Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Creating Your Homeschool Community

Interacting with other homeschoolers is an important key to making homeschooling work. Having families with which to share your experiences can benefit parents as well as kids. Most homeschoolers are pioneers – by that I mean they’ve never seen other homeschoolers in their life and they are blazing their own trail. And as homeschool pioneers we are not faced with just one trail: there’s an infinite number of kinds of homeschooling and equal number of resources. So each homeschooler you meet is undoubtedly going to have a lot of ideas. There are many ways of reaching out to meet other local homeschoolers. Here’s a few:

  1. Contact the local public library. The children’s librarians are the folks who see homeschoolers on a regular basis. They can put you in contact with experienced homeschoolers in your area. Often times they have a homeschooler’s book club. If not, you can ask them to start one.
  2. Peruse the natural foods store. I’ve found this to be a mecca of like-minded families. Ask the owner to hold a cooking or nutrition class for homeschoolers. Or, if there’s a small cafe inside, you could start an informal weekly homeschool brunch.
  3. Start a local homeschool co-op. Put flyers up in your area for a homeschool co-op for kids and parents to meet at a local park or other public place. It can start out small and be geared towards a specific type of homeschooling (i.e. religious-based or unschooling), or just open to all. A co-op can mean anything. In my experience it means taking turns have families come to your home, or meeting for a hike or field trip, on a regular basis. It could also mean having a public space and offering classes taught by local volunteers or parents. Basically it can be anything that your group needs.
  4. Start a Lego Engineering Club. Bring Legos, the kids will come. Some spaces that may work for clubs include a local community center, a church or someone’s home. Having a weekly Lego Club for kids can create a much-anticipated time for social fun and building. Engineering and science topics can easily be worked in or the kids can design their own curriculum. The meetings can be followed by a play-date at the park or a field trip, making for a memorable day, every week.
  5. Check out online resources. You can google ‘homeschool’ and your town or form your own local YAHOO group. This website has a few ideas as well: http://www.smarttutor.com/homeschoolers-theyre-out-there/

 

 

Do people assume if you’re a homeschooler, you’re a Fundamentalist Christian?

Interesting question. I think the answer in many cases is yes. Though a large percentage of homeschoolers list religious reasons as the most important reason for homeschooling (according to differing studies anywhere from 34-75%), many homeschoolers are doing so for reasons that have nothing to do with organized religion.

According to the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, 36% of homeschoolers list “Religious Reasons” as the most important reason for homeschooling. That’s certainly a large block, but what about the other 64%? These homeschoolers cite concerns about school environment; dissatisfaction with academic instruction; family needs; desire for non-traditional approach; and a child’s health issues or special needs as the most important reason for homeschooling.

When looking for online homeschool resources, I have found an overwhelming majority of sites are Christian-based. One of the reasons I started a homeschool blog was to create a community for homeschoolers that would welcome everybody, regardless of their religious inclinations. Though the homeschooling movement may have initially grown due to the Christian Fundamentalist movement, I believe the trend of non-religious, educated parents making the informed decision to homeschool is gathering strength.

The homeschooling families I’ve been lucky to connect with over the past five years seem to have one thing in common – a genuine belief in meeting all the needs of children according to their own personalities and with respect to their development. Religion aside, we are trying out best to create a healthy environment for our kids, educationally as well as physically and emotionally.

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=91

http://www.educationnews.org/parenting/number-of-homeschoolers-growing-nationwide/