Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Where do we fit in?

While we have been waiting for our furniture to arrive I have been working to find some homeschool contacts in our area.  It has been an interesting process to say the very least.  Why you might asked?  I didn't homeschool in the states before we moved to England so I only have that experience of homeschooling in England to go on.  The home education process is different in England, not better or worse, just different than what I am finding here.  My biggest hesitation in joining in with some groups are the religious statement of faiths that they are asking for!   Some of these statements are written in such a way that they are turning me off.   But I am a Mom looking for somewhere to fit in, looking for friends for my children, looking for learning opportunities so I am struggling to come to terms with the way things are done in this area.

In England, religion is not nearly openly professed as it is here in the States.  The homeschool groups that I belonged too (I belonged to 6)  never mentioned religion.  There were people from all walks of life getting along beautifully.  In the entire four and half years I lived and homeschooled in the UK there was only one episode of a disagreement between two members due to religion, unfortunately the group splintered and eventually people took sides and the group broke apart.  All the other groups I belong too had a real acceptance that anyone could join in, whatever your faith.  Many people in Britain attend church but it is not a daily topic of discussion; it is kept private.  But that doesn't mean religion is banned from the groups.  Right before we left our homeschool group was having field trips to various religious facilities.  My children and I visited local Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish facilities in order to learn more about cultures and faiths from other parts of the world.  There also were plans to visit Roman Catholic and Protestant churches after we left. People of all faiths attended these events.  Questions were asked and answer and it was a truly an enlightening experience.

Another big difference is that homeschool cooperatives (coops) are much more prevalent in the US; in fact, I didn't know of any in the UK.  The free-form way of learning that I'm used to seems to not be as popular here.  This is a big difference for me, as one of the reasons that I homeschool is to avoid the classroom setting.  Wasn't the point of homeschooling to get away from classes?  Most homeschooling groups seem to be replicating school and dare I say it even expecting HOMEWORK!!!  This might be typical as the children move into what would be the Middle School or High School equivalent levels of work, and it's something I'm probably going to have to look into.  It's just very alien to me at this point, and I also wonder how I'm going to fit in the "experiential travel" method of teaching that we as a family have come to enjoy.  Again, one of the benefits I see from homeschooling is that we can do our traveling on our own schedule and not be trapped into the "travel during the summer break" paradigm.

The thing I find most puzzling is the need to insert the word God/faith in every class description.  Is this truly necessary?  I found it listed for a classes in fashion design, home economics, drama and even photography.  Don't get me wrong I have no trouble with faith or religion, my daughter attended a drama camp this summer at a Catholic church near my parents house.  I get the importance of faith but does it really need to be thrown out in every sentence.  Doesn't it lose its meaning after a while?

IF you follow my blog you should know I veer away from any topic that is controversial.  I keep my religious and political views close to my chest, shared only with my family and closest  friends.  I mean not to offend but to voice my concerns on how my family will find our place in our new living area.
I haven't got any answers to these thoughts, they are just my thoughts as I ponder how to move forward and met the goals I have set: find my children friends and new learning opportunities as we continue on our homeschool adventure.


  1. Look around- you'll find other homeschoolers who aren't consumed with co ops. My sister-in-law had the same difficulty but after a while found a nice group of homeschoolers near her.

  2. It sounds like where you live has more conservative homeschoolers than some parts of the U.S. We do have religious groups here, for sure, but we also have secular groups. Also, most of our groups are not co-ops. Hopefully you can find a group that is more your style!

  3. I'm in Oklahoma and have the same problem here as well. I was lucky enough to find a secular group in my area, but the leadership was falling apart as I found it. The group is still together and they rely on parents who want to step up and plan an activity. When my kids were younger I planned field trips & a health class, in the group. As my boys started getting older I noticed that most of the kids attending the activities were younger than mine, by a lot. So I ended up starting a new group for older homeschoolers. Were still small right now, and the kids usually get together and just hang out unless I plan an activity. This week they are making solar ovens and cooking smores. But they have some upcoming field trips as well, to the local technical school, the local refuge, a local plant nursery, pumpkin patch and a blood bank in December. You might consider starting your own group. You don't have to change the way you homeschool to fit in with a group. Start a new group and the US homeschoolers a thing or two. I love reading your blog!

  4. Hi Anna-Marie,
    I'm sorry you are having some trouble fitting in to a group where you are most comfortable. I found your post interesting in how you compare your UK homeschool experience with now your US experiences.

    We have several co-ops and homeschool groups where we live and some of the groups make you sign a "statement of faith" to join in which presents tension and disunity, I feel. We've had several non-religious and/or non-Catholic families take part in our Catholic homeschool group activities because they felt they couldn't fit in to the "statement of faith" groups. Our group is very welcoming, I feel, but at the same time we don't compromise our beliefs or faith for someone who may believe differently from us.

    I hope you are able to find a group of homeschoolers in your area so you can meet others and share adventures together! Best wishes on your US homeschooling journey :)

  5. I did not realize that there were statement of faith that you had to sign as part of a group. Interesting! My daughter lives in Missouri and she basically connects with different groups for the homeschool group activities.
    I really enjoyed the way that you were homeschooling in the UK. I loved your teaching adventures.
    I do hope you find what is right for you. I don't think religion should be a requirement. I am pretty sure in our church those who homeschool don't just keep it to our religion. This does seem strange to me.
    I am anxious for your adventures to begin.
    Good luck, blessings and hugs!