Image courtesy homeschool student SJH

Do you have a mentor? Homeschool mentors are people who believe in home education. They believe in your ability to teach your children. When you need them, a good mentor will provide you with encouragement, practical advice, wisdom, or, let’s face it: a reality check! Here are five different types of homeschool mentors that every homeschool parent needs.

The Celebrity The celebrity mentor is someone you will probably never know personally—although some homeschool figures are surprisingly approachable! Maybe you follow them on social media, or perhaps you have read their books. The celebrity mentors’ names are almost synonymous with homeschooling. These mentors are often highly motivating. They are great because they have websites or blogs that are so transparent that you feel like you’re learning from a friend, but the intimidation factor of speaking with someone face-to-face about a dilemma, deficiency, or fear is eliminated.

The Local The local mentors are homeschool parents in your area who have been around the block. They know who to call for drivers ed, which programs are being offered at your library, and how to do things in your hometown. These mentors are people that you can call when you need information. The best place to find locals is at a homeschool support group. NCHE knows the indispensable value of local support groups, so we continually update this page on our website where you can always find homeschool support groups in your region.

The Sage Sages are homeschool parents who have been homeschooling for so long, that they embody the homeschool lifestyle. They may have graduated a student or two, or maybe their kids are just a few years older than yours. They are people that you look up to, to whom you can relate, and to whom you can go to ask for advice. On hard days, they’re the ones who can lift your spirits with a pearl of wisdom, or the ones who put things in perspective when you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

Sages may be found in local support groups or online support groups. They help you understand about homeschool issues like mixed dominance in children with poor handwriting or connecting to auditory learners when you are a visual/kinesthetic teacher. But they can also help you learn about other areas of the homeschool lifestyle, like the importance of spending time with your spouse throughout the homeschool years, how to take great candid photos of your children, or how to make the perfect buttercream cupcake frosting! Sage mentors usually embody how we envision ourselves in the future.

The Chums This one is pretty straight forward, right? Your chums are your buddies, your friends, and your homeschool mom squad (or dad force.) These mentors are your peers, and they are mentoring you in real time. The reality of what you are facing is not lost on them because you are in the same boat! Chums are important, often overlooked mentors because we usually only think of mentors as people who are farther down the road than we are. But “farther” doesn’t have to mean a decade; it could just be a few weeks! There is a real camaraderie that is built when you have parallel lives with other homeschool parents and you can take turns speaking hope and truth into one another’s lives monthly, weekly, or even daily! My chums are some of the deepest, most important friendships of my whole life.

The Vets Let’s face it, there really isn’t such a thing as a professional homeschooling parent, but there are homeschool veterans who have been homeschooling since the dawn of the modern homeschooling movement. These mentors are older homeschool parents who, no matter what you toss at them, have seen it all. One of the greatest things about North Carolinians for Home Education is how many veteran homeschool parents are available to mentor you—through the wisdom they share in their articles in GREENHOUSE magazine, through their service leading on our board, and 1:1 at the annual NCHE Thrive! Home Educators Conference.

Veteran homeschoolers often have a wealth of wisdom to share and a unique perspective about homeschool accomplishments and homeschool hardships. They are gems in our community, and we are grateful for the insight and optimism that they bring. Helping you find a mentor is part of our mission to help connect you with other homeschoolers and one of the ways that we help you homeschool with confidence and joy.

Consider signing up to be a mentor at the 2021 Thrive! Conference. Registration to be a mentor opens later this month! And if you have questions for our mentors, the Thrive! Conference offers 1:1 mentoring as a great opportunity. Are you a new NCHE member or thinking of becoming a member? Start here.