Not everyone has a child with a burning interest in something. But please understand, some children do have a deeply rooted longing for…. something nutty. For me, I suffered through a child who studied chess all day. I had another child who studied economics all day. Not every child is like that, I’m sure. But when a child is like that, then it’s the parent’s job to fan the flames, and encourage them and support them in their interests. Encouraging the unique pursuits of a child is one of the best parts about homeschooling. It can help them to learn academics, but more importantly it can help them learn about themselves. Do they want to study that in college? Can they make a career out of it? Do they feel “done” with that endeavor, and don’t want to continue? These are great things that kids are learning. It’s one reason why homeschooling can provide the best college and career preparation. As students get these unique and passionate interests, even in things like nutty spelling words, they can better learn about what they want to do with their life. And to those of you, who do have a child with a strange or alien interest, take heart! I suffered through it, and I have talked to others who have trudged through it as well. You can do it! I was speaking to a mother with struggling learners. She mentioned how I wouldn’t understand because my children are gifted. I disagree. It was hard to have gifted children. Sleepless nights. Some tears. A huge struggle trying to find appropriate curriculum. I had to find something that would be challenging but not overwhelming, but at the same time it had to be age-appropriate. It was a huge struggle. Most of my products are geared toward junior high and high school. However, I have one class that is appropriate regardless of age: Gifted Education at Home. I often consult with parents of gifted children that need extra encouragement and support. Finding friendships can be difficult. It’s especially hard when friends stop homeschooling, and begin going to public school. I do have an article that may help: “When Friends Stop Homeschooling” As homeschool parents remember that real socialization doesn’t have anything to do with “school.” Real socialization is as normal and easy as having fun! When I was homeschooling, we didn’t meet other kids at co-op classes. We got together with other kids to have FUN! We went on field trips, went to park days, met at support groups, and had show and share evenings. There is so much fun to be had! If you are looking for an opportunity for your children to find new friends, don’t get stuck in the rut of looking for a classroom setting. Look for a youth group, a volunteer opportunity, math or science club, musical group, or a job instead. Remember the priceless friendships of sibling, family, and church. Form a group of your own that meets for games, teen activities, fun at the park. Friendships happen when kids are having fun together, not when they are sitting in a classroom together. So search for activities that might interest your child, perhaps something they specialize in – or maybe just WISH they specialize in! My sons loved soccer, baseball, swim team, chess club, and youth group. They helped at Vacation Bible School, and taught classes (chess and charcoal drawing) to other homeschoolers. Finding fun is finding friends! Dear Homeschool Parents, Other parents feel the same fear that you do. I have shared my own fears before, and I know I’m not alone. Fear of failure is inherent in parenting. Please read these words and tell me if you have ever had these feelings: overwrought, fear creeps in, meltdown, wonder about my own abilities, doing a lackluster homeschooling job, becoming more and more nervous, need moral support, family is NOT supportive, fear failure and future bitterness from children.