouse style with everyone in the same room, from the tiny learners to the older ones. Special topics and hands-on learning games make the experience even more fun. It may not be relaxing, but the change of pace will refresh you and your homeschooling friend and give you the opportunity to understand each other’s burdens a little better.
5. Support Her with Words
Tell her that you believe in what she’s doing. Whether your family chose to homeschool or not, tell her that you support her God-given passion to educate her little ones at home. Tell her again, in different words. Tell her in writing. Tell her with a homeschool mom mug, and then with a tote bag, and then with an e-card that simply says, “I’m praying for you today.” She needs to hear it often from those she loves and trusts.
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Rebecca is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her own mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.