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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Helpful conversations and true community

Sarita's Word

While homeschooling, I've found, is a wonderful experience for most families, it is sometimes quite overwhelming. Good things rarely are all peaches and cream!

As a result, I believe, finding like-minded, encouraging community is key for success and perseverance in homeschooling. Since God made us for relationship (even Adam needed Eve), a homeschool community can truly help you stay this important course.

Problem is, it can be tough to find other moms who homeschool. And that can lead to feelings of loneliness. (In my neighborhood, no one else homeschooled.) That's one of the reasons I feel the Sonlight Forums are such an important service to our customers. The Sonlight Forums give you the opportunity to interface with like-minded people who have almost assuredly "been there and done that" ... or are dying to hear from you how you are "being there and doing that."

Strange but true: I find I'm always glad to meet fellow Sonlighters. They tend to be "my kind of people"--open minded, love the Lord, have read a lot of the same books, like their children, love to learn, etc.--And so the forums offer an opportunity to meet lots of those kinds of people.

They also provide the "stretch" of engaging different ideas and opinions where minds are not-so-alike. You can find support in times of need (someone is always willing to pray), answers to questions you might not dare ask elsewhere (from deep theological concerns to practical "womanly" issues), to help in teaching your children in the most effective ways possible.

Getting a filling replaced and finding friends I can't replace
Besides homeschool advice, I find I also appreciate the easy access the forums give me to wisdom and experience in a wide range of areas. Just one example: Last week, after a routine dentist appointment, my dentist recommended I replace an old silver filling that was beginning to fail. I first went to the web to seek out information, but quickly became overwhelmed with the huge amount of information, most of which was uninteresting to me. I remembered a discussion on our forums that discussed fillings, so I went to the Sonlight Forums, and did a few searches--on fillings, silver fillings, and eventually, silver amalgam fillings. I found several threads that quickly and easily helped me find the information I wanted. Thank goodness!

Child behavior
I also double check the Sonlight Forums for tips on various children's behaviors. Sonlight parents discuss a multitude of topics, and I can always find someone with words of wisdom to share within our community. The advice is pertinent, helpful, and occasionally out-of-the-box ... a fresh perspective from moms who have walked this way before.

Sonlight Moments
My favorite forum is Unforgettable Sonlight Moments. The posts there often cause me to tear up, as they remind me that homeschooling is a precious privilege and offers many rewards. Every week, one of our employees reads one of the posts to the team at Sonlight to remind us (the people who work at the office) of the terrific people we have the opportunity to serve.

Prayer connections
At Sonlight, we begin each day with a prayer time open to all who wish to participate. One of our employees collects a list of prayer requests that our forum moderators notice and creates a list of prayer needs. She prints the list and passes it to the rooms where small clusters of us meet to pray. We cut the list into chunks and various employees pray over these specific needs by name, one at a time.

We count it a joy to partner with you in this way. The forums allow us to get the most recent updates and information to know how to pray. We also daily pray a general blessing over the homeschooling families we serve.

Community: A key ingredient to staying the course!
If you're feeling like you are making this journey alone, may I encourage you that a host of fellow homeschoolers are eager to meet you!

May you enjoy true community and find helpful advice whenever you need it. Visit the Sonlight Forums soon!
Sarita

P.S. I invite you to comment on the Beam forum and share what the Sonlight Forums mean to you. As always, you can email me at president@sonlight.com.

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Contributors:

luke holzmann
Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester
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box day
Box Day
Box Day stories and pictures from Sonlighters across the globe. Share your Box Day story!
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judy wnuk
Judy Wnuk
Sonlight customer champion and homeschooling expert.
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sarita holzmann
Sarita Holzmann
Co-founder and president of Sonlight Curriculum.
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