I’ve thought a lot in recent weeks about ‘tribes’ and communities. I’m not one for going in for sentimental quotes and the such, but it does strike me that finding the group of people in your home ed community is really important and something that I don’t see people talk that much about.
I think we have been lucky that at the same time Daniel would have entered into reception year, there was a whole group of us, very local to each other, that were in the same position. It meant that we quicky (as parents at least!) formed friendships as we ventured into the world of HE together.
Whilst everyone approaches home education in their own way, it’s increasingly easy to spot those that probably won’t do it long term, and sadly I do meet people online and in person with pre CSA children who talk about Home Education in positive terms, until they realise the level of work it involves and the commitment required from you, as parents.
I’ve been very lucky to almost stumble into friendships with people who home educate; some who are further in than us and some who are at the same stage or further behind. I enjoy the social gatherings that we have as well as the short learning sessions we do.
The Speaking & Listening group is a really good example of how our home education community has really helped the children; the children are all blossoming with confidence and it’s great to focus on short topics where they present their work back to their peers. It also has helped me on a personal level to realise that I CAN get a group up and running and create groups that last too.
In our first year of home education, I wanted to throw us into as many different opportunities as possible, to see what worked for the children (and us across the week). There are some things that worked well, others that I can see benefits of but didn’t fit us at that time and others that didn’t work for us full stop. In this academic year, having two children officially Home Educated has changed the dynamic slightly. We have cut back on some groups but retained others.
I have also made real efforts to set up regular meets – the speaking and listening group each month has been once and we are, currently, halfway through the CREST Star awards; something that I hope the children have all been enjoying. Finally, I’ve started a series of groups based on Great British Wildlife and have three of those planned in over the coming months. In the autumn time, I plan to focus on geography and I have some loose plans in place for this.
We are lucky that there are other families locally who also hold events for the children. Just this week we attended a lovely meet themed on the story of Daniel & the Lions Den and next week we have a Bee themed meeting too.
Home Education can feel lonely, and at times it can be really hard to admit that things are tough – having a group of like minded people around you who you cna voice your worries and problems to really helps; and having others who willingly and generously facilitiate events for the children helps to give a new energy to our home education. Such events are always welcoming to those of us with younger children which is really helpful and, I hope, that at the events I facilitate at our home, our friends feel as welcome and enjoy it as much as we do.