Hillary’s Biggest Homeschooling Mistake: Not Asking for Help Sooner

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of infinitely learning

Remember those jokes about the parent who would never pull over and ask for directions? That’s me. I would sooner drive to New Jersey on my way to Vermont than pull over and admit I need help.

Parenting and homeschooling is like any journey, once in a while you need a little help, whether it’s directions, words of encouragement or the insight that comes from experience.

A do-it-yourself mentality can complement home learning, but in the past I’ve waited too long to ask for much needed help–whether it’s advice, support or information. I’ve learned that reaching out is imperative for building healthy support systems for our family.

In the last year my seven-year-old’s learning needs changed faster than I could keep up. Add New York State’s steep paperwork requirements for homeschooling families and I found myself inexperienced on a few fronts.

Instead of asking for help I spent sleepless nights going around and around in my head. Turns out I’m not alone and all I had to do was ask.

Experienced homeschooling families are keepers of invaluable advice and insight and are usually gracious and understanding in sharing their life and learning lessons with you.

Anytime I’ve swallowed my pride and reached out to other, more experienced homeschooling parents I’ve been amazed at the compassionate support and the helpful information they offer.

I’ve found helpful support by asking a few different places: my personal network, my local homeschool play groups, co-ops and listserves, and online forums and blogs.

In fact, the more I ask, the sooner I’ve found resources, support and new information to cancel out any self-doubt or anxiety.

I’ve learned that reaching out is imperative for building healthy support systems for our family. It’s a mistake I’ll try not to make in the future.

Who do you ask when you need homeschool help or support?

About Hillary

Hillary feels lucky to be able to work full-time from home and shares the homeschooling responsibilities with her partner. Together, with a little creativity, a full schedule and a lot of love, they facilitate the education of their three adorable, and sometimes very loud, children.


  1. My local support group is an endless supply of helpful ideas. I highly recommend finding one or joining a group online.
    Savannah@HammockTracks’s latest post: Hammock Home School – A Field Trip: Monuments in D.C.

  2. We have luckily a large online homeschool community which is fantastic!
    I would say that without it I would never have homeschooled in the first place. There is a whole bunch of great and experienced mothers, and sometimes fathers, who love to share their experiences and resources.
    As we are pretty isolated with our homeschooling philosophy I would be at a total loss without these great women online.

  3. I so agree with your article! When I home schooled my children the support network was much more limited than it is today. We have come a long way in 20 years and I am excited to see what is available today! In Oregon we can actually tap a public school teacher for help if needed and if done carefully it is a valuable resource!
    Chris Shaw’s latest post: How Do Your Children Learn?

  4. I so agree with you. Still looking for that right support group, though. I’m hopeful we’ll find it.
    Shelli’s latest post: Gone to the Beach

  5. As a new home-schooler, this year so far has been a bit tricky. I guess I might feel a little embarrased that things are not going as smoothly as I would have liked, but did have to swallow my pride and talked to a few moms at our once a week co-op school, and also talked to an educational specialist. They all helped me feel normal most of all, and through that I was able to come up with some ideas to help things along as well.
    🙂 I agree with all who mention how blessed we are nowadays, with so many more resources available now.
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site’s latest post: How Your Baby’s Spit Up and Acid Reflux Affects Sleep

  6. Where in NY are you? I live near Saratoga and we have such a great group of wonderful families near here. I know I’m super lucky.
    erika tebbens’s latest post: My Recipe Binder

    • Mary Catone says:


      I noticed that you live near Saratoga Springs. We live in Ballston Spa. Are you part of Saratoga LEAH? Our kids are part of the choir that goes with the co-op, they are not doing the co-op though.

      It would be fun to meet you!
      Mary Catone

      • That’s where I live too! Small world. No we aren’t part of the co-op but we do art class at the bspa library every Tuesday!
        erika tebbens’s latest post: My Crazy Love for Halloween

        • Mary Catone says:

          It is such a small world. I think you may know at least one friend of mine…Bri LeBrecht? Ashley Hartford? There may be more. Did I possibly meet you at the one and only Holistic Moms’ meeting that I was able to get to?

          We also buy our milk and eggs from Willow Marsh Farm, aren’t they the best? We have not bought any meat from there yet, but we would like to.
          In the past, we have bought half-hind quarter of a cow from another farmer.

          So glad to meet another homeschooling mom, even if it’s on the web!

  7. This is great advice. I am not homeschooling yet (my daughter is only 10.5 months!), but I can imagine this being one of my major pitfalls. It IS difficult to swallow my pride! But a lot of stress/fear/worry/isolation could be avoided if I would just reach out for help sometimes. Thanks for this post!
    Rachel @ The Travel Pen’s latest post: Putting Our Fears to Rest: How to Raise a Baby Overseas and Not Go Insane

  8. Veteran homeschoolers have such a wealth of information. I know I asked lots of questions when I was new and now I am more than willing to help newbies. Why wouldn’t I want to help someone? By asking a few questions you can save lots of time searching through books or online.
    Heidi’s latest post: How are assessments or testing whether the child has learned the material done with the Abeca curriculum

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