so hard to meet unschoolers in real life - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to our county's Not Back to School Picnic today and it was so hard to find anyone remotely in line with unschooling.  Even people who put "hippie" on their nametag were very much into their schedule and curric.  

 

I have resisted forming a subgroup for unschooling but i wonder if I should.  I even thought of starting a "co-op" of my own that would just be something like park day every week and whatever else we decide to do. Because no one else can do anything fun with us because their schedule is already full , but there were a couple of ppl new to hs who seemed like they would love a more unschooly approach if there was anyone else doing it .. I mean the way the picnic was, it looked like unless you joined a co-op your hs life would be fairly lonesome. 

 

 

maybe I should post this in the "what idd you do today thread" but anyway, what's typed is typed.  I will try to post an update there as well. 


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#2 of 19 Old 08-26-2013, 09:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It must vary by region b/c here all the "crunchy" homeschoolers are pretty much unschoolers, too. 

 

I think it's a great idea to start your own group. Homeschoolers really need to create what they want to see, and I'm sure you will have luck doing so. Probably other people in your area are feeling the same way!


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#3 of 19 Old 08-27-2013, 09:40 AM
 
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I think a subgroup idea is great, especially if it isn't in the intent to marginalize others from the main group, but as an additional benefit from the hsing group.  It's a lot like a church community with their groups.  Not all groups are for everybody, but the groups support and augment the entire community.


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#4 of 19 Old 08-28-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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Just a question but do you need to start a group?

 

Round here, what would happen is that someone who wanted something a bit different-say to meet other Buddhist homeschoolers, or people into permaculture-would post something on the Facebook page and see if anyone wanted to meet up.

 

I don't know exactly how it works where you are but here, pretty much everything ends up on a main facebook page, and most of us pick and choose based on that. I don't regularly go to a particular group nowadays-we have a good enough social life as it is, but often events will bring people out of the woodwork. You might find that there are actually unschoolers locally who have given up on the co op. I think we've had posts on the fb about structured group, possibly about religious groups too, certainly stuff like exam preparation groups which we have no interest in, and I've never had a problem with that-not all groups are open or interesting to everyone. 

 

So personally, I'd just post on your fb page or yahoo group or however else you communicate locally that you are interested in setting up an unstructured group for unschoolers, and take it from there. The worst that might happen is that you don't start a group but you do meet a few likeminded people.


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#5 of 19 Old 08-29-2013, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so if i read you right FIllyjonk you are suggesting I try to start a group but continue communicating on the same egroup as before. 

 

let's see - I did post that I was starting a co-op.  to my surprise several ppl responded and we are having an "orientation" meeting tomorrow.  I have already stated that it is designed for people who feel that learning and living are inseparable, let us hope that is enough to self-select people.  

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#6 of 19 Old 08-29-2013, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so guess what there has been pretty good response to this group.  Even though i said living / learning inseparable I wonder if I have to say something more clearly to the effect that this is for unschoolers ... i just don't want to go down the line of having conflicts over what is unschooling.  I also want to make clear that it is secular - but maybe using phrases like we believe in scientific enquiry or something like that ... maybe it is better just to use the word and assume everyone understands it ... 


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#7 of 19 Old 08-29-2013, 10:19 AM
 
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that's great news! That's the thing about homeschooling: if you start it, they will usually come. :)


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#8 of 19 Old 08-29-2013, 11:11 AM
 
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that is great news!

 

Not for the first time, I do think its a lot less formal round here. Round here someone would just have on fb or yahoo or whatever, said "hi, I'm a secular unschooler, anyone want to meet in the park?".


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#9 of 19 Old 08-29-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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How about meetup?  I keep meaning to start something on there. 


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#10 of 19 Old 08-30-2013, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post
 

that is great news!

 

Not for the first time, I do think its a lot less formal round here. Round here someone would just have on fb or yahoo or whatever, said "hi, I'm a secular unschooler, anyone want to meet in the park?".

and would you have gotten a good response?  Maybe I should have tried that.  It is just that at the picnic, I felt like I was the only one.


no longer momsling.GIF or ecbaby2.gif orfly-by-nursing1.gif ... dd is going on 10 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?

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#11 of 19 Old 08-30-2013, 01:23 PM
 
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In my experience, it has worked best simply to join a secular homeschooling group and connect with other parents whom my girls have enjoyed spending time with.

 

I would say that the families we're now closest to embrace some aspects of unschooling, but also enforce some rules about their kids spending time on whatever they consider "the basics" to be. As my girls have grown -- they are now 13 and 8 -- friendships have become less about me hooking up with some other mom and the kids becoming friends because we're friends, and more about me noticing who they're hooking up with and reaching out to those parents.

 

And who my girls hook up with seems to have very little to do with their families' educational styles.

 

Even though I feel like I'm the most "unschooly" one in my immediate circle, I'm also the only one who's sending a child to public school. My older dd just really, really wanted to go, so now she is going. So some people would say that we're no longer unschoolers, and it's honestly fine with me if that's how they feel.

 

I will say that it took us longer to make friends in the secular homeschooling group. Before that, we were fundamentalists and were part of a religious homeschooling group, and it seemed very easy to develop close friendships while we were in that world. But when I began moving more and more into a humanist view of human nature, rejecting corporal punishment and eventually rejecting all punishment -- and eventually also drastically changing my spiritual beliefs -- well, let's just say that some people began feeling a need to distance themselves from us, and we also began feeling a need to distance ourselves from that world.

 

So when we started going to the secular group about five years ago, I had some idea that I'd be getting plugged in and soon be surrounded by a new group of friends. But I realize now that I was too needy and too open about what we were going through, and after initially being friendly, people started sort of taking a step back from me. I had to get to the place where I felt a strong connection within myself to love and to everything I needed, and where it no longer mattered so much to me whether I had any close friends outside my immediate family.

 

During this time, I'd take my girls to activities and just be happy if they were enjoying themselves. If no one seemed to really want to talk to me, I'd just enjoy a book, which is a pleasure I pretty much have to snatch whenever I can, so I started feeling like it's all good. If I get human fellowship, great, and if I get to read my book, cool.

 

After a few years, I didn't feel so fragile anymore and it became easier to make friends. But like I said, my girls are pretty much making their own friends now and it's really irrelevant to them how their friends are being educated.


Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#12 of 19 Old 08-31-2013, 02:17 AM
 
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Hiya rumi. Yeah just posting a request would probably have worked but I am in a very different set up to the US i think. Round here, although actually I would say most hsers are moderately to extremely religious, hsing did not gain momentum through religious people at all, tbh John Holt is probably one of the main iinfluences because he used to be pretty much required reading on our teacher training programs. Its rare for a group not to be unschooling friendly unless its a group specifically for, say, waldorf hsers or a group teaching. Even then i don't know how the organisers would feel about having an unwilling learner in the group. So ime most groups are secular unschooling groups and i would assume any new homeschooler to have a good chance of being sevular and unschooling (we tend to say autonomous but it is roughly the same)

Glad its worked for you. I really do find the diffences between the countries to be intesting so sorry if i have gone on a bit.

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#13 of 19 Old 09-03-2013, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very interesting Fillyjonk. 

btw I will be in the UK next month.  Any interesting things going on out there, hs-wise or otherwise?  ;-) 


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#14 of 19 Old 09-03-2013, 11:21 PM
 
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Rumi how exciting! 

 

HSing wise, what I'd do is go onto facebook and google the area you are going to for HS groups (we call them home education groups). Unless you are off to the outer hebrides there will almost certainly be something going on. People are people of course but generally we're very interested in people from overseas.

 

Right now the big thing is not back to school picnics but they will be over soon. IME people tend to do things, museum visits and that, in the autumn term.

 

If you're in Cardiff, give me a shout!

 

Oh just to ETA. HSers do get some discount entry to stuff. Because we have no legal requirement to register, staff will often take out word for it, but if you had something in writing from your state or whatever it would be worth bringing that. Basically if you are going somewhere it pays to google "attraction x home education".


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#15 of 19 Old 09-05-2013, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the tip ... will certainly check it out.  I plan to be more in the north this time but will certainly keep your offer in mind!


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#16 of 19 Old 09-11-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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update, looks like this little hs co-op i started a couple of weeks ago is turning into a real thing.  we have met 3-4 times so far and we even have a book club.   at least 5 families seem to be regular so far and that makes over a dozen kids!  today we were in the park and another mother who happened to be in the park came over to find out more about our co-op. 

(wow.)

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#17 of 19 Old 11-06-2013, 10:36 PM
 
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Awesome to see how this has worked out for you!!!

 

This thread title caught my eye because it's been VERY hard to find any unschoolers here!! I have tried for over a year and it's like pulling teeth, this community is pretty small but I would of assumed there were other crunchy people who would be doing the same thing as me. Guess not. Actually going to a homeschool playgroup tomorrow- hoping to find someone unschooling.


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#18 of 19 Old 11-06-2013, 11:35 PM
 
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triscut this MIGHT be region specific advice. I've said before where I am our laws are much more lenient than any US state laws I've seen re HSing, and religious HSing is kind of a minority movement, and I think that tends to make British HSers far more flexible but...

 

My experience was that people changed a lot over time. People who started out as diehard "my kid will work 3 hours a day" hsers often become much more relaxed, and vice versa. There's a lot of people I know well to talk to at HS groups who I don't really know how they educate-its only really the ones who talk a lot about it, who are strongly USers or fans of a specific curriculum I tend to know about. Also, users do often tighten up and become more structured, IME, as the kids get older-it seems common for people to be quite unschooly to either 7 or 11ish and then become less so.

 

Just trying to say really, if the community feels like a good fit, it might not matter too much exactly how the kids are educated? I'm always surprised at how much I have in common with people I'd think were polar opposites to me.


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#19 of 19 Old 11-07-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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Very true and thank you for your comments!! Yeah the main thing for us is just finding friends at all and finding friends (for our son) who aren't already going to daycare/pre-school or will be going to school (Kindergarten) in a year or two. So yeah I'm totally on board with whatever type of friends but we just need some to begin with and then bonus points for ones that are going to be making the same type of education choices! The playgroup was a success in that I did get contact information on a HSing family who lives nearby! Yay!


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