When my oldest child approached school age and we began having a more regular “school” time each day, I began walking through a lot of new territory. Actually, the first year I did not even know enough to have questions, let alone know where to ask them. I attended a homeschool convention and wandered aimlessly around the vendor hall not sure of anything other than my passion to homeschool. The only way I survived and my children truly thrived those early years was my reliance on God’s wisdom, not my own. His faithfulness through this process has brought our family closer together, and helped each of my kids to excel academically.
After wading through a few years, I had learned a lot about myself and my growing children. We mixed unit studies and textbooks, Classical and Charlotte Mason, nature studies and life lessons, living books and teacher’s manuals. Through it all, I savored the environment of mentorship that allowed me to live out my faith before my kids. While learning academics we learn about life and I have opportunities each day to show them how the Bible is significant in all we do. I enjoyed, and still do, an eclectic approach to homeschooling my kids. But, I still lacked some secret ingredient.
I knew few other people who homeschooled their kids, but started to ask around. A number of conversations and phone calls later I found my way into a support group meeting, and I had found the missing piece. In that room I found moms who faced the same challenges that I did on one of “those” days. I found inspiration and ideas to carry me through each month. I found laughter and tears, and friendships, for me and my kids.
Just this past year, we found a co-op that has also been a great fit for us. Not too many hours, just the couple subjects I began to find difficulty teaching (high school science was my downfall!) and something we could all enjoy together a couple dozen days out of the school year.
Support groups and Co-ops offer homeschool parents a sympathetic environment to air their frustrations, resources to build their skills, knowledge to homeschool with excellence, and classes for students to come along side what they learn each day at home. The challenge, sometimes, is finding these. Various websites have a few here and there, and word of mouth carries news of most groups.
Sometime after people started calling me a “veteran” I had a vision for a website with all of these resources for the Chicagoland homeschooler in one place. Field trips, co-ops, support groups, and more under one “roof.” My husband has worked diligently to put together a web home for my inspiration and this spot would never exist without his hard work and unending patience for my incurable indecisiveness and lack of technological know-how. –Thanks, my love! I owe you so much.
This website will only work as we pool our knowledge and resources to bring this information together for the benefit of the thousands of homeschoolers that populate the Chicagoland area. If you have suggestions or information to contribute to our site, please don’t hesitate to contact us. I want this to be a great tool for novice and veteran homeschoolers alike, because you are never beyond learning.