Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

The Homeschool Support Group- virtual and real life

When I first started homeschooling the internet was unavailable to me, but I really needed a homeschool group in my everyday life to make friends with other like-minded families and to find mentors as I gained the confidence in myself as a homeschool mom. I still believe that a homeschool group is important for newbie homeschoolers and that being part of such a group can be beneficial to the children and the parents.

But in recent years I have been experiencing more and more distance (geographically and philosophically) between my family and our local Catholic homeschool group and I am finding more support from online blogs and message boards! While I don't have any intention of leaving my local group, I am finding that for questions about the nitty gritty of homeschool or to just have a chat, the homeschool internet blogs and message boards fulfill those needs nicely.

So how do you determine if a certain support group is for you, OR if your previous support group is no longer meeting your needs!

1. Location. When I first started homeschooling our meetings were mostly within five minutes of my home. But as the group started leaving the city and moving to the suburbs, attending meetings became more difficult. Throw in the high cost of gas and attending a support group meeting became a lower priority. The internet blogs and message boards are just easier to attend and I don't even have to leave the house!

2. Homeschool philosophies. Most of the folks in my local homeschool group were Catholic and used Catholic curriculum providers and structures that were more rigid and much more expensive than I could use for my family. Then when cyber charter schools became the rage in my state a good majority of my group opted for that choice. I think parents should have freedom to use whatever works best for their families, but it wasn't necessarily helpful for me as an eclectic, Charlotte Mason-wannabe-homeschooler to go to meetings were most of the moms were using pre-packaged curriculum from the state.

3. Expense. Joining our group is pretty inexpensive at $12/year. However, since our geographical center has moved about 30 minutes away, the high cost of gas can sometimes make attending a meeting prohibitive. Additionally since many of the families in our group are in a higher income bracket, I found that the cost of the activities were many times just outside of my budget!Online there are a plethora of good ideas for activities that can be as inexpensive or as costly as I want! Sometimes the most inexpensive activities can be the most worthwhile too!

4. Cliques. Yea, even homeschoolers have em! It can really be difficult to become part of one and of course hurtful to be excluded even if unintentionally. On line I can be as present or invisible as I want to be, and being active on a blog or a message board can be a fruitful way to make new friends all over the world.

5. Leadership. My local group has run the gamut from a group of moms just meeting spontaneously in each other's homes, (aka the good ole days!) to leader and co-leaders to an entire steering committee! Sometimes it was hard to know who to go to for what, or who had what responsibility. But what I really find annoying is when folks in a leadership role run their certain part of the kingdom with an iron fist! Homeschoolers are independent thinkers. In a way we're like cats and cats don't like to be herded. So when certain "dogmas" would come from these leaders it just rubs me the wrong way. A good example is the dogma from the graduation leadership that either all the graduates wear a cap and gown OR all the graduates wear nice clothes because it would silly if some wore a cap and gown and some didn't... WHO CARES!! Personally, if there's a kid there who has their heart set on wearing a cap and gown and their parents don't mind renting one for them, I'm happy for them. And I'm sure my kid in his suit coat and tie could care less as well. Why such things have to be made into rules is beyond me. Shouldn't the graduates and their families make these decisions? Sometimes the tone of the leadership can make or break the support group experience. Interestingly the online community that I most like to visit has certain strict rules as well (no posting on Sunday for example) but those rules are clearly posted on the site and I have no problem following them.

I Still think it's important to for new homeschool moms and moms facing a new situation (recalcitrant reader, new high school studnt) to have support. But as homeschooling grows there are more opportunities for such support online, and I think many times that can be a great choice.







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Comments

  1. I understand completely. While I have friends who are very like minded in several areas, I have trouble with local support groups for the same reasons you do. The biggest problem is that folks tend to take things personally- when you reject their favorite curriculum or choose a different method, as if saying "I don't like A Beka" somehow means "You are an idiot".

    I LOVE being part of the Crosswalk support group. I can ask a question or post a comment, and come back an hour later to a dozen responses from several perspectives. So incredibly helpful.

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  2. You have spoken a painful truth.

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  3. I sat in my homeschool group meeting last week and realized that it's just not for me. Now, I'm new to the area, and to homeschooling, so I'll keep up for a while, but it was so strange. You'd think that having something to unite us would be enough, but the varieties are many, and it often divides us.

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