View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Have you ever considered starting your own secular support group?

08-20-2010, 10:13 PM
After reading Mom on the Verge's post this week (http://onthevergeofwhat.blogspot.com/2010/08/faith-fpea-hslda-m-o-u-s-e.html) about having to leave her local support group because of its radical leanings, I started wondering how many of you have been in the same boat.

Have some of you, either because of no homeschool support groups in your area, or no secular/inclusive ones, considered starting up a group yourself??

08-20-2010, 10:19 PM
No. I really don't think that I have the time to invest in something like that. I'm already educating my kids and working full time outside the house, along with taking the kids to outside activities. I don't even belong to any support groups (other than THIS one), and can't imagine the time and effort it would take to start and lead one.

08-20-2010, 10:29 PM
I've thought about it but don't really see the need. I'm lucky enough to live in an area with a variety of inclusive homeschooling groups. I belong to 3 different local inclusive homeschool groups that do a variety of activities. We're not overly involved in them yet since a lot of stuff is for older kids but I like knowing they are there. There's at least one other group that I don't belong to since they charge a fee that I can join once we're ready to do more joining-in.

I was talking to another mother at my MOMS Club today that said a homeschool mom she knows told her that based on available activities and enrollment in homeschool activities, that NJ had more homeschoolers than any other state. Since we are a non-reporting state (don't even have to tell the school district we're homeschooling) I guess there's no way to confirm it but I found it interesting.

08-20-2010, 10:33 PM
I can't answer your poll. LOL I did start on last year, and it all came apart. We had a very unstable person in the group. It just isn't worth the trouble to me now. I doubt I will invest that much energy again. Maybe someone else in my area will start one up.

08-21-2010, 06:24 AM
I started ours when my kids were very small - then when we started school-school, a lady that's a big-wig in the Texas homeschooling world started giving me grief about 'running' a homeschoolng group when I wasn't a homeschooling mom. While I understand her viewpoint, my position was that there wasn't another (and still isn't) a strictly secular HSing group here, and since no one else wanted to start or run one, I didn't want to close mine. I really wasn't sure where or educational future would take us, so I kept the group. Good thing, too ;)

It's not a terribly active group, but I enjoy it!

08-21-2010, 10:15 AM
I put that I started my own... that's not quite true... There are lots of secular homeschoolers here. We used to belong to a homeschool preschool group when it was just getting started that I then became the moderator of. That group is pretty active - they hold a weekly playdate and occasional field trips and other events - like a Mom's Night Out and a Homeschool Book Club. Now that my kids are going into 1st grade, I felt like we had aged out of the group, though we'd gotten all our greatest contacts through there. I passed on the moderatorship to other folks, but now we've made a spinoff group that's for elementary aged homeschoolers and it's just getting off the ground.

Mostly I've found moderating is pretty low key. And the opportunities we've found through our groups far outweigh the downsides of dealing with anyone who might be annoying.

08-21-2010, 10:22 AM
I haven't. I have started other groups for various things and I have always experienced the same thing, no one wanted to help and have me do all the work. While I tend to like having control and making sure things are taken care of, a group is a lot of work and it often overwhelmed me. I will participate and volunteer with local group but I won't take any position of leadership.

08-21-2010, 11:57 AM
I didn't even think about starting a group, and the group I'm in now is inclusive and works out well for us. Though I have thought about starting a club/co-op/sub-group, since everything for fall is on a day/place when we can't make it, or it's for kids a year older than her.

08-21-2010, 12:50 PM
No, the group we belong to is an inclusive, secular group. I have been the facilitator of it for a few years though, so it has definitely experienced my influence. :p

08-21-2010, 01:38 PM
I have been thinking about it a lot lately but like other said it is a ton of work I have started other moms groups and it was so hard to keep people active and drama free!

08-21-2010, 02:22 PM
For the first 4 months we homeschooled, I considered starting one. However, I finally found the group I'm a part of now, which is very inclusive. However, in just a year, I became one of the list owners/leaders, so essentially DO help run the group now. In that times, we've started art/science/geography/history fairs, three different co-ops, books clubs, beach days, and several field trips.

08-21-2010, 05:41 PM
Elkhollow and I are trying here in our area! I've got a yahoo group started and a facebook page started. I've advertised two play dates so far (the past two fridays) and had some interest expressed but no takers other than ourselves so far. I really hope that the effort I put into it will pay off- there are some inclusive groups around us but all are about 30 to 60 minutes away. The group in our town is predominantly Evangelical Christian and the few experiences I've had with it have led me to believe that it is not a good thing for me and my kids. I do credit THIS site with helping me meet Elkhollow, which has been a great experience. Finally another homeschool mom to talk to!

08-21-2010, 11:27 PM
This is something I would love to do locally, but due to circumstances I opted to try and do it online via a newsletter style support mechanism (for a global audience) which so far has good support and hopefully it will continue to grow and prosper :)

I find everything worth while means work and dedication and I know us home schoolers have a lot of that, just depends on where we wish to direct it :)

08-22-2010, 06:14 PM
I've never considered it. There are plenty of groups & co-ops in my area, though I don't know how many are secular or inclusive. We don't belong to any of the groups or co-ops, it's simply not our style. I am part of a Yahoo group of local homeschoolers, but we never really get together. Whenever someone tries to plan some kind of a get together (either a one time thing or a regular meeting), we never seem to be able to find a day or time that would work. Apparently, our entire Yahoo group is incapable of coordinating our schedules with each other.
Honestly, I'm fine with that. Any support, advice, opinions, or ideas I may need, I get online. The kids have friends & family to play with. Co-ops are of no interest to me. So, I see no reason for us to bother with a group. The closest we came to joining a group was the one year the kids did 4-H. We were the only ones in the 4-H group that weren't part of the same co-op. The kids were bored with the meetings & lack of group projects. The rest of the group would make 4-H decisions at their co-op meetings, which we didn't attend. The materials weren't the quality I had been expecting, from everything I'd previously heard about them. Really, all we got out of it was confirmation that we don't fit in with the local homeschoolers (like THAT was a shock) and that 4-H is not for us (I didn't really think the kids would get into it, but tried just in case).

08-23-2010, 04:20 AM
I've thought about it but the fact is that I'm a terrible planner/organizer and not a very scheduled person in general. Plus, I'm lazy. There, I said it. LOL. The thought of running a group, planning activities, moderating messages, any of that stuff really turns me off. I'd be terrible at it. I wish we could find a good fit somewhere though. My daughter hasn't made any friends here and it's been a year. She's frustrated, I'm frustrated. She doesn't want to go to school and I dont really want her to but have fears about our lack of regular socializing and having friends. I think if it continues this way for yet another year I will consider public, or maybe private, school. Sad to say. :-(

08-24-2010, 09:06 AM
I started a support group about 2 1/2 years ago, started out with only about 3 families meeting at the park once a week. We now have a fully fledged coop running that has roughly 40 families attend, plus we offer the full gammut of other activities throughout the year, excursions, sports, sport carnivals etc etc. I am a bit of control freak and did most of this on my own for quite some time DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT AT ALL!! LOL! I now have a wonderful comittee that help me greatly.

We are not a secular group, but are inclusive and, well with a secular president I don't really need to say anymore do I hehehe

For those just starting out my big piece of advice is just keep plugging away, slowly but surely they will come. I started as the only secular one in my own group (how funny is that) and now my core group of friends are all secular except one or two families.

I didn't vote in the poll because my group is not secular. :)

08-25-2010, 02:15 PM
Never considered it. Actually, I'd rather eat bees.

The other homeschoolers in our area are very nice people, for the most part, but we're just not Joiners.

08-25-2010, 09:53 PM
Funny this comes up now. I can't seem to find a secular group in my area. Not sure I would want to be responsible for starting one of my own though.

08-25-2010, 10:04 PM
I've found that the more effort you put into the group, the more active it is. You'll usually attract a couple of core moms who will come to everything, which is nice, esp if you click with them well. We have a nice core group - 3 moms, 8 kids. It's a beautiful thing :) We're working on getting more active - I'd love to be big enough to have a co-op group. That's awesome, Kylie!! Congrats :)

If you do decide to start a group LJean, I can recommend VistaPrint.com for business cards. Once you get on their mailing list, they have all kinds of stuff that you can get pretty cheaply to promote your group. Those 100 post cards are great to leave at libraries and coffee shops. Facebook and Yahoo Groups are also good avenues to promote and plan for your group. We have both for my group, Triangle Homeschoolers (http://trianglehomeschoolers.com). Good luck!

08-25-2010, 10:13 PM
Funny this should come up. About two weeks ago I became fed up with the lack of secular homeschool groups where I live, so on a whim I decided to start one myself. I posted on our local community forum and have had about 6 parents contact me with interest. We are meeting tomorrow for our first park day (with a total of about 15-20 kids), get to know each other and figure out what we are all looking for in the group. I just spoke with our library, post office and local charter schools ES, asking if I can either put up flyers or if I could leave a card with them with my info on it for them to pass out to anyone that asks for info about a secular homeschool group up where I live. I am also thinking of heading down to the local dance studios, karate studios and anywhere else that I can think of and do the same thing.

I feel really excited and good about things (so far, lol!), so hopefully things will work out well for us.

08-25-2010, 11:25 PM
Thank you for the info Heather. :)

Good luck Gina. Hope it works out for you.

Sam I Am
08-26-2010, 04:44 AM
I've thought about starting a group in our area but haven't for 2 reasons:

1) DW & I both work full-time outside the home (she works days & I work evenings) in addition to running the school, so there isn't time for much else.
2) Around here (Dallas area), the vast majority of homeschoolers are non-secular so I don't know if there is enough of a demand.

So, for now at least, it will remain in the "what if" file.

08-26-2010, 12:09 PM
I've thought about trying to start a group just to get to know other homeschoolers in our area. We are desperately hoping to move soon so I haven't done anything about it yet, but if it looks like we have to spend another winter here I think I'll try to post fliers at the coffee shop and the library if they are open enough to let me. I'm really not interested in starting (or joining) a coop type situation, just a social group where we can hang with a few like minded folks. They are hard to find in my area.

08-26-2010, 10:44 PM
We are members of a great homeschool support group. However, the leader is having problems due to her husband's poor health so she turned the group over to someone else. The group has been going downhill ever since. So to avoid leaving us without a support group, I started my own group. I hand selected the original members. We are growing ever so slowly. But it is a good core group of families with similar interests. There are several other groups in our area but most of them are highly religious. Some go so far as to require you to sign a statement of faith which I am not going to do. We have found one group that we attend a lot of activities with. There are no religious issues but it's a bit further away from us. We also do some activities with a group in New York State.

09-02-2010, 07:56 PM
I've never even considered it. The area we just moved from in TN had it's share of HS kids, very religious. I did find one really other secular HS'er family, but their beliefs were so different then ours (they: vegan/wican/no chemicals. Us: yumm, chicken/agnostic/love my fabric softener) that I just couldn't see us all working as a group. Where we live now in NC, is so saturated with inclusive, or even straight out secular groups there's no reason to start another one. Plus I'm a flake sometimes, I'd really hate to be the person relying on me to not only show but, remember all of the supplies needed, when most days I'm lucky to remember my kids names.

09-02-2010, 09:02 PM
I didn't need to because there is already an awesome one here!

09-03-2010, 10:20 AM
The way I was able to 'push our group over the edge' so to speak and become a fully fledged coop of sorts was to just put myself out there and contact local community type centres. I ended up phoning our PCYC (similar to a YMCA I think) they already run loads of programs and classes for school aged kids and I thought surely they must be empty during the day and the worst I could get was a sorry we can't help.

It turned out they had a a full day free and were very keen to get us started straight away and as they say the rest is history. I guess what I am trying to say is, just don't be shy and try and think outside the box a little if you are wanting to get something more than just park days up and happening. Most of our mums do not want a coop like you guys in the states seem to run (where everyone runs a class). Our mums want to just pay for the kids to attend classes so the mums can come along, watch the activites and have a morning off. We pay roughly $7 per child per class plus a small annual fee. All in all, for what we pay and what we receive it works out very nicely. The kids do art lessons, a sport and generally an extra activity, science, cake decorating or something like that.

09-03-2010, 11:24 PM
i'm thinking about it as we speak but i'm worried about a few things. the extra work, how to get the word out, and what the people in the only group in town will say. i am a believer but i disagree w/the intolerance of the religious groups. i want a group that is accepting of all people.