Once upon a time, when I was a new homeschooler, my sister in law introduced me to the wonderful world of Sonlight Curriculum. I’ve been using Sonlight with my five children for 9 years now. In my attempt to search for other Sonlight home educators, I stumbled across an email loop through Yahoo Groups. It was originally titled “Sonlight” as most of the members were primarily using SL in their homeschool, but, as time passed, the group grew to encompass many different educating philosophies and curriculum. Although the original “owners” of the list remained the same, the name was changed to Support4HomeSchool, affectionately called SHS.
This group of women (and occasional men) have been a tremendous source of information, comfort, inspiration, and guidance during my homeschooling journey. If I have a question on nearly any topic under the sun, from frugal meals to books on Advent, I know the list will generate conversation and help.
Cynthia, Lee and I at Starbucks in 2006.
Over the years I’ve been privileged to meet a few of the women from the loop. Two years ago, I went out for coffee with Lee and Cynthia. Lee is an incredibly talented woman who, as her boys went off to college, created a consulting business for people homeschooling their high schoolers. I highly recommend Lee’s materials, blog, and advice. You can find her at thehomeschoolscholar.com. There is an amazing amount of information right on her website, with more available through her videos and personal consulting.
Cynthia is one of the original founders of the SHS loop. She shares her life and heart with the many women who come to the loop, giving of her time and energy to continue building something that has grown tremendously over the years. There are nearly 2000 members in the SHS group. That is a LOT of potential email. Cynthia blogs at Life Is Good. Her pictures are gorgeous! I’m inspired by her unfailing commitment to her children and their busy, active lives.
Last year I wasn’t able to meet with Lee and Cynthia when Cynthia came into town for the weekend, so I was determined to make it a priority this year. Of course, it’s one thing to put a note on the calendar and PLAN to gather with friends, it’s another to actually do it, in the busyness of life.
First the time changed. Lee wasn’t able to join us in the afternoon, we had originally scheduled to get together after the homeschool PE classes, so we decided to move it to the morning.
Next I completely forgot Daniel was babysitting a friend’s little boy at our house in the morning. How was I going to be available in the morning if we were watching a toddler?
Daniel’s glasses broke last week. He’s a handsome fellow without them, but would probably like to be able to see clearly.
Then my cell phone was turned off or misbehaving, and I missed the call saying Cynthia had arrived in town and was making lunch arrangements. I was watching the time and knew the plane had landed, but was overcome with shyness and suddenly didn’t want to call and be a bother.
By the time I got the voice mail and connected with Cynthia and Lee, they were already together and beginning lunch. The location? A good 40 minutes away. Anticipating a delay, I had already arranged for a friend to drop the kids off at the Y for their classes and started on lunch so I could run out the door. I told the ladies I would leave immediately and set off. Still, as I was driving I couldn’t help but wonder if I was making a mistake. Was I wasting my time driving all that way for such a short visit. I made some calls, arranging details regarding the children, and poured out my fretting concerns to my friend, Julee.
Julee asked me why I was going. Was I hoping to glean some homeschool tips? No, it was purely just a fun gathering with some cyber friends. I truly expected her to tell me to stay home, not to bother with such a long drive just for a quick visit. Instead, she said, “Sometimes when there are so many obstacles pushing against us the resistance is coming from Satan. I think you should go and see what you can learn from those two experienced homeschooling moms.” Throughout the years Julee has always been incredibly supportive of my homeschooling journey. Once again she was encouraging me.
I quickly texted Cynthia, telling her I was on my way, but it would take me 40 minutes to get there. I asked if they had enough time for the visit to linger on into the afternoon. She immediately wrote back saying yes, and encouraging me to come and meet them.
Of course, we had to take a picture to capture the moment.
The day was gorgeous, the sun shining after several days of rain. The traffic was busy but the drive easy, and, of course, the gas prices were low.
I found the restaurant with no trouble, met up with Cynthia and Lee and proceeded to have a lovely visit. Not only was it enjoyable to catch up on each others lives and children, it was fun to see how much we knew about things because of our blogs. The internet truly is an amazing thing.
I am so glad I squeezed the time out of the day to meet with Cindy and Lee.
Mostly I was struck how God orchestrated our conversation. I had the chance to ask Cynthia some of my questions about Rachel (who turns 13 next month), knowing Cynthia has two teenage daughters who love the Lord and are close to their family. I learned Lee has an hour of free phone consulting available each week on Wednesday afternoons. As a homeschooling mom of a high school freshman, this is priceless information. Amidst one of our many discussions, God gave me a brilliant idea for the introduction session for next semester’s co-op class on finances.
Add to the mix some delicious Starbucks, and I can safely say it was a wonderful visit. We had plenty of time to talk, share and enjoy our coffee without feeling rushed. I made it back in plenty of time to pick up the children. God is good and He has blessed my life with a delightful array of interesting friendships.