View Full Version : Weekly Poll: Do you belong to a local homeschool support group?
06-09-2010, 03:21 PM
Although possibly as rare as a sighting of a U.F.O., secular homeschool support groups (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/203-Secular-Homeschool-Support-Groups-by-State) do exist. But that doesn't mean everyone has one in their neighborhood. Faith-based homeschool support groups, on the other hand, are usually quite easy to find.
So if you are lucky enough to have a secular support group, or even an inclusive support group nearby, then I send out my congratulations! Some of you probably belong to your local faith-based group in order to participate in homeschooling activities. Some of you refuse to sign that "statement of faith" or be barraged by religious chatter and are frustrated that there are no secular options for you. And others have absolutely no desire to belong to a support group no matter WHAT the affiliation, or lack thereof.
Where do YOU fall on the support group spectrum??
06-09-2010, 03:37 PM
I got lucky, we have a secular support group locally on yahoo. Weekly playdates, weekly soccer days, and sometimes a social gathering. I honestly don't think I cuold have jumped into this without having them available, it's been a blessing!
06-09-2010, 04:53 PM
We have an inclusive support group. Lately, we have so many activities/field trips that we need to turn them down or we'd get nothing else done. We have monthly meetings for the parents (usually with some theme--math, science, organization, etc), weekly history co-op, weekly FIAR co-op, weekly teen co-op, annual fairs (science, art, etc), annual field day, monthly book club, and innumerable field trips. We've been lucky to find the group, but find ourselves not as involved as when the kids were younger. They are simply moving on to more personally led activities/jobs.
06-09-2010, 05:48 PM
I voted no because we don't have any desire... but even if we did, there aren't any here. Even if there were, we would not join, I'm not a club kind of person because it seems no matter the club/organization it feels like highschool to me and you get all the drama that goes along with it... NO THANK YOU ;)
06-09-2010, 06:08 PM
I have a variety of local inclusive support groups and I've been in and out of them for the reason that Sommer posted. DS is quite social, which is why I keep trying new ones. Here's hoping the latest, so far seems more low key, is a good fit.
06-09-2010, 07:52 PM
I belong to both secular and inclusive Yahoo groups and I'm thinking of joining a secular meet-up group. They're actually pretty easy to find in my neck of the woods.
06-09-2010, 08:09 PM
We have one very small, faith based group in our general area but I gather from their limited website that the kids are all much older than my son and that they are extremely religious. If we are still living here this fall, I might make up posters and post them in the local coffee shop and other places to try to find like-minded homeschoolers. I would love to connect with other people in our area; it is so difficult to meet people (homeschooling or not) and make connections here that I'm about to lose my mind. I've never seen such a closed off culture. Anyway, I'd jump at the chance to meet other people with similar interests and have my son be able to expand his very limited social circle.
Thank GOODNESS for this awesome forum! :)
06-09-2010, 08:53 PM
There is no group in my area, I started one for a bit. But then we had a nutjob come in. It just isn't worth it LOL. The best way I have found to find other homeschooling families is to ask the librarian. Homeschoolers use the library a lot, and the librarian gets a good feel for what kind of homeschooler they are from the books they check out. I have had great luck connecting this way in the past. Right now it isn't a huge concern, since I only have little ones in the house now.
06-09-2010, 09:47 PM
We belong to a Christian group. We have to listen to the the praying and the praising god for medical miracles and the creation type of stuff when people are discussing it. However, everyone is very respectful and understanding that we have a different belief system. I never would have thought joining a religious group would be a good choice, but it just sort of happened and worked out. Honestly, the right/left politics are harder to come to terms with than what they do with their science lessons and their Sundays. As far as the statement of faith, I sign it but I edit it first. I cross out believe and add "agree to respect the beliefs of the group, including...". No one cares. :)
Our group does all kinds of stuff: moms nights out, weekly park and pool days, co-ops, holiday parties, and more personal stuff, like last summer my car broke down and I was in a very bad financial situation. The group had my car fixed, and while it was still broken, several people loaned me their car or gave me rides so we could get groceries and stuff. Another mom was on bedrest with her pregnancy for several months, so the group helped her cook and get her kids to events and all sorts of things. It's really an amazing community and I would encourage anyone to try out various local groups, even the ones that seem unlikely on the surface, just to see what clicks. :)
06-09-2010, 11:51 PM
My family is extremely laid back and we practice reformed Judaism. I haven't found any group in my area nor the state of Texas that reflects my personal opinions with the exception of this online forum! lol. We have alot of family/extended family and friends, so I'm okay if our family never joins an actual homeschool group.
06-10-2010, 12:18 AM
We tried a few of the local groups in the area. We are not of the dominant religions so we stuck out like a sore thumb. I have been lucky to find a good friend who has a child the same age as my ds. We do a lot of things together.
06-10-2010, 01:06 AM
There is no group in my area, I started one for a bit. But then we had a nutjob come in. It just isn't worth it LOL.
Oh, we've had that happen on more than one occasion! LOL Even with the crazies, though, I have loved our inclusive group. I've found that the older my son gets (he's 14), the less we need it. When we first moved to the area, we did tons of stuff with them because we didn't really know anyone else. After living here 3 years, he's now involved in so many other activities that we only do things with the group once a month or so.
06-10-2010, 01:58 AM
Our group does all kinds of stuff: moms nights out, weekly park and pool days, co-ops, holiday parties, and more personal stuff, like last summer my car broke down and I was in a very bad financial situation. The group had my car fixed, and while it was still broken, several people loaned me their car or gave me rides so we could get groceries and stuff. Another mom was on bedrest with her pregnancy for several months, so the group helped her cook and get her kids to events and all sorts of things. It's really an amazing community and I would encourage anyone to try out various local groups, even the ones that seem unlikely on the surface, just to see what clicks. :) That's amazing, what a treasure you have found :)
06-10-2010, 02:18 AM
I created my own group not so much because I wanted to belong to a specifically secular group, but because I wanted to be able to control who was in my group. Like others said, I was tired of the drama and of the way other group leaders were treating me and other members. So I seceded from several groups.
Then I decided that I wanted it to be secular because I was tired of seeing all kinds of prayer requests on the board. Yes, I could skip over them, but it still irked me. The politics issue was a big deal too. I'm more conservative than most secular homeschoolers, but not as conservative as the fundies. I just don't see what expressing your religious and political ideas have to do with homeschooling to tell you the truth and those issues were always what brought the drama on. So in my own group I censor religion and politics. You can be whatever you want to be, but we don't discuss it as a group, we don't post about it and we leave each other alone. Of course that's kind of easy with only 4 members :) I do specify that my group is inclusive though because we are (we're all of different religious and political persuasions) and also because so many people think that secular means atheist.
We did have a couple of loney tunes who joined up but hey, I'm the group leader so if you irk me, I will kick you out. I just had to say goodbye to a couple of people recently and I just turned down another prospective member because I'm just not up to dealing with new people IRL at this point.
Our tiny group is low pressure. My members aren't into doing group activities so we mostly meet 1:1 for playdates, field trips. We do all attend a monthly park day with another group funded by one of my members in her area and that group is secular as well. A couple of us get together for a monthly Moms Night Out. Mostly we email each other to vent, offer to take each other's kids for sleepovers or playdates, meet to go shopping, go on field trips. We really have each other's back in that sense, to me it feels like we're 4 sisters rather than just a hodge podge of homeschooling parents and I like it that way.
I kind of belong to our local inclusive homeschooling group. I say "kind of" because, although I'm on the email list and officially part of the group, I've never actually attended any of the functions nor have I met any of the other members at all. I'll probably try to correct that this coming year.
06-10-2010, 03:40 AM
There are some specifically secular groups in Washington but the Seattle one is too far away for me (hate to drive more than 20 minutes for anything) and then there is a statewide board but mostly it's people posting stuff to do all over and not really a cohesive meet-up situation. I basically get ideas on there for our own family to do ourselves. I did join three inclusive groups in my area but so far have only attended one activity with one of them so the jury is still out for me. Most of the time I don't do well in groups but I'm sticking my neck out for my daughter's sake as we're new here and she's had zero friends the last 9 months and is very lonely and sad. Gotta do what a mom's gotta do. Sigh.
06-10-2010, 08:55 AM
Mostly we email each other to vent, offer to take each other's kids for sleepovers or playdates, meet to go shopping, go on field trips. We really have each other's back in that sense, to me it feels like we're 4 sisters rather than just a hodge podge of homeschooling parents and I like it that way.
I feel like that kind of support is SO IMPORTANT. I'm so glad you have it! The intimacy of that small group sounds really lovely, too. :)
06-10-2010, 10:19 AM
There aren't any active groups in my area. I found one on yahoo once but it hadn't been updated in over a year and when I joined and tried to establish contact I got no responses.
We have a secular group that has evolved over the years. It started as an inclusive unschool group, turned into just an inclusive group (I was the only active unschooler), and has come full-circle and is now a secular group, but still inclusive.
The biggest group here is extremely conservative. So much so that even many christians don't like it. Since the numbers in our secular group are small and always changing (we are also have 3 military bases very close so people come and go often), we are happy to have the moderate and liberal christians join us. But, we don't allow ANY political or religious discussion on our email lists. It only takes one small comment to start a big to-do. No praying allowed. :-)
06-10-2010, 07:29 PM
We are trying to start one with yahoo groups. We have met four families so far and are very excited!
Join us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shoni/ if you are in Northwestern IL, Southwester WI, or even Northeastern IA.
06-10-2010, 09:23 PM
There aren't any active groups in my area. I found one on yahoo once but it hadn't been updated in over a year and when I joined and tried to establish contact I got no responses.
I hate when things like that happen. I haven't had that happen with a homeschool group but I have had that happen with other groups. So frustrating, what's the point of someone creating the group and not working to keep it active.
06-11-2010, 06:46 AM
We are on a tiny military base overseas and there is only one group on base, they HAVE to include everyone regardless of idiocy. I've discovered of the approximately 12 families in the group that ten are nut job religious with two of them from other planets, I'm a freethinker, and the remaining family I'm unsure about but I suspect they are secular with their education and liberal christian believers in life style.
We try to get together for a potluck luncheon once a month. The older teenagers are always no-shows, my 13 y.o. and one other are the oldest when we show up. All the meetings are supposed to be on-base at the community center but the organizer has done a quick switcheroo at the last minute a few times to a church center off base ran by evangelical American missionaries who have infiltrated our military homeschooling group. My son and I politely bow out of showing for those meetings (I refuse to vote at churches too when they are used as voting centers!)
06-11-2010, 04:12 PM
I'm actually really frustrated with this atm. I think I posted elsewhere, too. I am in Richmond, VA, which is not that small a town . . .but no one organizes anything, or comes to anything. There was a 'recess' i've been going to, but the woman who used to organize the games asked for someone to take it over, and no one did. I had emailed her off line, and she'd said she was SURE someone would take over, becuase it was so well attended, but nope . . . its now just a sporadic meet-in-the-park. In fact, I think the core group is very tight. Some of my freinds stopped attending becaues they felt like there was the 'club' sitting together, and everyone else feels like an outsider. that club will decide to go somewhere else if its below 60 degrees outside, without announcing it on the yahoo group. They also switched to mornings for summer, without posting it to the yahoo group. 4 of us showed up this week, wondering what was going on.
Then, a woman who was moving in to town and i'd met on line started another park day with me. Occasionally we've had 6 families come, but today was the THIRD day i've shown up with my boys and no one is there. The coleader doesnt even bother to tell me when she wont be there.
I think there are several things getting in the way for us:
1. Richmond is so spread out that its almost an hour drive from one end of town to the other. This really fractures the groups.
2. My co-founder person is such a radical unschooler that she acts like a whiny brat any time anyone talks about curriculum or co-ops that cover academic subjects.
3. My kids are very far apart in age (6 and 14), so its hard to find a group where both are welcome
4. idk, maybe i'm the nutcase? sometimes I feel like thats the only possible explanation!
06-11-2010, 07:41 PM
One of the groups I stopped going to definitely had that core, clique thing going. It was funny because the moms' used to sit and whine, "I hate it when people say we're too cliquey. Our kids are so accepting." Well, it's not the kids people are complaining about.
The new group I'm trying seems quite laid back so far.
However, what works best for me is to make plans with friends and then if the group stuff fits in, great. I've also found parks here locally that have kids at them (and the right time to go). I can't tell you how many times I've gone to empty parks. DS will make "friends" anywhere though and as long as he's hung with his friends recently, he's happy going to the park and playing. I imagine that would work for your 6 yo. I doubt it still works at 14, but I'm not there yet.
06-12-2010, 12:59 AM
There are not many kids over the age of 5 at the park during the year, unless its a homeschool park day. And my 6 yo is akward and has a really hard time making new freinds. A consistent group is really a must if the boys are to have freinds. i just cant figure out how to find it.
06-12-2010, 09:17 AM
Yes-- I belong to several. Two that are inclusive/secular are quite a drive for me (40 min +). Two are unschooling groups, but one is almost an hour away, so I rarely attend. I need to make an effort to attend the closer one!
Last yr. I started a Yahoo group but a few people joined and would not come to the activities, so I stopped trying to organize but kept it up. For some reason, the last few months it's really picked up members and we now do a weekly meetup for something low-key like a park, and once in awhile a more organized field trip. I really did NOT want to be a group leader again. . .I've done it before with another group and I notice that often people complain about groups but rarely want to step up and lead. It's really easy to criticize but not that many people stick their necks out to organize.
So far, the group seems to be going well. My main purpose is to help people make connections. When I see parents talking as a result of the group and making arrangements to meet outside of the group, it's all worth it. I am hoping that as more and more people get comfortable, more people will take turns leading-- I think I see the seeds of this now.
I am trying to be aware of cliques forming. I see how they can happen. I think, in any group (of any size) there are core members. These are the members who show up every week, even when they don't feel like it. They make an effort and invest in the group. If I ever feel like I'm not part of that core in a group, I take an honest look at myself and 99% of the time it's because I've not made the effort. While I've yet to find a group that isn't accepting, I've come to learn that unless I spend the time getting to know group members regularly, I should not expect groups to be jumping up and down when I attend.
RE: secular vs. inclusive-- the group I created is both secular and inclusive. My family is diverse in and of itself. My DH and I are different ethnicities, have different political views, religions, etc. I cannot imagine excluding anyone but psychos from the group. I also find people who are attracted to an inclusive group are just more open-minded generally, no matter what their religion, homeschooling style, etc.
06-13-2010, 12:21 PM
As my mom always said, "When do you play a crooked game? When it's the only game in town."
We belong to the only homeschool support group in the area, and they're based out of the Baptist church. (Gotta love the Deep South.) They have a "statement of faith", but you don't have to sign it unless you want to teach a co-op class. Can't have someone slipping something heretical into the curriculum, can we?
What I've found, much to my amusement, is that there are plenty of rogues in the group -- low-lying heathens who are just looking for friends for their kids and are willing to refrain from choking when someone describes how the Grand Canyon was formed by Noah's flood several thousand years ago. We just look sideways at each other and try not to roll our eyes. Sometimes it gets annoying -- like the time when someone called me out for taking the Lord's name in vain -- but mostly, they're just good women looking for some kind, decent friends for their kids.
06-13-2010, 02:19 PM
Sometimes it gets annoying -- like the time when someone called me out for taking the Lord's name in vain
LOL i always catch myself when I'm talking to my very christain freind 'oh . . .my." and that sort of thing.
i'm still shy because i dont know anyone in the christain groups, so I'm thinking maybe i'll get really brave and meet my homeschooling neighbor. She's a denim jumper, who does food co-ops (some of them are saving food for the . . .idk, some sort of cataclysm). Her kids are rarely outside, and when they are, they look pale and quiet and calm. I hear piano music coming from the house sometimes. I was encouraged to introduce myself to her, but i seriously find it so intimidating - Hi, i'm your neighbor, and i homeschool, but other than that, we have nothing in common!
I'm pretty sure my son has talked to one of her kids before, when they were playing in the creek that runs through both our yards, the year we moved here (6 years ago)
But anyways, she might be knowledgable about local christain groups, right?
06-14-2010, 03:24 PM
I have not found any secular homeschool groups in my area. My husband and I have talked about starting our own.
07-30-2010, 10:59 AM
We belong to a faith based group that pretends to be inclusive. :rolleyes:
It's the only group in our community - if we weren't a part of it, we'd have no contact with other homeschoolers.
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