Homeschooling w/o a HS Group?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 05-28-2010, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there, my DS1 is just 3 now, and he's enrolled at a preschool to start in the fall... but part of me wants to homeschool him. I was HS'd for most of my schooling (excepting 1/2 of k-3), and loved it. I'm not 100% sure I want to homeschool him, but I also just remember how much fun it was.

My biggest problem though, is that all of the local HS groups around here are heavily christian - to the point of requiring you to sign a 'statement of faith' which there is no way in hell I'm ever signing (I'm not a christian for one, and for two some of the stuff on it just blows my mind - they're heavily anti-evolution, feminism, homosexuality, global warming, etc...). I've looked online for other HS groups in the area, but all the others are also christian. The closest groups that aren't are a solid hour+ away... and theres just no way we can routinely be driving that far, yk?

SO... is it possible to HS w/o a hsing group? My biggest worry with that is socialization. I already know that ds1 craves socializing with other kids (we goto playgroup 2x a week, and if we miss it for some reason, he becomes a much less agreeable guy to be around...), and I just don't know how we'd get it around here w/o school... (playgroup is for kids <3 yrs...).
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#2 of 18 Old 05-28-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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In our town there are 2 HSing groups, 1 is Christian and 1 has no affiliation. We're Christian, but I don't like the way their group is set up. They charge $15/month for a newsletter and have 12 board members. Both of which seem ridiculous, IMO. They aren't running a school. They've just formed a group

Anyways, I know I would be just fine HSing w/o any groups. Our libraries always have something going on for kids, plus there's always sports, music, art, etc etc.

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#3 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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Sure it's possible. We do. There's a homeschool group an hour and a half from us. Occasionally my kids have done a set of classes with the group. Very occasionally. My 11yo did a six week climbing class last year, and my now 13yo and 16yo did gymnastics back when they were 6 and 9 years old. But most years we don't have anything to do with the group.

My kids have friends who share their interests. Music friends, aikido friends, computer gaming friends, choir friends, neighbour friends. Some happen to be homeschoolers; many are not.

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#4 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 09:15 AM
 
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Yep
No problem.

Go off in your own direction and, IME, others (who also don't want to sign those statements) will find you.

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#5 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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I have a few thoughts-- one is that just because you can't find it online doesn't mean that a secular group doesn't exist. Lots of groups are hard to find online. Have you contacted your inclusive state homeschooling organization? Most keep a list of homeschool groups and will help you find a group in your area. Second is that you may not need to hangout with homeschoolers now-- there may be enough preschool-aged kids around to keep you guys busy. If I were you, I'd exchange phone numbers with the moms of other kids who are aging out of the playgroup, and see if they want to get together casually next year.

You might also ask your librarian about other homeschoolers. If all the groups in your town are as religious as you say, I bet there are other families who would prefer a secular group. You could start by deciding that once a week you'll go to some specific park at a specific time, and spread the word through whatever statewide or regional homeschooling list you can find.

Good luck!
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#6 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 10:25 AM
 
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I agree with the pps. I think it is possible, but it can be challenging. We homeschool both our kids (son is almost 8 and daughter is 4.5).

The groups that are closest to us are Christian and assume we are when we participate in community activities. Just had a little run in with one mom recently.... But we still attend the activities related to gym class and play because my kids love it and really don't care about religion.

We belong to an inclusive on-line group where most of the activities are between 25 minutes to 40 minutes away from us. We get lots of ideas and information from this group and then just try things with our kids. We have attended some classes with a Montessori type reading teacher, but other than that we have schooled our kids on our own (Not always easy, but this is why we choose to homeschool.)

And I agree, do not sign those statements. I was looking at a "non-denominational" group and then they emailed me the "statement" which made me physically ill. So glad I looked into it so I know the full spectrum of their mission. Something we DO NOT want our children to participate in.

You can do it! Good luck!
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#7 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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What zeldamomma said!
I bet you could post a notice at the library about a secular homeschoolers park get together once a week at the park. You might start with just a couple families but by the time your kiddo is 5 or 6 you'd have a thriving group.
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#8 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 12:28 PM
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We do it without a group. We have no problems, the kids have lots of friends and opportunities to "socialize". We just started a mother daughter book club. Some people in it are homeschoolers, some aren't.

There are groups here, also too religious for me. They creep me out (I am Catholic, but not "crazy" Catholic). I believe in God and Jesus. But, I believe in teaching evolution, my sister is gay and I love her, and I really don't think it is our place to judge. Some people probably don't think I belong with the Catholic church, but that is for a different thread. So, anyways, I can't do the religious groups.

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#9 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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Definitely.

Up until a month ago there were no secular homeschool groups here. There was a Christian one similar to what you described. I was just about to start a secular group on Facebook when someone else beat me to it. Two weeks later there are 20 people on the group.
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#10 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Yes my experience has been that groups grow with kids, iykwim. They are not static-round here, every few years a new group seems to start and an older one, with an older group of regulars, folds as the kids move out of the ages where they want to attend groups.

Personally, I think I'd find it hard to homeschool without a group. My kids would go nuts fast and so would I without other people to bounce off. This is such a personal thing. I know people who have homeschooled for ten or more years without ever really meeting another homeschooler, and I have great respect for them. For me, especially in my formative years as a homeschooling mother, I've really so appreciated having friends going through the same thing.

Just to say-I'm afraid a hour isn't always considered that excessive a drive to a HE group you like. The two best groups for us are each about an hour away, and we'll be doing them regularly after the summer. We have informal meetings in the town in which I live and people travel easily an hour to them. I think there often just aren't enough of us to avoid lots of travel, sadly. What we do is have a lot of good audiobooks for the car...Stupid amounts of travel seem to be just a facet of HE life, for a lot of us.

ETA: just another thought-you say your son is 3 and the problem is that playgroups end at age 3? Round here, we usually have a few people in the HE group who are fully intending to send their kids to school after, say, 5, or 7 or 11, but who in the interim want them to have space to play and grow yada yada, and want the support of the group. We always welcome them. What I am saying is even if you can't find dyed in the wool HErs, you might find other parents who are delaying schooling for a few years.

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#11 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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You might be surprised... I remember a story in Secular Homeschooling Magazine by a woman who lived in a heavily Christian area and was really bummed that there was nothing secular and then she was online on some message board and someone mentioned a secular group that met a mile from the author's house. They just kept really underground because they had been getting trouble from some of the religious groups.

So I don't think it hurts to keep looking. And you can always create your own! Even some of the Christian parents might be unhappy with such strict, ideological groups.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#12 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AAK View Post
We do it without a group. We have no problems, the kids have lots of friends and opportunities to "socialize". We just started a mother daughter book club. Some people in it are homeschoolers, some aren't.

There are groups here, also too religious for me. They creep me out (I am Catholic, but not "crazy" Catholic). I believe in God and Jesus. But, I believe in teaching evolution, my sister is gay and I love her, and I really don't think it is our place to judge. Some people probably don't think I belong with the Catholic church, but that is for a different thread. So, anyways, I can't do the religious groups.

Amy
Oh my, I laughed so hard when I read the bolded above. I could have written that, in fact, I think I have written it before on occassion! I'm not welcome in the Christian groups because I'm Catholic. I don't feel comfortable with the Catholic group because I'm not Catholic enough -- I don't have 10 kids (on purpose), I only go to mass once a week not everyday, I can't be bothered attending a Catholic homeschool field trip because it always involves attending mass and confession first (first we go to mass and confession, then we go to the zoo. Why can't we just go to the zoo?), my girls are Girl Guides and we eat Girl Guide cookies (apparently GG supports planned parenthood. So apparently that means I support killing babies). But I'm too Catholic for the atheists and pagans

There is a secular group in my area where we have had some luck fitting in, but for the last few years we haven't really been involved much. My kids are very active with lessons and activities in the community that there really isn't much need, or time, anymore for homeschool groups and friends.

I think if you can find a few activities that your kids really enjoy, it won't matter that you don't have a homeschool group. For my family it's been piano, violin, choir, Girl Guides, aikido, cousins, and neighbors. That doesn't leave much time for anything else.
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#13 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I didn't end up doing many things with the homeschool group. I ended up going places with other friends who homeschool or would just show up at events and would be pleasantly surprised to see other hs families.

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#14 of 18 Old 05-29-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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Yes, we do it without a group. We do hang out with 2 hs families that live about 30 miles from us but we only see them maybe 2x/month to play.

My older kids particiapte in local sports and have lots of public schooled friends in the neighborhood.

Socialization is more than just hanging out with kids your age. Your child will also "socialize" during normal day-to-day activities in and outside the home.

And at age 3 there is lots of time for other families to decide to hs and they might be just the type of family you're looking for.

Good Luck!

Homeschooling mama of four fantastic kids and wife to one great guy.
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#15 of 18 Old 05-31-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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I've done both, with and without a group. I prefer without a group. This year we went without and took classes at various places, the kids favorite being the YMCA PE and dance classes. There's lots of stuff out there other than closed up, picky, groups.

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#16 of 18 Old 06-01-2010, 07:35 PM
 
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I think you can do it without a group. But I must say that my kids and I found this year, with a small, secular group, much more satisfying and interesting. The big difference for us was just having other people to introduce ideas and take turns planning cool field trips. It definitely meant we did more than we would have on our own again.

As others mentioned, you might have to look deeper than publicly listed groups. If you pm me where in Ohio you are (I'm in OH, too, and understand how many religious groups there are around my area!) I might be able to point you in the direction of some private, by invitation only groups. It's a longshot that you're in an area that I know someone in one of the private groups we travel in circles with, but it's a shot!

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#17 of 18 Old 06-02-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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Well, homeschooling here in Norway is definitively done without a group.
My son is the only homeschooled child in this city. And this is the third largest city in all of Norway. There are around a hundred homeschooled kids in the whole country.

So yeah, it can be done. I`m doing it. But it gets lonely sometimes. NOTHING is geared towards kids during the day in Norway. Nothing. Why? Because everyone is at school or in daycare. Not going to daycare/kindergarten and even more so not going to school is very, very, VERY out of the ordinary here. So during the day, my son is the only child out and about here, literally. But, he has friends he can be with in the afternoon and the weekends, and he plays sports.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-02-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momtokea View Post
Why can't we just go to the zoo?), .
Well momtokea you just made me spit my water out laughing

aak and momtokea we need to start our own were not 'crazy' catholic HS group ourselves. thats the same problem I seemed to run in here so we dont *do* HS groups. I just havent found one that we feel welcomed at or part of.


There are tons of hs groups here which are either very conservative christian or very anti-religion but I havent found one that is somewhere in the middle the "lets just go to the zoo" group. Plus some of the groups are even restrictive in the sense of what curriculum your using so my hodge podge of varying stuff kinda turns them off.

So i've pretty much let it lie. We spend lots of time at neighborhood parks and such and outings. Plus the boy's classes and sports allow them an outlet to socialize with other children who by the most if not entire part are ps children.
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