Supporting Each Other
Last week I took a helping call from a single mom of three children. She wanted to know if it were possible to homeschool her 14-year-old daughter. In our talk—which lasted about 30 minutes—we discussed everything from the key aspects of the Charles decision to our sample education plan to Khan Academy to The Teenage Liberation Handbook to the sled ramp my son had built in our front yard that day. She shared some of the obstacles she’d overcome in her life and that she felt clueless about how to homeschool; I spoke of the profound self-doubt I often feel creep in even after homeschooling for over ten years. As we said goodbye, I told her how much she inspired me; she wrote down my name and number. I sent her a follow up email with links to pages on our website and some other resources and told her to reach out to me again at any time.
It occurred to me a short while afterward that everything we do at AHEM was bound up in this exchange, that what we strive for the most is the establishment of trust. This process often involves surfacing and addressing the beliefs or misperceptions that hold us back from reporting with confidence and ease, or connecting meaningfully with fellow homeschoolers, or supporting our children across the varied and often unpredictable terrain of their learning. And those kinds of shifts are best facilitated through communication, one slowed down, authentic conversation at a time.
AHEM isn’t a large corporate entity with a huge support staff, a multimillion-dollar budget, or a marketing department. It’s currently four people—three board members and two volunteers—who meet once a month around someone’s dining room table, debating our mission and direction (sometimes heatedly!), divvying up responsibilities, figuring out how we can best serve you.
We share a commitment to helping people explore and strengthen their understanding of homeschool regulation, approach, and benefit. Sometimes we’re not certain of our reach or impact, but we keep showing up with the faith that the initiatives we work on are helpful in some way, that being a go-to resource for over fifteen years is what continues to allow homeschoolers to trust in themselves and each other, in the short term and over the long haul.
If you can recall a time when AHEM did this for you, or if it has in the past and still does, I ask that you consider a year-end donation to us. We exist for you and because of you, and a donation—however small—would enable us to keep going. It would show us that you believe in us as much as we believe in you. Which, in the end, is what trust actually looks like.
Donate securely online or mail a check to AHEM, PO Box 1307, Arlington, MA 02474. Your gift to AHEM is tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law (and greatly appreciated).
Volunteer AHEM Board Member since 2015