Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things
Social media is a big topic, especially for parents.
Most of the time, when we read something about it, it’s about the drawbacks.
It’s a distraction: “Put the phone down and enjoy your kids!”
Social media invites comparisons: “Pinterest isn’t real life; never compare your life to a perfect picture on a screen.”
It’s replacing real life interactions with virtual ones: “Find a community that you can actually meet with in person!”
The truth is, I agree 100% with all of these statements. I am not going to dispute any of the potential pitfalls of social media. I have experienced them myself and continue to be as intentional as possible with my social media engagement in an effort to avoid the negatives.
What is also true, however, is that social media has been one of the most helpful and successful tools I have found in homeschooling.
When I first started homeschooling nine years ago, I was excited about the idea of learning at home. But when the actual reality set in, I quickly lost my enthusiasm. Convinced I was failing, I read a few books and reached out to my friends who also homeschooled.
It helped, but those few books and even fewer moms described an approach to homeschooling that just didn’t seem to work for my kiddos. For months, I tried to fit my square peg family into the round holes that made up the only options I knew.
In desperation, one day I looked up Simple Homeschool on Facebook.
That one little search bar moment led me not only to this site (incidentally, I still cannot believe that I am fortunate enough to be here writing nine years later!) but a vast number of others, all describing different options and choices for homeschooling.
Gratefully, I was exposed to other moms who had chosen to homeschool, but were approaching it in less traditional ways. I saw pictures of children engaged in everything from classical homeschooling to unschooling. For the first time, I asked the question, “How can I best meet my boys’ needs as they learn?”
As I look back, I can see that social media has been instrumental in my own education, inspiration and encouragement as a homeschool mom. Even now, nine years later, I still consider it to be one of the most beneficial resources I have available to me as I discover the best ways to educate my children.
5 ways social media helps me homeschool
1. Curriculum options
I am not even sure how I would buy curriculum these days without the benefit of social media. I learn of new options from other bloggers and moms. I can check out the company itself and see what they offer.
Most importantly, social media provides real life examples of the curriculum in action.
I love that so many printables are available for free online. I also love that I learn about them most often on Pinterest and Instagram. Easy, effective and free – exactly what I need as a homeschool mom.
3. Ideas and inspiration
This is by far one of the greatest benefits of engaging in social media for me. Seeing other moms’ ideas and creativity inspires me to create a more hands-on approach for my own children. And without it, I never could’ve shared this amazing way to make bread using a starter that literally traveled the Oregon Trail.
4. A little break
It would be unfair to not mention this benefit. The truth is, I do like the mental break that social media provides.
Reading my friend’s posts on Facebook, looking to see what my favorite bloggers are up to with their kiddos on Instagram, and even purusing options for my backyard on Pinterest are all easy ways to take a bit of break in the middle of our day.
5. Encouragement and community
I would not be the same mom without my community of amazing women online.
I can post a picture from our rough Monday, and several moms that I love and trust will immediately jump in and encourage me (and each other). I love that moms get to know each other through my Facebook page. I love that many of the people who really “get me” and I consider my tribe, are actually gals I have never met in person.
Best of all, I love that a little bit of encouragement is only a click away, when I am willing to put myself out there and engage.
If you are struggling to find the support and community you need in homeschooling, please, let me encourage you to consider social media as an option. Although there are always the mean and judge-y ones out there, my experience has, by far, been so much more positive than I could’ve possibly imagined.
If you would like some suggestions for homeschooling Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram pages, I share what I consider to be the absolute best on my personal blog – Not The Former Things.
I hope to see you around out there soon!
Do you use social media to help you homeschool? What has your experience been?