Hundreds of homeschool moms enjoy R & R at KC-area ‘Encouragement Day’

Homeschool moms took a day away from home to meet and support one another at a Kansas City church on Saturday.

Organizers of the Women’s Encouragement Day estimated more than 350 women attended…

Homeschool moms took a day away from home to meet and support one another at a Kansas City church on Saturday.

Organizers of the Women’s Encouragement Day estimated more than 350 women attended the event at Journey Bible Church in Olathe, Kansas. Collectively, they are caring for and educating more than 1,300 children.

Featured speaker Abbie Halberstadt, who wrote the book M is for Mama: A Rebellion Against Mediocre Motherhood, encouraged fellow mothers to see their children the way the Bible describes them, as blessings.

“Child-free living is being touted as the new mindfulness, but none of that is found in Scripture,” she said.

Halberstadt homeschools her 10 children in Texas. Contrary to passing cultural fads, the Bible emphasizes children aren’t burdens but blessings, she said.

“He (God) gives us what we need to be truth-speakers to our children,” she told a packed audience in her “Bold and Truthful” morning session. “We don’t have to worry about the future.”

Halberstadt was homeschooled during her childhood, by parents who were new Christians and had grown up in toxic, abusive environments. 

“Just because there has been a curse in the past, it does not have to continue in the future,” she said.

Other speakers for the day included KC-area homeschool moms Beth Layman, Krystal Evensen and Mary-Kate Schilling. 

Attendees also enjoyed morning refreshments, worship sessions with musician and homeschool mom Sarah Edwards, and a catered lunch. 

‘Making friends with those who homeschool’

Although most of the moms are from the Kansas City area, a few traveled from other states. Therese Dansby drove from her home in Nebraska just to attend. 

“I used to live in Kansas City, and so that’s where I initially made my homeschooling friends and decided to homeschool,” she said. 

Dansby is in her fourth year of homeschooling her three children. 

“The homeschool group at Omaha has conferences, but they don’t have anything specific for women,” she said, adding this time of year can be especially difficult for moms re-establishing a homeschool routine after the extended winter holidays. 

“I just needed a change of scenery,” she said. “I grew up in Kansas City, so it’s just kind of like coming home.” 

Dansby never thought she would homeschool until she joined a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group at Nall Avenue Baptist Church. 

“Normally MOPS, you can’t bring kids over the age of 5, but this group had a homeschool room so kids of any age could come,” she said. “I didn’t know that when I signed up for it. It was just a MOPS group by my house. … Most of my friends that I saw today were from MOPS.” 

Through the group, Dansby met Shawna Ketter, who had launched a homeschool group in the Kansas City area. 

“The more she talked about it, the more I thought, ‘Well, this actually sounds really appealing and really different from what I thought homeschooling was,’” Dansby said. 

Dansby encourages other moms who are considering homeschooling to focus at first on the big picture, not necessarily details such as coursework or scheduling. 

“Making friends who homeschool and learning more about why they do it is even more important than asking them what curriculum they use or how they get through the day,” she said, adding the opportunities to enjoy life with her children and cultivate family relationships most appealed to her. 

“These people were just learning alongside their kids and getting outside with their kids, and it just looked so different than my own schooling did,” she said. “If I’m already home parenting them, homeschooling is just an extension of that.”