Today's topic is Who Do You Know who can help you engage your children and help to mentor them in their area of interest? When our children are young, it is most likely you as a parent or another family member who will recognize and help to further a particular interest. As they get older, you may find other people who can contribute their time and expertise.
I'm not just talking about people you hire for lessons, but community members who have a niche in the area of your child's curiosity. Great places to find mentors might be at church or through a friend or even another homeschooling family. Perhaps there is someone you or your spouse work with who can lend a hand. Identify people you know or know of who can be an encourager. It doesn't have to be on a regular basis. If someone you know loves entomology and you have a nature kid crazy about bugs, how about arranging some time for your child to visit the bug collection and hear all about it and maybe get tips on how to start his own? Obviously, we need to be discerning about who we seek out, but it's easy to set up a time and have the whole family along.
Both of our older kids have an adult mentor in their area of interest. As you know, E13 is working on his falconry license. There are some criteria that go along it- you must have a small game hunting license- which requires the hunter safety course. You must pass the falconry exam - we attempted that on Friday and will find out soon if we pass. The hawk house (mews) needs to be built and inspected and you must purchase all the necessary equipment to handle the raptor safely. Lastly, you must be apprenticed to a master falconer for two years (and be 18) before you can become a general falconer. Master falconer is achieved after that. So...one requirement of the license is to find that mentor! Last year at the village library we had a chance to meet up again with an associate director of a local nature center. He was speaking on bird migration at an evening library program. We had seen him another time at the center where we were attending a preschool amphibian program. He talked with E13 (who was along at the time and younger) about the birds that could be seen at the feeder. When E13 could name them all and they chatted with each other about them- he was trying to identify one last bird and the man said well that's a wood pecker. E13 replied, "I know it's a woodpecker. I'm trying to decide if it's a downy or a hairy woodpecker!" After that Mr. H knew E13 was serious about birds and guaranteed him he'd see a hawk on the hike. Sure enough, he pulled out his hawk for us to see (that is the picture I use often of the hawk on the fist). So, that night at the library last year, I encouraged E to ask Mr. H if he would apprentice him to be a falconer and Mr. H gave a hearty yes! We've attended bird trappings and he has helped E13 out with his 4H presentations. Once we apply for our licenses in the fall (we must build a mews and of course wait for E to turn 14 in September!), we'll be seeing a lot more of Mr. H.
After R11 was inspired by her grandmother to begin machine sewing, another mentor stepped in for her (we live over 300 miles away from sewing grandmothers). Mrs. R has been a fast friend for R11 having had four daughters of her own. She goes to our church. She loves R's company and being of the same creative mold, they always have a great time. Right now they are working on something together. I'll give you a glimpse of R's Civil War Ball gown. We got together to design the gown which was to be refashioned from an old bridesmaid turned prom gown. We looked at a few vintage sewing sources and decided on a tiered skirt which I read had been all the rage back in the 1850s. We took apart a few dresses and R11 was tasked with the underskirt - attaching a ribbon and making a new seam on a crinoline and liner taken from yet another dress. Meanwhile, Mrs. R has been working on the dress pieces. This picture is from the second fitting and we are due for another this week. I won't give away anymore gown secrets today, but we'll show some more progress soon. The ball is on May 12th.
So, I encourage you to find others who can contribute some time to your kids and their journey. Who do you know? Who do you know who knows someone else? Tomorrow I'll be writing about finding opportunities for your kids to experience what they love. Hopefully, that will give you more ideas on finding an occasional mentor.
The 10 Days Series is organized by iHomeschool Network, a collaboration of outstanding homeschool bloggers who connect with each other and with family-friendly companies in mutually beneficial projects. Visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. And of course, click the image below to visit all the 10 Days posts from these homeschool moms of the iHomeschool Network.
You'll be blessed with tips on how to handle bad days, cultivating curiosity, teaching with Legos, and much much more!