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laundrycrisis
08-31-2010, 09:14 AM
I know I am not the only person here who has had this experience; this is the only place I feel comfortable posting about it.

I've connected with a new group in our area, hoping to find more friends for myself and my kids. It has "inclusive" in the name...but so far everyone who shows up to it seems to be openly, obviously religious. I outed myself to one lady the first time I went - she asked why I didn't join a certain other large group in our area, and I said that we are not religious and I don't think I would fit in (because it is a Christian group)...that is all I said, in a very neutral tone...but I could feel the cold wash over us...she responded with a shocked "Oh !". And I am experiencing a complete failure to connect in the group.

It seems most of the ladies I meet are religious, assume everyone else is too, and are completely rattled to find out that I don't share that. Since this group is inclusive by name, and brand new, I was hoping I might at least find people are aren't rattled by someone who isn't religious. There are plenty of specifically Christian groups for those who are only comfortable around other Christians !!! Oh well. I won't give up yet but it's completely frustrating. Why are people so bothered by what others believe or don't ? Why do people show up for an inclusive group expecting to find only others like themselves ? Why do others make the assumption that others share their beliefs when they are outside of their church ? If they didn't assume that, there would not be anything to be shocked about when they learn otherwise. I don't go around sharing my thoughts or criticizing what anyone else believes or doesn't. I don't wear Spaghetti Monster T-shirts or A buttons or talk about my own floaty beliefs or even let DS1 wear his Harry Potter shirt to group activities...I'm very respectful of what others are comfortable with. I would never hold someone else's beliefs/philosophy against someone as a reason to distance myself from them, unless they were pushy or obnoxious. I just don't get it and I never will.

I have two other possibly secular/open-minded leads I am going to follow up on. I really want to connect with some people who aren't so alarmed about it.

Sarbare0704
08-31-2010, 09:23 AM
I agree it is hard to understand why people cannot be understanding. I recently met another local mom who is homeschooling (we actually met to talk about ICAN) who is part of what seems to be the only local group for homeschoolers, while she said they are semi religious but she didn't feel the group was overly like that so I asked for a request to join (for 50 bucks a year) and I get this big ol PDF of rules scattered with talks of handling problems as scripture says and we are all here to serve god... yeah on that note I decided I guess my kids can be sheltered little freaks.
on a side note I think you should wear spaghetti monster shirts cause that would be sweet! This totally made me want to see if such a shirt does exist!

Shoe
08-31-2010, 09:38 AM
on a side note I think you should wear spaghetti monster shirts cause that would be sweet! This totally made me want to see if such a shirt does exist!
There are some here (http://www.cafepress.com/venganza/3683109). Too cool!

Wilma
08-31-2010, 10:04 AM
I am so sorry. One of my dearest friends is an atheist and she has long felt it is her dirty little secret in the homeschooling community. She has described exactly what you are saying. She feels either like an untouchable or the pet project of the local group. Of course, many of these people who did this to you also don't like people they consider to be faux Christians - Catholics, Orthodox or any non-evangelicals. I can assure you, there are people who feel your pain out there, but, if your homeschooling community is anything like ours, they are afraid to make themselves known. This fear mainly has to do with the feeling their kids will be ostracized. We finally got tired of not being ourselves - we love Harry Potter, have cable (gasp!), cuss at times, and actually yell at the kids when pushed, sometimes when not.

Hang in there. I know it is frustrating, but you could be the one to pull the others out of the woodwork.

dbmamaz
08-31-2010, 11:25 AM
its true that around here, inclusive means 'inclusive of all christains, no matter what church you go to'. Its also true that most homeschoolers around her just assume you are christain and homeschooling for religious reasons. It makes me want to go move . . . idk, where are there more liberal athiests?

AshleysMum
08-31-2010, 11:33 AM
That's why I associate with Secular groups. I've had my caw full of "You're not a CHRISTIAN?" or "You don't go to CHURCH?". And then they feel the need to convert you.

No. I am a NeoPagan Druid.

MamaB2C
08-31-2010, 11:50 AM
idk, where are there more liberal athiests?

The PNW is the least religious area of the country IIRC.

But, keep looking. Check out Yahoo groups and such. If I can find a secular group in Alabama, there are bound to be groups in your area.

mommykicksbutt
08-31-2010, 01:11 PM
Vent away! It is very frustrating dealing with the religiously blinded.

Our one and only homeschool group here is suppose to be all inclusive but they start and end every event with a prayer to "jebus crust their lawd n savaer." Sonny and I are always late (so we can miss the opening) and conveniently disappeared either just outside or to another area of the building at the end (then we come back to help clean up). All the group meetings are suppose to be on base (military overseas) but last year about 5 out of the 9 meetings were rescheduled to be held off base at an evangelical missionary church ran by an American family who also happens to homeschool their 6 kids (and have absolutely no connection to the military whatsoever so I cannot figure why the leader of our group is bending the rules to let them in!).

Anyway, we refuse to attend when they are at the church complex "Victory Villa." (I even refuse to vote at a church poll site on election day too). Superstition and education do not belong together as church and state should be separate.

The other group members think we are Jewish. One mother in the group asked me point blank if I was a christian and I honestly said "no." She didn't ask anything further (and I know not to volunteer anything as well). So she defaulted that I must be Jewish (apparently it didn't/doesn't occur to her that someone can lack a belief in her sky daddy) and relayed this new found conclusion to the rest of the group. There is one other mom in the group that knows I'm an atheist, we are only acquainted, but she didn't rat me out, she kept what she knew about me to herself.

I sooooooo want to be part of a secular group!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's why I'm on this forum.

garett
08-31-2010, 01:19 PM
Has anyone here started their own support groups ? What's involved ? How much work is it ?

I don't even know how many home-schoolers there are in my city, let alone how many secular. All I know is that when I began searching for support groups all I could find were Christian. There was one that claimed to be inclusive but for various reasons I'm not comfortable involving ourselves with a religious group just yet.

I've entertained the idea of starting a facebook group or something just to see if there's any interest. But I don't think I would have the time to actually organize anything.

farrarwilliams
08-31-2010, 03:19 PM
idk, where are there more liberal athiests?

Cara, you don't have to move that far. I know a number of atheists up here in DC and if you're in the city or the immediate burbs, nearly everyone is a liberal.

I'm always sad to hear these stories. Around here, inclusive means inclusive - our group has atheists, Catholics, protestants, Jews, Unitarians, and I think at one point we had a Mormon family and I think a Muslim family (Muslim homeschooling is really growing, I understand). I've heard there are Christians-only groups, but I don't personally know of them - all the big local lists are inclusive.

dbmamaz
08-31-2010, 06:22 PM
Ok, its probably not as bad as i make it out to be. for a while, i had a park day going on fridays, which included a conservative christain, a mormon, a pagan, an athiest jew, and me (kinda sorta maybe spiritual something). But people stopped showing up and I got tired of going to the park w my boys whining that there was nothing to do, as I waited an hour in case someone showed up. And Lo did start a co-op but it ended up not working out for us - i think we just need to do our own thing. And the other 'recess' park day - well, attendence has been dropping off since the person who used to do organized games for the kids stopped doing it and NO one (of the dozens of regular attendees) took up the banner - i started homeschooling after that. Its just the general attitude that bothers me, esp having not grown up this way. But really, i'm happiest to just stay home most of the time anyways.

gigi
08-31-2010, 08:28 PM
Has anyone here started their own support groups ? What's involved ? How much work is it ?

I don't even know how many homeschoolers there are in my city, let alone how many secular. All I know is that when I began searching for support groups all I could find were Christian. There was one that claimed to be inclusive but for various reasons I'm not comfortable involving ourselves with a religious group just yet.

I've entertained the idea of starting a facebook group or something just to see if there's any interest. But I don't think I would have the time to actually organize anything.

I am in the midst of starting my own homeschool group. We had our first park day last week and I wish I could say it went off without a hitch. Long story short, two moms had a run in with each other a few years ago and one of them physically assaulted the other and the police were involved. Beside that, it was fun. I posted about having a secular homeschool group on our local community forum, put up flyers in the post office, library, dance studios, karate studios etc. I left both my phone number and email for anyone to contact me (I've had about 15 moms contact me so far....and I live up in a mountain community where the population isn't as big as the metro areas). Right now we are starting off with weekly park days, a field trip here and there and are looking to have a co op going and groups for the kids. It wasn't terribly hard to get started, but I can't speak for keeping a group running.

Good luck if you decide to start your own group!

Lolov
08-31-2010, 11:51 PM
It's amazing the difference between Richmond, VA and NoVA (DC and the burbs)... it's only a two hour drive and yet, it's like a different universe. I'd much prefer to live in NoVA simply because, as Cara said, it's not just assumed that everyone is a fundie xtian who needs validation.

Part of why I started a secular group, and feel no need to be particularly "inclusive", is because of the exclusive, isolating nature of living in such a ridiculously religious place. Secular folks need a place to be real. So far, I haven't come across any religious folks here who can handle that. Oh well.

I am hoping that the coop, though small right now, will grow into something that the secularists in RIC can glom onto... a port in the storm if you will. Even if it ends up just being social stuff and not "classes" etc... it's still an important resource when you're literallly surrounded on all sides by what I lovingly refer to as "religiotards."

At least I never call them that to their faces :)

hockeymom
09-01-2010, 08:15 AM
((Hugs)) I'm sorry you're going through this. We have only one, very small group in our area and they proudly display their Christian beliefs on their website, so as much as I want to find local homeschoolers, I'll be steering clear of this only local opportunity.

I had a situation several years ago when some very religious friends invited me to their house for their weekly "discussion". I put it off for months but finally gave in--I have no idea why the didn't get the hint, but I guess they are always on the lookout to convert people. After the discussion, part of which was about our former president and during which I stayed mostly silent, I was backed into a conversational corner. I finally said something along the lines that if I were Christian I would be appalled by how how president B skewed the Christian religion to suit his needs. Oh my goodness, to watch the blank look on my friends' faces slowly turn to recognition of my words ("IF I were Christian") and then the visible shock that finally descended upon them...well, let's just say that was the last time I was invited (coerced) into attending one of their meetings and the end of said friendships. Overnight we went from weekly playgroups and parties to neighbors to avoid at all costs.

It's truly a shame that so many people can't see past their beliefs. But I don't believe in pretending to be something I am not, and I am not interested in trying to befriend people who only wish I were someone that better suited their selfish needs.

Good luck! :)

wild_destiny
09-01-2010, 09:46 AM
Here are some hugs to you, Hockeymom. Your post made me gasp and laugh--until the reality of being shunned dawned on my slow brain. I totally hear you that you are not interested in befriending people who only wish you were better suited to their needs. Hope you (and the others above) find some good friends that you can relate to. :)

Wilma
09-01-2010, 10:42 AM
Has anyone here started their own support groups ? What's involved ? How much work is it ?

I don't even know how many home-schoolers there are in my city, let alone how many secular. All I know is that when I began searching for support groups all I could find were Christian. There was one that claimed to be inclusive but for various reasons I'm not comfortable involving ourselves with a religious group just yet.

I've entertained the idea of starting a facebook group or something just to see if there's any interest. But I don't think I would have the time to actually organize anything.

We have. It started with a group of friends, grew by word of mouth. We advertise our co-op on the local boards and our mission statement seems to week people out. We are also listed in the groups on this site's resources list, and have gotten some members that way. We do a yahoo group because I know a lot of people who just don't do Facebook for one reason or another (like me) and there are so many homeschool yahoo groups, doing a search to find a group is the norm. There used to be a secular state organization here, but no one seems to know where it has gotten to. But I just got my magazine for the state's Christian organization, and they list any support group that wants to be listed, they just point out which ones are not OCHEC affiliated. I noticed they have an inclusive one for Tulsa listed, so we may advertise that way. We have a member who was in the Tulsa group. She said it was truly inclusive. The other "inclusive" group there was not. You just have to be tenacious.

Suzakin
09-02-2010, 10:32 PM
The term inclusive bothers me. I don't want the members of some group to bend over backwards to include me. They seems to think that inclusive means they will have to be welcoming of faiths other than their own. When they find out I am atheist - well that is NOT what they meant by 'inclusive'. All of a sudden I am too weird for them and they just can't seem to include me.

I often think of starting my own group that focuses on developing independent, inquisitive minds. With HEAVY emphasis on FUNDAMENTALS. I encourage my kids to question EVERYTHING - including me. However, I fear I would be the only one in my group. Very sad.

amphibology29
09-02-2010, 10:46 PM
I feel your pain. Inclusive around here means everyone is "welcome to join" but they're all Christian anyway. Even belonging to our local chapter of MOMS Club, which heavily emphasizes that they are a non-religious, non-political organization, I'm the only non-Christian member. We recently had a change of board members (MOMS Club years run July-June) and the new board has started holding the monthly General Meeting at a church. It's not a religious meeting, and I know it's more for the convenience of a meeting space than anything else, but it makes me, personally, feel very uncomfortable. I don't like going to churches. I don't like taking my kids there and seeing signs praising God when we pull up in the parking lot and go into the lobby area. A lot of the members go to the same church and discuss church-related topics or going-ons, and it all just makes me feel very uncomfortable. But it's not being endorsed as "MOMS Club," so I don't think there's a whole lot I can do about it. :(

chelleah
09-02-2010, 11:50 PM
Wow, we should totally move to our own island! I can't seem to stop feeling like some sort of freak (as my daughter says as well). If you are not one of them, then it is like they suddenly found out you have the plague. We have also experienced the 'pet project' syndrome but have since been shunned due to our inability to be converted. Most mums I find if they are of similar age (36), they have lil uns and those with kids my teen's age, they are a lot older and tend to treat me with an air of authority, like they are better than me or trying to set me an example.. like I'm misguided! I have always been well ahead of my age mentally, having grown up with my older siblings/friends and I married a man 8 years older than me. I enjoy people of all ages, have loads of interests, crafting, art, live music, dancing, books, politics, religion, yes, sometimes controversial subjects... I just love life's whole package but I wish I could find people who were relaxed about life and did not act like they had a stick up somewhere... I am constantly getting itchy feet thinking maybe somewhere else would be better, but I really do love it here and I have made some really good friends, but they either do not homeschool, do not have teens or they don't have kids, so sometimes it is hard to relate. I had a look at the Yahoo group, but again, noone in my area it seems. Gonna go have a nice essential oils bath and soak my head in my book. We should have some wine evenings...

Theresa Holland Ryder
09-03-2010, 12:44 AM
Back in Utah I belonged to a homeschool Co-op that was secular and inclusive. It was about 60% LDS and 40% other. At first it was okay, but as the kids got older, there was nobody left but hard line LDS people and us. About then we moved. As much as I despised our last days with that group, the earlier years were so great. If you can find a group that works for you, it's really an invaluable resource. If you can't though, there's online support groups for the parents and soccer and karate and dance class and etc. for the kiddos.

AshleysMum
09-03-2010, 03:24 AM
Back in Utah I belonged to a homeschool Co-op that was secular and inclusive. It was about 60% LDS and 40% other. At first it was okay, but as the kids got older, there was nobody left but hard line LDS people and us. About then we moved. As much as I despised our last days with that group, the earlier years were so great. If you can find a group that works for you, it's really an invaluable resource. If you can't though, there's online support groups for the parents and soccer and karate and dance class and etc. for the kiddos.

I lived in Utah for a while - quite the different culture, wouldn't you say? I am amazed that there were hardcore LDS in a secular group, they're pretty tight out there as I recall (I was LDS back when I lived out there, I turned tail and run, fast and long!)

AshleysMum
09-03-2010, 03:25 AM
Vent away! It is very frustrating dealing with the religiously blinded.

Word. Oh is that WORD! LOL

InstinctiveMom
09-04-2010, 06:47 PM
Has anyone here started their own support groups ? What's involved ? How much work is it ?

I don't even know how many home-schoolers there are in my city, let alone how many secular. All I know is that when I began searching for support groups all I could find were Christian. There was one that claimed to be inclusive but for various reasons I'm not comfortable involving ourselves with a religious group just yet.

I've entertained the idea of starting a facebook group or something just to see if there's any interest. But I don't think I would have the time to actually organize anything.

It's a lot of work, but doable, esp if you have a couple of people that are on-board and motivated to really help organize and get it off the ground.
This is my group http://www.trianglehomeschoolers.com I have 2 moms who really help with the planning. Our group is the only secular group in our tri-city/county area. There are, by contrast 5 Christian/faith-based co-op and support groups to choose from. We've actually started 'mini-branches' in our group to keep up with the outlying area families. We have a monthly co-op, a monthly park day and host weekly field trips.

Once you get it started and set up the way you want it, the main thing is keeping people motivated to attend. We do planning meetings once a month (at park day) and use a Yahoo Group to keep contact during the week and encourage one another.
We've had some Christian people join, but most are either non-religious or alternatively faithed :) It's a nice group!
Feel free to PM me with questions if you like.

LaundryCrisis, I'm so sorry that your group wasn't all you'd hoped it would be. I hope that one of the other groups are more fitting :)

I find it much easier to be comfortable with my beliefs (or lack thereof) the farther out I get form my Christian roots. I'm much less conscious of how my beliefs, clothing, hair or whatever affect a "Christian" now that I used to be. I used to worry a lot about offending Christians, but then realized that my beliefs should not affect them - they certainly don't worry about offending me when they present me with literature or wear their cross or stick a Jesus fish on the back of their car.

My kids wear what they want. They talk about what they want. I express my beliefs or elect not to talk about them where and when the mood strikes. I'm awesome; my kids are awesome and if your beliefs don't allow for the sunshine in my world to brighten yours, then I am not the one missing out ;)
~h

laundrycrisis
09-04-2010, 07:33 PM
I'm awesome; my kids are awesome and if your beliefs don't allow for the sunshine in my world to brighten yours, then I am not the one missing out ;)~h

That is awesome ;)

hockeymom
09-05-2010, 07:37 AM
I'm awesome; my kids are awesome and if your beliefs don't allow for the sunshine in my world to brighten yours, then I am not the one missing out ;)
~h

Now THAT'S some serious inspiration, Heather! What fabulous words to wake up to! :)

mommykicksbutt
09-05-2010, 02:58 PM
Ditto Heather!!!!

wild_destiny
09-05-2010, 04:56 PM
That was great, Heather, but I wish I had your confidence! I'm more like the I'm crazy, my kids are crazy, and we are probably all going to hell in a handbasket mentality, but at least we will be together on the ride down! ;)

InstinctiveMom
09-05-2010, 05:06 PM
That was great, Heather, but I wish I had your confidence! I'm more like the I'm crazy, my kids are crazy, and we are probably all going to hell in a handbasket mentality, but at least we will be together on the ride down! ;)

LOL - you know, when I wrote that, I had a house full of people and was trying to get finished typing so I could get out of the office. I didn't realize how it sounded until now. I'm glad you guys approve though :)

It's actually not all that far of a stretch from where you are, Deanna, to where I am. That sentiment is part 'fake it till ya make it' and the rest is just brazen through it and hope people go with it. They usually do!
~h