It was a lonely existence when we decided to home school our kids eons ago. Our friends and extended family chose traditional private and public schools for their children.
I did attempt to join a small home school group. Frankly, it scared me to death. We had chosen to educate our kids for academic reasons. The group I happened upon consisted of free thinking California "un-schooling" parents. We had very little in common. They wore Birkenstocks and didn't believe in immunizations. I wore embellished sandals and believed in Western Medicine. I left the group bound and determined to put our daughter back in her nice private school. My husband suggested we march on with homeschooling and just not attend the hippie home school group affairs. So off we went. Alone.
Then I met Jeannie. Our mutual piano teacher suggested I needed to meet this woman of many talents. She was a veteran homeschooling mother. She was energetic, passionate about homeschooling, wiser than her years, and she had navigated the world of homeschooling during its infancy. Besides, her kids were older and better pianists than mine.
Jeannie turned out to be everything perfect in a mentor. She was so smart, she was faithful, she knew about every curriculum choice available, she wanted to share her information, and she wanted me to be successful at homeschooling my children.
She became one of my dearest friends and remains so to this day. We now live half a continent apart. But, we talk regularly sharing every little thing about our lives. We still rejoice in our victories and share our struggles. She completed her homeschooling journey several years ago. Yet, she continues to follow my homeschooling story.
So much of what Jeannie taught me about homeschooling is now ingrained in my everyday routine. My schedule, the manner in which I break down textbooks, the drills I use, the books I insist my kids read, the on-line classes in which they participate, and even my faith has Jeannie's imprint.
One of the nuggets Jeannie passed on to me allowed me to teach the multiplication facts in such an easy manner. She gave me a blank multiplication chart. I then put a poster size multiplication chart on our schoolroom wall. I gave copy of the blank multiplication chart to my younger children. Each morning they had to complete it correctly. They could look at the chart on the wall if they needed it. Within a very short time they had memorized the multiplication facts and no longer needed the chart on the wall. It was almost magical since it saved me mountains of work.
I can't share my dear friend Jeannie with you all. But I can share a blank multiplication chart.