Monday, May 16, 2011

Thinking Out Loud: This Time It Could Be Different

When they learn in their own way and for their own reasons, children learn so much more rapidly and effectively than we could possibly teach them, that we can afford to throw away our curricula and our timetables, and set them free, at least most of the time, to learn on their own. ~ John Holt

I have not been looking for a homeschool group. I have written about my reasons a few times; basically I just felt my Lord had told me "no" and, when I tried it anyway (convincing myself I might not have heard correctly), it really did not work out well (proving I had heard well enough). The Princess had fun but most of groups are are co-ops, and I had, still have, no desire nor any calling to teach other children or have my daughter taught classroom-style at this time.

I talked to another homeschooling 4-H mother about her recent experience. She had been in a Christian homeschool group, a pretty active one, but under the pressure of newer members they just made some changes to their statement of faith to which all members must agree. These changes singled out this family in its wording because, without mentioning the religion, it obviously was against Catholicism and they were the only Catholic family in the group.

This woman and another 4-H mother, who was in the same group, are now thinking of starting their own homeschool group. We discussed some things about structuring a group. You see, I thought about this some years ago, starting my own homeschool group, but I did not know that many people in the area. I had these ideas of a group with a statement of faith and all that, but after I had joined a co-op, I realized that I did not want a co-op. That leaders can get to be controlling or just want it their own way...and, sadly, I might just be one of those people to fall into that trap. I also did not want to teach other children nor have my child taught in classes or anything so structured. The first group I joined was also all inclusive and we had people of all faiths, including Catholic, Baptist, Christian Science, Judaism, Messianic Christian, Pagan, and Atheism. Religion was not the focus of the group and they were nice families, but I felt called away from it and one Atheist, who might have a mental disorder, made it rather easy for me to make break because of her unpredictable reactions causing me some concern about the children she was around, particularly my own as she seemed to single me out more than the others.

Before I joined a homeschool group, I used to just meet with another mother who had an only child the same age and same name as my daughter. We would have a play date each week and sometimes we had to make changes in our schedules, which was easier being just the two of us, but we did not do many field trips together and we did not have enough to get group discounts. What I most want in a homeschool group is just group discounted field trips and maybe some play dates, picnics, and general social outings, perhaps a science fair kind of thing, or a play. I don't really want structured classes, but would be willing to have a special teaching projects from time to time.

This is my dream...

My ideal homeschool group is not one well-structured group. It is number of small intimate groups that govern themselves and are networked with other small groups at times meeting together for a field trip or other outing for a group discount. There would be no centralized leader of all and that way each group could be as structured or unstructured as it would like to be.

When any one of the groups gets too large or any one family doesn't feel one group is a good fit, they can go to another one or start one of their own and still be in the collective. I believe this will work because after watching the homeschool groups in my area, that is basically what happens anyway, but with bad feelings left over usually.

When I explained this to my husband last night, he mentioned it is like the Tea Party with no central leader but a very specific focus. Now I thought of this a few years before the Tea Party started, but yes, it is just like that!

The group the woman had invited me to join, but now has left, had its play date on Thursdays, which is impossible for me, so I would most likely would rather be in a small group with a play date on another day. In other words, each group could have its own play dates or the play date set for all groups or both. I like structure but with my lifestyle I need flexibility.

On the other hand, I am not sure I can fit another "thing" into our week. We have 4-H and Miss Annette's farm, which we can volunteer more time and the Princess can ride more often now that I have a vehicle. The other problem I had with a homeschool group is we had so many activities that I felt I was squeezing homeschooling and housework in between and that I should be giving that time to church activities instead.

Basically, I do not know if a homeschool group would work for us or we for it right now. I like the activities we have at this point. They are not overwhelming nor do we have to compromise too much although they do overlap at times: The last two years Princess could not go to a really good 4-H field trip because she had a piano recital that same day.

Hmmm....things about which to think and pray...again!

~ My Lord, last year I remember feeling that our choices were so limited because of transportation and finances. Now I have a bit more freedom and consequentially more choices, but I also believe that just because we can do a thing does not mean we should do a thing. Guide us, my Lord, to the activities You would have us do. May we always be in Your Will in all things. ~

2 comments:

  1. I know! We never did do the group thing because we just had too much else on ~ though I do think Star feels she has missed out on friendships. She doesn't quite get that availabil;ity does not = friendships & school/group *friendships* are often quite catty. Liddy really had no girl friends & as she got older the boy thing didn't work either. It is a hard one to juggle so all the best. ♥

    We are all woggy & not the best.

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  2. I think our lifestyle is just too unconventional for most people to feel comfortable with us anyway, but somehow the Princess seems mostly normal...mostly.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.