I really did not have any idea what to expect when I started to home school. I have to admit that I had some pre-conceived ideas on that particular community. I don't know why I had those visions floating around in my noggin, because I have a lot of friends that either do home school or have in the past and none of them even remotely fit into the illusions that I had. (more on those a little later though) It can be a little challenging beginning to home school. I know that a lot of people, just like me, think, "How in the world am I going to be responsible for everything that my child needs to know? If they don't get "it" then it is all going to come back on me! What if they can't get into college.....forget college, what about high school? I love my kids, but can I really be around them all day? What curriculum am I supposed to use? Oh my gosh, how do I pick a curriculum out of the jillions that are out there?!" These are just a few of the questions and thoughts that were swirling around the tornado of activity in my head. My husband, in all of his infinite wisdom (and no I really am not being sarcastic...he is a pretty wise dude)kept encouraging me to reach out to the home school moms that I knew and "pick their brain" so to speak. Well, as sweet and insightful as his motivation was intended, anybody that knows me knows that I am not the best "reacher outer". So, out of 1% to 100% on a reaching out scale, I accomplished a .5%. So, needless to say, when we reached Nashville, I was not so ready. We just moved our family of 6 (Montel still counts because although we did not have his direct presence, we had his stuff) about 400 miles down the road. Some people in the unit were not so happy about leaving and among all the physical stuff, we were dealing with feelings, attitudes and emotions as well, so you can see maybe why home school was not quite organized by that point in the game. Nevertheless, school started.
Praise God He had me get an education degree earlier on in life. I had always wondered how exactly He was going to have me use it and now I know. He is a good God! Anyway, the school part started okay, but I soon found out that the home school world is like a colossal highway with a beaucoup of on and off ramps. I started searching for groups to join and things to do. There are a plethora of co-ops, play dates, tutorials, groups, field trips, classifieds, associations, conventions and so much more and I did not understand a good portion of it. When I went into this endeavor though, I decided that I was going to F.R.O.G. (fully rely on God...), and He was going to have to navigate. Well, you know how God is....more than you can ask or think to ask! So, I found a group called Bellevue Home School Association Co-op. I can't even remember at this point exactly how, but I believe it was a yahoo group. I sent out an e-mail and received a very efficient reply from them telling me about what they were about and how I could join.
From what I gathered about the co-op, I would be teaching too, art. Hey...that was fine with me because it was a good way to get my feet wet. So, then I traveled down the road to Bellevue (about 20 minutes from our house) for our first day. Remember those illusions that we had talked about earlier? Well, on the drive over I kept wondering what this group of women would be like. Actually, I thought about this long before the drive. I was a little nervous that I would get there and talk would be about broom making lessons. Yes, I said broom making lessons. (Okay, so maybe some of my misgivings had come from an episode of wife swap, but I'm just going to own it....borrowed this saying from one of my new friends). Anyway, the most amazing thing happened. Not only was there no talk about broom lessons, but these ladies were wonderful. Technically, I was the outsider and they welcomed me with open arms. In a new city, with new endeavors, on a new journey, they made me feel welcomed and I am going to be a little cheesy here and say...at home. Remember, I am the one that has a hard time reaching out, but I didn't have to in order to feel a part.
Here's the thing though, it was not just this one particular group of spectacular women in this one co-op. Since that first experience, I have had the opportunity to meet and be involved with other home school groups in other situations. I connected with the Sycamore Valley Home School Group through yahoo also and my baby girl was able to be involved in a Kindergarten graduation. I have been on field trips with other groups and felt just as welcomed. It is really hard to explain or describe, but I am blessed for having the experience. If I tried to wrap it up all nice and neat in a package with a bow, I would probably use the same word that I put in the title. Alliance: A union between people where they are joined in an activity or effort. We are all joined in the effort and activity of educating our children. One result brings abundant opportunities for them and another is an amazing connection between us.