Considering homeschooling on the Seacoast? Worried that your kids will miss out on social interactions and special programming because they are homeschooled? Well, you shouldn’t be because there are several local Resources for homeschooling in New Hampshire! From support groups to classes, this can be an incredible choice for your family.
Our 2 Primary Goals when Homeschooling Our Children
When my husband and I set out to homeschool our kids, (he is now the primary parent at home and shoulders the teaching responsibilities) we had two primary goals that had nothing to do with grade-level or subject matter. At the end of each day, we want our children to feel encouraged and confident. Those are our goals. Our homeschooling philosophy centers around the idea that if our children are feeling encouraged and confident, that will empower them on their learning journey. Encouraged and confident kids are more curious and more engaged with whatever subject matter they are learning.
With encouragement and confidence the priority, the material can often take a back seat. As a former teacher, I struggled to wrap my head this around at times. I focused more on comprehension and often pushed to the point of frustration and tears. When my priorities shifted, I noticed the learning environment improved. Comprehension flows more naturally for a child who feels encouraged and confident. The quote from Dr. Jane Nelsen is true, “Kids do better when they feel better.”
When we chose to homeschool our kids, I wasn’t worried about socialization. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through 8th grade — my parents are the OG’s of homeschooling. I am still friends today with many of the people I met as a child through homeschooling groups. Today, my children have blossoming friendships with fellow homeschoolers who we have met through various groups and activities. Thanks to an abundance of local resources for homeschooling in New Hampshire (and especially the Seacoast), my kids have tons of opportunity to meet other kids.
My children have taken science classes at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, sailed down the Piscataqua with the Gundalow Company, taken art classes at the Woodman Museum, and bombed down the trails at Gunstock with the Homeschool Ski School.
We’ve been a part of a homeschool co-op where we gathered weekly and each parent took on the responsibility of teaching a topic. I chipped in by teaching PE and creative writing. A co-op is a great way to connect with other homeschool families and can help diversify the way in which you educate your child.
While the current health crisis is sure to impact many of the things we have been a part of in the past, our hope is that these activities will resume soon. Until then, we continue to explore our state and stay in touch with homeschooling friends in a context in which we all feel safe.
You can still stay connected and get to know people virtually as many of these groups have active and helpful online networks.
Looking to get connected with fellow Seacoast Homeschoolers? This will get you started:
Despite my experience as a high school English teacher, I was seriously intimidated by the idea of teaching a non-reader how to read. Expository essay, Brit Lit, Creative writing–all no problem, but phonics? Not so much. We struggled at times in that first year, but ultimately found our way. Now my daughter is a skilled reader who stays up way past my bedtime with her light on reading and re-reading her favorites.
Homeschooling isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Watching them engage with and become curious about new topics or seeing them struggle through and ultimately comprehend new concepts fills your parent-heart with joy. There are days when you want to quit. Where you think about shipping them off to some imaginary boarding school where they’ll wear capes and ride brooms and you’ll never have to deal with the whining, bickering and complaining again.
It’s all real. And it’s all part of the journey.
As with anything in life that is worthwhile, this often involves a struggle. It’s important to acknowledge that struggle is not a sign of failure. I like to think of it as a sign that you and your family are a beautiful work in progress. Whenever I reach that breaking point of frustration–when I want to throw in the towel–I give myself permission to “begin again.” To Begin Again is a concept I learned through meditation. When you become distracted by your own wandering thoughts, simply reset and refocus on your breath. You don’t beat yourself up about “getting off track” or failing in your meditation. Instead, let the momentary lapse in concentration go and begin again.
Homeschooling (or anything for that matter) is the same. There will be lapses and slips and struggle. But the way forward is through grace, reminding yourself of your ultimate goal. For us, that’s teaching encouraged and confident kids. Then, beginning again. Over and over and over again.
Have resources for homeschooling in New Hampshire to share? Comment below!Sarah is an entrepreneur, athlete, homeschooling mama and writer living in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. She grew up on the Seacoast and her experience of homeschool from K-8 inspired her to become a teacher. Sarah taught high school English in both public and private schools before transitioning to her role as full-time homeschooling-mompreneur. Sarah is the founder of the popular women’s running retreat, Rise.Run.Retreat. When she’s not mom-ing you can find Sarah running all over New Hampshire’s most prominent peaks or competing on snowshoes. You can find more from Sarah on her website, sarahcanney.com or Instagram @sarah.canney.
*All photo credits @rayaonassignment