We often think the best mentors are the people who’ve logged years of practical experiences—and those park day moms who’ve successfully sent their kids off to college are definitely founts of knowledge. But when it comes to getting fired up about homeschooling again, you might find more inspiration from the folks who haven’t been there and done that.
Researchers studying mathematical mentors have found that people in the first third of their careers—relative newbies—are the most successful mentors. (The study looked at how many of an adviser’s mentored students went on to train their own mentees. The younger the original mentors, the more mentees their protégés would go on to have.) This may be partly because the newer you are to a particular project, the more willing you are to try out new ideas—because you’re still figuring out how things work, you’re more open to possibilities of failure and collaboration than you are once you’ve found a steady rhythm. There are benefits to chatting with homeschoolers on both sides of the experience curve, but when you’re looking for an enthusiasm charge, seek out new moms who are still in their first or second year of homeschooling. Their enthusiasm can be catching, their new ideas may inspire you, and when you weigh in with your own experiences, you may find yourself rediscovering some of the reasons you love homeschooling.