‘Grow’ event builds community among KC-area homeschool moms

An evening just to meet other moms, get encouragement, and enjoy dinner without any cleanup? 

It may not sound like much, but Tuesday’s “Grow: Back To Homeschool” event was perfect for Sarah Anderson, a cancer survivor and former public school educator who is now a homeschool mom. 

“I just really want to put myself out there and put us out there this year and just grow in community, since we really missed that so much,” she said, explaining that medical treatments last year left her feeling isolated. “Going [Tuesday] night was just an opportunity for me to meet some other women.” 

“This is the time of year when I need all the passion, and all the reminder of what we’re doing, and the importance of it,” she said. Anderson is beginning her ninth year of homeschooling. 

Sold out

The homeschool nonprofit Midwest Parent Educators (MPE) hosted the event Tuesday at Brew HaHa Coffeehouse in Overland Park, Kansas. Seating was limited to about 50 people, and the event had sold out by Aug. 9. 

Attendees enjoyed a catered dinner, along with a dessert of homemade cookies by Sunshine Bakery, a small business run by two homeschool students. 

Homeschool mom Jacklynn Walters, who is a Shawnee city councilwoman, and Natalie Haber, MPE Instagram director, spoke at the event. 

Walters focused on organizational tips and teaching strategies, such as starting with the most difficult subjects first in the school day. 

“We are early risers,” Walters said of her family with four children. Her oldest daughter, 12, can help cook meals and complete other tasks around the house. 

Walters said she enjoys spending family time with her children, especially as they approach the teen years. 

“My husband and I joke, ‘Let’s put the littles to bed so we can spend time with the roommates’,” she said, eliciting laughter from the crowd. 

Haber spoke on the bigger vision of homeschooling, explaining how faithfulness can make a difference not only in the first year, but also the fifth or even 15th year of home education. She alluded to Bible stories such as when Joshua led the Israelites to enter the promised land after years of wandering in the desert. 

“Our homeschool is like that promised land,” Haber said, noting that people’s obedience influenced ongoing generations after their lifetimes. “Day by day, you are affecting generations.” 

Attendee Christie Wright said the event offered a nice break to leave the house and have dinner away with others. 

“It’s so huge to have people that you can link arms with, and you can encourage each other and reach out to when you need encouragement,” she explained. 

Wright said the event came at the perfect time to encourage moms with a little pep talk as the school year begins. 

“You can’t pour from an empty well, right?” she reflected, adding that both speakers had emphasized their priorities to spend time in prayer before starting their homeschool days. 

“You can feel really isolated because it’s a vibrant community,” she said of homeschooling, “but it’s still the minority.” 

Anderson agrees, saying parents are natural experts in their children’s education, as they are most invested in their child’s success. 

“It can be really scary, but there are people in the homeschooling community who are ready to champion you,” Anderson said. “We are a welcoming community, and we want to help each other succeed.”